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Part I.

Part II.

“Okay,” Josh said, “Give me your ‘I want you’ face.”

Immediately, I started laughing – I’ve known Josh for close to ten years, and the very idea of giving him a Come to Aunt Becky face was beyond comical. I’m not even sure I have a sexy face – when I want to have sex, my idea of foreplay is this, “Let’s have sex.” Occasionally, “I want to have sex now.”

Let’s face it, my idea of a “romantic evening” involves a 12-pack of condoms and a bottle of bourbon.

So yeah, back to my “Come Hither,” face.

Eventually I stopped laughing, but I’m not gonna lie – it took awhile. It’s not that Josh isn’t attractive – he is* – but it’s just not like that. Plus, I had both Dawn and The Guy on my Couch, Ben, sitting there, watching me as I tried to twist my neck into positions no porn star should consider.

Every time I grimaced, Josh said, “Turn your neck farther – I don’t care if it doesn’t go that way. DO IT.”

So I did. For thirty minutes I did. While listening to death metal. Because shit, there’s nothing like thrash metal to get you in the mood to get down and dirty.

Bow-chica-wow-wow. Awwww-YEAH.

After the music began chanting about killing someone, I asked him to change the selection to something more porn-y. It’s hard to be all sexy while you’re listening to Motorhead.

It seemed to take hours for him to finish shooting my pictures. Hours I spent wondering:

1) Why I’d chosen to get pantyhose without an easy-access crotchal opening (for PEEING, you pervs)

B) What the German death metal song was ACTUALLY saying – it sounded like they were screaming about bratwurst.

3) How many digits of pi that I could rattle off (3.141536…) before I was told to “make the sexy face” again

i) Why the fuck my dress was giving my arm rug burn.

C) If my arm looked like a hunk of ham.

II) How far I’d go to get a diet Coke – murder? theft? drive-by?

D) Why two – but only two – of my toes were cold.

But mostly, I wondered how I’d gotten myself into this damn mess in the first place. It’s not that I don’t like having my picture taken – to me, it’s as natural as breathing. See, Pranksters, I was born at a time when my father (who maaaaaay be a bit Aspie), grandfather (likewise, Aspie) and brother were into photography. I may be the most well-documented child on the planet. Every family shot was arranged, then rearranged, then rearranged again, by which time those of us in the shot were ready to take the camera and insert it neatly into the photogs rectum.

So photos? Not the end of the world.

Finally, after I’d been contorted into positions that would make a stripper blush, I was done. Immediately I slipped out of my bastardized Beyonce dress and back into my happy pants before sitting my ass on the couch while The Guy On The Couch** got his snaps done.

We all considered keeping me in the outfit just to see if I could get any cash working on the side (the demise of the Craig’s List personals have left me with no extra income), but we realized no one had a pimp stick. So back into my PJ’s I went.

What the fuck were we all doing there? I can hear you, Pranksters, wondering, the wheels in your head turning. Certainly I’m as narcissistic as the next blogger, but rarely would I willingly drive into the Ghetto to further my obsession with myself. Why, I can look into the mirror and have the same results.

So let me take you back a year, Pranksters, where this all began.

Amy, from the site formerly known as Blogger Body Calendar, approached me – she was overwhelmed by the whole project and very sweetly asked if my site, Band Back Together, would be willing to take it over. Of course I agreed – I mean, part of what we do is to break down stigmas through stories of mental illness, rape, trauma, child loss, infertility, and anything else you can imagine. We always take submissions (hint, HINT) so that none of us will ever feel alone in our struggles.

So of course I was willing to help her out. In turn, this year, we’d be doing our own calendar.

Which we are.

For our 2013 Band Back Together Calendar, we are doing, “I Am The Face Of…” Rather than head-shots, each of us is going to shoot a picture inspired by an actual album cover. This is either going to be the most brilliant – or most horrendous – idea ever.

At long last, The Guy On My Couch was done with his shoot. I wondered aloud whether or not the car would still be there when we got back – I mean, we HAD parked in front of an abortion clinic and those are known hot-beds of violence. Apparently, we are not only suburban, but stupid, too.

But there she was, my natty suburban SUV, sitting there, probably with a bomb rigged somewhere (I, apparently, have been watching too much 24) so we’d die when we got in. Alas, it was not to be.

Sorry, Pranksters, you’re not that lucky – I’m still alive and ticking.

