Friday, March 21, 2008

Arthur/Penny: You have GOT to be kidding me.

I try not to be a total hypocrite about objectifying women. I have, after all, done my share of it in the past; I was, after all, a man. So when I meet a guy and he has a conversation with my chest, I tend to let it go. It is a bit uncomfortable for me, but getting upset about it tends to be counterproductive - not only are you focusing his attention on your breasts even more than it already was, but he's now less at-ease (which can be useful) and sometimes comes away from it thinking of you as a bitch (which is seldom useful). I've learned some tricks about it over the past year (it wasn't a big deal when living Liz's life, because she's a bit flat-chested and I was often standing next to Lyn and her eye-magnets). If you're sitting, stand, or vice versa; it changes the guy's eyeline and most men will realize that they've been impolite and make an effort afterward. Keep a scarf of wrap in your purse or desk draw for days when it's bugging you. That sort of thing.

Similarly, I don't act snippy when some girl is using what she got to her best advantage; I've enjoyed the benefits of that far too much in the past and, to be frank, still do, a little. Twenty-five-plus years of being trained to appreciate the female form doesn't just go away because something else is now supposed to excite you on a chemical level. I may have a little more insight on what a girl is going to get male attention, but I haven't found that makes me appreciate it less.

This is a roundabout way of trying to get you to believe me when I write that I did not resent the idea of spending the week filming bits about the "Spy Girls", the Stealth's dance team, to use as a feature story on the pregame segment of Saturday's game and during the recap programs, along with inserts during the game coverage.

It's been an interesting week. George was technically the producer, and he was good at making sure all the technical stuff was in place, but he gave me a pretty free hand with the interviews, arranged to do some new pick-up stuff based on what the girls said, and I'll be spending a good chunk of tomorrow with him in the editing room. It's a lot like writing a commissioned article, just with a lot of extra steps and different media; it came pretty naturally.

I liked the girls, too; I found out that many of them see this as a stepping-stone to a job with the Raiders or 49ers, or looking for modeling or television work. Some of them are just doing it part-time, because it's something the enjoyed in high school or because their nine to fives make them feel drab or uninteresting. I wound up giving a lot of Drew/Rick's business cards out to the first group, and I sympathized somewhat with the latter; I know what it's like to want something different from the life you're leading.

I was surprised by the intensity of some of them, though. Most of the cheerleaders I knew in high school were pretty cool people, but as Annabeth (not her real name) pointed out, there was likely at least one queen bitch among the cheerleaders I knew, and those were the ones that had ambitions to ride their looks, by and large, so there could be a lot of backbiting going on when I wasn't looking. It's like anything else - you may have been the best at something in school, but then you get fed into a situation where you're not just competing with the lesser lights who happened to live in the same town, but a whole ton of people who were the best around where they were.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, the closest thing to actual journalism I've done while at CalSports, and sort of makes up for not getting chosen for the Tokyo trip.

Until this morning, when George tells me that one of the other producers had the idea that, since we were doing a theme of highlighting the dance squad this week, wouldn't it be neat if I wore the dance squad's outfit tomorrow? Sure, the camera doesn't point inside the booth that often, but it might be fun during pre and post!

I was not amused, to say the least. It is one thing to not mind when someone is checking you out, or understand the impulse, but asking me to do that is something else altogether. This felt like something I could actually be proud of, and they want me to make my body the focus of it? Not cool.

Still... George and "Rick" (Drew doesn't use his own name much these days) both say it would be good for me to be play up my attractiveness a little, demonstrate I'm a little more willing to use it. So I'll probably dress in the stupid cheerleader costume tomorrow night.

I've got no idea what Nell's father is going to think of this. At least my mother isn't around to see it.


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