Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pinks and hoes and money woes

As an eternal student trying to survive in the big city, it is a struggle to stay out of debt. It seems that with each passing year of my degree, it becomes more and more difficult to save money – not only with compounding tuition costs, but with a steady decline in motivation to stay afloat (let alone alive. Ha. Joking. Kind of?). Then, a few weeks ago, I received the following email:

Hi Jane,

My name is Tom, I shoot for several glamor and softcore adult sites online. I have a shoot coming up for in September and your name was suggested through social media. If you're not interested or your not comfortable with adult content then my apologies, but I've quickly checked the pictures submitted and you seem to fit exactly the look I'm going for. 

We shoot in Arizona in mid September, we'd fly you out for 3 days. One day to settle in and pick wardrobe, one day to shoot and one for you to enjoy the area. The fee is negotiable based on what level of interest and experience you have but it ranges from $1000-$7000 for the trip.

Let me know if you have any questions

I look forward to hearing from you.

It took me a few reads to understand what was going on. I scanned each sentence for the words ‘running’ or ‘modeling,’ thinking it had to be associated with something I was known for. After a few minutes, I realized that they were far from interested in my athletic or academic pursuits. ‘Seriously?!’ I thought, ‘Soft core PORN?!’ Personality aside, how on earth would I be suited to it (let’s just say runners don’t usually meet the physical criteria of pornstars, and if they do they probably aren’t very fast)? Furthermore, what kind of ‘fitting’ pictures could have possibly been submitted?!’ I assumed it wasn’t from my photoshoot with Canadian Running Magazine, or my imitations of the Usain Bolt pose. I was bewildered. Then I read the last sentence again: up to $7000. Hmmm. One year’s tuition for 3 days of work? My mind began to wander. In a spell of curiosity, I proceeded to peruse the soft-porn website for myself, contemplating what they might have me do. Initially, I was encouraged by an image of a woman jogging in shorts and a sports bra. ‘I could do that!’ I thought triumphantly. My hopes were soon crushed when I realized that any seemingly innocent photograph led to things far more revealing. I think it was at this moment, in the midst of serious porn researching in my office at work, that I fully understood my need for extra cash. I forwarded the email to my parents:

Mum: “O.M.G.”
Minutes later, my Dad replies: “I don’t know Jane, sounds a bit dubious to me. You had better check this guy out.”

Umm...seriously?! I suppose my Dad is tired of lending me money, and would encourage me to pursue explicit avenues of money-making should my future pimp be a ‘legitimate’ one? WOW. My mum put an end to this possibility with her reply, however, when she emphatically stated: “PIETER! He does S-O-F-T-C-O-R-E-P-O-R-N-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y!!!!!!!!!”

Fortunately I have come to my senses and decided to try and be more frugal. I think I am doing a great job so far. Take yesterday, for example, where I spent $1000 when I meant to spend none. Why? Where to begin!

So 10 days ago my phone broke at a stagette. I have no idea what happened: I picked it up at one point and it was dead. Totally unresponsive. I suppose it just couldn't handle the party, after all, it did get pretty wild.

The next day I took my poor phone to the Bell store in Vancouver. I learned a lesson there. Bell sucks, and so do all manufacturing companies except Apple. They enjoy making things unnecessarily difficult, either because they want more money or are actually just stupid. Anyway, after explaining to them the situation (it could have been the strippers???) they fiddled with the phone, tried plugging it in, took it apart, and after a good twenty minutes decided it would have to be sent off to the manufacturer to determine the nature of the damage. Once they discerned what ailed it, it would either be fixed by them or sent to another company to be replaced. What the eff? Why do things have to be so complicated! Just give me a new phone! (That's why I have finally given into the Apple fad, they just hand you a new phone no questions asked. SMART.) So I'm like 'OK, fine take my phone. Take my only means of communication. Take a piece of me. Take my soul!' I began to get emotional. ‘Would I at least get a replacement phone?’ I wondered. They followed my emotional display with ''We can't give you a temporary phone either because you're going back to Toronto and you can't take our phone out of Vancouver.' Wow, they know how to please a frustrated customer! But they also told me that a temporary phone would cost $50 and require a $350 deposit, so I became disinterested. Instead, I decided I'd revert to the olden times when there were no phones or computers and everything was relayed by fountain pen ink and scrolls. I envisioned myself locked away in my parent's basement, writing letters to my high school friends asking them to join me for dinner at Christmas, at which point they would have received my message and I'd be back in Vancouver. The thought of living in such romantic fashion was exciting and I soon forgot the sorrows caused by my lost phone.

