So it’s one of the first days at my new job, and I am still in that precarious, delicate, virginal, stage when the world is full of possibilities and I’m nervous but simply can’t wait for a chance to prove myself. I show up early in the morning and I’m beautiful; my hair is shiny and curled, my makeup impeccable, and I have on a frilly, stark white work shirt. My boss leads me into the backroom, and I close my eyes in anticipation. What is behind the big back door of Victoria’s Secret? The first thing that hits me is the cold, which is not at all like the frilly, lacy cold I would expect from the country’s largest lingerie retailer. The floors are concrete. I can see my breath. A morose-looking Mexican man is at a table, wordlessly folding obscenely colored cotton panties into neat squares and sorting them by style. She leads me still further into the darkness, until we come to huge shelves. Her fat arms gesticulate as she tells me which sizes are in which boxes and tells me to bring all of them to the front cash registers.
The weight of the first box surprises me and I hug it to my chest. When I drop the box onto the front desk, I look down at my shirt to see that black dust covers the entire front. Black! Dust! Apparently only coalminers and Victoria’s Secret employees get the Black Lung these days. As I get the second box down from the shelf, I stumble and knock over two huge, long shelves. There is a big crash. I put the box of extra large things back on the shelf and I want to die, although not from the Black Lung. I inspect the first box that fell on the ground and I’m relieved. It was full of metal pipes, undoubtedly for Victoria’s Secret Plumbing. My heart breaks as I read the description of the second box: “FRAGILE GLASS.” As I prop it back up, I hear the ironically soothing sound of a rainmaker as the shards of broken glass cascade to the bottom of the box. My boss comes in shouting and swearing. I see in her eyes the frustration of a busy career woman: “I majored in business at Sonoma State and this is what I have to put up with?!” So the store hasn’t even opened yet and I look ravaged with my disheveled hair, dirty shirt, and all around perspiration. I either look like I just had sex or I was just beaten with a rock. I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I thought I’d be surrounded by gorgeous Italian youths whose only function was to give me massages and flutes of champagne and compliment me to death. I also thought there would be sashaying. Call me crazy, but that’s what the brand Victoria’s Secret whispers to me.
But there is nothing at all glamorous about measuring a morbidly obese woman and lying to her about her band size. We don’t even have a 44-E! You want to hit up the Humongo-Tit Store down the street. So I squeeze her into a 38-C and call it a sale.
What made me shudder the most is having to assist a walking raisin as she peruses the sequined negligees, waxing on about her anniversary tomorrow night and estimating how long it’ll take for the slip that she’s buying to be torn to shreds on the floor. Someone asks about our return policy, showing me a pair of obviously worn panties, and I stifle an urge to tell her that, unfortunately, our policy is to not take back any underwear that’s been purchased and since been covered in cooch juice. I think my worst mess-up of the night is when I’m trying to help a twelve-year old choose an outfit for a lingerie party next weekend. I bring her slip after thong after garter after corset, until I can stand it no longer. “Does your mom know about this?” I ask, and out walks an impressionable young client with Daddy’s credit card. I’m sure one of the senior associates would have made a killing, but since I’m the new girl, I still haven’t learned how to stifle those annoying little pangs of conscience. My boss grips my shoulder hard, her tarantula eyes wide and her wrinkled dugs popping out of her blouse. “Sell. Sell! SELL!! And don’t forget to suggest our Hot Holiday Colors!” she huffs. My nose wrinkles at her hoary corpse breath. Maybe they’re hiring at Top Dog.