I begged Ben to stop at the side of the road, where some guy was selling “Tide” from the back of his pick-up truck. He refused. He also refused to stop for the guy selling cotton candy. I love me some cotton candy.

Back on the highway, we breathed a sigh of relief. We’d made it out alive, even if I DIDN’T get any cotton candy out of the deal. I don’t have any pictures of the photo shoot yet – I’m scared to death to see what they look like – but I’ll let you know when I do.

To stop me from pouting, Ben and Dawn took me out for gloriously suburban cheeseburgers.

Now, I just have to figure out how best to dispose of the fug ass dress. I’m pretty sure Goodwill will ban me for life if I try to drop that shit off.

*Shut the fuck up, Josh. I will never admit that I said that.

**The Guy on my Couch is named Ben (my kids call him Big Ben)(hehe). Ben works with me on Band Back Together and has relocated to Chicago because it’s truly the best city on the planet. As far as I’m concerned “Chicago” should be labeled on a map and the rest of the world should be labeled, “Not Chicago.”

Sorry to leave you hanging, Pranksters, but I knew a 2500 word story would make half of you fall asleep and the other half of you throwing shit at your computer in horror. How! Can! A! Blog! Be! So! Long!

Part I

We arrived at our destination, which had both wrought iron bars on the windows and the door – apparently one is not suitable – and had a five minute debate over who had to knock. In the end, we insisted The Guy On The Couch was the unlucky one. We made him knock – hey, we’re small white chicks; if someone opened up the door high on Special K, I’d rather not be the one directly in his or her punching radius.

Lo and behold, it was, in fact, the right address so we were greeted by my photog, Josh Hawkins, who looked tan and fit, which made ME want to take some Special K and beat him ugly. He lives in Vegas, lucky asshole.

Inside the place was like nothing I’d expected. Where I’d expected to see a couple homeless guys camping out and sleeping off their 40’s from the night before, possibly a couple of hookers looking for blow, I found it was a nice, roomy studio. It even had a working bathroom and fresh paint on the walls. (sidebar: you know you’re on the wrong side of the tracks when you’re happy the place has a bathroom) I was thrilled. I hadn’t yet changed from my Happy Pants into my outfit, and while I’d change in front of all three of them, I’d rather, um, pretend to be modest.

(three vaginal births later, I’m just as apt to take off my pants and “assume the position” as I am to shake your hand. I can possibly do both AT THE SAME TIME, but that is neither here nor there)

I’d caught Josh as he finished up a photo shoot with an old friend of mine, Janet, who once had a blog, but like most of the sane world, disbanded it many years ago. This gave Dawn, The Guy on my Couch and I some time to sit on what turned out to be the world’s most uncomfortable sofa where we chattered on about the Band Back Together 2013 calendar, which we were actually risking life and limb for.

I was nervous as hell.

Every time I panicked a little, I talked myself down: “the stylist would be here soon. The stylist would be here soon.” I hadn’t looked as bad as I did since, oh, the last time I went to Chuck-E-Cheese (read: the day before).

A refresher course on what I happened to look like walking into the place.

Yeah. That. See? Eye Slugs (or some weird thingy you put on your eyes if your eyes are puffy and/or have circles underneath them. I got them as swag one year and they totally burned my eyes (talk about swag promotional materials backfiring)

But I sat there on the couch, pretending to “work” (which involved a lot of Tweeting) as I waited for the stylist. An hour past the time she was supposed to show, Josh finally said, “Um, I can’t get a hold of her. I am not happy.” Then he went on about some other stuff as my brain melted out of my nose.

fuck. Fuck. FUCK.

I hadn’t brought any makeup. My hair was still damp from the shower. I wasn’t even wearing real pants.

Josh pointed me at a room he called the, “You Look Fine, Honey” room. Dawn and I made a beeline for it – it had a mirror, some awful props and, BINGO! A button of makeup. I said a quick prayer to the gods of theatre that Dawn had worked on stage in college as she went to work on my face.

Ten minutes later, I slithered into what is easily the ugliest item of clothing I own, threw on some fishnets, and said, “Oh FUCK. What am I gonna do with my HAIR?”

Oh yes, Pranksters, it even comes with the beret. Talk about winning! P.S. That is not me. P.P.S. Anyone want the outfit?

