Thursday, February 14, 2019


Oh. My. God. Hands down, I thought he was the hottest guy on set. He was tall, had blue eyes that seemed to change shades like the summer sky, and when he smiled, like really smiled, he had the cutest dimples ever. I would smile when those dimples came out. They were so deep I could see them from across the room.

I'd study him from afar, watching him when I didn't think anyone would notice. Not only was he super cute, but he was super nice to everyone, too. He was friendly with people from every department and hung out with everybody, from the PAs to the security guards.

And we must've been on the same snacking schedule because I'd often find myself perusing the crafty table with him. It sounds silly to say, but I cherished those moments. They were the favorite part of my day.

Sometimes, while waiting between lighting set ups, I'd "casually" maneuver myself to where he'd be hanging out. I'd strike up a conversation and we'd joke around a little bit. I'd mess around with the little knick-knacks he kept on his carts and he'd draw silly pictures on the tools from my belt.

I obviously wasn't the only one who was interested in him. One day, a pretty blonde showed up in his department. The new day-player seemed to sit up a little straighter whenever he was around and she'd try to strike up a conversation. He didn't seem to mind talking to her and together, they looked like they'd make a good looking couple. The kind you might find posing with a puppy inside the new picture frame you just bought. They looked that good together.

I passed by them on my way to the craft service table one day when I heard him quickly end the conversation and in seconds he was walking next to me. He put his arms around my shoulders as we walked and asked what we were eating that day. I brushed it off as him just being hungry and playful, but I was secretly elated that not only did he have his arm around me, but he ditched a conversation with a pretty girl for me.

Soon after that, my favorite part of the day was when we'd see each other in the morning when we got to work. His whole face would light up like he was excited to see me and he always pulled me in for a hug. And if no one was around, he'd keep the hug extra long, until it was almost like the hug had already ended and now he was just holding me. Sometimes, I'd bury my fact in his chest and just enjoy the feeling of his arms around me. It was nice. Really nice. And the best way to start the day.

Eventually, we started spending our lunch times together. Normally, everyone hates hour long lunches, but he and I loved them on this show. We'd spend the extra time just talking over cups of coffee, or we'd just walk around the neighborhood we were shooting in.

On really long days when we both were feeling kind of tired, like all exhausted crew members, we'd search for a place to take a nap. When we'd find a quiet, secluded place to lie down, we'd cuddle as we slept. Him with his arms around me and me with my face in the crook of his neck, it seemed like we just fit. It felt like we were the only two people in the world during moments like this. I felt safe with him. I felt like I belonged there.

Lunch times were now my new favorite part of the day.

It was here in one of our napping nests that he first kissed me. It was soft, barely a whisper on my lips but that was enough to make me want more. I absolutely kissed him back.

By this time, our show was starting to wind down. With only a couple weeks of shooting left, everyone was starting to talk about which project they'd hope to move on to next. Meanwhile, in our lunch time hideouts, we'd kiss, nap, and talk about our own plans for when the show ended.

I'd tell him how sad I'll be to not see him every day and he'd tell me that we'd find a way to keep what we have going, especially since neither of us had another job lined up.

"Once this show is over, I'm going to take you out on a date," he'd tell me, "So we're absolutely still going to see each other after wrap. We'll figure it out."

I'd nod in agreement, but sometimes, he'd say that almost pleadingly, and I never knew if he was trying to convince me or if he was trying to convince himself of our plan.

Time passed way too quickly and before I knew it, our last day of shooting was here. We spent our last lunch curled up in each others arms, talking about our soon to be first real date.

"So, when are you free?"
"I'm scheduled for a few days of wrap, so I'll be free as a bird by next Wednesday."
"Great," he said, "I'll be done before that, so I'll call you early next week and we'll get a plan going."

I nodded and kissed him. I could feel his smile on my lips.

A few hours later, our show ended. And a few days after that, my department was done wrapping out. And a few days after that, I still hadn't heard from him.

What we had ended up being a "Showmance." A flirtation and romance that has an expiration date that coincides with the show's. A relationship that only exists in the confines of a bubble where you're around each other 12+ hours a day, 5 days a week.

I guess he and I weren't meant to exist in the real world.

