Cornered in the Makeup room


Makeup artists in the tv and film industry are like therapist or doctors. Everything said is confidential. I don’t tell the media (even though I am right there in the same building) and they don’t ask. There are no signed confidentiality agreements or even a casual conversation about it. What goes on in the makeup room stays in the makeup room, to borrow a phrase.
With both actors and politicians the talk is mostly benign. Kids, the weather, current events but rarely about religion and if it is about politics it is mostly superficial, bipartisan or otherwise harmless. Richard Nixon talked about his dog, Joe Biden had wonderful stories about his mom. Sometimes they tell me what it is they will be covering on an upcoming show but I can’t remember a time that I was lectured to, until recently.
In 32 years of film and television I have never had anyone stomp on me with his or her political position, uninvited I might add, until a few days ago. Leaving his politics aside for a second. It was his presentation that was so appalling and intimidating. Had there not been this authoritative figure standing a foot and a half taller than me I might have had the wherewithal to avoid his squinty eyed questions and joke that he would get my essay in the mail. At first he was just curious as to how he came across on the interview he had just finished. I’ve had that question before and my immediate reaction to him was to tell him he was passionate (I thought that was a true observation, diplomatic and politically neutral – (something I strive for)). That however wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Enter politics. For some reason he wanted in detail, what part of what he said affected me. I was cornered, overwhelmed and not wanting to sound stupid but at the same time thinking we were about to have a real open honest discussion, I tried answering with my concerns and sound unbiased, not to offend him, of course. This was after all someone who could make one call to the producers and say fire the wild haired makeup person. I had everything at steak and he had nothing lose.
It became an attack of my values versus his and that his were not only the right way but the only way. It wasn’t a discussion with him towering over me but an attack of his positions and agenda over mine and I had fallen into his trap. It was no better than being slammed by a Jesus freak who is relentless with their argument and opinion and at the same time turning people off instead of enticing them in. I wondered if I represent the rest of the democrats in the world to him and he was going to pulverize me until I cried “uncle” and agree with him. Early on in our “discussion” I stopped trying to answer his questions. I would begin a sentence and watched in amazement as this politician interrupted me to spew his side at me as if he were using an atomic spray can filled with his opinions.
I tried so hard to say that as a women I felt like I didn’t count in his world, that I was not being listened to. Midway through that sentence I was interrupted as to how wrong I was. Wait, what? Did you just see that? Wait, ya know what? It was obvious, too obvious. What in the world was this guy doing?
At some point I all I could do was put on my psychologist hat and watch in clinical marvel (and disbelief). No wonder the republicans lost I thought. If I represented the world of democrats to him, as he tried to convince me that his position was the right position, then he was the whole world of republicans to me, insensitive ego-maniacal-brutes. As a bunch of handsome-white-upper-class-ivy-leaguers whose whole life has been an easy ride to the top, they have not had to “listen” to anyone. This person needed a 101 class in the art of conversation at the very least. How could a troglodyte dressed in a suit get this far? Probably the same way he just over powered me in the makeup room – sheer dominance mixed with a little grease and a lot of chutzpa.
The bigger question right now is why have I not mentioned his name? Here we go back to the old unsigned-undocumented-confidentiality agreement. Wait I feel a sneeze coming on, achoo-santorum.

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