Black cashmere dress, black jacket, black boots. I look narrow and nondescript, a luxurious blank slate. I brush my hair, flick my lashes with a coat of mascara, slide a coat of Chapstick against my lips. The mirror reflects back an appealing version of me. He’ll like me, I think.
I’m not getting ready for a date. I’m getting ready to meet a very young, very famous designer. Not for anything important of course. I’m about ten years past meeting people for important things in fashion. Important meetings are for the 16-year-olds, full of promise and natural collagen. All I’d be doing for him is walking around with a semi-bored look on my face for ten days in a row, trying on clothes like a machine for buyers all over the world. Still, he has to meet the girls, because “the girls” have to represent “The Brand.”
When I arrive, he is pawing through racks of his own clothes while the design team goes over the Fall 2013 collection with the sales reps. I wait on a black leather couch trying to look important-ish with my iPhone until someone pulls me into a closet to try on a skin-tight dress and a pair of heels. The gray jersey fabric shows every bone, every lump.
“This is Jenny,” someone announces. I stand awkwardly in front of him, not knowing if I’m good enough to shake his hand. Instead, I am hit with a star-struck paralysis and wave awkwardly as I teeter towards one side. He asks me to walk casually, and I move away from him, hyper-aware of every potentially unappealing piece of me –age, hips, hair, wrinkles — each step putting me further away from booking this job and deeper into a self-lacerating ego pit.
When I return he is wincing ever so slightly. He whines a “thank you” before walking back towards the racks.
I don’t book the job.
I’ll probably still buy his clothes. –Jenny Bahn