Modeling Years, Things I Rarely Talk About

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David Wayne

Modeling isn't something most boys talk about, so when it becomes exploitation, there is even less chance that a victim will come forward. A victim may also stay silent out of fear of missing opportunities.

My mother's hairstylist became my stylist when I stopped going to the barber with my father. Her name was Edie, and she was so sweet and beautiful, I made appointments as often as possible just to try new hairstyles. She loved my interest in cutting edge looks and hired a girl and myself to be models for her during a demonstration at Lansdale School of Cosmetology. So began my obsession with fashion and wanting to be noticed. When you're a kid and people are giving you the feeling of being special, attractive and wanted, and you've been through so much crap, it's easy to become lost.

Being closer to the city of Philadelphia opened up doors for a lot of things to happen, and because I didn't drive until I was 20, going through those doors meant catching the Doylestown line SEPTA buses that stopped at the end of my block, then catching the Cheltenham line buses that stopped at Montgomery Mall in North Wales. My favorite bus driver called me "Cool Breeze" because I wore dark sunglasses that looked like they had paint splattered on them. I was paid under the table for the modeling I did, which also meant there was less hassle for photographers and producers. A girlfriend I had at the time made it all seem okay. "Don't take your eyes off me. Whatever you do, don't look at the camera. Just relax and focus on me." It was fun for a while, because most things are fun when you're getting drunk or stoned and getting laid. But then the flashbacks came, and I didn't feel so good about being in front of a camera anymore. My depression hit a new low, and when she left for Los Angeles, I didn't follow. My grades were falling and I didn't see a future.

I started getting more serious about my life in order to finish high school. I was already behind the eight ball because I failed 9th grade and had to repeat it. Turning 18 in my junior year, I decided to enlist in the Army and use the GI Bill to pay for college. The Delayed Entry Program allowed me to get started before graduating, and my ASVAB told recruiters in Lansdale that I could go into just about any field. They tried to talk me into going for Engineering but my heart was set on Intelligence. What kid who grew up in the 70's and 80's didn't want to be James Bond? My recruiters, Sergeants Kinney, Crisman and Rice, were good guys who hung out with me now and then, eating at good Vietnamese restaurants, and seeing where I ended up working in fashion retail at Montgomery Mall. There were snickers because I wanted a future in fashion, but they were cool about it. The problem was I took a long time to decide, and there was a medical issue that had to be cleared up. Before I knew it, my time in the Program was up and I was discharged, but as soon as I was let go, the guys tried recruiting me again. By that time I had had enough and resigned myself to playing keyboards in a rock band. They were good friends I went to school with and had known for years, and it felt like coming home. My situation meant I had to stay at home with my parents longer, though, and my depression grew. I started waking up with chest pain and anxiety, and didn't know until a few years ago when my wife told me that those were the beginnings of my panic attacks.

My wife and I met and started dating 30 years ago. I'm 50 now and most of my PTSD symptoms have been dealt with. I still have an interest in fashion, but have pretty much turned my back on wanting to be noticed over the years. Now I'd rather blend in. Please note, this is not my full story. I don't have that much time on my hands.
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