Repost from January 2011
Trust me when I tell you that for the entire 18 months The Spousal Unit and I dated prior to presenting to the Marrying Magistrate, he only ever appeared before me wearing well-pressed, tucked -in shirts and quite stylish attire.
This is partly why I was attracted to him; even a quick run to the local grocery store required a fresh shower, hair product, pressed jeans, and always, that devastating smile and dimples. I have noticed, in the past two years, a slight slippage in this well-put-together appearance. While the spikey, Howdy Doody bed-head is always well subdued before leaving home, he has taken quite a shine to some summer sandals he purchased recently, as in they NEVER come off his feet unless he’s showering or sleeping. No problem in the summertime, but now that we have had our second snowstorm in two weeks here at the beach, he refuses to relinquish them, and has started to put on really thick, furry olive green socks before sliding his feet into the beloved sandals. Eyes to the top of this post, dear readers, as a picture is worth a thousand blogger babblings. As bizarre as that is in itself, I could probably just ignore it were it not for the fact that he is now insisting on going out in public like this! So fear not when you read the coming accounts in the Globe and The Inquirer, about recent sightings of Big Foot at your local home improvement store; it’s just The Spousal Unit out running errands.
I wonder if his fierce attachment to his Jesus sandals is one of the reasons he is reluctant to prop a 30’ tall ladder in the snow and ice and shimmy up to remove the two remaining wreaths and dancing snowflakes? I fully understand that things could be worse; he could start showing a fondness for Madras plaid shorts worn with white sneakers and black knee-high dress socks. Any day now I half expect him to go twirling past me wearing a pink tutu, lederhosen, and his Australian cowboy hat. If this sartorial decline continues, I will soon be shopping for him at the ‘MiAss Droops Alot’ Boutique, located just off “I Used To Be a Hottie” Highway.
I’m putting all of you on notice that we may need to conduct a fashion intervention in the near future. I unintentionally started The Unit down the wrong fashion path in October, when I gifted him with two things he wanted very badly for his birthday. A real cowboy duster, just like Clint wore in ‘Pale Rider’, in addition to the Australian cowboy hat mentioned above.
Last night, under the influence of no vino whatsoever, he begins to describe the next addition he needs for his Hoppalong get up. A pair of ankle-high cowboy boots, the kind with little chains that rattle against the back of stacked heels. There was also some passing mention of holsters for his guns. The Teenage Morose One, who is yet again present on both of our two snow days, due to being GROUNDED once more!!, just rolled his eyes and retreated up the stairs when he heard this, the words HOW GAY flashing across his blemished forehead like neon Vegas lights.
You know by now that the word GAY whisks us right back to 1975 and my beginning days with Wilhelmina Models, immediately following the attack of the rogue lobster. This place was diametrically opposed to Eve Shelton Models. Classes were arranged for all the new wannabees recently signed by Wilhelmina, to insure that we all followed the same standards and had a basic understanding of how this strange new world functioned. We learned the ropes of the business, the who’s who, the where, the why, how the magazine world worked, and the very important place that ad agencies should hold in our greedy little hearts.
We compared notes about new but talented photogs who could provide great test shots, and which ones to avoid, like Snow Monsters out on parole. Most of us weren’t making much money at that point, so if one girl got a new outfit, it was willingly shared with the rest of us, so we could get test shots made wearing it.
When you’re not yet “discovered” designers aren’t exactly opening up their wardrobes to loan you killer clothes.
Willy, as she was fondly called, kept her new models on what amounted to probation until you either proved yourself through your earnings, went running back home crying to mama, or were “dropped” from her prestigious roster of models. This was a cruel but necessary part of the business and always happened right before Christmas holidays and Memorial Day weekend. I don’t know what percentage of models were cut or dropped, but it certainly seemed that more girls were let go than the number who actually went on to have a lucrative career. I initially thought letting these poor kids get hit with bad news right before the holidays was terribly heartless, until Willy explained it to me. It actually made more sense to inform these girls that they would not have representation to come back to before they left on holiday break; this way they saved their return fare and could just remain back home in Indiana or Michigan, nursing their wounded pride surrounded by family.
One of the more surprising things I found was that the most beautiful girls were not usually the ones who became the biggest successes. The girls like Christie Brinkley and Andie MacDowell, who photographed exactly as they looked in person, were much less common than the plain Janes who morphed into swans in the hands of the right makeup artist and photographer.
I think there were ten of us in that beginner’s class and eight of us became extremely close friends and provided support for each other. There was one odd girl I remember in that group. She was pretty in a “I don’t really give a damn” way that some women have, but kept to herself and rarely participated in class discussions. She always sat in the back row, apart and aloof from the rest of us. I was a bit annoyed by the fact that she had grey eyes and auburn hair, the same as mine, after being told by the Gatekeeper that the agency couldn’t have too many redheads. She was mysterious and never joined us for lunch or drinks, and I never spotted her at any go-sees or auditions.
After my probationary period ended and I stopped going to classes, the odd girl slipped from my thoughts until one day I saw a familiar face on the cover of a porn video. Guess who was the star? She became very well known in that biz out on the left coast and was a star in that world for sure. It was interesting that she was using a completely different name, not the Vanessa that we knew her by. Strange world…how did she sidestep or free fall into that orbit? Was she intercepted somewhere along the way to becoming a print and runway model? Did she fall in love with the right or wrong guy who pushed her in that direction? Did she like her work? Cosmic questions that I never expect to learn the answers to.