They invited me to a photo shoot.
Seven-hundred-fifty employees here – mostly young, wholly beautiful – and they invited the Gen Xer in dire need of a haircut. They’re for a campaign for our wonderful company. I took my place at the end of the couch, blending in with the Beautiful Six.
Blending in like an armadillo in a fox parade.
I folded my arms, fussed with my hair. I worried about my graying mop. Did I trim my nose hair? This can’t end well. Under bright lights, I told a joke when photographers asked us to “look natural.”
“So, a Roman walks into a bar,” I offer from left field. “He holds up two fingers and says, ‘five beers please.'”
The handsome boy in the middle laughed. So too did the French girl with smiling eyes, next to him, the one in glasses with olive skin, and the girl with the piercings, tattoos and sparkling smile. I looked away, equal parts embarrassed and delighted.
I feel all Mario Lopez or at least Albie Lopez, and I begin to strut. Then I pass a mirror, and think, ‘oh man.’
That’s when Austin, my former boss who held a camera, said, “this is going to be your next profile pic, Eli.”
I hate pictures of myself. You know the friend you have who always feels they look worse than they do? I’m the opposite. I feel all Mario Lopez or at least Albie Lopez, and I begin to strut. Then I pass a mirror, and think, ‘oh man.’
It didn’t take long for Austin to send me this pic on Slack. I … liked it. It revealed my gray and my softened lines and a pair of glasses my girls HATE, but a pretty girl in the parking deck said she loved, and also the most popular boy at work did, too.
“I’m so attracted to you in those,” he said once. He’s totally hetero, so points, right?
Anyway, I’ve finally finished the June Photo Challenge, and July’s just a week longer. That’s me, all right. June and July run together and I get them both mixed up with January, which makes no sense.
Today, I’m happy for June, with it’s struggles and triumphs, for the July it occupied space in, and hell, August, too. So many adventures lie ahead. And this is me. Not the slightly more chiseled me of past photos, but me, today.
Unkempt, older, and optimistic. In glasses loved and hated, in a shirt Grace picked for me to boost my fashion.