“My Right Breast”
by Andrew Shaffer (www.orderofstandrew.com)
While some of the other contestants brought their own topless photos to hand out and sign for fans (and I use the term “fans” loosely here), I inadvertently left mine at home. Let this be a lesson to all budding authors out there – never go to a conference without a stack of glossy beefcake photos of yourself. As soon as I officially entered the 2010 Mr. Romance contest, a photographer was immediately assigned to me to take publicity shots.
The photographer, a former Mr. Romance contestant himself, ushered me to an empty staircase and indoor patio inside the Columbus convention center. “We’ll take the shots here,” he said, squinting into the late afternoon sunlight coming through the convention center’s tall windows. “The shadows should give you some definition.” His wife joined us as a lookout to keep our makeshift studio clear of interlopers.
The first shots that we took were of me in my suit. Close-up headshots and a few of me talking on a cellphone. Thankfully, no one had interrupted us. “Now take your shirt off,” the photographer said.
I winced. After taking one last look around for gawkers, I slipped out of my suit jacket and began unbuttoning my shirt at lightning speed. I’d never gotten undressed so quickly in my life before -- and that includes when I lost my virginity. The photographer’s wife took my clothes and looked me up and down. “You’re pretty white,” she said. Of course I am. Show me a writer with a tan, and I’ll show you a writer who doesn’t spend enough time at their keyboard.
The photographer directed me to sit at a table, which was meant to hide my love handles. I sat as upright as possible and puffed my chest out. “That sort of looks like a pec,” his wife said, pointing to my left breast. “But the other one…” She scrunched her face up. Apparently -- and this was the first time that anyone had ever pointed this out to me – my right boob is a little, well, saggy. “It’s okay,” the photographer said, picking up an orphaned newspaper from a nearby table. “Just hold this in front of it.”
He snapped the photos quickly. The session wasn’t any more invasive or painful than walking through airport security. The photographer carefully scrutinized the photos on the digital camera’s display while I waited impatiently at the table sans shirt. He finally gave me a thumbs-up. “You can get dressed,” he said.
Thank God that’s over, I thought as I buttoned my dress shirt. Little did I know that my journey had just begun. Any modesty that I had left was sandblasted away by the dance routine later that week when I ripped my shirt off onstage in front of hundreds of screaming fans.