There is was, standing in front of the class completely naked. We are not talking just in your underwear trying to hide the Carebears behind a text book; we are talking the full Monty. I’m frozen in place, terrified to move. A trail of sweat is rolling from both armpits all the way down my sides. I’m pretty sure a bead just dripped off my butt cheek. It could’ve been a draft, or a fly, or a shiver from the fact it’s totally freezing. Right then my high school art teacher decides to point at what I’m sure is my sweaty butt and comments “do you notice the curve here?” now everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE is staring at me. Just great. Naturally the next place my mind goes is to the cheese stick I ate 3 days ago, and the fact I shouldn’t have skipped the gym today (or for the last 5 years as well) Maybe if I had gone tanning my saddle bags would look more like slight hail damage instead of the craters on the moon. Do I still have the big divot in my left cheek from that allergy shot? I silently pray that the guy I’ve had a crush on since my sophomore year is more focused on his work than my imperfections. Because this had to be the night he decided to start attending. Maybe he finds butt sweat sexy. Maybe it adds an artistic sparkle. Maybe I’m going to keep this 15 year streak going and never have a chance with him. Probably that last one.
In case you are wondering, no this isn’t a dream. I volunteered for this. I’m here by choice. I even signed a contract saying the next 2 hours belong to this flock of hippies. It’s a damn good thing I’m a recovering nudist or this would be EXTREMELY awkward! Instead it gets to be only really awkward. Once again I feel totally exposed as the exact same teacher is interrupting my daydreaming about the exact same guy that has aged, oh so nicely. Time to change positions. Thank Fricking God! My foot went to sleep hours ago (or 2 minutes, either is possible)
Shit. Now I’m on the spot again. The reason I keep getting called back is this right here; I have to pose myself. This is sooo much harder than you might think. It has to be interesting, but not impossible to hold still for 5-30 minutes. It has to be totally different, but flow from the last pose. It has to be tasteful, and NOT porn star. You would not believe how many hours I have spent thinking “I hope I’m not aiming my vagina at someone”
And I loved it!!! I loved being an adult model for life drawing! I’m very socially awkward and being the center of attention makes me blush from head to toe. But artists can put the best twist on any negative situation. They see beauty in flaws. They tell me my man shoulders give “nice lines” that the pouch left over from the babies gives “a soft feminine feel” and when they are feeling generous they shave 10 pounds off and put my butt back where is was 16 years ago. Artist are so sweet.
They also have wonderful tastes in music. These are my people! The choices are very eclectic. One night is Weezer and 90’s rock, another is Manu Chao, a folk singer from India, Beatles, and every other crazy thing that most normal people have never heard of. They introduced me to Jalan Crossland. Naturally I would be standing on a table, naked, in a crowded room, in Wyoming, when I first heard “Chicken Trucker”. The hardest part of this job is not singing along to “Bighorn Mountain Blues”
And the conversations! Every night I would leave feeling like a new person. there was no wishing I was a fly on the wall, I was the dragonfly swimming in the Merlot. The conversations would morph through every subject imaginable. Every answer had real thought behind it, not regurgitation of the text they saw on Facebook earlier. Responses were taken as opinions, not as criticism. You ended the night feeling empowered and enlightened, not judged.
As I would wander around the room at the end of the night loosely draped in a sheet (it makes things weird when you accidentally dip your nipple in someones paint, not that I would know from experience…..moving on) I felt like I was floating. It was like I was watching the world from a hundred views. All the artist would lay out their work to compare and not a single 2 looked alike. Each had it’s own unique style. Each was a reflection of the artist placed onto me. Each one was how I was seen through their eyes. And each one made me feel like I had given something back to the world. I had stood on that table with sweat dripping off my bum and had no idea anything this beautiful was being created. Even though my back hurt, my legs were full of pins and needles, sweat had dripped off my forehead (as well) and my limbs were shaking; they had done the hard work. They had made something tangible that could bring feeling out of others. And I had helped.
I recommend every person go model for an art class. I would say 3 times or more, but at least once. It is an eye opening experience that will definitely change a person for the better. At the very least you are doing something to help the arts in your community. You could just volunteer to clean sinks in the mud room but i can promise out won’t have the same enlighting effect. I hope every person can someday understand the warm feeling that has me hooked.
P.s. support local artists!