So I'm digging back to my days of watching "America's Next Top Model". No, I am not looking in front of a mirror and practicing smizing. And I am not silently sizing up my dates and thinking, "Congratulations. You are still in the running..." Instead, I am likening my dates to that episode in each season of ANTM when the models go on go-sees.
That's what these dates are. I go. I practice my strut into the café. (Really, the only thing I’m thinking is, Don’t slouch. The thought comes in my mother’s voice, not Miss J’s.) I share some of my portfolio. This is me, all happy in the job that I do. And this is me, even happier that I left Texas while my family stayed behind. And here I am, readjusting to beautiful but hard-to-connect Vancouver. I do my best to stay focused, even if lose the link between his monologue about someone named Luke’s flooded basement and the guy across the table from me losing a camera while getting in a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice. Water! The link is water! (Though I still don’t understand why either monologue needed to be shared. Sometimes I can work through the small stuff; the bigger questions continue to confound.) I correct the frown I’m certain overtook my face. I’m rather certain I’m smiling. I second-guess myself about not practicing that smizing thing. (It’s too aggressive, I remind myself. Stick to the plan: cool and carefree.)
He stands and I realize he must’ve said something about leaving. So I stand, too. We exchange perfectly civil nice-to-meet-yous and then we’re on the sidewalk. He goes one way, I go the other, even if it means a more roundabout route home. Never prolong the dismissal. As I walk home, I’m thinking, “You are no longer in the running. You must immediately pack your bags and leave." This time it’s in Tyra’s voice. I’m just glad there are no cameras to capture the aftermath. I have no reality show rejection tears to shed, but I’m sure the camera would add ten pounds and ten years to my look.
I keep busy the rest of the day, only checking my phone and my emails a few times—a dozen at most—to see if I get a call back. Chances are slim. But it’s okay. There will be another go-see.
Maybe next time I’ll try to smize. Seems I’ve got to do something differently.