Photo: Stefan Woronko

I wish I was a little bit taller

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By Jeff Mackie

Growing up I was always one of the smallest kids in my class and I had to endure the taunts of those taller than me. My parents would always tell me there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do because of my height. Well, mom and dad, I’m sorry to say that you’re wrong. There is one thing I’ll never be: A fashion model.

Last week I went undercover for The Eyeopener to find out if I could land a part in a men’s wear show put on by Ryerson fashion students.

“Hi, I’d like to audition for the fashion show,” I blurted out to a student who greeted me at the audition.

“Oh I’m sorry,” she said with the sincerity of a paper weight, “but you’re to short.”

I must have looked suicidal or something because another student wandered out of nowhere and suggested they allow me an audition since I took time to drop by.

First I had to be measured. It took three students and a freakin’ convention to determine if I was 5’7”, not 5’6” and a half, as if meant the difference in me being accepted or rejected.

Next, I stood still as the women measured my chest I was praying she wouldn’t touch my shirt and realize I was soaked in sweat. The procedure may seem routine to the rest of you, but at the time it was comparable to a prostate exam.

Anyway, the fun had just started. The last part of my trip through hell involved strutting my assets down a makeshift runway. I guess now would be a good time to introduce you to my competition.

Bachelor number one was athletically built and an apparently seasoned model, who walked the catwalk like he just put his team up by six points. Bachelor number two was just the opposite. Tall and scrawny, he walked the walk like the ladies on Fashion Television. To each his own, I suppose.

Well, I was bachelor number three and was seriously pondering the possibility of bolting out the back door when my number was called. But no, every man must face his fear. And my fear has always been being laughed at by a room full of women.

Will they laugh or won’t they was the question burning in my mind as I stepped on the runway. There was no music to help me [except for the chorus of “I’m too sexy” dancing through my head). I walked like I’ve always walked, staring the women at the end of the runway in the eye, trying with all my god-given strength not to laugh. I did a turn at the end of the runway and walked back thinking that my nightmare was over. But it wasn’t.

The pooh-bahs of the show wanted to see our pictures. The competition, both of them, pulled out eight by 10s of themselves, taken for the express purpose of making them look like the sexiest human beings ever to grace the earth. My tail was firmly between my legs as I handed over the polaroid of me with my dog. It was the only shot I had of myself without another person in it. Who takes pictures of themselves anyway?

And so ends my first, and hopefully last, experience with the modelling industry. I was just thankful to get out of there without being gawked at. Truthfully though, the organizers were very nice, a little disorganized, but nice. They at least gave a short fella like me the thrill of walking the runway. And it’s that brief thrill that I’ll be trying to live down. Forever.


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