I was absolutely serious about continuing our relationship after we wrapped and for a while, I'd wondered if it was me. If I had done something wrong or off putting. Or did I just miss the signs that pointed to him being non-committal? Did he just tell me what I wanted to hear? Or did he really mean those things he'd whisper in my ear, but just not enough to last through the convenience of the show?

Whatever it was, it was obvious that I was way more in to our "relationship" than the other way around and I stopped checking my phone for messages from him. I stopped trying to figure out what went wrong. I stopped making imaginary excuses for him, like maybe he's just really busy or maybe he lost my number or maybe his text got lost in the digital ether. But the truth is, if he really wanted to get a hold of me, he could. I'm not that hard to find.

I could have been his so easily. If only he felt the same way.

And with that, I let him go. I let the show go. I let go of our hideouts, our walks, our lunch times. I let go of the stolen glances from across the room. The winks he'd send my way when no one was watching. The sweet nothings he'd whisper to me. The inside jokes. The hope that he'd finally mutherfuckin' call me. Like a dandelion in the wind, I stopped holding on to the promises that I shouldn't have believed. I let them go.

Months later, I'm digging through my tool bag and pause when I find one that he had doodled on. The Sharpie marks had faded to almost nothing, but it was enough to remind me of him, the show, and the moments we shared in what feels like a million jobs ago. I wonder if he ever thinks of us. I wonder if he still keeps those knick-knacks on his carts and do they remind him of me? Does he smile if they do? I haven't seen him since, but it's a small industry and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before our paths cross again.

Until then, I hope he's doing well and that he's somewhere smiling that megawatt smile of his. The one that makes his dimples so deep I want to poke my finger in them. The one that I realized later on, he never did around me, even when it was just the two of us.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Harassment, Pt. 3.

I was chit-chatting with a day playing grip* when he suddenly leaned in, ran his fingers through my hair, and whispered in my ear, "You're so sexy." Then, after a moments pause, he continued on with our conversation like nothing had happened. Like he didn't just creep me out. Like he hadn't just turned my place of work in to a place where I didn't feel safe.

I felt disgusted and violated, but I didn't want to make a scene. It took another couple minutes before I could extract myself from the conversation and walk away from him.

After the next lighting set up, I found myself at crafty with our On Set Dresser. I don't remember how it came up, but I mentioned to her that a virtual stranger had just ran their fingers through my hair and relayed what he had said. She was shocked.

"On this show??"
"Yup. About ten minutes ago."
"Who was it?"
"One of the grips."
She shuddered and walked away.

Sometime later, I'm sitting by myself on set when my friend the Dolly Grip comes up to me.

"Is it true?" he asked.
"Excuse me?"
"I heard from On Set Dresser that one of the guys ran their hands through your hair and said some inappropriate things to you."
"Oh, yeah. That's true."
"Who was it?"

I wouldn't tell him.

"Listen," he said, "I'm not going to make you tell me. But I wish you would. I can make sure he doesn't come back. I won't even report it if you don't want me to. He just won't get hired back. He won't even know why. He just won't get a call again."

I looked at him for a moment. It sure sounded like a good offer. But with just one catch: "How can you guarantee that? You don't do the hiring for your department."

"I'll talk to Key Grip," he replied, so sure of himself. He had apparently thought about this. "I'll just tell him not to hire this guy again and it'll be done."

Again, I refused to tell him who it was.

He started to plead with me. "Look, I can understand why you don't want to say anything. I really do. But it won't be made a big deal. No one will know why he's not around anymore. HE won't know why he's not around anymore. No one will know but you, me, and Key Grip. Again, it's your decision. I'm not going to make you tell me. But I think you should say who it is."

Again, I shook my head.

And then he pulled out his Ace. The card that made me almost tell him.

"It's not just yourself you need to think about. If he did this to you, he'll do it others. Who else will he do this to? Who else will he touch? We can send him away and he won't do that to anyone else here. If he gets away this time, he'll think he can get away with it again."

I paused hard at that one. I thought about it. I really did. I almost caved. But again, I just looked at him and said nothing.

