During my time at Mackley Designer Portraiture, we needed a new secretary. In no time, Steve had somehow found a candidate, interviewed her and hired her: a stunningly beautiful recently engaged 24 year old with no experience in the photography world. Her name was Sarah. I’m sure it still is, though you never know these days. Sarah asked me if I’d be willing to do a set of sexy photos to give to her fiancé on their wedding day. “Photographer of Sexy Ladies” is a job that every red blooded straight man has fantasized about having. It’s right up there with astronaut, rock star, and race car driver. At this point in my burgeoning photo career, I had only done one shoot that could be considered “sexy” or “boudoir-ish” in any form. It was very tame, and it was of my wife’s cousin, Michelle. I suppose that would make Sarah boudoir shoot #2. That being said, at this point I had not really thought much about boudoir as a serious pursuit. I was a middle aged family guy in a 24 year old body at this point: Wife, 2 kids, house, church, lots of polo shirts and dockers, etc. The context of my life simply didn’t allow for that, so I didn’t even imagine it, let alone seek out opportunities for such shoots. But here one was, and it sure seemed interesting. I checked in with my wife first: “So we have this new secretary, Sarah, and she has asked me to make a set of sexy photos to give to her fiancé on their wedding day. How do you feel about that?” “That sounds great!”, she said. It’s worth noting that Mireesa had never actually seen Sarah before. Mireesa was (and still is) an absolutely gorgeous woman. She has always struggled with her weight to some degree. Nevertheless, I’ve always found her to be absolutely beautiful. She could never really let my praise in, however. She had such self loathing about her own body that she couldn’t possibly believe that someone else could find her beautiful. This proved to be a toxic element of our relationship, more on that later. There is another covertly overbearing female player in this story – Our other secretary, Lacy. Lacy and Mireesa had a few things in common – one of them being that they were both really cool about the idea of this shoot Sarah and I were planning, during the planning stages, anyway. Another is their battles with their weight and the emotional baggage they secretly tote around because of it. Sarah and I planned the shoot in two parts, one day up in Logan Canyon, another in the studio on Saturday when there wouldn’t be anybody walking around. We weren’t planning on doing any nudes, but even racy lingerie shots felt like something that deserved some privacy. We did the shoot, she seemed happy with the images. A few days later I began the editing process. I got called into Steve’s office. He hadn’t been totally aware of exactly what kind of shoot we were doing. He made it clear that we can’t be doing that kind of shoot anymore. We had a reputation to maintain in the community, and this cannot be part of it. Through some careful listening, I was able to deduce that Lacey had lost her shit about the shoot. Not to my face, and probably not even to Sarah’s face – but most certainly to Steve’s face. Not long after, I showed Mireesa the finished images. “Nope, you aren’t shooting Sarah again. Nope. No more shoots like this.”, she said with an odd terseness in her voice that spoke volumes. Oh, jealousy. Though I did notice her jealousy, though I did feel the waves in the ether of our marriage, I had no strong feelings about doing any more boudoir shoots. Our marriage was vastly more important to me than some random sexy shoots here and there. Though this was an easy concession to make in the context of my married life, it has proven to have some bigger implications. I’ve been accused of only dating women that are particularly beautiful and fit. Let me be clear, ladies: it’s not the extra pounds that make you look fat – it’s your bitter jealousy of other women’s looks that make you look fat, and ugly. Every once in a while I’ve met a woman who has some extra pounds, but is super comfortable in her own skin and respectful of everyone else’s… and those women are absolutely beautiful and delightful – a prize for any good man. (see my story about the boxy bride) There’s nothing quite like being able to tell my lady “You look so gorgeous today”, and to know that she let my compliment sink all the way in without any of her own shame and fear deflecting it. Fellas – I recommend you date confident women who know how to love themselves. It’s a beautiful thing to be believed.