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I applied my makeup as quickly as I could. “I’m gonna’ be late for work!” I whispered to myself. As I grabbed my keys and slipped into my coat, my boyfriend Tom tried to slide right past me.
“Oh, Tom! Can you tell me how my makeup looks?” I grabbed his arm.
“Looks fine,” Tom responded, sounding uninterested.
“Please be honest! I have an important meeting at the office today,” I said as I fiddled with my coat buttons.
“Karen, I said it looks fine. I’m gonna’ go back to sleep; I just came downstairs for some water,” Tom said.
“Okay. Well, I love you. I’ll see you when I come home,” I said, leaning in for a kiss. Tom backed away from me, and walked up the stairs. I wondered what his problem was; he was probably just tired. I was beyond late though. I had to go!
I sprinted into the office with only two minutes to spare. Phew! I set down my purse on my desk and took a breather.
“Karen! Good, you’re here. Your pitch better be good!” my new boss, Mr. Harvey, shouted to me.
“Yes, sir. I’m ready. I think my pitch is going to be great!” I said with a wide smile.
“Well, it better be because our company has a lot counting on this deal!” Mr. Harvey turned on his heels and walked into the meeting room.
I followed into the meeting room, where all of the head people of the company we were representing sat before me. I nervously set up my poster board and my pitch papers with my advertising ideas and began to speak. I noticed that most of the group seemed uninterested.
After the group had departed wearing their dour expresions, Mr. Harvey roared, “How do you think this will affect our business, Karen? This idea is outrageous! I will not take part in a pitch like this!” Mr. Harvey began to storm out. Then he turned around and faced me with a glare. “You know my personal assistant hired you when I was out of the country on important business. He just went on and on about your ‘amazing credentials’ and how good you would be for Dilbert Advertising! That idiot even went so far as demanding a three year contract for you! Well, that is the last time I will purchase anything sight unseen!”
I began to tear up and ripped my poster board in half. The drive home was terrible, not just because of after work traffic, but because I could not stop crying. I could have lost my contract with a pitch like that! What was I thinking?
I decided to keep my mind off of things and turn up the radio. I then stopped into Chick-Fil-A and got Tom a burger and a milkshake because he had seemed a little down this morning. I got myself a salad, so I could eat with him too.
I finally arrived home after what seemed like a ten hour drive. “Tom, I’m home! I brought you some food,” I called with a smile.
Tom sat in the recliner, playing his video games. It was like I wasn’t even there. Maybe he just couldn’t hear me over the sound of gunfire.
“Tom! I brought you some food!” I removed his headset and yelled at him.
“Okay! I heard you!” Tom snapped at me.
I jumped back in confusion as to why he was being mean. I sat his food on his lap and mine at the table, hoping he would get up and join me, but he didn’t. I waited about five minutes for him to come to the dinner table. When he didn’t, I walked over to his chair. He hadn’t touched his food, so I turned off his video games.
“Hey! What the hell!” he shouted to me.
“Why are you being like this? What’s the matter with you, Tom?” I asked him and plopped down on the couch.
“Just in a bad mood today I guess. I apologize; it wasn’t right of me to treat you that way,” Tom sincerely responded as he pulled me into a hug.
“It’s okay, we all have bad days. I had a bad day today. My pitch didn’t go so well; my boss said my pitch was outrageous.” My eyes begin to fill with tears.
“Well, maybe it wasn’t your pitch that was the problem,” Tom stated.
“What do you mean? It couldn’t be anything else; it was just a bad pitch idea.” I said at I looked at Tom confused.
“Maybe it was your outfit, hair, makeup? Maybe, it was your looks,” Tom said.
“I looked fine! I always make sure I look great before going to work!” I yelled at Tom.
“Okay, then maybe you should get cosmetic surgery. Maybe it would boost your shot at a good sales pitch,” Tom said as he took a sip of his milkshake.
“You have got to be kidding! You are telling me that I should go out and spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery, just to get a good pitch? You’re kidding, Tom.” I said, feeling a volcanic burst of anger.
“Hey, I’m just saying maybe it would help. I could give you the money if you need it,” Tom offered.
“I’m not going to need it. That’s a stupid idea. My next pitch is going to be great,” I confirmed as I sat down and started to eat.
Weeks and weeks went by, and Mr. Harvey denied every one of my pitches. Then I remembered hom Tom had suggested cosmetic surgery. That was way out of my ball park. Maybe I should go for it though. So there I was, taking the vacation time in my contract off of work to get this surgery. Mr. Harvey seemed relieved when I applied for the time, telling him I was going to work on a promotional that would guarantee Dilbert Advertising was going to hit it out of the ball park.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Tom asked looking worried.
