So – yeah, no – I’m in Cinnamon in Monkstown, getting all excited about Sixmas, which is only, like, two weeks away now. I’m writing out my storting 15 for the match against Wales into the famous Big Book when I notice a woman staring at me over the top of her Watermelon Shhuga.
I give her a smile and big, leathery wink – nice to be nice – then she stands up and storts walking over to my table. Naturally enough, I’m thinking, shit, am I about to be served legal papers here?
But it turns out to be not that?
She goes, “Hi.”
And I’m there, “Hey.”
She’s like, “Okay, this is going to sound strange, but you’re actually very, very good-looking.”
I’m there, “Am I? I’ve never really thought about it before.”
Which is horseshit. I think about it all the time. Still, it’s nice to hear it from someone other than myself for a change.
I’m there, “I probably should let you know from the outset that I’m, like, technically married.”
I also modelled a pair of seriously small budgie smugglers for my wife’s In There Like Swimwear fashion show in aid of Dorfor
She goes, “Technically married?”
And I’m there, “Well, actually married. Two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have declared it. I suppose it’s a sign that I’m unfortunately maturing.”
She laughs. I can be very funny.
She’s there, “Please don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t hitting on you.”
“Hey,” I go, “there’s no need to be embarrassed. I’m not saying that nothing could happen between us. I’m just laying my cords on the table. Full disclosure and blah, blah, blah.”
She’s there, “Honestly – nothing could be further from my mind than that,” which I think is unnecessarily direct. “No, the reason I came over to you was to ask if you’ve ever done any modelling?”
I’m there, “Modelling?”
“Yeah, have you ever modelled before?”
“Well, I was down to the last two, along with Gordon D’Arcy, for the Magee Menswear job back in quite possibly ‘03. I was told the gig was mine if he knocked it back, which unfortunately he didn’t.”
“I also modelled a pair of seriously small budgie smugglers for my wife’s In There Like Swimwear fashion show in aid of Dorfor in – I want to say – ‘07? The video still does the rounds on social media every now and again.”
“Because you have amazing bone structure.”
“Hey, I can take a compliment.”
“And nice broad shoulders.”
“Yeah, no, keep ‘em coming.”
“Sorry – I should have said – my name is Melanie. I work for a modelling agency called Berrent and Brown. Would you be interested in doing some modelling – as a career, I mean?”
“Whoa! Am I not a bit, I don’t know, old for that kind of shit?”
“What are you – 31, 32?”
I think I’m falling in love with this woman.
I’m there, “No, I’m, like, 43.”
“Well, you don’t look it,” she goes. “Anyway, we represent models of all ages.”
“So, like, what would I be modelling? As in, what pacifically?”
“Anything from clothes to soft drinks to ride-on lawnmowers.”
“Would I have to take my top off for any of these jobs? Because I’m letting you know now that it wouldn’t be an issue for me. I’m in incredible shape. I could show you right now but they have a bit of policy about that kind of thing in here. I was warned last summer.”
Again, she laughs. She thinks I’m joking.
“Okay,” she goes, “the first thing we need to do is get you into a studio to get a portfolio done for you.”
I’m there, “A portfolio? In terms of?”
I arrive home and Honor is the first one to notice that there’s something different about the Rossmeister
“Just various shots of you,” she goes. “These will essentially be your calling cords.”
I’m like, “Yeah, no, cool.”
“Now, there is a chorge,” she goes, “for the photos.”
I’m there, “How much?”
“It’s €2,000,” she goes. “But trust me, they will pay for themselves after your first two or three jobs.”
I’m there, “Yeah, no, sounds like a no-brainer.”
So she gives me her cord, then we make an appointment for the following week at a studio in Ranelagh and off the woman focks.
I drive home in, like, a happy daze. Every time I stop at a red light, I adjust the rear-view mirror to get a good look at my face. She’s right. I do have great bone structure – yet another thing that I don’t give myself enough credit for.
I arrive home and Honor is the first one to notice that there’s something different about the Rossmeister.
“The fock are you smiling about?” she goes, because – yeah, no – she doesn’t like people smiling for no reason. And she doesn’t like people smiling for a reason. Let’s be honest, she doesn’t like people smiling at all.
I’m there, “If you must know, I’ve been asked to do a bit of – believe it or not – modelling.”
She bursts out laughing – as does Sorcha, who ends up dropping a pot of jam she laughs so hord.
I’m there, “What’s so funny about the idea of me being a model?”
“Er, you’re not exactly good-looking,” Honor goes.
I’m there, “Well, Melanie something-or-other from Berrent and Brown thinks I am. She couldn’t keep her eyes off me in Cinnamon in Monkstown.”
“Berrent and Brown?” Sorcha goes.
I’m there, “Yeah, no, they’re, like, a modelling agency.”
She goes, “I think they’re the same crowd that approached Amie with an ie.”
I’m like, “Amie with an ie? I’d hordly say she’s model material.”
“This is how they operate,” Sorcha goes. “Did she ask you for €2,000?”
You’re just jealous – because I’m going to be a model. I’m going to show you
I’m there, “Yeah, no, that’s just for my portfolio. She said that once the work storts rolling in, it’ll pay for itself after, like, two or three jobs.”
“Dad,” Honor goes, “it’s a focking scam. You pay two grand for a few head shots and then they tell you that they haven’t had any work offers for you.”
I’m there, “No, the woman seemed genuine enough to me – she mentioned my shoulders and my bone structure.”
The two of them laugh and I end up suddenly losing it. I’m there, “Why do you always have to piss on my parade?”
That wipes the smile off their faces.
Sorcha goes, “It’s just I don’t want to see you disappointed – like the time Gordon D’Arcy wiped your eye for the Magee Menswear job.”
I’m there, “You’re just jealous – because I’m going to be a model. I’m going to show you. I’m going to show both of you.”
And as I’m leaving the room, Honor goes, “A model? A model focking sucker.”