Calendar Girl (May) Chapter 5:
At the start of this chapter I realized that we’re almost halfway done with this instalment of Calendar Girl and we haven’t seen Mia doing any actual work in Hawaii. Not to fear, we finally get to experience Mia’s modelling career that she is launching as an escort.
After spending the night with Tai, Mia heads to the beach house where the “Beauty Comes in All Sizes” Campaign is being shot. Mia is greeted by the stylist who gets like a page worth of description dedicated to him so maybe he’ll become one of Mia’s very close friends who she keeps in touch with forever who was in one scene:
“Thank God you’re here. Mia, right?” he said and gestured with a wave to follow him in. I took in his appearance.
He wore all black, and his skinny jeans looked glued to stick-like legs. A black T-shirt that was tucked haphazardly into his pants revealed that his waist was the size of my thigh. I followed him at a fast clip, my flip-flops flapping loudly along the tile floors.
I really thought that this focus on how skinny the guy is was going to make Mia feel self-conscious because why else would we, very specifically, need to know his waist is the size of her thigh?
“I am Raul, your stylist, makeup artist, and hairdresser all in one. I am everything and a bag of Cheetos.” He winked.
I scaled his thin gothic look and thought he could use a bag or twenty of Cheetos right about now. The only color on his body was his light-brown skin and purple hair. It was shaved on the sides and smoothed into a pompadour style. With the length of the hair that fell over the back, it made me wonder if he spiked it up into a Mohawk.
This “Beauty Comes in All Sizes!” Campaign is so great and inclusive, but this dude IS TOO SKINNY. I wonder if at the very end of the story, one of Mia’s accomplishments in May will have been that she got Raul to eat a Cheeto.
My theory is pretty solid because Mia is already trying to meddle in his love life:
Raul called a few orders out to other people standing around until one googly-eyed, super tall, incredibly skinny woman brought over a bathing suit, handing it to Raul. He looked her up and down slowly, licked his lips, and thanked the girl. She preened for him and turned to help another stylist.
“Your girlfriend?” I asked as he made finishing touches to my hair.
“Not yet,” he said confidentially. “Working on that. She’s shy. Don’t want to scare her off, but we’re going out this weekend.”
“Good for you!”
I would not have guessed from that very brief interaction that they were boyfriend and girlfriend. If anything I would have maybe suspected workplace harassment, but I guess since the woman preened for him -whatever that means in this context – it seemed like it was a mutual flirtation at most.
Mia is wowed by her hair and makeup, and then she goes to get ready with the other models. I don’t know if this was silly of me, but I didn’t know there would be more female models. Are they all escorts? Is Mia getting paid exponentially more than these other, likely more experienced, women because the only way Angel could book her was if he paid her $100,000 fee?
A curvaceous black woman approached me. She had on a complex white suit that crisscrossed at the breasts into larger swaths of fabric that covered her stomach and then nipped at the hip where the design went into a boy short. On her shape, and with her espresso-colored skin against the white, it worked, and she was definitely comfortable with her curves. “Hey, girl. I’m MiChelle,” she said, pronouncing it as “Me-Shell” and holding out her hand.
I think I’m going to start describing the skin tone of my white characters in terms of food as well. I’ve been giving this some deep though, and I think it will really bring the characters to life if I use phrases like, “cheddar cheese-colored” or “vanilla milkshake-colored” then you will all be like, “Woah, I can truly imagine the varying and delicious ways in which their whiteness varies.”
As MiChelle introduces us to the other models, Mia reports all of their sizes to us and tells us how sexy everyone is. I actually really appreciate how celebratory this scene is of women’s bodies. Since we’re not about body-shaming in this book, let’s make sure we slut-shame a little so we don’t seem too cool:
“Misty and Marcia, our twin babies. We all watch out for them. Keep them out of trouble… Don’t need them turning into some island hoochies. Right, girls?”
Mia and MiChelle get prepped, and then it’s time for them to start shooting:
Angel was an amazing photographer and human being. Working with him and MiChelle on the first shoot was the highlight of my day. This ad was going to be labeled “Yin and Yang,” based on the opposite colors of our skin tone, and he positioned us into lying head to toe, curving our bodies into a crescent shape.
At no point does it become clear how any of this makes Angel an amazing human being.
At one point, he had us holding one another’s hand and ankle, stretched out into a complicated design, but the end result was philosophical and thought provoking.
At no point does it become clear how any of this is philosophical and thought provoking.
Mia models for a couple more days, but Tai isn’t there for any of this. I don’t understand yet where he fits into this campaign and if he’s the only male model involved, but it seems like it was all a ploy so Mia would have someone to hook up with.
Speaking of Tai, he and Mia meet up to explore the island some more. There are lots of history lessons to be had and symbolic beer to be drunk:
Tai drank a beer labeled the Big Wave, a golden ale, and I stuck with the fruiter option of the Castaway. Somehow, the names of both beers seemed to fit our lives. I felt like a castaway, just floating through this year of my life, bopping from place to place, while Tai was always in search of the “big wave.” The part of his life that would make him feel complete. Secretly, I figured that would happen when he chose a mate and settled down, but I was rather content to enjoy being his number one for the month.
Castaway I get, but the Big Wave seems like quite a stretch. At first, I thought Mia meant that Tai was literally looking for a big wave since he’s a surfer, and that would have made a lot more sense. We know as much about Tai as Mia, and I would not have guessed that he was searching for “part of his life that would make him feel complete.” I mean, that’s essentially the human experience, but then it’s not all that significant that he’s drinking a beer with that name.
Then they go to a “non-practising Buddhist temple” and make some poor tourists take pictures of them while they make out.
After the history lesson, we both lit a small sprig of incense and set it in front of the statue.
“Now say a prayer, or a wish, or send out love and light to whomever you think needs it.”
So Mia says a prayer for all her loved ones.
I’ve realized that this whole chapter was essentially just Eat Pray Love all smushed into one since Mia makes a big point of eating pizza with her fellow models, praying at a Buddhist shrine, and sending her love out to her friends and family. What an adventure!