My mate and I had every reason not to like Mitchell, and we were adamant not to let the fact we never met him stand in our way. He had three strikes against him. First of all, he was dating Chelsea, who might be the sweetest, most kindest gal in the world (my mate excluded). Secondly, he was a male model, and worst of all, he was a male model.
Chelsea was on the rebound, having kicked her last boyfriend to the curb because he was a jerk. Before the last boyfriend there were a few others who weren’t jerks, but were boring, conceited and one played the pan flute. (I’m not kidding.)
Her last boyfriend wore leather pants and pronounced his first name, Steven, with the French pronunciation of “Stefan.” (He was born in Nebraska and the closest he came to being French was eating fries.)
LIKE A SISTER
Chelsea is like the little sister I never had. We met while we both were working on a very forgettable anti-drug video shot by a production house in Denver. She was barely in high school and played a young girl tempted by a low-life loser who tried to rob her of her health, future and innocence. (That would be me — the director said I didn’t need to rehearse).
Since those days, Chelsea has gone on to a fledgling yet fairly successful career acting in TV commercials. She moved to New York City a few years ago. She has had a series of short relationships with men, the most recent being Mitchell.
Her parents have a home in the mountains and Chelsea and her new guy were in town for Thanksgiving. She called and invited me over for coffee and to meet her new dude; she also asked if I could bring over some warm ski clothing for him so they could go snow-shoeing.
Along with question about what size pants he wore and whether he suffered incontinence, I inquired of his background and occupation. Chelsea willingly told me he wore 32-inch-by-32-inch pants, but balked on what he did for a living. “I don’t want you prejudging him.” she said.
I was indignant, “You know me better than that. If you like him, I’ll like him. What does he do?”
“He’s a male model,” she said.
True to my word, all I said in response was “Gross.”
Before we hung up, I bullied Chelsea into giving me her man’s name and a website where I might check out his work. It took only one look for me to decide I didn’t like Mitchell. He had chiseled features, hollow check bones pouty lips, with piercing green eyes and a face framed by thick sandy hair. If that wasn’t reason enough to not like him, one photo featured him shirtless; he had abs you could light a match on.
“Take a look at Chelsea’s new dude,” I said as I shoved my iPad in front of my mate. Without prompting or having heard the prior conversation, she responded, “Gross.”
MEETING THE BOY TOY
The day before Thanksgiving, I headed over with a bag of warm clothing and a chip on my shoulder. I picked out my most worn pair of ski pants and an old ratty sweater and jacket. For some reason, I took delight that this handsome guy would be wearing ugly clothing.
I knocked once on the door and walked in. Sitting in front of the fire was Chelsea’s boy toy. He bounded off the couch, practically ran to me and said, “You must be Jeffrey, I’ve heard a lot about you.” He shook my hand and said, “Chelsea has shown me some of your columns; I really liked them.”
And then, with a mischievous smile, he added, “We also watched a little of your drug video; good work. It kept me sober for a week.”
Chelsea came into the room with wet hair; she had obviously just come out of the shower. She made coffee while Mitchell and I sat by the fire.
Benefit of the doubt
Turns out, he grew up in the northeast, not that far from me. He moved to New York to go to a school of fire science with a dream of getting on the New York City fire department. Before that could happen, he was “discovered” by a well-known photographer and began modeling.
I couldn’t take my eyes off him; he was disgustingly attractive, but also engaging and likable. I told him I went online and saw some of his work in a major fashion magazine. He said, “Damn, that’s embarrassing. All that is done with lighting and makeup; you can see I don’t really look like that. You must have hated me at first sight.”
I corrected him by saying, “I’ve learned long ago not to pre-judge based on looks, wealth or occupation. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.”
Mitchell had a visible expression of relief and said, “Chelsea told me you were a cool guy, but still, you know how people can sometimes make assumptions based on looks. I’m happy you are not one of them.”
Mitchell was friendly and modest. By accepting my assertion that I am unbiased and equitable, he gave me the benefit of the doubt that I denied him. Suffice to say, he was both good looking and gullible.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I picked out my most worn pair of ski pants and an old ratty sweater and jacket. For some reason, I took delight that this handsome guy would be wearing ugly clothing.