A little trip down memory lane with this post….
Brad was an attractive-enough looking guy. He shaved his head, which was something that I never found attractive in a guy, but whatever. He also had a funny smell. Not bad just… funny. At least he smelled funny to me. I always did have a warped sense of smell, though. Brad normally dressed very nice; borderline metrosexual, in my opinion. He took way more time and care getting ready to go to the bars than I ever did. He took care of himself, physically and personal hygiene-wise. Like I said, he was an okay-looking guy.
My high school best friend Tara dated Brad. I honestly thought the two would have had a really good go at a relationship. During their high school courtship, Brad was not only a good boyfriend to Tara (or what I thought was), but also a great friend to me. That’s actually saying a lot about a person, in my book. Since I had enlisted and left shortly after high school, I only saw the beginnings of their relationship, but it looked pretty solid.
Years later after I returned home I found out that Tara and Brad, after living in Louisiana, had gone their separate ways. Brad and I both ended back in our hometown, and rekindled the friendship. Brad ended up falling right back in as a terrific friend, which was pretty hard to find at the time as a single mom. He never threw a temper tantrum when I couldn’t find a sitter for Alaina and we had to kick it at my house for the night. He used to buy Alaina little gifts (even if they were Brittney Spears dolls that sang and sang and sang), and he was always there to share a laugh with and remind me that my life was not all that bad as long as I had friends around. So, I put up with his slightly narcissistic outlook. Um, okay, slightly isn’t really the right word… Brad loved himself!
One of the most shining examples of narcissism that sticks in my mind… I used to live across the street from what we called the ‘Pillsbury Doughboy Factory’ that had been shut down years prior. (Yeah, real nice neighborhood, I know, but I was just starting out in a new career, and didn’t have the financial backing to live anywhere else. Besides that, I refused to live with my parents.) Brad used to come over, drink a few beers, and we would bullshit all night while hitting golf balls off my front porch towards the factory. One night, in between yelling “four” and the sound of the golf club hitting the ball, Brad exclaims, “I am torn between what personalized license plates I should get for my car: PERFECT TEN (PRFCT 10) or THE ONE (THE 1).” Chuckling, I turned to Brad who is staring at me dead on with a ‘no-I’m-totally-serious’ look on his face. Oh.
Going back to when Tara and Brad were dating in high school… There was a model casting call being held at a hotel conference center, in a neighboring town. Apparently, this was Brad’s big break and he would do nothing to stop from finally getting noticed. Only one teeny, tiny problem: he didn’t want to go by himself.
I get a call from my friend Tara: Brad had begged and begged her to take part in the casting call. She eventually agreed on one condition: that I would go with them. Brad’s whining and harassing phone calls eventually wore me down, and I agreed to go.
The specifics of the day are a bit hazy, and I am probably telling this all wrong, but it is my story, and you are just going to have to deal with it. The casting call began pretty early on a Saturday, if I remember correctly. Brad drove because <a> Tara and I didn’t want to be there in the first place, and <b> he was freaking crazy if he thought we were wasting our gas on something like this. I am sure that Brad spent hours getting ready that morning, primping and ‘me-maw-me-maw-mo’-ing into the mirror to practice his speech. I think I brushed my hair that day? Not quite sure… It was Saturday, in my defense.
The three of us walked into the hall of the hotel, were each handed a number, and told to sit down in the conference room. It was a freaking zoo! The majority of attendees were parents dragging their little kids in… You know, those ones. The ones I despise! (Little Tommy Tushy is sooo cute! Maybe I can stick him in a couple commercials and make a quick buck off him!?)
I remember sitting there FOR-EV-ER, and Tara and I threatening Brad numerous times to leave, only for him to start begging and whining for us to stay just a little bit longer. Eyes rolling, jokes cracked at the expense of the other attendees, we were eventually called back behind closed doors one by one.
Obviously, I wasn’t there for the other two’s “interviews”, so only have the account of mine. I walked into the room, which was only slightly smaller than the conference room we were just waiting in. I was ordered by some Wizard-of-Oz-like voice to stand on a particular spot on the floor, and stare into the video camera that was posted about three feet from my face. The lights were blinding, and I honestly didn’t know if three or three hundred people were watching me.
“What is your name?” Add a German accent and ‘Frauline’ at the end of the question, and I would have felt like we were playing a game of German Prison camp.
“Hello, Cari. What is your favorite food?” Huh?
I was a growing teenage girl! What food didn’t I like? And what the hell did this question have to do with a model search anyway? Completely knocked off balance by this question, I stuttered, “Um, uh… lasagna is good. Yeah, I like lasagna.” Classy.
I know that there were several more questions, but for the life of me I can’t remember them. The next thing I know, I was released out a side door, handed a business card with a number on it, and told to call in three days. Out of “400 applicants” the model casting call interviewers were going to be selecting “25 lucky men and women to advance to the next level”.
It must have been a nail-biting three days for Brad, but I had honestly forgotten about the casting call/model search until I got a phone call from Tara. “Brad didn’t make it,” she laughed. “He’s devastated.” Being the sweet, supportive nurturing girlfriend and friend that we weren’t, the jabs and jokes ensued and “Now I’ll Never Be a Teen Model” was born.
Although distance and life sometimes get in the way of friendships, Brad and Tara are still very close, and I still talk occasionally to him to this day, even though it is mostly done on Facebook. Every time he starts a little self-centered talk or becomes very full of himself, we nonchalantly bring up how his life would have changed dramatically if he only had become a teen model. There have been many laughs at poor Brad’s expense. Ah, he brings it on himself.
On a side note, Tara and I were in fact both selected by the model agency during that casting call. Irony at it’s best, if you ask me!