Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nude Modeling and Significant Others

The poorly attended drawing sessions that I have done lately prompted me to wonder what class was my best attended.  So I went back into the archives in my head and came up with two, both at the Art Students League of New York.  They were evening sessions in the spring of 1993.  One of them had 40 to 50 students in the studio, but there were two different model stands across the room from each other.  I only had about half of that number drawing me and the other half drawing the other model.  It was kind of strange looking across the room between poses to see what was going on over there.  I've done quite a number of classes where I was one of two models on the same platform, but that was the only time that I can remember being across the room from another model.

The other session was in a different room at the Art Students League, and I believe it was a Friday night open lab.  There were at least thirty people drawing, and I was on a platform in the middle of a big circle.  I was an emergency replacement model that night.  I had been told that openings sometimes come up at the last minute, so I had gone into the ASL office hoping to get a gig.  I sat next to a petite blonde lady who was hoping for the same thing.  The guy came in from the open lab asking if any models were available, and the girl behind the desk motioned to us.  He asked the blonde if she did figure modeling, but she replied in a foreign accent that she only wanted portrait.  So, I got the gig.  The strange thing was, that petite blonde walked into the class and started drawing me after I had begun posing.  About an hour into the session, someone from the office asked her to leave since she hadn't paid the fee to draw.  I never saw her again.  I have always figured that she was interested in nude modeling but was hesitant and wanted to see a class.  I wonder if she ever did go through with it.

I only lived in New York for seven months, from September 1992 to April 1993.  Of that time, I only modeled about a month, and all of my New York gigs were at the Art Students League.  I was married to my first wife at the time, and she did not approve of my modeling.

She and I met in 1988.  I was a 22-year-old college student, and she was a 35-year-old paralegal.  One of the things that she found interesting about me was the fact that I was a nude model.  We got married in May of 1989.  Once we were married, she insisted that I quit modeling, stating that my body was now for her eyes only.  Looking back, we should have talked more about my modeling before we were married, because I was not willing to quit.  And after we were married, I should have been honest about that unwillingness.  But I wasn't.  I was still working on my Bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, and I had a good rapport with the figure drawing instructor.  So I modeled and just didn't tell her.

I graduated from UTA in 1990 and then went on to get a Masters degree from the University of North Texas in 1992.  I cannot walk onto a college campus, even one I've never visited before, without walking through the art department.  This was true twenty-something years ago when I was a college student, and it's still true today.  Being a student and on campus every day, the temptation to model, to do what I love doing, was just too great.  I modeled at UTA and UNT, as well as a couple of other places where I had established myself as a reliable model.  And every March and April, I tried to figure out a way to complete our tax return without her seeing all the W2's from the different colleges.

After I got the Masters degree, I took a job with the New York Public Library.  My ex was hesitant to move to New York, but I assured her that it would only be temporary, three years at most.  I enjoyed many aspects of living and working there.  I was assigned to the Melrose Branch which is in the Bronx, not too far from Yankee Stadium.  I used to walk around the Stadium on my lunch break and think to myself, "Hey, Babe Ruth used to work here.  And Lou Gehrig.  And Joe Dimaggio."  On days off, I looked for any opportunity to go to midtown and walk.  I loved seeing Columbus Circle, Times Square, the Empire State Building, etc.  I walked all over Manhattan.

My ex had problems adjusting.  She was close to her family in Texas, and this was the first time she had been separated from them.  Living in New York was expensive.  There was constant noise.  And the weather was horrible.  I like sunshine and warm weather, and we got precious little of that during our time in New York.  After six months, she had had enough.  She hadn't found a job, and was, frankly, afraid to get out and look.

We could barely afford transportation back to Texas, which left the possibility of just picking up and moving out of the question.  So, I put her on a Greyhound back to Fort Worth in the middle of March.  The plan was, she would stay with her parents until she could find a job and an apartment we could afford.  She would then rent a truck and drive it to New York to get me and our stuff.

I wound up having five weeks to myself in New York, and that's when I started modeling at the Art Students League.  Needless to say, our marriage ended a few years later.  It had to; there was too much dishonesty between us.  Not long after we split, she told me that she knew that I was modeling but that she was afraid to say anything.  The lessons I learned from that marriage are not to expect a person to change as a condition for a relationship and to never lie to your partner/spouse.

I am blessed beyond belief now.  Jennifer and I married in March 1999, and we have a good relationship.  She is very supportive of my modeling even though it sometimes keeps me out late at night.  I am quite content with my life and my modeling now, although looking at the Art Students League website makes me wish I could go spend a few weeks in New York and model, model, model...

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