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Sebastyne

The Lover Of Men, Kings, and Gods, The Patron Saint Of The Masculine. Also, other stuff.

A situation that could be a #meToo if I hadn’t proof it wasn’t.

An example of how subjective interpretation can put a bad label on a good guy

I was 22 at the time. I had never modeled much before. My friend started working for a modeling agency, and she asked me to join them as a model. I figured that under the circumstances I might, to show support to her, even though I had always said no to all modeling ideas before. My mom wanted me to model, but I said it was for airheads and refused. Once my friend started working for an agency I thought well… OK.

So I scheduled some shots to be done by the best fashion photographer the country knew at the time. The other models whispered things to my ear in a hushed but pleasantly excited tone that he was a bit of a prick. To be careful around him because he was known to be difficult with young models. I cannot remember exactly what they said, whether there was any clear suggestion made about sexual harassment, but the tonality certainly suggested that as a possibility.

In the morning

I was getting my makeup done, and he came in the dressing room. (Normal practice, we‘re all professionals here.) He asked to see the clothes I brought with me so he could plan the set.

I got up to show them to him, when I realized I had glued fake nails on and opening the zipper would risk snapping them lose. I stopped in my tracks and asked him to see for himself, hastily explaining my nails would pop off. (His interpretation, probably, was that I had realized I was obeying a man and stopped myself from doing so.) He didn’t say anything but did so, and proceeded to work on the set.

I think we had a miscommunication here as I was waiting for him to get ready while he was probably waiting for me to get ready, so we both thought the other took a terribly long time to get ready.

The set

Once we got started though, things went smoothly. It was much more fun for me than I thought it would be, as he was a confident photographer who didn’t fear to ask for a new pose, give instructions and to point out when things didn’t look good.

He told me that when I smile a certain way, my chin gets wrinkly and taught me how to avoid it. I guess some women would have considered that some kind of emotional abuse, to me, it was professionalism. We weren’t there to flirt with each other, or to blow smoke up each other’s ass, but to produce great pictures.

Expectations to match reality

If a girl goes into modeling or acting thinking they’ll be showered with compliments by men and fawned over by them, they’ll have another thing coming. It’s work. You’re not there to be admired. You’re there to be scrutinized because you have to portray an image of unrealistic beauty. Therefore, the way you hold your toe will be checked, and there’s NO ASSUMPTION you SHOULD know exactly what you look like in any given position. THAT IS WHY there are other people making sure you’re looking picture perfect… Even if you weren’t, really.

(Another male photographer was criticised for making his models, even mediocre ones, look so good that less skilled photographers couldn’t work with the same models. But girls liked him because he was actually flirty on set. Gave the girls a bit of an ego boost… I actually never worked with him, but I know him otherwise. I think he would be flirty even on set.)

After the shoot

Once we were done with the photo shoot, he offered to drive me to the train station. A small voice inside my head said it might not be smart, as I’d been taught to be careful with men I don’t know. I quieted it as nonsense as he was being nothing but professional and accepted the invite. (I have truly taken more rides with men I don’t know that I can count, and they’ve never turned even remotely weird.)

In the car, he apologized for his earlier behavior. He told me he had misinterpreted me in the morning as I casually “bossed him around” with the clothes bag. He had taken me for a “princess”, and he apologized for having jumped to hasty conclusions.

He then proceeded to tell me I wouldn’t have to pay for the photos as he was so impressed with me he wanted to help me further. I was very flattered and thanked him, and at this stage, all the alarm bells had silenced. He was cool as. He gave me further advice as to where to show the photos. Told me who to contact and the like. Quite truthfully, he was more excited about my career as a model than I was. I suppose some women would have considered this “patronizing”.

Granted, being more competent around computers, knowing I’m better with them than 99.9% of other women, I do get a bit prickly when men behave as if I had never seen the insides of a PC before, or didn’t know what an IDE-cable is. But then I remind myself that I do know more than most women do, so it’s a fair assumption to make that I don’t.

The only thing he asked was to not be given credit for the photos because he wanted to avoid taxes for work he didn’t get paid for.

The prints arrived

The prints arrived, with all the common goodies; the pinnacle frames, the dia-positives, and the lot.

If you are now expecting a phone call or something in which he’d cash in on his investment by making a pass at me, you’re wrong. Such thing never arrived. I never expected it to.

Men are idealistic. They love being nice to each other. They love encouraging good people. That is why I never hesitated to take his offer. I was flattered and I thought he was genuinely nice. I hope there had been more people like him in my life. People who would have seen my talent and encouraged me to take advantage of my many talents. Many other people, women, mostly, try to harness my talents into their own use. No wonder they see callous behavior in men, the way they, themselves, think!

(They also don’t like to give empty compliments. Being forced to fawn on women is a bit of an irritation and a half. Women who assume men will be falling head over heels in love with a girl at the mere sight of a pretty face makes a smart man see red.)

But don’t you just think there’s a but in this story?

The but is you.

INSIDE YOUR HEAD.

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