My hair hates to be forced to curl. My hair is a “I don’t need no stinkin’ curling iron telling ME what to do” independent kinda hair. My hair hates the color pink, any given Sunday, life, liberty and the pursuit of happyness. THIS was why I needed the ever-loving stylist to show up and save the day.

She didn’t.

So while Dawn got to work fixing the hair on The Guy on the Couch, I was left to my own devices. I found a studded masquerade mask, a bottle of red liquid that claimed to take makeup off, and some bizarre three pronged hair curler.

After I decided that it was not, in fact, a dildo, I plugged it in and began to work on my hair.

Rather than actually making me appear both chic, stylist and ready for the camera, I looked like a bastardized version of Beyonce. Or Diana Ross.

Frankly, I preferred the Eye Slug look.

Especially since it meant that there was no way I could leave without being mistaken for a particularly bad hooker. And shit, I didn’t want other hookers assuming I was there to take their bizness away.

The only comfort in all of this is knowing that I have a graphic designer on hand to fix whatever I did wrong (read: all of it)

Thank the Good Lord of Butter.

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right?

But this is me, and we all know I never joke about anything (hey, Juice Boxes ARE for Pussies).

Bright and blurry Saturday morning, well before any civilized person should get up (8:30AM is, like juice boxes, for pussies), my friend Dawn showed up bearing coffee and donuts, looking as The Guy on my Couch and I both did – like we’d been run over several times by a gigantic truck. Or beaten with the ugly stick. [insert some other euphemism that hilariously explains why, in fact, we all looked like we needed a good scrub in the back yard with one of those steel brushes and some bleach]

It was unfortunate, really, the way we looked, since we were going to go get our pictures done. Unfortunate but unsurprising – everyone looks weird on Picture Day. My freshman year in high school, I got appendicitis on the day of picture retakes, and agonizingly, I sat through that photo shoot. In those photos, I look as though a gigantic rubber fist had been inserted into my rectum right before the guy said, “CHEESE.”

But this was for charity, so we tried not to complain too much. I thanked my lucky stars that we have a graphic designer who can (hopefully) make me not look like death in print.

Once happily ensconced in the car, directions in hand, bag full of ridiculous clothes and some (jazz hands) mysterious Christmas lights at my feet, coffee in my gut, I began to relax.

Until, that is, we got off the highway. At that point, I locked the doors and tried desperately not to make eye contact with anyone. It’s better that way.

I *knew* we were going into a rough neighborhood, but it was daytime on a Saturday morning, so I didn’t bother packing my semi-automatic or a shiv. I figured we’d fit right in – three white kids in a nice suburban-looking SUV. Just your average day in the ghetto, right? We could’ve had legitimate bizness there. LIKE GETTING OUR PICTURES DID.

Oh, wait. We DID have legitimate bizness there.

We parked next to an abortion clinic, flanked on both sides by buildings that had clearly been burned out. Windows missing, char-patterns making neat patterns on the brick outside, the occasional boarded up door. Everywhere we turned, there was broken glass. Dawn, who has apparently never been anywhere but the Loop and the suburbs, bothered to ask what was up with all the glass.

“DRINKIN’ 40’S” I hollered, in my obnoxious, ‘I’m-a-drunk-frat-boy’ voice, hoping the people who lived there found it to be as hilarious as I did.

On our way to the studio, we passed by BUT DID NOT PICK UP a random (EMPTY, DAMMIT!) box of burn cream. I’m not sure the two are related…but I’m not sure they aren’t.

We got to the studio, where my friend Josh Hawkins, who happens to be an awesome photographer AND my friend, greeted us. Immediately we realized our mistake: we’d forgotten to bring anything to drink. I turned to Dawn and whispered, “I need a diet Coke.”

She replied, “I think there’s a guy on the corner selling shit inside his trench coat.”

Me: “Think I can get a faux-Lex*?”

Her: “I’m sure.”

I hadn’t actually seen the guy, so I’m pretty sure Dawn was full of the lies. The only place that looked like it might have, at one time, sold items other than crack was a boarded-up (we’re assuming) restaurant (although it could’ve been a massage parlor) with a handmade sign that read, “Munchers.” Had it looked any more inviting, I’d have risked it for a diet Coke. As it was, I wasn’t about to try it. Besides, I had a stylist I was waiting on to make me look, well, better than I had walking in.

Which was going to take some work.

To. Be. Continued.

*Fake Rolex. Get it? FAUXLex?

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