Phil sat in the waiting room with several other people. All seemed to be answering the want-ad in the student paper.
'Needed: 2 Models for Figure Drawing Class. Must be at least 18 and in good shape as classes may exceed 2 hours. Proof of age required. Payment: $50.00 per hour. Overtime for sessions over 2 hours. Classes meet Wed. and Fri., 3:00-5:00PM Apply in person at the Art Department main office Monday morning, 7:00AM. Swimwear or equivalent required.'
An extra pair of C-notes a week Not too shabby. Phil did not really need the money. His scholarship covered everything school related and his job at the dojo covered "incidentals" more or less. And then there was the little trust fund set up by his great grandfather. But a little extra fun money never hurt. Maybe now he could get away for a weekend or two.
Fortunately, his schedule was such that the two afternoons were free. Keeping the scholarship was a push-over. Comp-Sci came to him like breathing. Most any subject involving logic and planning fell into the same category. Even English Lit had rules, of a sort!
He looked around at the twenty-or-so assembled applicants. All kinds of body types, genders evenly mixed: muscled jocks, overdeveloped cheerleaders, hippies, Goths, and "normal" folks. A few textbooks, several smart phones, some chatted with friends, and some preened as if attempting to intimidate the competition. Those people may have posed before and thought they 'knew the ropes'. Some were simply vain. Others avoided eye contact. Perhaps shy, perhaps too hopeful, perhaps nervous. Who knows?
Phil was a shade under 6 feet tall, slender, Irish/Swedish heritage, strawberry blonde, green eyes and built like a martial arts instructor. Muscle definition without bulk, he was able to move easily with grace and deliberation, yet not appear threatening or on alert. Not body-shy (he had been a swimmer in high school) and not an exhibitionist show-off either, Phil didn't really think about it. Except for today, when he was to be compared to others using physical traits alone, he never gave it much thought.
A woman entered the room and handed out application forms and clipboards. "Fill in the information and hand the sheets to the lady in the next room." With that she left through the door into the Art Department.
"Phil Swenson. 201 University Drive. Junior. 19. Comp-Sci. 5'11". 170 lbs. Available at times listed. Tel#, SS#, Student ID, etc." He completed the form and went through the door as directed.
The next room contained a desk, staffed by an Art Student. The paint spattered smock, flyaway hair and cute, wire-framed glasses, while not really a uniform, were pretty definite clues to her major. Smiling, she took the offered paper and motioned him to a chair. Phil was fourth in line behind a 'roided up jock who could be a linebacker for the Packers, a nondescript redheaded girl and a guy acting like a drag queen. He thought the little guy was funny as hell. The football player acted offended and aggressive.
Phil tensed for trouble in case the jock made a move, but a stream of others broke the tension, turning in their applications. Art Girl, at the desk, called the jock's name and pointed him to the changing room. "Change into your swimwear and exit the back door into the interview area."
He scowled at the room, puffed up a bit and left. The relief was palpable. Art Girl rolled her eyes, carried his info sheet through the other door, and returned shortly.
There must have been changing facilities and an exit deeper in the building because the football player did not reappear before the desk phone buzzed and another candidate was sent back.
Art Girl chose the audition order in some manner known only to her since Phil was fourth in and next-to-last to be called. He picked up his gym bag and went to change.
The interview area was a large, well lit, figure drawing classroom. A padded, 10x12 foot platform, 4 feet tall dominated the center. Stools and easels surrounded the platform, with a cabinet along one wall and huge windows filling the opposite wall. A desk was near the fourth wall facing the windowless door.
The woman who passed out the applications was seated at an easel facing the platform along with three other women and a man.
"Welcome to the interview, Phil. I am Professor Marian Martin and these folks are instructors. If you are chosen, their names will become familiar. Please mount the platform and take a seat on the bench."
Phil leapt up and took a seat. A woman, who introduced herself as Amy, commented. "Normally, we have steps you could use but today we wanted to see how agile the interviewees are. You did that with uncommon ease. Are you a gymnast?"
"No, ma'am. I swim and instruct Tai Chi classes."
They had him pose while he answered questions about his past, his school life and general chit-chat, all the while whispering among themselves. Phil suspected they were trying to get him to break the pose as he responded, or to trip him up. They seemed to keep him longer than the others, but that could have been his imagination.
Finally, Professor Martin thanked him and asked him to take a seat at the last row of easels. Phil was the only one there.
The last applicant arrived in a blue two-piece suit and modestly climbed up onto the platform as directed. Marcie Patterson was just 18 and a sophomore English major. The interviewers treated her the same as they treated Phil. Posing Marcie, questioning, talking among themselves.
Eventually, Prof. Martin sent Marcie to sit with Phil and clustered with the four instructors around the desk at the far end. "How do you think you did?" Phil asked.
