Sal Story #11: “N” is for “Nudes”

I found the nudes.

Among other things, I filed the torn fashion pages that cluttered my desk every morning, compliments of Sal. I had developed a categorical system to neatly tuck them away underneath my desk in the appropriate tab: open-toed flats, closed-toed flats, ballets, oxfords, mary janes, mid-heights, platforms, stiletto’s, wedges, boots, etc. He would use these as inspiration, as competition, or simply to be aware of what was going on in the industry. He would occasionally throw in a French or Italian travel article that I would have to interpret and file in the set of travel tabs.

One particular morning, I waltzed in with high spirits, ready to tackle the pile in front of me. To my surprise, I instead found these (which have been dressed by me in fabulous white feather boas). Nudes. Nude women, not even wearing shoes. No design inspiration, no industry awareness, just…competition? I remember staring at the heavens and asking ‘why?’ Several of us nearly threw up. It almost appeared to be a staged presentation to announce that, no, he was not seeing men.

I walked into his office with “W” magazine in hand, littered with the nudes inside. I boldly asked if he would like for me to file these as well. It may have been the only time I’ve seen him turn shifty. He stammered out a bunch of statements about how they weren’t ‘dirty’ pictures. I questioned whether his recent eye-lift surgery was playing tricks on him. I took my moment and walked back to my desk, pulling out an empty file and a sharpie, which i labeled, “nudes.”

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