The day did not start well. They shut off the cold water in my building for emergency repairs, so I thought I would be taking a burning hot shower. As it turned out, they did not leave the hot water on either so I got no shower. Now I don't know how many of you are obese men, but let's just say that a day without a shower is generally not a day you want to be around other people who have any sort of olfactory function. I was going to a film market, and hoping that I wouldn't be turning the movie into Smell-O-Vision.
I put on a shirt and tie, mismatched but not horribly so, and headed downtown. I didn't want to wear a full suit because I don't have one, but also because I think it's a bit intimidating when people get too dressed up to promote things to you. When a guy in a suit pitches you with something you feel like you should also be wearing a suit just to hear the pitch. At least I do. Plus one of the reasons I wanted to do something in the creative field rather than the business world is that I don't want to get dressed up or act formally. I want to spend my days in a relaxed atmosphere without a necktie/leash or a requirement that no jokes be told on company time. Hard work is fine, but hard and rigid work is not. At least not for me.
I waited for my boss a little while, then called his cell-phone, reminding me that I really do need one of those for myself. We met up in front of another building and he gave me a huge, 2' by 4' or so posterboard of the film and a couple hundred postcards and sent me off to the theater to promote. When I arrived there were already people pushing our film so I went up and grabbed the other side of the staircase, holding the poster aloft myself because it was too windy to set it down on a ledge. The other person who was there, at least initially, was the beautiful Spanish actress from the film. She was truly gorgeous in person but I felt absolutely no attraction, presumably because my penis finally got the message that there's no sense in leaping to attention every time he sees the signifiers that there might be a vagina nearby, as he's NEVER going to get in contact with any of them, and has started to content himself with the simpler things in life. I think he may have taken up cribbage or a similar game. Good for him.
So there I stood at the top of the stairs, holding my sign like a sandwich board guy without an actual sandwich board and pushing postcards on anyone who dared venture to my side of the staircase. On the other side was an absolutely stunning woman with an amazing body AND a tray full of rich and delicious chocolate. On the other was a fat guy in a tie holding up a poster like a retard and giving his best fake smile, which was the sort of look someone might have if he'd just been caught fucking Ted Nugent's wife and was trying to decide between asking for an autograph or making a break for it. Still people chose to come up my side of the staircase and took postcards from me. Not just womenfolk or men who enjoy the company of other men, but fairly normal looking straight guys too. I'm not sure whether this is an indictment of American intelligence or a rousing victory for not being influenced by marketing's use of female beauty.
We handed out postcards for about an hour and a lot of people actually took them. We had different strategies. She flirted and cajoled and flashed her 10,000 megawatt smile, transfixing men in their tracks like deer in the headlights of an oncoming car, and getting them to agree to come see the film just so she'd release them from her toothy tractor beam and let them go back on their way. I quietly passed forward a postcard and said "Would you like a postcard?" in a cheerily unbalanced way, then mentioned the time of the showing and that the film was "Excellent." I got more volume but she probably got more people to actually agree to go see the thing, seeing as how they knew she could root them to the spot for hours if they refused.
After about an hour we went downstairs to the theater and I got to hold my big sign out in front for awhile while people went in. Fortunately it ended up being well-attended, which was a good thing since at least 60% of why I was hired in the first place was to make sure this screening would be well-attended. The film was even more beautiful in 35mm than it had been on videotape and I spent the entire screening trying to figure out whether I smelled or not. I think the answer was yes, but just a little bit. People asked me if I was the film-maker and I had to say no, which made me a little sad, but hopefully some day I will be able to say yes. Then they will respond "Usually the untalented people have at least the consideration to be beautiful" and the women will add (redundantly) "I would not ever sleep with you even if doing so would mean a solution to the Middle East problem and/or massive wealth and fame for me." So at least I have something to look forward to.
That day might not seem like a big deal to most of you crazy cats with your actually talking to people on a daily basis glamorous lives and such, but it was a big challenge for me. I'm not comfortable with strangers in the first place, and not showering really kicks that up a notch. I was the smelly kid in elementary school and at least part of high school, and those memories don't die easily. Then there's the promotion aspect, something I hate as well. I went from mass mailings and spamming to being a guy handing out fliers to passerbyes. By the end of the week I may be wearing a foam rubber chicken outfit and clucking for my supper. It wasn't THAT bad, since the people I was handing out the cards to seemed genuinely interested, for the most part, a few were even nostalgic for the days where more people used to promote their films like that. Also I do enjoy the film I was promoting so I didn't feel dishonest. I don't know if I'd call it excellent, but then again people know to take the recommendations of the guy holding the big poster with a little salt. Add in the other elements, like working/competing with a beautiful woman and dealing with people who are actually doing what I want to (jealousy factor) and I think I handled myself way. I forced sociability and even a tiny sprig of pep out of myself and did my duty. There were no major disasters and my boss seemed satisfied with my performance. He wanted me to be in the staff picture, and then he let me take it when it turned out the person he'd brought for that purpose didn't know how to use his camera (I wanted to take it to subliminally plant in his head the idea that I know how to frame things properly in a camera.) He's also offered to let me go to one of the seminars at the market today or tomorrow if I want to, an offer I will certainly take him up on if I have time. I will try to maintain sociability and responsibility in the face of all this and not let the cynical little voice in the back of my head that's chanting Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" take over. Keep trying to move forward, don't let yourself miss opportunities, never come within a thousand leagues of scoring with a female. Those are the precepts I live by.