I've been thinking about a commercial audition I had a few weeks ago. We were asked to bring a picture of our kid, if we have one, to the casting. Since I don't have children, I arrived without a photo in hand. From past experience, I know this isn't a big deal. Sans photo, they will ask if I'm good with children (or at least not allergic) and move the audition along. Honestly, I could bring a picture of someone else's child, but there's really no point. If I'm cast, they'll hire a precious little, mini-afro girl to be my offspring for the day.
After waiting a few minutes, three of us are called into the casting room. Sandwiched between two woman, I line up shoulder to shoulder in front of the camera. The usual process takes place: slate, profile and back to camera.
"Do you have kids? Did you bring a picture?" The camera guy asks.
The woman to my right, lady one, grabs two photos from her purse. The woman to my left, lady two, gets her iPhone.
Waiting for them to gather their snapshots, the camera operator looks at me, "You must feel like a loser."
The room is silent. Wait, is asking me if I feel like a loser because I don't have a photo or a kid? Maybe I didn't hear him correctly. I sneak a peek at lady one; she has a horrified look on her face. I search my brain for an appropriate response.
"She's lucky; she's free to do whatever she wants." Lady one responds for me and gives me a wink. Awkward moment has passed. Thank you lady one.
Continuing with the audition, lady one shares a photo of her adorable, pink cheeked daughter on the first day of kindergarten wearing a bright, colorful dress. I'm up next. I listen for my instructions.
"Man, you must really feel like a loser." He says (again).
I smile and reply, "Like she said, I'm free to do what I want when I want. I'm okay with that." I'm not sure my smile came off as sweetly as intended.
"I'm just kidding," he responds nonchalantly moving his attention to next person.
Lady two flashes an iPhone picture of her teenage daughter. We follow the remainder of the directions, finish the audition and are excused.
I understand society believes at my age I should already have children. What I don't get is why it tries to make women feel less than because they don't. With that said--
Dear Mr. Camera Guy,
I look forward to the day my adorable, little-afro babies throw Cheerios from their high chair, run around like maniacs and melt my heart with their smiles. No, I don't feel like a loser because they're not here to do so today. I'm grateful for the opportunites I have, the choices I've made and the path I'm on. I live a full life and look forward to teaching my children to do the same.