Saying no in my work life has always been kind of a problem for me. I mean, what kind of insane person turns down money?! Pair that with a fickle, restless spirit and you have one of the longest and weirdest resumes ever. I’ve done it all, baby! Sometimes I feel like it’s been all for nothing, since I’m not exactly where I want to be careerwise BUT I can say that each weird job has provided me with some sort of new life lesson, even if that lesson is “Always wear gloves when handling blue cheese”. Here are a few of of the stranger ways (besides, of course, that Dove commercial that I already wrote about here ) I’ve brought home the bacon:
Auto Show Model
My friend J and I were standing at the Kiehl’s counter at Saks, pretending like we could afford to buy that shit, when a stunning giraffe of a woman approached us and asked if we’d ever tried modeling. I enthusiastically accepted the chick’s business card and agreed to come to a casting for auto show models. Guess what dudez? They totally hired me! In Detroit, the annual Auto Show is like the SuperBowl of cars, so this was actually kind of a BFD. They slicked back my hair, painted my face with silver makeup and suited me up in pleather with this big, clunky “mobile computer” strapped to my arm with a bunch of cords taped to my back (This was high-tech back then. I am like, extremely old). We were called “Live Bots” and our job was to stroll around the auto show, showing off the cool mini-computer technology. I felt pretty silly…all the way to the bank and bought a sweet teal colored hatchback Saturn with the cash I earned. I called her Misty.
Or, more specifically: NOT line dancing. I took a hostessing job at a local Texas style steakhouse; totally normal gig for a 20something gal such as myself. Except this particular joint required the entire staff to line dance whenever a certain song came on, at least 5 times a night. Nowadays, I’m pretty shameless and would ham it the fuck up but then, I was young and VERY cool and so never ever EVERRRRR line dancing became my sole mission in life. I crafted a myriad of wild excuses to not attend the mandatory weekly dance class and, whenever that horrible song would come on, I would fucking vanish. Let’s just say I got “diarrhea” a lot back then. I only lasted at the place for a few months but never once did I do that goddamn Texas shimmy!
I was working in a small day spa that provided me with an inadequate, paltry income but would look good on my resume since I was 22 and running the whole operation. I was broke. A guy who owned a successful real estate company in the same building overheard me mention that I was looking for a second job and offered me a position working in his office part-time doing officey stuff for almost twice per hour what I was making in the spa. When I arrived for my first day, my instructions were basically to not answer the phone or touch anything. I ended up spending most of my time hanging out in the dude’s office, shooting the shit while he worked. He was one of those young new millionaire types which means that he had his very own Red Bull vending machine. I figured that things were just slow and that he’d give me stuff to do once business picked up but soon realized that he was basically paying me to hang around and keep him company. That felt weird, so I quit. Six months later when I was embarking upon a move to Chicago, the same dude called me up in the middle of the night, crying and telling me he was in love with me and would I please let him pay for my apartment in exchange for sex?
Smoking Fetish Video Actress (yes, that’s actually a thing)
“GET PAID TO SMOKE CIGARETTES” the ad in the back of the free weekly alt rag read. “I sure like gettin paid”, I thought “aaaaand I already smoke cigarettes”. Thus began my short-lived career as a fetish model. Who knew that watching fully clothed young women smoke cigarettes was such a turn-on to some old creeps? The job entailed going over to some weird guy’s house (I always brought a male friend for protection) and smoking cigarettes under harsh lighting while he filmed me. He’d ask questions about how I started smoking, what brand I liked to smoke, etc. There was never any nudity or sexy talk, with the exception of the “private video” I did for extra money that did involve the mom-jeans equivalent of lingerie. Turns out, I had quite a talent for a variety of smoking styles: french inhale, snap inhale and the golden unicorn: using an olde tymey holder. The job paid well but smoking so slowly and deliberately was surprisingly exhausting and I’d have to take frequent breaks to lay down and sometimes barf. Those videos are still available for sale deep in the dark, perverted recesses of the Internet but you’ll never find them. However, if you happen to stumble upon a dusty old VHS tape hidden somewhere in my apartment labeled “Bob Saget’s Sports Bloopers”, you may be in for a smoky treat.
I’ve chased dollar bills up down and across the country, only recently figuring out that, no matter how much of it I get, I’ll never be happy until I place it secondary to doing something I love (this? hi). Money anxiety still rears its ugly head on a daily basis. It comes out at work, when I’m going to town on the free “family meal” they provide us, as if I don’t have a fridge full of food at home. It comes out when I’m standing in Target, having a panic attack over buying a pack of bobby pins or when I’m leaving my rank old work shoes on the porch at night to air out because I don’t want to spend the money on a new pair. I don’t know that the fear of not surviving will ever go away but hopefully it’ll continue to abate with time, as I’m more thoughtful about my choices.
So, what about you dudez? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to get paid?
Hay! Where the money at?!