"We are the only ones here. Maybe that's a good sign. I really need this job. Our rent went up and neither my parents nor my housemate's can afford to give us more money." Marcie wondered briefly why she opened up so easily.
"Ever done anything like this? I used to swim in school so being nearly naked in public doesn't scare me, but being among a group of people fully dressed, staring at me is another thing altogether."
"I'm almost terrified." Marcie admitted. "I went to an all-girl Catholic High School. This bikini would have gotten me spanked and sent to detention for the rest of my life. I wore a one piece when my family went to the beach but was embarrassed to death then. Even my volleyball uniform at school was a sweat suit."
Phil was intrigued. "So, what's up with today? You're here and seem to want the job despite being almost terrified."
"My housemate made me wear this suit. Said that if we could not make the rent, we would be homeless. Her scholarship requires her to take a low pay TA position and the hours amount to legalized slavery. Mine is just a little better and lets me work a normal job, except that the minimum GPA is very high. I need the study time to keep up with the reading. We moved out of the dorms because of the noise and used the housing portion for rent. Now, the rent is up and it's too late to apply for a dorm room."
"This is the only job we could find that would let us have a roof and afford to eat." Marcie finished and slumped in her seat.
Phil was touched. It dawned on him that Marcie was one of the shy girls in the waiting room. "I'll help you get through it if we are both hired. Just pick a spot on the wall and tune everything else out. Maybe that will work." he suggested.
By then, the staff announced their decisions from the desk. "We have concluded that you two, Phil and Marcie, are the best candidates for this semester. If all parties are pleased, we are prepared to offer you the positions in the future." Prof. Martin said. "Sign these employment contracts and model releases and take them to the Administration offices with this note so they can do the paperwork to get you on the University payroll."
"Thank you for applying. I may need you in the sculpture department if we can work out a way to schedule additional hours. Will that be OK?" The sole man, named Rolf, asked. Amy, with Rachael and Lanie (the other two interviewers) chimed in with similar requests, but did not mention their respective disciplines.
Marcie agreed quickly to try to work something out and Phil said that his schedule was quite flexible. He knew that Marcie would have the more difficult task finding the time but felt sure he could work around her. After handshakes all around, the Art people went back to their routines for the day
Marcie and Phil dressed and hurried to the Admin Building to get the paperwork done. It was after 11:00 and the worker bees would be breaking for lunch soon. Getting the job, with a promise of extra time, took a load off Marcie's shoulders. "Even if the University holds back a week, we will be able to pay the increase at the end of next month. Karen is gonna be sooo glad."
"You want to have lunch together later? My next class is not until 1:30 and I'm several chapters ahead already." Phil asked after interacting with the Mandarins.
"Not today. Sorry. I'm starved, but I need to get to the library and study Scandinavian mythology. Not so much the myth itself, but how the story progression relates to Celtic and Germanic storytelling styles. I have to study the oldest translations written before later generations had a chance to dumb it down."
"If it helps, my mom taught me Swedish and Dad insisted that I be able to read Gaelic before I could walk. I listened to the old legends while the other kids heard Board of Ed. approved kiddie lit. Can't help you with the Old Norse and German though, you're on your own there."
"This is turning out to be a great day. I got an easy job, avoided becoming homeless, and got original source footnotes for my next two papers. Too bad about lunch. I gotta go. See you Wednesday." She rushed off, almost skipping girlishly.
Phil thought about her. Curly red hair, shoulder length, ice blue eyes, way cute, no freckles. Maybe 5 feet tall. Maybe. Perky B-cup. Small waist and narrow hips. No extra padding, not skinny. Volleyball player. Smart, hard working girl in a pretty package.
He lost her in the crowd of students on the quad. He might lose her in any crowd of people taller than 5'2" towering over her. She needs a flag, he decided, like a kid on a training bike. Then he remembered that she dressed down to come to the interview and did not want the attention. Oh, well.
Wednesday happened eventually. Phil met Marcie in the lobby of the Art Building. He was wearing a t-shirt and athletic shorts with his competition Speedos underneath. Marcie had on a long sleeved blouse over a calf-length skirt and carried a small overnight bag. Both had on sneakers.
"You ready for this?" Phil asked.
"As ready I'm going to be. Not terrified, but there is a butterfly convention in my stomach."
"Remember to look at a point on the wall and try to tune the rest out. You'll be all right after a while." He said as they entered the dressing room where they found two thick terrycloth robes and some plush towels.
Phil quickly stripped off his shirt, shorts and sneakers, donned the robe and went into the studio. Marcie stared in shock until she realized that his bathing suit was underneath. Blushing at her reaction to the near-thrill, she shed her blouse and put on the bikini top. The she lost the skirt and her panties in order to put on the relatively modest bikini bottom. She toed off the shoes, put on her robe and followed where Phil had gone.
