Everyday I imagine myself in a new career. There was a point when I thought I really wanted to work in Public Relations. So I researched some PR companies close by and picked one to apply to. On the application it asked for a headshot. I have a real complex about my looks, there are about three serious pictures of myself that I approve of. Absolutely everything else, candids, pictures of me on family vacations or graduations, pictures of me and friends, I find I either have one eye gently pulsing out of its socket, or my smile scarily resembles that of a wicked witch, specifically a witch who has a tiny pointy nose. All other pictures that I approve of usually involve some sort of costume or grotesque facial expression. To me, the term “headshot” sounded more like “glamour shot” but I didn’t think that they would find the picture of me, wearing a snuggie, oversized fake glasses, and posed like Harry Potter before he battles Voldemort as appropriate as I thought it was. I sent my resume in and surprisingly got an email requesting an interview.
The PR firm was located in Beverly Hills, a place I dread going to. I feel like a phoney driving around its posh streets, wearing my high waisted Gap pants and heels, all done up and feeling very tall and very trannyish. The PR firm, like everything else in Los Angeles was up flights of stairs, located in between buildings, and discretely marked. I stood before a big fancy Mahogany door with an oversized metal doorknob and paused, wondering what was behind it. When I opened it I stepped onto a white sheepskin rug. The floors were shiny, a rich hardwood, and the sheepskin rug lead me into another room with a girl typing on a Mac laptop on a glass desk. She looked up and greeted me and I wondered if the girls face would melt off if the air conditioning ever broke. What happens when she goes outside, does she ever sweat? Can one sweat when your pores are blocked by gobs of what looked like 7322W Petite Peach by Shewin-Williams? Petite Peach informed me that Uni was in the middle of an important call with a client and would be with me shortly. I took a seat and looked around. Surrounding me were framed pictures of celebrities. Kim Kardashian kissing a bottle of perfume, Lindsay Lohan posing on a red carpet while scowling, and behind Petite Peach, a large framed portrait of Paris Hilton. On the glass table in front of me were neat stacks of gossip magazines with headlines that read: “Tracy Morgan: I’m going back to Nashville to apologize” and “Pregnant Tori Spelling gets into a ‘pretty big’ car accident.” I began to perspire. Suddenly a very thin girl teetered out of an office, her pink heels wobbling. She was hunched over and pulling a rack of clothes behind her. With her thin bleached hair and sharp heels she looked like a raptor, I didn’t look her in the eye in case she lunged at me. Suddenly Petite Peaches sugary voice floated across the room, “Uni is ready for you, you can go on in.” I felt my heart beats quicken.
Uni’s office looked like the white witches lair in Narnia. Everything was made of glass and sparkly. Uni was not so sparkly. She was matte like a plastic Barbie doll. Her highlighted hair was stylishly cut and framed her eyes which were big and brown and as blank as a white piece of paper. Uni had big eyes and very very big boobs. They rested, perfect orbs, right underneath her chin. She blinked occasionally and when she reached out her hand it felt cold in my own sweaty palm. I began to assess a number of things, where Uni came from, how her tiny frame holds the weight of her boobs, if she ate eight almonds for breakfast, if she ever laughs. Uni explained that her PR firm represents some of the biggest stars in the world and the haunting portrait of Paris Hilton flashed before me. She then proceeded to ask me a number of questions, all of which I have no idea how I responded. I know that at one point, she asked if I would be able to identify and pick out different items that belong in a kitchen. I remember thinking, sure, my four year old cousin who can barley control his bowels can do that, but I just nodded and smiled. Uni sat in silence and blinked, I think she was looking at me but I’m not sure, her gaze looked unfocused as if she was staring straight through me and at the wall behind me. I didn’t know what to say to this woman, should I mention how beautiful the portrait of Paris Hilton is? (I couldn’t stop thinking about it). Or comment on all the glass furniture? “Your office is..beautiful” I smiled, but I’m sure if someone had snapped a picture of me right at that moment my expression would look wide eyed, my smile making me look crazed. “Thank you” Uni breathed, looking around, surveying her icy office of glamour and power. Uni then got up, I shook her hand again and she scooted out of her office with me.
Outside, other raptors had gathered around the rack of clothes. These women looked like orange skeletons wearing fancy footwear, their hair so thin and processed the air conditioning was softly making it move. Suddenly their attention shifted from the rack of clothes to me and Uni. Their eyes quickly passed over me and landed on Uni, their master. I ran out the door right when they all began to chatter, the last word I could make out before the big fancy door shut behind me was “chic.” As I rushed down the stairs I felt like Angelina Jolie in The Changeling, I musn’t let them get me!
Safe in my car I made the mental note to begin researching careers in non profits.