“You’re gonna need a photo you know.” Said Trip. We called him Trip because his first, middle, and last name all began with an “S” and rather than call him “Ssssssssssssssssss” like a snake, we called him Trip.
“Chicks are gonna want to see you.” The work day was over and we were eating dinner. “I read the how to write a profile tips on the website.” Trip was that kind of guy, he actually thought about outcomes, an admirable quality in the infertile wasteland of the firehouse.
“A photo?” I asked.
“Yeah it said women don’t respond to a picture less profile. They wanna know what your smile is like and stuff like that. It adds to the trust factor.”
“They gotta trust you TimO or you’ll never get laid.” Said Hatchet between gulps of green chili.
“I’m not just trying to get laid Hatchet.”
“No? Oh I see, you want to find another double D to sleep with your friends and take half your pension. Well then that changes the game.” Brutal honesty can be found every day in the firehouse.
I was speechless, as they all waited for a clever retort. He had me flatfooted. “So I guess we need a photo.” I said.
“We can pose it right here in the station with the trucks.” Dave was coming out of his shell on this project.
“Yeah, or we could do one like the calendars, bare chested and all oiled up holding my ax.” Added Hatchet.
“Now slow down boys.” Interrupted the lieutenant. “The department has a strict policy on representing the FD logo in published materials. So you can take a picture here but no recognizable images of the department, okay?”
“Yeah no worries boss, very tasteful stuff, that’s what we’ll do.” Trip was on it.
“I see anything before you upload it boys.” Big round of agreement on that point, there was no slowing down or looking back, the boys were on a mission.
“Anyone got a camera?” asked Hatchet. Blank eyes blinked all around the table like Christmas tree lights.
“I got my new phone, it does pretty good.” Chimed in the new kid. Now even the new recruit was getting in on the action, probably a good thing as he was way more tech savvy than the rest of us.
“Phone it is then. Come on TimO, we gotta get this done so we can do more picking. Anyone checked our account to see if we got any hits?” Hatchet was at the sink rinsing his bowl out.
“Yeah I’m looking now.” Came a voice from the office.
The staging of the photo was as good as any Vogue layout I’m sure. We might have been all men, but we were after women and that caused us to elevate the bar.
The new kid was working his phone like Anne Geddes at this point, dropping down to a knee, climbing up on trucks, getting all the angles.
We retreated to the office with our bounty of images and set about making me the most irresistible and desirable firefighter in the world, or at least Colorado.
Because this was a group project I felt real detachment from it. It wasn’t about me it was an undertaking an adventure. To be truthful it was a very welcome distraction and had a distinct positive feeling associated with it for me. I felt good for the first time in quite some time. Not at the prospect of getting laid, but at the notion of being valued by these men, the sense of the brotherhood was profound.
“Okay kid, how do we get it on the site?” Hatchet was now firmly in control.
“Well we can’t upload through the departments system, so I can email it and we can upload it from there.”
“Make it so kid.” Said Hatchet.
After much discussion three appropriate images were selected and the primary image was pretty much just a head shot, no full smile more of wry grin.
“We got some hits.” Announced Dave. I was pushed to the back of the scrum as the others swarmed the computer. From my vantage the woman’s photo was about postage stamp sized.
“It’s the bedroom chick.”
“Nice. You’re gonna get some play TimO.”
It was Christmas morning all of the sudden, I felt like a shipwreck survivor and our group had just got a glimpse of the rescue boat.
“What should we say to her?” asked Trip, “She wants details.”
“Something witty, with a lot of sarcasm, chicks dig a smartass.” Hatchet always had the answer. “Who’s gonna write it?” asked Dave.
They all looked at each other drawing a blank, then.
“Duh, TimO, get your ass in the chair.” Hatchet grabbed me by the shoulder and hauled me through the mob and up to the computer.
“You’re the writer what were we thinking?”
“He’s a writer?” asked the new kid.
“Thanks for your help kid, go do the dishes now.” Hatchet shoved the kid out of the office.
“I don’t have time to explain stuff to that guy.”
“He was good with the photos.” Jibed Trip. “You gotta give him that.”
“I ain’t giving no new kid credit for anything. Okay TimO, do your magic.” Hatchet helped position my chair in front of the keyboard.
I could feel them panting down my neck and at the same time holding their collective breath. Writing was a mystery to these men, they knew I did it and was good at it and when I was writing at work they left me undisturbed. But none the less it was alchemy to them.
“I can’t give her any answers without reading her profile guys. I gotta know what she said before I can dazzle her.”
“Dude you are so slowing this thing down man.” Trip was rolling his eyes at my request.
“Can’t you just be vague and funny?”
“Yes I can be vague and funny Trip, and I’ll end up with a vague and unfunny bruiser. Is that what you guys want for me?”
“Hell yeah! Let’s look at the facts TimO. You suck at picking women, kay? You need us on this one buddy or you’ll go right back to your old habits and end up with another dead mackerel like the last one. No offense.”
Sorry, 1000 words, see you tomorrow I hope.