The new models found themselves in a room full of students. Or so it seemed to her. In actuality, there were 12 girls and two guys. One of those guys was the funny, drag queen imitator from the previous Monday and the other appeared to be his friend. The girls seemed to be typical advanced art students, serious and focused.
The woman introduced as Amy was the instructor and had them shed the robes and get on the platform. Phil looked at Marcie and looked at the platform. He wrapped his arms around her and jumped both of them up.
Marcie squealed in surprise. Phil laughed. "Saved you the effort to scramble up. They forgot the steps. No problem at all."
She was astonished at how easy his 'help' was. The students just gawked. The new male model had jumped up 4 feet carrying the other new model!
Amy asked Marcie to slip back down to the floor. "Now, raise both arms directly over your head. Phil, from the platform, grasp both of her hands and lift her up, using your knees only. I want to see your muscle definition under stress. How long can you hold her there?"
"A minute or so if I can flex my elbows a little. Less if I have to keep my arms straight out like this."
Amy called the class to come up and look closely at the pair. No one touched them but they commented freely on what they saw. Not all of the comments were strictly academic.
Phil winked at Marcie and mouthed for her to start doing pull-ups with his hands as the chin bar. She grinned and started slowly pulling up. 10 repetitions later, Amy told them to stop and sit on the bench. She had Phil sit at one end, facing the reseated class and placed Marcie lengthwise, legs outstretched with her back leaning against Phil's body, his arm draped between her breasts, palm down on her stomach.
"Can you hold that pose for a while?" Amy asked them. They assured her they were comfortable "You may take a break and stretch every 20 minutes. Do not doze off. Sleep causes you to lose all muscle tension."
So went the next hours of the class. Once, during one of the breaks, several of the students asked them to do some isometric exercises to get the appearance of tension back. But other than needing to drink a ton of water, the modeling experience was unremarkable. Sitting still is work!
Marcie even began to stop feeling so exposed when she realized that the students saw her as a shape to draw and not as a sex object. However, she was extremely aware of the skin-to-skin contact with Phil. She had never been that close to a boy to whom she was not related, and even more never wearing so little. Can you have more never than never? The English major wondered if that was a concept describable in any language. No matter, it made the room seem hotter than before, and her little blue top feel tighter.
Phil simply enjoyed the touch and sweet smell of his new friend. Although not a stud-boy jock, he did have some success socially in high school and his early college years. Phil knew to keep his mouth closed and was attentive to the girls he dated. His dates appreciated that attention and rewarded him nicely.
He did notice that Marcie was a little warmer against his shoulder than before but figured it was the exercise and the underlying novelty of the situation. He needed to remember to ask Amy if they might have a fan during future sessions. Maybe he was a little warm, too. His Speedos were getting a little snug.
Around 5:30, Amy ordered the students to clean up and stow the supplies. Marcie and Phil were free to dress and head out. Phil toweled dry and dressed in the studio. Marcie went to the dressing room to remove the damp bikini and put on her street clothes. Her towel got quite the workout. She met Phil back in the studio and as they began to leave, Amy called them aside.
"You were great today. I think the class was impressed and will get some nice work done. Tomorrow they will do the final touches from memory and maybe let you see the results when we meet again on Friday. By the way, don't bring the swimwear. We are borrowing some costumes from the Drama Dept. The theme is Classical Greece. Think 'early togas' and marble statuary."
Phil was OK with it but Marcie got nervous. Amy noticed and reassured her, "We will preserve your modesty for now. You will be covered. But it will be thin and supple so every curve will be evident. We have to have something to draw!" She laughed.
Moderately mollified, Marcie moved toward the door, followed by Phil. They separated and went their own way outside.
And so it went for a few sessions: posing in various costumes for the figure drawing classes, working some evenings or Saturdays for the sculptors, painters and photo classes. Sometimes the costumes were skimpier than others; sometimes the poses were more intimate than others.
Her favorite costumes were the Elizabethan and Victorian dresses. They were so elegant. Phil did not mind the Victorian men's wear but hated the Elizabethan. Tights and codpieces! That just looked stupid. And the codpiece pinched something awful. Amy assured him that it was the roomiest the Drama Department had. Phil commented that the Drama guys must be hung like hamsters if this thing actually exaggerated their "manly parts" as it was historically intended to do.
Several of the women in the class remarked that the "Drama guys" were quite normal. Some even claimed first hand knowledge. The funny guy and his quiet partner just smiled and nodded.
But the togas were the most troublesome for Marcie because they had to 'go commando'. And did that fabric ever cling to every curve!
Amy insisted she shave her pubes. Marcie had to get Karen to explain how and help her disappear the bush. She felt more even naked than naked. What's more, the stubble itched as the fine red hair grew back, so Marcie had to keep it shaved. She made a note to ask about a depilatory cream. Razor burn could be a drag.
