Yesterday, as I waited in the lobby of a PR firm with ten other quietly seated models, a girl walked in who insisted upon being the loudest mouth in the building. She wore dangerously short cut off jeans, a tee shirt, and gray high-heeled boots. Her legs were tanned in excess and her cellulite dimples stared at me indiscreetly.
In but a few minutes I learned that she had been in a car accident and that she was now driving a rental: a PT Cruiser that she openly stated was a “piece of shit” and then swiftly attempted to apologize to the room if anyone in there owned one. I discovered that she had an interest in purchasing a new Audi A6 – white with cream interior. Perhaps indicating how easily swayed she could be in life, by the end of my casting she had volunteered that she would instead get the A5 convertible because someone else in the room thought it would be a good idea. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to relay that she was drinking a Kambucha tea when she got in her car crash and it flew “everywhere.” The devil’s in the details.
By the time it was my turn to meet with the PR boy booking this job, I was jarred by the misguided showmanship that I had been subjected to before I walked in. After commenting that I liked the color of his shirt (I did), I couldn’t help but delicately complain about Chatty Cathy out there who I could still hear still blah blah blahing through the closed wooden door. Aside from perhaps being seen as a model-hater, I passed the casting with flying colors: each time he asked me how old I was I lied the same age over and over and over again. Literally, four times. My avoidance of stumbling into the territory of “too old” won me a daily achievement award. I came home and gave myself a star.
I left the building thankful that I wasn’t a moron and inspired by the show I had been treated to. Rarely am I allowed free and audible access into this world of low frequency brain function. It made me think about good taste and manners and how far I had come in my own life. After all, it has taken me years to reach my version of personal perfection [uh hem, guffaw]. Perhaps this girl was just early on in her journey to classiness.
In order to better associate with such cretins – to really keep me grounded, to really keep me connected with the “normal folk”…you know, Main Street America – I thought it would be necessary to go through times in my life in which I demonstrated exceptionally bad taste.
Personal License Plate, Age 16
It is quite possible that the Catholic school dress code imposed on me in high school left me searching for other avenues of expression. There is only so much you can say about yourself with oversized polo shirts and khaki cargo pants….or only so much you want to say, rather.
Logically, our cars became extreme displays of who we were and how much money our parents had. Mine wasn’t the best car out of everyone’s, nor was it the worst. A few improvements were thusly made to maintain a sense of ego: I purchased a thousand dollar stereo system that made my trunk rattle like I lived in the hood and not a San Fernando Valley suburb and I redecorated my center consol with some leopard print to give the car some sass. But all of these improvements were internal. How was I to express to the outside how cool the person was inside?
The perfect solution to this conundrum was a personalized license plate. People would really get a sense of who I was as a person when they read that piece of tin affixed to my bumper. For only $25 dollars annually, I would instantly recognizable driving through the parking lot and defined from the masses on the streets. When my mom agreed to pay for it, I was ecstatic.
Before we took the trip to the AAA, I wrote down some of my top choices. A few included:
Unfortunately, all of these were taken. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. I thought my choices had been original and creative but, alas, various saboteurs had beaten me to it (the first two probably were snatched up by the founders of the Porn magazine of that name).
I was forced to retool my choices. I had to become more creative than I ever had in my entire short life. The solution was to rework OHSOPHAT, replacing the “A” with a star. In effect, it looked something like this: OHSOPH©T. I was proud of myself and my mom was nice enough to play along.
When I got to school, however, my license plate was not as well received. My friends giggled, patting me on the back condescendingly. “Yeah…great job!” they’d say. Brian Bardos creatively interpreted it as reading “Oh, Softy.” Like ice cream or my butt? Within two months I traded my bad decision in for a generic, alphanumeric plate mindlessly made by some drug smuggler in prison.