“Well you suggested this, didn’t you?”
“Well yeah… “ Tom said.
I lay in the hospital bed with my robe on and waited for my doctor to come in.
“Hello Karen, how are you today? Are you ready to become beautiful?” Doctor Martin asked with a smile.
“I’m pretty nervous actually, but I’m ready.”.
Soon the attendant wheeled me into the middle of the operating room with all of the big, bright lights and all of the doctors covered from head to toe in white. They injected me with a needle, and I instantly began to doze off. I do not remember anything until I woke up a few hours later in my hospital room, my face swathed in white bandages. Tom was sitting next to me with a tray of smoothies. The next couple of weeks during my convalescence at home, Tom waited on me like I was a queen and he was my personal servant.
When the day came for the doctor to finally remove the last of the bandages, I went to the visit alone. I was filled with great anticipation as Doctor Martin handed me a large hand mirror. “Oh my gosh… my face, it… it looks amazing!” I stared into the mirror, carefully examining my turned up nose and my new small ears and my plumped lips.
A few days later I strutted into the office with the confidence of a queen. During my time off, I had designed an outstanding presentation with an accompanying PowerPoint, and I felt all set. I knew that it was my best presentation ever!.
“Good mor... Wow! Karen!” Mr Harvey looked at me with his jaw wide open. The rest of the office filled with ‘oohs and ahhs.’
“Yeah, I had a little bit of a change, Mr. Harvey. No big deal. Sir, are you ready to hear my presentation?” I asked him politely.
“Yes, of course,” Mr. Harvey confirmed and ushered me into his personal office where he sat down in his leather office chair, smiling broadly the entire time.
About twenty-five minutes passed, with Mr. Harvey listening intently. Other times Mr. Harvey had instructed me to stop after only five minutes. I soon began to realize that the change in my physical appearance had made the difference.
“Mr. Harvey, can i ask you something, sir?” I said as I turned off my presentation.
“Yes ma’am, go right ahead.” Mr Harvey said, smiling up at me.
“Why are you so interested in my pitch?” I asked.
“Well, you’re a very beautiful wom...”
I cut him off. “Are you serious? I was hired based on my credentials and my ability, which I worked hard to achieve, not for my face!”
“Now, Karen, if you want to make great pitches and impress people, the looks help.” Mr. Harvey calmly stated as he took a sip of his coffee.
“Oh I see. Well, if that’s the case, then I quit!”
“You can’t quit; you signed a three year contract with this company! We’ll sue!” His face was red as a beet!
“You just try, Mr. Harvey, and I will file a descrimantion suit that will drag you and this company through the mud!”
I tore down my presentation and stomped out of the office. I drove home, astounded that I had stood up for myself like that. After fifteen minutes of driving, I stormed into my house, and slammed the door.“Tom!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
A few seconds later, Tom came running down the stairs “Hey, you’re home. How did the presentation go?” he said, trying to lean in for a kiss.
“Don’t touch me. I quit my job; my boss didn’t think I was pretty enough for my pitches before my surgery. You actually suggested that I get it done. So, why? Lately, you have been walking around the house calling me beautiful, flawless, blah, blah, blah. You never said those things to me before. So why were we even together?” I had finally snapped.
“At first you were a lot of fun, and you had this great pad! If you want the truth, I was going to break up with you before you had gotten the surgery, I had lost feelings because I didn’t think you were pretty enough. Now you are. So, everything is okay,” Tom said with a smile.
“Well, I’m going to need you to pack up your things and get the hell out of my house. I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that way about me. Get out!” I yelled.
“Fine, I have plenty other girls who want to be with this,” Tom said as he looked down at his body.
“Okay, well they can have you. Go get your things and leave!”
It is now few months later, and I have a new job at a bigger company in a new city with a new apartment. My boss is wonderful! I told him all that had happened in the past. He didn’t think it was right of anybody to judge me on my looks instead of my qualifications. One of my coworkers, Clay, has taken me out on a few dates. I see only a bright future ahead. Perhaps I had been wrong to fall into a superficial world and agree to the surgery, but the good that came out of it was that I realized that Tom and Dilbert Advertising were not right for me because they did not respect the true me. I’m very glad I went through my surgery because I am never going to live in the plastic world again. If people can’t accept me for who I am instead of what I look like, then I do not belong in their world.