To celebrate my friend Mitchâ€™s 27th birthday party last Friday, a group of about 30 of us ate dinner at The Bistro next door to the Bijou Theater. After this loud and entertaining repast, we planned to migrate to The Gallery Lofts where Joe was house-sitting for his brotherâ€™s girlfriend.
I stopped on my way out the door to Johnson Swingtet get ready for their set.
A woman to my left sitting at the bar said, â€œExcuse me.â€
The question that followed is one that we all secretly enjoy being asked.
â€œHave you ever done in modeling?â€
Well, no, I havenâ€™t, unless, of course, you count the heating and air company in Nashville that paid me $100â€”which was a lot of money to me at the timeâ€”to put on my choir tuxedo, pose with my friend Lauren Hasty in one of her sisterâ€™s prom dresses, and smile until my face hardened for some photographs intended for the companyâ€™s new brochure. Do you count my work in Creative Needle in the early nineties as modeling? No, I havenâ€™t modeled professionally, but Iâ€™ve always believed, you understand, that my castle-storming brow, deep-set hazel eyes, and Prussian nose would have a certain rugged allure the same way that Iâ€™ve always believed I could take down a terrorist on a plane with a meal tray or I would make a world-class swordfighter if I spent some time to training. Iâ€™ve kept these beliefs about myself to myself because I recognize that others may disagree with them.
â€œNo, I havenâ€™t,â€ I said with a smile.
Her comment that followed is one that undermined my secret pleasure and pride in being asked if Iâ€™d ever done any modeling.
â€œWell, I do body paintingâ€¦ .â€
Her lips kept moving, and Iâ€™m pretty sure she told me to check out her work on Facebook, but I stepped out of the conversation politely by asking for her card.
The next day, I did a Google search with her name, and discovered that she teaches art classes for children at a museum in Oak Ridge. That must be her bread and butter until the adult body painting takes offâ€”what, with the recession and all…
She dashed my dreams of making a cool $25,000 an hour for drinking Perrier and walking around shirtless in New York studios! Now, my superhero calf muscles will never appear on billboards and cause pile-ups from coast to coast.
Iâ€™ll just have to keep writing web content and helping people develop their brands and marketing strategies, and thatâ€™s what I get for being superficial.