The 'curve clinging' was troublesome for Phil also. Being commando did not help in the least. He suspected that Amy noticed because she posed the pair so he was either behind Marcie or in close contact. He was sure Marcie noticed. Her B-cups were very pointy.
They did make the photography classes sign stronger 'prior approval restrictions' before any pictures could be published anywhere except in their necessary assignments, hard copies only. Other than that, they were protected by the standard model release clauses in all sessions.
Phil and Marcie, spending most of their available time posing, had almost no time to become better acquainted outside of one studio or the other.
The day did come when they had to pose nude. Before the next Wednesday's posing, Professor Martin told them nudity was stipulated in their contract with the figure drawing classes and would be required. They did not have to pose bare for any of the other groups. Pay would be double. They could refuse, but they might be terminated for breach of contract.
Quickly, Amy told them to go to the dressing room and put on their robes only. "It's about the little marks belts and elastic make on your skin. After a ½ hour or so, they will relax and disappear. We told the students to arrive a little late today. That should allow time for you to get into a pose without an audience. You will be in place when the class comes in."
Amy got them moving before the anticipated nerves could set in, acting as if this was a normal everyday thing. For her, maybe it was. But she looked forward to seeing both of those nearly perfect bodies. Her professional detachment was slipping away.
To Phil, it almost was. His swimwear left nearly nothing to the imagination, so nudity was a small step forward for him. Not that it was going to be easy, just that it was not impossible.
To Marcie, it was a giant step, a step into a chasm. She felt Phil guide her into the changing room and heard the door close. Her brain sort of shut down and her body began to operate on autopilot. She let it, knowing that if she started to think, she would panic and run away, losing the income. Embarrassed or homeless?
Marcie watched Phil's back as he began to disrobe. When he got to his boxers, she gasped. "This is real!" she said softly and reached for the buttons at her waist. As she slowly started to strip, she noticed that Phil put on his robe before shedding the boxers. She turned her back to him and stripped to her panties and bra before she donned the robe.
Now 'covered', she removed the lingerie, tightening the robe around her shaking body. She felt Phil's hand on her shoulder, turning her around. "I know this is way 'not easy' for you, Mar. It is the same with me. Let's try to be cool and get through this session together. We can do this. Keep your goal in mind. Karen is depending on you."
"I don't know. The bikini was enough. This is way beyond." She was blushing down to her toes.
Phil could see that she was nearly hyperventilating from nervousness. As calmly as he could, he said, "The first time I swam in a meet with these Speedos, I felt naked. But after a while, it became easier. The other swimmers acted naturally, so I made myself get on with the competition. Just try to ignore the students and stare at something in the room. Recite your literature in your head." He reassured her, "At least you won't be alone."
"That's part of the problem, Phil. I've never been naked this publicly ever and now it will be with a naked guy in a room full of people. If I think about it too much, I'll faint."
"So don't think. Just do it." Phil stated firmly. They were interrupted when Amy quickly ushered them into the studio.
Amy helped them to the platform and put them into position. "The first pose will be relaxed. Sit back-to-back, legs pulled up with your arms crossed in front of your shins and your chin resting on your knees. Practice it with the robes on."
She looked them over. "Both of you, cross your ankles and pull them tight against your upper legs. Now all the personal bits are covered. Are you comfortable enough to hold the pose for thirty minutes?"
Marcie and Phil nodded. Amy insisted that if they needed to stretch, they were to speak up. "Lose the robes and let me drape this sheet over. When the students are ready, we will have an unveiling."
The models wriggled out of the robes while seated and resumed the pose. Marcie was extremely aware of the back-to-back contact. Phil could feel her trembling. "It's going to be OK, Mar." He tried to soothe her. "Translate 'Beowulf' in your head. Or you could be working at Micky D's two days to make less money."
"And the uniforms are awful. I'd rather be naked than smell like a burger and fries." Amy piped in as she opened the studio door, waving in the students.
"Maybe you should be naked, too." Marcie mumbled.
"You can talk, but don't move your heads." Amy cautioned, "You cannot change the pose."
Two or three minutes later, the class was ready. Amy pulled away the covering. Marcie, shocked at the sudden chill was even more shocked as Amy pointed a camera and took several pictures from all four sides of the platform. "Continuity. When we break, I have to make sure you are arranged exactly the same." She answered the unvoiced question. "I will also compare the shots with the their drawings to judge how well the students captured or changed the shadows and light."
Amy turned her attention to the class, moving from easel to easel, commenting to the students. Marcie whispered, "I am going to die from embarrassment right here. I can't believe this. Naked in a room full of people looking at me."
"This is weirder than I figured." he answered. "My Speedos seem like an overcoat next to this. Maybe I should translate 'Beowulf' into Gaelic as a distraction?"