the briefing

I had to report to CLEO’s offices today for an “image consultation” and briefing about the “bachelors finale”. I came straight from a meeting in the city, so I arrived in a shirt and tie. A lavender-coloured Hugo Boss shirt and a lavender-striped tie by Michael Kors. I looked damn good if I do say so myself.

About half the guys were there, in the full range of attire. Everything from low-rider jeans and baggy cotton t-shirts to slick club clothes. Boys mostly, struggling mightily to grow small soul patches or sideburns. Call me uncle bachelor.

I arrived just short of fashionably late – about 15 minutes or so – which was good timing, as I took the last remaining chair. Five or six guys straggled in after me and had to stand. We sat around in silence, basically trying to avoid making eye-contact with each other. Perhaps we were all embarassed to be there. Perhaps the context – of eligible bachelorhood, of 25 cute guys forced to gather in a room – made us all suddenly homophobic.

After a seemingly endless awkward silence, the editor-in-chief of CLEO began to brief us on what to expect next…

  • An “image consultation” (immediately following the briefing)
  • A fitting
  • Catwalk coaching
  • Publication of the magazine
  • A mall event, to greet our “fans”
  • A rehearsal for the “finale”
  • The finale
  • She was a very put-together asian woman in a perfectly-tailored black dress that was neither too work nor too after work. She wore dark-rimmed, nerd-chic power glasses and the perfect amount of makeup. Exactly what you’d expect from the editor-and-chief of a women’s fashion magazine.

    She surveyed the group and told us we looked “shell-shocked”. She also told us to hit the gym…Immediately. Great.

    The image consultation was done individually. Basically, five women looked me over and told me, “your hair works fine” (which is good, because I don’t have any). They asked me to “walk like you do when you’re just walking down the street” (which is impossible when five women are evaluating how you walk). Apparently I walk fine. I asked one of the women to show me what an unacceptable walk would look like, and she sort of jerked across the room knockkneed like a half-paralytic. They measured my waist and my chest, asked me a couple more questions and sent me on my way.

    Not unlike a sort of surreal medical check-up really.

    I want the souvenir, but I so don’t want to do this. (just three more weeks, just three more weeks).

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