He was frustrated. He wanted to protect me, and others, and he couldn't do a damn thing about it. "Well," he said, "Like I said, I'm not going to make you tell me. But if you change your mind, just say the word. Just let me know. No one else will know if you don't want. He'll just go away and won't have the chance to harass you again, or anyone else here."

I nodded and thanked him and he walked away, back to work.

I would have loved to have called this gross, motherfucking Grip out, who couldn't keep his hands to himself. I would have loved to embarrass him and have everyone know just how inappropriate he is and how he treats women. I would have loved to have reported him to Production and watch his ass tossed to the curb, his name smeared around town as someone you couldn't hire.

That would've been great.

But that wouldn't have happened.

My friend the Dolly Grip may not have agreed with me, but I was thinking about protecting other women in my shoes. Just not in the same was he was.

Key Grip may have been his friend, but he's very "old fashioned" in many ways. He curates a "Boys Club" type of vibe in his own department, and has made a racial slur or two in my direction before, all in the name of joking around. The world may be becoming too "PC" for his taste, but that doesn't stop him from making sexist "jokes" or hiring only white males.

If Dolly Grip had asked Key Grip to stop hiring one of his guys, he'd ask why. And Dolly Grip would have to tell him that he harassed one of the crew members. And even if Dolly Grip didn't tell him who, Key Grip would still figure out that it was me.

Out of the few women on set, I was essentially the only one who had spoken to the Grip. Key Grip knows this. He was the one who got our conversation going, telling him how I've been giving the other guys hell before laughing and walking away when he was called back to set. It wouldn't be that hard to figure out it was me. Other than make-up/hair/wardrobe and the On Set Dresser, I was the only woman on set, and there's no reason for him to be around them, unlike me since he and I happened to be covering the same light.

And he'd end up sticking up for the Grip. He's think that I'm blowing it all out of proportion. That I must've misunderstood something. That his guys joke around all the time. "Are you sure she's not overreacting? You know how women can get. So he touched her hair and gave her a compliment? How is that so bad??

Plus, have you seen her? She's hanging around us grips all the time. And she hangs around the camera guys. She's always chilling with transpo, too. She just loves the attention. She obviously likes it when the guys drool all over her. So you can't blame a guy for looking. You can't blame the guy for getting the signals wrong when she's flirting with everyone.

See, this is why women don't belong here. This is a man's world. Women just don't get it. They're too sensitive. They can't hang with the boys and now I can't hire someone I've known for YEARS just because some girl is blowing this all out of proportion."

If I had given Dolly Grip the Grip's name, it would've taken care of my immediate problem, but it would've likely hurt in the long run. I'm a woman in a male dominated industry who has not seen much change towards gender parity compared to when she first started in this business over a decade ago. And while the Key Grip doesn't get a say in who hires me, he does get a say in who he hires and you can guarantee that women will get knocked further down his list. Which creates a virtual vortex for his already all male crew. If they spend all their time working with no women, what are the chances of them hiring one in the future when they move on to different shows?

Even if the Grip gets kicked to the curb, he'll still be a card holding member of The Boys Club. And while he'll still find work somewhere, other Club members who hear about this (because let's face it, guys do love to gossip) will question what the benefits of hiring women are if they're just going to come in like a wet blanket and take the fun out of work.

I'm a believer that you can't make change unless you have a seat at the table. And I'm not even going to get an invite to the party, let alone a seat, unless I play nice for at least a little bit. No one's going to hire me if all I do is rock their boat and take away their toys, no matter how good at my job I may be.

So I try not to rock their boat (too much) and in turn, I get hired. Again. And again. And again. Until I have a seat at that table and can be in a position to make some change. To hire more women. To hire less assholes. To show everyone that it doesn't have to be a Boys Club and that it is, in fact, better when it's not. To one day, have it so that there's enough women around that we're believed when we say someone is harassing us. To not be thought of as promiscuous or "asking for it" just because we're having a conversation with a guy.

I would have loved for the Grip to be punished for his inappropriate behavior and not face consequences myself (because I did nothing wrong) but that's not the world I live in (yet). But I hope it's the world that will exist someday. But until then, I need to pick my battles. Calling out one guy isn't the hill I want to go out on. I'm fighting a mountain here.

* It could've been any department.

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