see also full comics version of Clone Breakup (890K)
Dreamed 1994/2/27 by Chris Wayan
I'm in a dressing room surrounded by at least ten fashion models, talking and trying things on. I feel comfortable, strangely safe here. I like their bodies, though my non-model friends put me down for liking thin girls: "You shouldn't fall for media stereotypes." But I'm tall and thin, why shouldn't I like bodies like my own? I understand bodies like that. Maybe my friends are just jealous...
But their faces disturb me: they're nearly identical. Sleepy eyelids, slack, pretty, dull, a little stupid even. No, wait--if I saw just one of them, I don't think I'd feel that way. But ten people with the same exact face--it's creepy.
I ask, and it's true: they're clones.
"Bred in a test tube..." "and raised to be fashion models!" "And we're sick of it..." "...not of modeling itself..." "we like the clothes..." "the colors!" "...the attention..." "the choice of boyfriends..." "the MONEY!" and they all laugh. "But we're sick of being treated as..." "...subhuman."
Everyone assumes since their genes are right for the job, they're all happy with it. But they've seen my reaction before! They know they bother singletons when they're together. If they separated, they'd be appreciated more.
"So we're planning to quit, fan off into different careers." Mostly in the arts, because they really do like color, form, feeling... but there's a dentist in there, and one's risking a grad program in physics!
One does plan to go on modeling, it's an option like any other--but it'll be different. She'll be the only one--an individual.
Then we do the show. A long, matter-of-fact dream of working a job I've never done awake.
Well, not all matter-of-fact. It's fun, and sexy, and I find I like the attention.
Plus a surprise: when I try on outfits, the clones give me feedback on how I look. They help a lot, since in my head I'm still a runty kid years younger than my classmates--an invisible mouse. But the clones see what's before them--a slender six-foot guy with presence.
Later, some of my relatives burst in, trying to disrupt the show and get me out of modeling. They shout "You're not elegant, you're not sexy, you're not beautiful..."
And the clones laugh, and yell "Oh yes, he IS!" and kick my relatives out on their asses in a glorious Rockette line of support.
So I lied. I learned a lot. Plenty of drama, too. But that was all just moments in a long day. Or dream. A dream in which noticing the impression I put out with my body became normal. Not drama--just a working skill.
And for me, that's profoundly new.
One peculiar fashion memory stood out because it made no sense at all--pure dream weirdness. There were a few non-clone models in the show beside me. One was a short girl, Filipina I think, with a long funny face. She wore the strangest outfit--a pleated miniskirt held up by four suspendery curved straps over a simple, thin blouse. The strips are wide, asymmetrical, curved, not really like suspenders. Go right over her nipples, and look like they'll chafe horribly if she moves at all. I know fashion's not about practicality, but this is ridiculous!
NOTES WHEN I WOKE
The funny-faced girl shows up for my ballet class wearing my dream-costume... giant chafing suspenders and all.
So much for symbolism.
And sensitivity--nipple or otherwise.
Oh, and linear time. That too.
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