Thanks to his magnificent moustache, Wilhelm Adler has always managed to get his way in both the boardroom and the bedroom.
But Candy Harding is disgusted by it and remains completely immune to his charms, which of course makes her doubly attractive.
How can he persuade her to think again?
Music by JuliusH Pixabay
Image by rawpixel.com
Wilhelm Adler became the respected managing director of a large machine-tool company, largely thanks to his magnificent moustache.
Every morning he brushed each side fifty times with a special comb, cut any hairs that were too long and then practised making special faces in the mirror. These faces, combined with his moustache, were the secret of his success.
To talk about money with investors or bankers he would frown and make the ends of the moustache go down on either side of his mouth. With difficult union leaders or journalists he would open his eyes wide and push his lips forward so the moustache bristled aggressively. To show the board of directors that he was thinking deep strategic thoughts, he would half-close his eyes and slowly stroke the moustache. And for the attractive assistants and secretaries working at company headquarters in Stuttgart, he would wink and smile, turning the moustache ends upwards a little. This last face – together with an expensive handbag or scarf as a present – nearly always helped him to seduce them. But not with the new intern Candy Harding, who came to work for them for six months from San Francisco.
Wilhelm had worked in the US for two years early in his career and loved it so much that he tried to behave like an American business executive when he returned to Germany. He spoke English with an American accent, used American business jargon whenever possible, and asked people to call him Bill instead of using his real name.
So, Candy was the American Dream on legs to him. Long tanned legs to be exact, with blue eyes, blonde hair and white teeth to match. She was studying journalism at Berkeley and was full of the American energy and enthusiasm which Wilhelm so admired. But although he tried his best with smiles and presents, he could not seduce her. Candy hated his moustache.
“Bill, you’re very attractive,” she told him when he took her to his favourite restaurant on one of their dates. “But couldn’t you shave that thing off?”
This was of course impossible. Wilhelm could not imagine life without his moustache. But how could he get Candy to change her mind? Then he had an idea.
“Candy,” he said one morning when she brought his coffee into his office. “Have you ever thought about going into TV journalism when you finish your studies?”
She looked excited.
“Oh, it’s what I really want to do! But I need experience to get a chance of a job.”
“Experience, exactly. Now, all great managers today are great communicators. So, I want to record a couple of video presentations about my global vision for the company and put them on the company intranet. I need somebody like you, to interview me on the videos. You could have a copy of the recordings to show to possible employers back in the States. What do you think?”
As Wilhelm had anticipated, Candy was grateful. Very grateful. After the recordings were finished, he took her to dinner again and they both drank plenty of champagne. That night, she finally accepted his suggestion of a nightcap and went back with him to his apartment.
Wilhelm woke next morning to the sound of Candy singing in the shower. He had a slight hangover but he was pleased with his success. He’d got exactly what he wanted. She came back into the bedroom dressed for work.
“Hi there, handsome!” she said, getting out her iPhone to check appointments. “Well, last night was fun! But I have to go get things ready for you in the office. Busy day!” She took her coat and bag and went to the door.
“So, what do you think of my moustache now?” Wilhelm called after her.
“Haven’t you forgotten something?” she said and left, laughing.
He felt confused. What did she mean? Wilhelm touched his face, then went hot and cold as he remembered.
“No!” he screamed and ran to the bathroom. Lying in the rubbish bin were the remains of his moustache. After his second whisky, he had let her shave it off before they went to bed together. He stared in the mirror and saw his real self for the first time in thirty-five years and like water down a drain his confidence vanished. He tried his special faces in the mirror as usual but now they all seemed ridiculous to him. Wilhelm went to work feeling naked.
Over the next few months he grew a new moustache, but somehow the magic had gone. People had seen the real Wilhelm Adler and they were not impressed. After a year the board of directors forced him to take early retirement and he was soon forgotten by nearly everybody.
Except Candy. She was grateful for the chance he had given her and a few years later when she got a job as newsreader for a big American network, she sent him a copy of the recordings they had made together.
Wilhelm sat and watched his moustache in all its glory on the screen. How confident, powerful and attractive it made him look! He sat in silence when the DVD had finished, his cheeks wet. The next morning he threw it away.