Monday, June 8, 2009

The Gaffer Can Shove The C-Stand Up His Ass For All I Care.

Let's face it, when you're the only chick on a set full of guys for a few days and you're single, you'll probably get asked out. I don't mean to brag or anything, but this happens to me a lot. I rarely ever say yes though. The guys that show interest are usually too young, too old, too smooth for their own good or just plain not my type. If you ask me out, I can guarantee you that I'm looking for a reason to say no. I guess I'm just picky.

But a couple weeks ago, I almost said yes to a guy. He was nice, kind of charming, and was the younger half of a father and son gaffer/electrician team, though his father's been in the biz a hell of a lot longer than he has. Plus, he was pretty hot. But when he asked me for my number at the end of the night, I said no anyway. Why? Because I can't stand being in the same room as his dad and that's never a good sign.

His dad's an arrogant sexist son-of-a-bitch. The first words out of his mouth to me was a mini quiz on the grip gear. Him, a juicer, quizzing me, a grip, on my own gear. That's one of my biggest pet peeves. I have no problems with questions about equipment you don't know. In fact, I welcome them. But if you're asking me these questions because you don't think I know the answer and want to make yourself feel important, then you're an ass. This man, was an ass.

The final straw was when he asked me "Do you know why they call it a 'C-Stand'"?


I've heard no less than four totally different stories about why it's called a C-stand. Each one told by top industry people who are considered pioneers in their respective fields. And each one is more or less adamant that their version is the one true story. The same goes for the stories of why clothespins are "C-47s". The bottom line is answering this question is like picking sides in a political debate: someone will be convinced that you're wrong.

I decided to go the safe route and rattled off a couple of the stories I've heard, not picking sides, just relaying info. To be honest, I knew what this asshole was trying to do and I just wanted to be done with this conversation. And just like I suspected, he wasn't satisfied with my multiple choice answer.

"No no no...." he says. "Let me tell you the real reason why it's called a C-stand and that way you'll be initiated as a real gripette."

I kid you not. He called me a "gripette".

Let's get one thing straight... The fastest way to piss off a female in g/e is to give her a "cutesy" name. Being called "Sparky" (though it's rare), I can deal with because it's a slang term for electricity. But "Gripette"? It's demeaning. I don't call you a "guy-lectric" so please don't call me a "chick-lectric".

Anyway, let's ignore that annoying name calling for a second and go back to the "initiation" part of that sentence. Because, you know, I'm not really a grip until I sit through his dribble. Forget that unlike his kid, I got into this business based on my own two feet. That I knew no one in this town when I first came here, and now people recognize my name before I even walk onto set. Forget that the other guys in the grip team are working off of my orders. And please, just go ahead and ignore the label on my walkie that says "BEST BOY GRIP" because clearly, I'm not a grip until I've heard his story of how a C-stand came to be. (And to all you out there who think I'm overreacting, keep in mind that he singled me out out of the entire grip team. The only difference between me and them, other than the fact that I knew more about the job, was that I'm female.)

"The real reason why it's called a C-stand is [insert story here that I don't really care to repeat, but let's just say that it's the one story I've heard before that makes the least sense and stems from the least reputable source]," he continues. "And that's a fact."

"Well, that's another story to add to my collection I guess."

"No no no. It's not just another story. It's the truth!"

"Really? Where'd you hear that from?"

"From way back when I started in this business 35 years ago, honey."


Yeah... Because I'm going to believe your story over all the others I've heard just because someone told you a random story 35 years ago. Forget that one of the other versions dates back to the early 1900s before the modern day C-stand was even invented. Like I said, each one is adamant about their origin stories and this guy's too dense to even consider the fact that his story may be a bit off.

Shortly after that, I pretended to get a call on my walkie and I walked out of the room. Life's too short and the day too long to be dealing with someone like that longer than I have to.

It's a shame though. His son was really hot.


Anonymous said...

You did the right thing. I've been working in a "man's world" now for 26 years, and I've generally found that dating a colleague is always a bad idea. By that I mean I've found out the hard way.

Let's say you went out on a date, then you decided that maybe you weren't interested further, but he was. Only now you have to face him (and whatever OTHER colleagues that he might have told) every day during the rest of your shoot. (I'm an engineer, so in my world it's on a construction project.) And even if the guy himself can handle it with a modicum of decency, there's no telling what sort of a**holes his other friends at work are. You might just find yourself the target of idiot remarks for the entire rest of the shoot. (I mean, more of a target than usual.)

A.J. said...

wolferiver - Due to the long and grueling hours, the people who work with you on a film set are often considered to be like family, and at times, can be so incestuous that things get incredibly awkward.

As for me, I've never dated anyone I worked with while I was working with them, and even then, I've never had an awkward encounter (yet) as they either run in different circles and/or are no longer in the country. Most of my uncomfortable situations stem from getting asked out and turning them down... And then working another 10 hours side by side.

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