I Would Make a Really Lousy Hooker

Sensible hooker shoes

There are few activities I loathe more than trying to sell something. Even if it’s a worthwhile product like my son’s upcoming Boys Scouts microwave popcorn fundraiser, the whole selling process makes me feel like a slimy used car salesman. I despise being a bother or a pest and I don’t like trying to convince people to buy something they may not want or need.

The thing I hate selling the most is myself. My Catholic upbringing instilled a certain amount of humility in my veins, so the thought of shouting, “Look at me! Aren’t I great?” would feel akin to a mortal sin that would cost me three Hail Marys and six Our Fathers in the penance box.

Truth be told, I’m generally a likeable person. Whatever I do, I do it with enthusiasm. And I’m a very hard worker. But I would feel really uncomfortable if I was forced to go around town tooting my own horn about it.

This is why I would make a really lousy hooker.

Of course, if I happened to land a job in the world’s oldest profession, I would try to be the best damn hooker I could be. I could see myself on a street corner, wearing sensible Payless Shoes heels and a Victoria’s Secret pushup bra, striving to look attractive in a crowd of other gals with taller platforms and manufactured breasts that don’t need help standing at attention. Rather than promote myself, I would silently hope my potential customers would inherently sense that I was generally likeable, enthusiastic, and a hard worker and pick me for my good company.

I bring up this hooker analogy because this is the way I felt the past couple of weeks. I had to sell myself in a recent election, and I was wishing I had Heidi Fleiss doing the hawking for me.

I’ve been serving on the board of Neighborhood Council Valley Village for about a year and a half in a Homeowner’s seat, and now I was running for the Education seat. I’m a hard worker, I’m dedicated to education, and I enjoy volunteering in my community. Most people who meet me seem to like me. Either that or they’re faking it really well.

I thought I’d be a good fit.

And I probably would have been if I had run unopposed. But a lovely woman who actually works in education threw her hat into the ring, so now I was expected to campaign.

Six of seven incumbents including myself were running for re-election, and we called ourselves The Slate of 6. The others are knowledgeable, extremely dedicated and completely deserving of another term in office.These candidates knocked on doors, shook hands, introduced themselves and delivered handbills promoting The Slate of 6.

The thought of trolling door to door like a persistent Jehovah’s Witness was terrifying. Also, I happened to be swamped with work. So instead, I created daily Facebook posts telling everyone to save the date and vote for The Slate of 6. After a while, I felt like The Slate of 6 was a recorded loop over a bullhorn, and I got that slimy used car salesman feeling whenever I ran into a Facebook friend.

In the mornings after drop off, I passed out flyers outside our local elementary school where I know about half the parents. I planned my speech and rehearsed it over and over:

“Hi. I’m running for the Education seat of Neighborhood Council Valley Village, and I hope you’ll come out to vote for The Slate of 6 on September 20th.”

The school bell rang, the children entered their classrooms, and throng of parents approached the gate. I was ready to run interception.

“Hi. I’m running…”

That’s about as far as I could get. Because they were the ones who were running.

Frankly, I hate it when anyone tries to shove a flyer into my face, so why shouldn’t anyone else hate it as well? Plus, they were on their way to start their busy day. If it was me, I’d be racing off too.

I was so uncomfortable, I felt like a tortoise not only hiding in its shell, but crawling into a catatonic ball within that shell. I ended up shyly handing out the handbills with my head down, not making eye contact, and praying that I wouldn’t be shunned at PTA meetings for the next five years.

Most parents took the flyers but didn’t have time for my pitch. Those who knew me were quite polite and many others were actually encouraging.

But the whole ordeal was excruciating.

Over four days I ended up passing out 300 handbills, and unlike street vendors hawking outside the Sports Arena, not a single flyer ended up as trash on the ground. I was encouraged.

Election day finally arrived. The campaigning from the entire Slate paid off and The Slate of 6 won by a landslide!

Today, I’m happy to be back working with a team of dedicated community supporters on an organization I have grown to love. Thank God these board members already know that I am generally likeable, enthusiastic, and a hard worker, so I don’t have to sell myself to them.

And now I can breathe a sigh of relief that I can change my Facebook message to something else that makes me equally uncomfortable:

Promoting this blog.

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1 Comment

Filed under Anxiety, Career, Friends, Fundraising, Humor, Public Education, Volunteering

One response to “I Would Make a Really Lousy Hooker

  1. I can sure tell you’re my daughter. One reason I never made The Lamplighter Movement an official Non-Profit organization (501C3) is because I hate asking people for money and I don’t like being told what to do (the government would be on my back constantly) but I especially hate the first thing. I’m a very bad salesman about selling my books because I too, feel like a slimeball if I have to sell my books which means trying to sell myself. I took an analyzed career test in high school to see what I’d be best suited for. I don’t remember what that was but I remember what I wasn’t, ANY JOB WHERE I WOULD HAVE TO SELL MYSELF OR SOMETHING ELSE. Sound familiar? I’m so proud that you were able to get elected all because of just WHO you are and not because you pushed yourself on 3000 people.

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