Ennis stood out from the crowd in a way that was instantly noticeable to everyone in the room but him. His boss had warned him to dress up, so he was wearing his best flannel shirt and a large Texas star belt buckle. He looked around and noticed that flannel apparently was uncommon in Paris, France and decided that maybe he could teach them something about fashion instead of the other way around. He kept trying to make conversation with the other photographers in the bull pen area at the end of the runway, but they all wanted to talk about the upcoming show, or some model that had broken her wrist getting out of a car, or what colors were going to be in for this season. Ennis wondered again what the hell Paul had been thinking.
The West Bandera Picayune/Bulletin, where he worked as a staff photographer and reporter, did a survey last year and discovered that their readership was almost entirely women. So Paul, editor-in-chief, added more coverage of fashion and ‘lifestyle’, whatever that meant. The paper had applied for a grant to cover the Paris fashion week in person; the whole idea was to get non-typical news media there.
Ennis looked around and figured he was about as non-typical as you could get.
Paul had presented the job to him as some plum assignment, but Ennis was still upset about not being able to cover the annual 4-H calf roping contest that was happening at the county fairgrounds. So far Paris was okay, the buildings were pretty cool, but he hadn’t been able to find a decent beer anywhere.
Finally the show began and Ennis jockeyed with the other photographers for the best view. The first model came around the corner and there was an instant murmur from the crowd along with some quiet applause. The flashbulbs all around Ennis were going off but he didn’t think the dress was that great. He always thought of that color orange as meaning ‘safety’ not ‘fashion’ but he took one shot of her when she was closer.
As each model came down the runway Ennis got more and more confused. His idea of feminine beauty had a few more curves and a little jiggle to it. Nothing on these chicks would jiggle even if you put them on the mechanical bull at his favorite bar. The clothes seemed uncomfortable and almost mean; most being either horribly tight, or so big (voluminous was the word some photographer next to him used) that he was amazed they could move at all. But he kept taking pictures, using only one exposure per model.
Flash. wait… Flash. wait… He let himself get pushed further back into the group, nothing he was seeing made being up front worthwhile.
After 15 minutes of being mostly bored a model came around the corner in a dress that he liked. It was white, long sleeved, long skirted, and another one of those that seemed too tight to move in. To solve the problem the designer had cut a slit in the front of the dress along the right leg of the model that Ennis swore went up to the girl’s navel. He began snapping multiple shots, and for the first time elbowed his way back to the front of the group, grinning all the while.
As she approached the end of the runway to do her pose and turn Ennis zoomed further in. This photo wouldn’t make it in the paper, it was just for him. Folks had told him he would see amazing things in Paris, finally this girl in this dress was proving them right.
“That”, he murmured to himself, “is hot cooter I can understand.”