Especially when they force you to giggle in a bikini.
I had an audition for a beer commercial yesterday. I only really showed up on the off-chance they might have been filming it in a palace in Tobago made out of diamonds and filled with innumerable birds of paradise, but it turned out to be the regular kind where a racially diverse group of attractive college kids are partying like they just discovered cocaine. My role was “Hot Bikini Girl At Pool Party”, which I guess beats the role of "Maniacal Lactating Young Mom" I had last week, but is still a little outside my comfort zone. I hate parties and can't help but think of swimming pools as massive troughs full of other people's sweat, piss and spit. I feel uncomfortable in scant clothing and have small boobs and – as everyone knows – small boobs are so boring.
The casting studio was on the second floor of a building above a pet store, and a chalkboard from the 19th century (who the fuck uses a chalkboard any more?) was scrawled with all other auditions that were going on in the building besides mine. I took a seat next to a guy dressed in goth, and worked out that he was auditioning for what must have been the world's worst cellphone commercial. Behind me sat three Malibu Barbies in tiny, tight tank tops. I had given some thought about dressing like an ancient Spring-breaker, but decided that the audition would be adequate humiliation, so I wore my (very sexy) Depeche Mode shirt and jeans instead. After about 30 minutes of staring at my phone to avoid eye contact with anyone else, we were called in.
Inside, I was faced with a panel of four pushing-40 bros, in frat boy collared shirts and designer jeans. “You girls can go ahead and get into your bikinis now,” said Frat Bro #1, who looked like a "Brad" to me. So, as model's law dictates, I immediately stripped down nearly nude in front of a row of smiling perverts. The other girls evaporated out of their little tops to expose their hot bikini bods – I, of course, was the palest and most flat-chested. But it's cool, by now I've realised that I'll always have the insecurities of a 13-year-old girl.
After taking our photos and names, Frat Bro #2 explained the commercial:
“You’re having fun at a party, drinking and laughing, and then all of a sudden you spot a super hot guy!"
Like we didn't see that coming.
"You look at each other and then look to the guy. He comes walking over to you but you’re still not sure which girl he’s looking at. You all try to shove in front of each other to catch his attention. He walks past all of you to the bar, grabs his beer and smiles.”
Just wow. Body issues I can just about deal with, but living out the disgusting, misogynist fantasy of some brainless, bottle-service losers? And all self-respect issues aside (why do I find myself so frequently saying that?), not in a million years would I ever be standing around in a bikini checking out hot guys. Like anyone sane, I stalk them on the internet and then “accidentally” run into them at Starbucks. Because I'm not a freak.
The camera guy gave us the cue to start, and suddenly I couldn't stand silently fuming any more. We grabbed our bottles of beer and started to mingle. The three other girls were frighteningly good at being flirty, chatty and bubbly, automatically deeming me the “weird shy girl” and acting like I didn’t exist. I put on my best fake smile and said “Hey guys, what’s up?” The busty blonde said, “Oh, your bikini is so cute! Where’d you get it?” I stared at her and mumbled “Ummm, ugh, I don’t remember. Fuck.”
Frat Bro #2 (he looked like a "Brad" too, let's face it, they all look like Brads) then told us to stop talking and stare at the hot guy across the pool. We all shut up and put on super sexy faces, like Ryan fucking Gosling had just walked by, when in reality we were each staring at a respective bald patch. One girl then shoved me back (bitch, please) and so we began "fighting" over balding, smirking RyGo. I kept getting shoved back kind of hard, and started to feel very panicky and awkward. My insecurities about my body and acting skills all hit me at once. I hid in the back and wanted nothing to do with this audition any more, and the frat guys didn’t even notice, they were too busy staring at the giant cleavages wobbling around on the super tan girls in front. I stood with my arms awkwardly in front of my chest holding my hands together praying for them to yell “Cut!” Then Frat Bro #1, obviously enjoying his power-trip, brayed: “Okay, now just jump around and have a great time!” Noooo. The girls starting bouncing around and I slid further and further away from them. I was kind of in awe of the others; we all needed the money, and they were fucking great at repressing their inner disgust.
When the audition was over I put my clothes back with a cold, heavy feeling as if I'd been assaulted, avoided eye contact with anyone and manoeuvred myself the fuck out of there. Goth guy was still waiting for his audition, checking his eyeliner using the reverse camera on his iPhone and shielding his face from the rest of the room. 'God,' I thought to myself, 'this fucking sucks.'
Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaStetten
Previously: Fuck Ever Getting Old