Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cougar Hooters

Whenever I see "Energetic! Outgoing go-getter!" in a job description, I take a deep sigh and don't read any further.  I actually am a go-getter at the end of the day, but I don't want to have to act like an overzealous television host in order to get a job.

It's weird looking for work, when you are a person that does many things.  I can shoot, write, edit, produce, direct, box, teach boxing, teach tennis, and take care of dogs.  I am  a Jill of all trades - master of nothing.  My best trait is being able to work with people to come up with creative ideas to achieve what they want and problem solve like a motherfucker.  I think that is a good skill, but I still struggle with how to make money doing it.

My birthday is tomorrow and I am in a serious mid-life crisis.  I have my own business, but my corporate videos, events, instructional and weddings have slowed down to a heart stopping lull.  Most of my contacts are in New York and I haven't lived there in eight years.  I still have clients there, but since I don't see them regularly, maybe they are moving on to other vendors.  I finally finished a film that got worldwide distribution and won some awards, but it will be a while before I see any real money from it.  My other projects that I am trying to get off the ground are dream jobs that will take a while to develop. This "job limbo" is a place I have been in several times before, but it was when I was much younger and was willing to put myself through a lot worse in order to make a buck.

I actually saw an ad on Craig's List that was looking for "attractive women" and I used to explore those options when I was younger.  But now, I live in LA and a lot of people think attractiveness and youth go hand in hand so I could be fucked just by showing up.  Besides, but I am too old to take the bullshit that goes along with those jobs.

Back when I was an actress and in between jobs, I would call the go-go bars and strip clubs and get myself back in the mix.   There were no major commitments besides showing up for your shift.  You made cash right then and there and took it all home with you at the end of the night; stacked the sweaty bills in your drawer and lived off it until it was time to dance again.  I started to write and go on auditions in my downtime.  I wrote a play and even though it got published in "Women Playwrights: The Best Plays of 1998," it only paid $50, so I needed to be a stripper.   However, stripping became soul sucking and I got to the point where I couldn't bring myself to do it anymore.

At one point, I considered selling my eggs for $3000, but I struggled over the idea of it. I would be nervous because I'm not sure I would want a child with my genes in the world without me to handle it.  I feel like I would need to be there in order to explain why the child throws a shit fit when she loses pin the tail on the donkey or why she refuses to use a spoon or fork when eating, choosing instead to put her face in the bowl, lapping food up like a dog.  I cautiously began going through the process and wrote about it in a novel that lives in my drawer.  After finding out I am a carrier for cystic fibrosis, selling my eggs was not an option.

One time, I considered getting spanked for $10,000 by another girl for a rich guy in his hotel room.  I was told that I would be provided with valium and xanax to alleviate the pain.  However, the woman who was setting it up died of a heroine overdose before I ever agreed to do it.  I hope it doesn't sound  awful when I say, I am very grateful for that.

After stripping, I would do liquor promotion jobs.  I would show up at a bar for a liquor company and promote the drink they were featuring to the people in the bar.  It was kind of like stripping, but I got to wear clothes and retain a modicum of dignity.  It was only two hours and would pay $100.  Plus, I got to drink hard alcohol at work. One time, while peddling some rum, I had an ovarian cyst burst and passed out at the bar. I was taken away in an ambulance and the promotion never hired me again.

It was then that I revisited my tennis past.  I played while growing up, was First Team All-State for my high school and played for a division 1 college team.  I remember teaching privates and heading a kid's tennis camp when I was 21.  Even though I hadn't played in years, I started applying.  I called up any and all friends who played tennis so I could shake off the rust and get back into the groove on the courts in Central Park.  Finally, I got hired at a club on the upper Eastside and was able to teach until I started getting serious with video.

When I finally invested in a camera and learned how to shoot, I shot in comedy clubs with a Vietnam Vet/videographer as my mentor, recorded comedian's sets and made their DVDs.  Of course, weddings were profitable, but more stressful than stripping, teaching tennis, or probably getting spanked.  Still, I was cutting my teeth on shooting and editing and learning a skill I would hopefully be able to use later in life.  And I did.  And I do.  I made two award winning feature films and several shorts with the skills that I learned.  I also ran a very profitable company ...until we moved to LA and the jobs started to dwindle.  Still, I trust that the next thing is coming, whether it's another video job, a writing gig or Cougar Hooters.

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there, J.M. Sometimes those with many talents take longer than others to hit a groove, and those grooves don't last forever. But oh, are they ever interesting! You're tough and will last longer than others. Tiny piece of advice: Delia Ephron, writing in the March, 2015 issue of Vanity Fair: "Recently a screenwriter friend told me that the way agents and studio executives know a writer is old—the worst thing you can be called in Hollywood—is that she or he puts two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence."