The economy and my budget being what they are, I have decided that, for just $50, I will mow your yard - wearing only my swimsuit!
What's that? You'd prefer I keep my clothes on?
You couldn't afford it.
That shouldn't be a problem for Aaron Stallard, who wants to be to lawn care what Hooters is to bar food.
When the 30-year-old Ivy Tech business administration student was looking for entrepreneurial opportunities recently, he came across a seemingly sure-fire combination that has been tried elsewhere, but not in Fort Wayne:
Men have lawns to mow, and they like to look at women in bikinis. So why not start a company that offers both at the same time?
And so, faster than a feminist can say “male chauvinist pig,” Lawn Angels was born.
“This isn't for everybody,” Stallard said, anticipating the backlash that has greeted similar attempts in other cities. “Guys will be our major demographic group. This isn't exploiting anybody. But I had the equipment, the girls want the job, and we are strictly in the lawn business. We will have security there (in case any client expects something more).”
Sure, Lawn Angels will cost a little more than your average yard service, Stallard admits. But who would you rather have cut your grass, some sweaty guy in a polo shirt and khakis - or Cherry, wearing nothing but a bikini, long blond hair and a smile?
The 22-year-old Cherry - not her real name - said she saw Stallard's ad on the Internet and became a lawn angel because her job as a night nurse gives her plenty of time to earn a little extra money during the day.
“It's a gimmick, but it's a good (business) plan, something different and new. And I'm not self-conscious,” she said. “At least I'll get a tan.” Whether she'll be mowing lawns in the spiked heels she was wearing last week remains to be seen.
Business is likely to be slow this week, with rain, cold, gray skies and even snow. Sooner or later, though, the weather will warm, and men's thoughts will turn to …
Why, a nicely manicured lawn, of course. At least Stallard hopes so.
This month, new customers can get a $10 discount from his regular prices, which range from $75 for a small lawn to $350 for three acres - big enough to justify two Lawn Angels, both of whom would be using walking mowers because an angel seated on a riding mower would be hiding some of her best assets.
Oh, come on. You couldn't expect me to write this entire column without including at least one juvenile sexual innuendo, did you?
Stallard is realistic enough to know a higher-priced firm offering only a few basic services is not going to compete with professional lawn-care companies. But it's not his goal to land weekly maintenance contracts. He's banking on novelty and curiosity to generate business for birthdays, bachelor and retirement parties and other events where men want to gawk at young, scantily clad women. Just about any occasion, in other words.
Even so, history and human nature indicate that some people are sure to give Stallard's Angels the devil.
Tennessee-based Tiger Tame Lawn Care, one of the companies on which Lawn Angels is based, has been featured on Fox News, CNN and in the New York Times, among others. But all that free publicity came at a price: “It's an act of perversion. It's degrading to women,” Memphis resident Dewayne Lufcy complained in a story posted on the company's Web site - suggesting Tiger Tame's owners don't really mind the notoriety.
Sure, it's easy to snipe at Stallard's business model. But let's face it: His customers will care at least as much about the nice-looking women in bikinis as they will about a nice-looking lawn. Nobody really buys Playboy just for the articles.
But creating perfectly legal, non-taxpayer-subsidized jobs during a recession - he's hired three Angels so far - deserves some kind of credit, like it or not.
Besides, Stallard's said he'll consider hiring bathing-beauty male mowers, too - if anybody's actually willing to pay for that.
I'm going to get in better shape, just in case.
E-mail Kevin Leininger at kleininger @news-sentinel.com, or call him at 461-8355.