Gentle readers, meet summer's hottest must-have accessory for every distinguishing young lady who deigns the thought of a little upper-lip perspiration. Personally, nothing beats the feeling of a small trickle of sweat slowly creeping its way down my ass crack as I try not to let the sheer delight of it all show on my face. Nonetheless, following on from last year's efforts to go native, so to speak, I give you this, the neck fan.
In short, I have taken to wearing a plastic rectangular fan around my neck. Werk.
It started with a ladies-who-lunch lunch with some Semi-professionals, one of whom showed me her, uh, neck fan. Every summer we Tokyoites love to talk about how damn hot it is and this year, thanks to the motherfuckers at TEPCO, we have even more to talk about with people we have nothing to talk about with: electricity saving measures! I could give a 10-minute soliloquy about these measures that would make Hamlet weep. To give you an example, I like to tell anyone who will listen how embarrassed and hesitant I am to use a recently inherited standing fan to rid me of the sweat beading at my hairline. None of the Secretaries have fans but by some strange twist of fortune/misfortune, I am with fan this year (not to be confused with "with child," something that would send me running for the hills). Do I even need to say it? Altogether now: I CAN'T TURN IT ON.
For all that I do to play down my whiteness (including but not limited to hiding the sound of my pee, taking care to rustle my plastic bags quietly, and greeting people with "sorrythankyou"), this would blow (ha) my cover. It would be a huge red flag reminding people that yes, I am still here, and yes, still a lonely whitie. This is not to say I don't use it on the sly. Some mornings I arrive extra early and when no one is around, bask in its cool winds. As soon as I hear footsteps, that puppy goes off. Now that we are deep into super cool biz, I have stopped sneaking around with the fan and have unplugged it and left it in a conspicuous place so my colleagues can see I am in the same hellishly hot boat as them. Yes to conforming!
The first question out of my mouth when my lunching lady showed me her fan was , Do you use it while typing at your desk? I figured if it was inconspicuous enough, I could keep cool guilt-free. She switched it on and let its sweet, cool rays blow gently across my cheeks. Sold.
Bonus points: I didn't even have to go out of my way to get it. While buying something at 7-11 later that evening I happened to glance down at a table near the register laden with all manner of keeping cool apparatuses and there it was. Begging to blow away my sweat. Sold.
The next morning at work I arrive at the same time as most of the Secretaries and am super excited to sit down and cool off on the DL. When no one's looking I slip the fan around my neck and press "on."
Gentle readers, it sounded like there was a helicopter overhead (abort! abort!). I immediately switched it off and thought back to our lunch. I couldn't recall my companion's fan being loud or making any noise at all. I switched mine on again. No, it was definitely conspicuous and if fans could talk, this one would be shouting, whitie over here! whitie over here! It's taken me a few weeks to get used to it, but I now feel comfortable using my neck fan with fairly reckless abandon, even when the office is dead silent. I do still get a little jumpy when people come by and are in earshot of my tiny wonder, but I banish the embarrassment by telling myself they must think the noises are emanating from my computer vents.