I'm a little distressed by recent outdoor advertising trends in my neighborhood. Since I moved in a year ago, The Triangle has consistently featured many garish billboards for chat lines and internet personals. Sure, every few weeks Manhunt.net would take the place of Gay.com, but nearly all the ads have celebrated beauty and the joy of life. It's comforting.
There was a time when one could navigate to our apartment simply by using fifteen-foot high half-dressed male models as landmarks. "Go past the two guys in leather chaps, and turn right at the shirtless black guy coming out of the pool in a cowboy hat. If you reach the hugging leather boys, you've gone too far." But no longer. The Triangle's billboards are becoming a downer.
Last month, a new one popped up at the end of our street that was hyping the Neptune Society. I've been conditioned to expect that such an ad would likely feature some Prince Namor lookalike, possibly displaying a trident and/or a come-hither glance. Instead, I realized that the ad was actually promoting columbariums; that is, large vaults used to store the ashes of the dead.
Is something terrible happening to our neighborhood? Is everyone giving up on finding love and moving on to estate planning and living wills? Does Clear Channel know something I don't?
I thought the new billboard cycle might bring us back to our usual carefree ways, but no such luck. The replacement billboard announces a service that reports positive STD tests anonymously, via e-mail. I guess it's reassuring that we're back to sex, and not death, looming above us. Still, don't give up on your carefree ways, Triangle advertisers. Leather Pride was only two weeks ago! Cowboys, not crypts! USA! USA!