Speaking of people’s lack of empathy, I’ve been feeling pissed off lately about chairs.
A bunch of the places where I pose have a chair for seated poses that is wobbly and on the brink of falling apart. And it’s like…it would be embarrassing enough to have a chair collapse under me while I was clothed, but dude. Dude. I AM NAKED HERE. If the chair collapses I’m gonna end up all sprawled out with my asshole in the air, and I’m way more likely to get my skin scraped/bashed on the way down because it’s not protected by anything. You’d think that would all be pretty obvious and that people would invest in decent chairs, but apparently not.
A surprising number of venues don’t think about a chair’s comfort level, either. Often they’ll have a hard, backless wooden stool and no cushions of any kind. One such venue has a 40 minute pose at the end of each gig. Do you have any idea how badly my ass-bones grind into the stool or model stand after 40 fucking minutes?
So I bought one of those folding “dish chairs” and a lightweight beanbag chair and I schlep one or the other of them to gigs myself – not to every gig, but at least to the rougher ones. And the instructors are always feign interest in these chairs but never take the hint and buy one themselves. You guys, the chairs I got cost $40 each. That is not a huge investment, and in fact I think people running art classes should be required to have comfy things to sit on, what with the entire point of the art classes being that a person will be sitting in one place for a long time. I swear it’s only a matter of time before someone offers me, like, a pile of Lego or a big metal spike to pose on.
Oh, and a few places have shaky/unstable model stands, too. One place in particular has a stand that wobbles and the edges of it extend past the legs, meaning if I were to get too close to the edge my weight would tip the whole thing over. The first time I posed there and saw this, I asked if I could please just pose on the plain ol’ floor instead. The instructor just kind of glossed over this like he assumed I was kidding. Which, again, empathy: you’re asking me to do strenuous poses while naked in a room full of people and on top of all that you’re gonna make me do it on an unstable surface? What the actual fuck?!? How does someone who’s seen what I do for a living not immediately comprehend how scary and outright dangerous it is to put me on a tippy surface?
I can’t afford to turn down any of these places because I need the money. And I don’t feel like I can hardcore yell at the people for being stupid because…I need the money. But it’s such bullshit. It’s bullshit that I’ve spent two hours’ pay on a beanbag chair, and go to the hassle of bringing it on the bus with me, when the venue could have bought one that just stays there and makes the lives of dozens of models easier and more comfortable. It’s bullshit that when I’m doing short poses – making sure that I’m dynamic and emotive and make interesting negative shapes and face different directions and occupy different levels – that I have to devote a bunch of my attention to not upending the model stand, too. And it’s bullshit that most places only pay their models twenty bucks per hour. It seemed like a lot at first, back before I realized that the job will probably ultimately cause me injury and chronic pain. Back before I realized how exhausting it is to be looked at for long periods of time, and to get no reprieve because most places don’t have anywhere I can retreat to during breaks. Back before I knew just how difficult it is to hold still for 10, 20, 45 minutes without anything to occupy me but my own brain. Now twenty bucks per hour doesn’t seem like nearly enough.
And I think this lack of empathy boils down to people assuming that I must be some whole different species of human being. Like being able to do a series of carefully calculated poses while nude without feeling weird about it means I’d feel totally fine about falling on my ass while nude, too. Like I must be able to sit still for so long at a time because I’m comfortable on their shitty wobbly wooden stool and not because I’m using pure self-discipline to power through the pain.
Yeah…I’m in sort of a bitter mood today.