I’m standing naked in front of thirty some women. About sixty to seventy eyes fixated on me,
watching my every movement. I shift my weight from my left foot to my right foot.
“Eighty and twenty,” I tell me self, shifting back and forth, thinking I’ll have to leap down off this rostrum
and start fighting my way out. I wouldn’t need to worry about the older or more corpulent ones. I could
walk past them as if they were zombies. It’s the younger ones. They would present a challenge. Full of
vigor, hope, and (many of them) alcohol.
Fists wouldn’t do. No. Maybe I catch a few at the onset, but they’ll swarm. And at that point I need to
keep my wits about me and understand that elbows and knees are the only chance. This won’t be
pretty. It’s going to be sloppy, tiring, and I’m going to take my shots in return. But I’ll get through it as
long as I keep going. And keep and eye out on the hands for bottles, pencils, or pocket knives. I’m
getting some crazy eyes from some of these girls.
Hit and move. Smash a nose here, knee to the pelvis there, but keep working towards the door. It’s
winter outside, so I’ll have to find clothes fast. Ideally, I grab a coat from the rack right by the front
There’s only so much time before someone makes a move, might as well be me. We’re all just staring
back and forth at each other. On three.
“So I know this all looks a little complicated, but it really is pretty simple. We’ll start with the head.” A
woman in front says.
“Which one??” asks a young woman.
Laughs. Big laughs. I was wondering how long it would take for that gem to surface. And this time it feels
like a new record.
“A person’s head is very egg-shaped,” the woman in front continues.
“Whew,” I think to myself. There’ll be no donnybrook tonight. In fact, there never was a chance, I knew.
Because it’s LAYDIESSSSS NIGHT AT THE PAINTERY!!!!
And I am the male model for the evening.
On regular nights or private parties, I am just me. Nick. Naked and standing. Nothing special. But Ladies’
Night is a different beast. There’s a theme to it. And tonight, it is Sailor Stud night! Witness the
transformation as I change from normal man to Sailor Stud with the addition of a tiny sailor hat made
from computer paper because someone was too lazy to purchase one from a costume store.
But so as not to be just mistaken as Man with Paper Hat, I have also been given a little Popeye scarf and
anchor drawn on my bicep. Truly, I am Sailor Stud – and not the first image conjured in your head by the
words “Gay Sailor.”
Though, Gay Sailor is a more accurate description of me in regards to these women, anyways. If any of
them are entertaining any sexual thoughts right now, they’re pointless. Not because I don’t find them
attractive. There are a lot of attractive women tonight, actually. But I am Gay Sailor to them because I
am foolishly loyal to a relationship that is based on toxicity and lack of trust right now. Because I am an
idiot and I see things through to the fiery end.
“With your pencil, create a triangle shape for the torso with the point down near the uh…”
Laughs. Even bigger laughs. Wine glasses smashed together in raucous approval.
The instructor is a nice woman. I think she is Polish or Lithuanian in descent, but probably speaks English
better than I do. I wonder what her life is like. Does she love doing this or is it painful for her? She clearly
is a talented artist, light with the hand on the canvass, so I imagine she wanted to do so much more than
draw my ass in front of 30 drunken women.
I break my gaze from her and look out at the crowd of women. “I need my next distraction,” I think.
When standing here for a couple hours at a time, I try to lose myself in as much thought as possible,
otherwise that minute hand struggles to move.
My stomach has been bothering lately. Well, always. It is a genetic code in my family that the males
have disagreeable stomachs no matter what we eat. In fact, the only time things become somewhat
stable is when I eat crappy food. I wonder what all these women would do if I just started a slow-
building yell and started shotgunning diarrhea while making prolonged eye contact with each one of
them. Not an intelligible yell, either. I’m thinking something like the panicked yell from Bloodsport after
Jean Claude Van Damme gets powdered in the eyes. And then as I am finishing, I let out the secondary
whimper that follows in that scene.
I should really do it. It’d make a fantastic story. But I won’t. I can’t tarnish the reputation of Sailor Stud. I
have to keep his exploits in canon. I can’t be like the guy who was The Lifeguard at the last Ladies’ Night.
Apparently, he backstage before the event and was self-fluffing – you know, cooking the books, juicin’
the ham…masturbating – to make himself look bigger when he disrobed in front of the ladies. But like
Icarus flying too close to the sun, the poor bastard crossed the point of no return and achieved. As he
was modeling, the girls noticed he was still dripping and the bride-to-be of the private party started
I had such a great storyline for The Lifeguard. Arch nemesis to Sailor Stud, he was going to be a negligent
lifeguard who only got the job because his father was mayor and well-connected. Over the course of 2
years, I was planning to hype up the inevitable confrontation between the two, climaxing in a Kung Fu
battle down at the docks where they both perished when ambushed by the newest character, army man
Major Mussels. But all that’s ruined now that he’s blacklisted.
I didn’t take part in any of that pregame nonsense. Sorry ladies, you get the cards you’re dealt that
night. If L’il Sailor Stud is bashful, who am I to coax him into the sunlight? And if he’s playing fast and
loose, who am I to reel him in?
My thoughts continue to grocery shopping, to the animating work I have to do when I get home, and
other nonsense, and before I know it, my two and a half hours are up and 30 some women have
completed 30 some paintings of me. They range from respectable to what I imagine a 10-year old would
draw on acid.
As is the custom at The Paintery, I take pictures with the women when I am done. I am allowed to either
re-robe or go back and change into my street clothes. I choose the robe this time and answer the
How did you get into this? Aren’t you scared up there? What do you think about while you’re up there?
I know one of the artists and they needed people and they pay well. No, it really doesn’t bother me. I
think about yelling and shitting all over the dais.
And then comes the less common form of a question, from a completely uncommon source.
“May I touch yous?” a 50-something year old Russian lady asks me.
“Yeah, come here and we can take a picture.”
“No…I mean ze chest. Can I touch? And penis?”
“Oh. No. No, I’m sorry but they’re pretty stringent here about touching the models. Especially the chest
“Yes but I vant to touch you.”
“Yeah, I understand but you can’t.”
“But…I vant to.”
Before this Natasha and Costello scene continues further, we are interrupted by another group of girls
that ask for a picture. My would be Russian pimpstress leaves. I take my remaining photos, answer
questions if I have a girlfriend, and then change back into my street clothes.
I hang around for a bit of cleanup and say goodbye to the crew that makes Sailor Stud possible. I head
outside and decide to grab something form 7-11 before biking home. I cut through and alley to get
there. As I reach the halfway point of the dark corridor, I feel I am being watched. I turn around and find
My heart drops. I reach out into the empty air. “Where are you, my Russian pimpstress?”