Over this past weekend, I had to work. I know, weekend/work - does not compute. As much as I didn’t want to spend my long weekend talking shop (in this case shop talk is video games), what added insult to injury was that I had to staff a trade show, but not just your average, run-of-the-mill convention…oh no, no. I had to staff THE ANIME EXPO. If there is one place where all, and I do mean ALL nerds gather for a weekend of debauchery and cosplay (for those not in the know, cosplay is a compound word formed from costume and play, i.e. people dressed up in Anime inspired costumes, playacting as if they live in these cartoon worlds), this is the place.
Regardless of the thousands of people in costume and the many many men dressed as lady cartoons, I was there to help out my client and staff press interviews, the whole shebang. So, in addition to getting the furniture and the A/V for the booth set up, I was instructed by my client to get a couple of models, aka, booth babes for the show, to entice the fanboys. These models were to be Asian and under 5’4”. Odd request, I thought, but whatever, I’ll do as I’m told.
The Expo starts, the models show up, everything’s going well. My two male clients seem exceptionally pleased with the models…one model in particular. On day one my client comes over to me, puts his arm around me and says:
client: “Uhh, I just wanted to thank you A LOT for hiring these models.”
me: “Oh, great! I’m so glad you like them, they’re doing a good job, right?!”
client: “Yea, yea…GREAT job.”
After feeling sufficiently satisfied with my model selection and planning skills, I move on and the rest of the show goes by without a hitch. On the last day, my client invites me and the entire crew to dinner. A dinner that will from now on live in infamy. As my client’s boss excuses himself because he has to leave a bit early, my client leans in, and this the dialogue we exchange:
client: “So uh, you know that you hired a porn star as one of our models, right?”
me: “WHAT?! NO?! PORN STAR?! WHAT?! NO!!”
client: “Yea, her porn name is ‘blah blah’”
me: “No way, not even!! Hold on, let me look this up (30 second iPhone search reveals blah blah is in fact a hardcore porn star). OMG, I’m so sorry, I had NO IDEA.”
client: “No no, don’t worry about it! She did a great job…was very enthusiastic about the game, got the message out there and definitely attracted people to the booth.”
me: “Well, okay, that’s good to hear. So, how did you find out?!?! Did she tell you? Did it come up in conversation?!”
client: … -_-
me: “Oh. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You recognized her…”
client: “Yea. Yea, yea… I did.”
me: “Well, why did you wait until now to tell me?!”
client: “Uh… you know on the first day, when I put my arm around your shoulder and thanked you for hiring the models…’
me: “Uh, yea, but you didn’t specify why you were so thankful!”
client: “Well yea, my boss didn’t want me to tell you for some reason.”
me: “Your boss also knew?! From the start?!”
client: “Yea, he also recognized her, we gave each other a silent nod.”
Here’s the thing: Did I really ever want to know that my client and his boss (both married men, by the by) recognize Asian porn stars on sight? No, not really. But I will say that in an odd way, I feel like we really connected in a non-work related, human way. Because really, after you’ve discussed porn at length there’s nothing left to feel uncomfortable about.
P.S. I got a gift basket at work today from the modeling agency. “Thank you for thinking of us a giving our talent this great opportunity…” Talent indeed.