Nine days later I get back to Toronto and my mom starts to freak out, thinking that now that I have no phone in the big city I will die in anonymity. She emails me ten times after my flight is supposed to land to make sure I am still alive. Wanting to save her motherly stress (and the storage in my inbox), I immediately go to the Bell store in Toronto. I brought my old phone that I thought could serve as my temporary phone, but of course the Bell rep says they can't activate the old phone because it doesn't take the same SIM card as my Android. 'Oh and by the way, the store in Vancouver just sent out your phone to the manufacturer today.' TODAY?! Nine days after I dropped it off? What were they doing with it for the last nine days? Imagining how a stripper may have caused water damage?! At this point I was visibly angered. Perhaps the Bell representatives are slightly more insightful in Toronto, as he sensed my frustration and offered to give me a replacement phone free of charge...besides the $350 deposit. How lovely! I accepted the offer, but cringed at the money drawn out of my already dwindling bank account. My anxieties were relieved by a sudden rush of bells and rings from my new phone: I had life and communication back in my hands! Hallelujah! And with that, my spirits were lifted and I left the store in a celebratory mood.

Of course at this point I am in the mall. And I cross by a store called PINK. Yes, it is CALLED PINK. How am I supposed to bypass this store without going in and scavenging every item they sell? It simply cannot be done in Coolis land. So, consumed by powers beyond my control, I stepped into Pinkasia and was pelleted with flashes of hot pink, fuschia, zebra print and pink leopard print. I felt like an epileptic walking into a disco party, it was just too much to handle! Tears filled my eyes, both in anger at the inevitable demise of my bank account and in joy of finding so much Topicoolis-like attire in one room. How could I walk away from this? My mind fought as I scowered each rack and filled my basket with items to try on. 'I'm just TRYING them,' I told myself reassuringly. Rrright. Once in the change room, I quickly discovered that I loved all items I had chosen. Imagine that! A pink leopard print bra, oohhh and a bright blue one too! Zebra print underwear? A pink zebra sports bra (sorry Adidas, you may be fashion-forward, but you aren't quite at the edge!)?! Hot pink tank-tops, shirts, hoodies?! There was nothing I could do. It was over. When I was informed that most items were 2 for $42, there was no going back. They rung me in, and I walked out having spent $150 on bras, underwear, and flimsy pink shirts. This, from a girl who never wears underwear and who does not even need to wear bras. (Did I just admit this to the blogosphere? And to think I wonder how porn sites have heard of me)

Let's party indeed!

Then I go into lab. Almost as soon as I turn my computer on it crashes. Perhaps it felt the strength of my fluorescent pink purchases and it had an epileptic fit. Unfortunately, this computer has crashed before and it was not a good experience - I almost lost all of my data from my entire PhD. If this happened I would contemplate suicide. So I was the next one to start seizing, since I had still not backed up my data on an external hard drive. (Yes, apparently I am also stupid.) So I sprinted madly to Future Shop in street clothes and computer in hand - perhaps the only time that someone could justifiably heckle 'RUN Forrest, RUN!!!' - and clambered up to the help desk in a sweaty hot pink mess. I sternly told them that I needed to backup everything and warned that 'Nothing had better be lost!'...or I'd flash them hot pink underwear and whip them with sinewy bra tops?! I am sure they were quite intimidated, as they cutely told me that I would have to pay $150 for an external hard drive and $270 for them to revamp my computer and back it up for me. I was so overwhelmed with all the sources of stress and anxiety I was dealing with at that one instant that I said 'Eff it! Take my money, give me my PhD!' and was done with it. (I wish I could also say this at my defense. Hmmm.)

So there ya go folks, that's Coolis' lesson on how to spend $920 in a single day in Toronto, without wanting to spend a penny. Quite awesome. I think I am going to check this Tom guy out after all.