Naked Lunch

Following the clothes-changing debacle, I thought I’d never hear from Marcus again. Instead, I got a text message the next week.

“New script. Call me.”

He must be paying by the letter.

The inevitable message-decoding attempts ensued. Does he just want to share some good news about a project? Does he need actors for a read-through (unpaid, no doubt)? Or could it be that there’s a part for me? More likely he had sent the text to the wrong person. But I had to call him; besides, this could be a chance to overcome the Swiss Miss setback.

We agreed to meet for lunch at The Couch on Dean Street. I hoped it wasn’t a prelude to a casting couch. We caught up on the gossip from the Cannes crowd. Cannes is like summer camp for the film set – only with more money and booze. Marcus said he was almost done editing his documentary. I told him Cheri couldn’t come out in daylight for a few more weeks. It was two drinks before he explained his text.

“We want to make a movie about the Kennedy’s and we need a Marilyn. You’d be perfect.”

Wow, I couldn’t believe it. All of those crappy auditions I’d been on and here, quite possibly, was my big break on a platter. Unless – oh my God – what if I sucked at playing Marilyn? She’s a legend and I’m the girl who couldn’t even get a KFC ad. My mind was racing, but I pushed my doubts aside.

“Sounds fabulous. I’d love to do it.”

“There’s only one thing – “

The catch.

“Lots of nudity. Gratuitous nudity – let’s not pretend to be artsy. That’s not a problem, is it?”

“Umm, well…”

“It would all be shot very respectfully.”

“Uhhh…” I downed the rest of my Bacardi. “Well, you did see that I have some trouble taking off my clothes,” I tried to joke.

Marcus chuckled. “Not a problem. We’d start the shots with you already naked.”

“I’ll think about it,” I said, when what I really meant was I’ll think about how many hours I’d need to spend at the gym and how many expensive lotions and creams I’d need to remedy, improve or at least cover up even my slightest imperfections.

“Good,” he said, and then ordered another round.

“Make mine a double,” I said. Body double, I prayed.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Sometimes the need for glamour at one’s destination exceeds the needs for dignity on the journey there. It’s the Machiavellian principle applied to glamour: the trends justify the means.

I have, on occasion, been known to put my make up on while on the tube (not known exactly, as I wouldn’t do this in the company of anyone I know). Although I have gotten my daily make-up routine down to 4 ½ minutes, sometimes I just cannot get out of bed that one-half of a snooze alarm earlier.

It was much easier – or less of a public spectacle at least – when I used to drive to work. The main reason I refuse to learn how to drive stick is because one hand must be on the wheel, while the other must be free for mobile phone calls, eating breakfast, changing the radio station and, most importantly, make-up application. I once woke up so dreadfully late that I drove to work with a few rollers in the back of my hair. A head scarf only partly concealed this ridiculous vision. Large, dark sunglasses were required to complete the look and avoid recognition at stoplights or in traffic. Do not try this at home.

The other day I had to rush from my temp job to an audition and back again, all over my lunch hour. The only way to do it within a reasonable amount of time was to hop in a taxi and change clothes en route. I needed to go from business casual to Swiss Miss between London Bridge and Baker Street. I expertly did my hair in braids before wriggling a skirt on over my trousers. The trickier bit was doing the shirt change while trying to retain some level of modesty. I’ve done this before: it involves careful timing, skillful gesticulations and some ducking out of view.

Unfortunately, during this delicate process, the taxi driver jerked to a stop to avoid hitting a cyclist. My nimble maneuvering was thrown out of whack and I popped up from the back seat arm in neck hole and head trapped mid shirt – not my most graceful moment. I scrambled around to get the shirt right-side-up and my arms in their respective armholes. I quickly composed myself and looked around, as guilty parties often do, to see if I had been caught.

I had.

In the car next to me Marcus, the director from Cannes, was looking right at me and chuckling. By the next stoplight, I had a text message “Nice one, Lucy.” At least he didn’t have a camera phone.