It’s now officially the start of the summer, and I can’t help but to reminisce about the days when I used to work at Abercombie & Fitch.To this day, I still call my job at A&F the best job that I ever had.I worked as a “Brand Representative” (a.k.a. cashier) at the Boston Flagship store during the summer months between my junior and senior year of college.At that time, my store was the second largest A&F store in the country and it employed brand representatives from all over the United States.The Boston store was apparently the store that everyone wanted to work at.
At that time, A&F was known as a company that only hired people who they considered to be attractive.There was actually an A&F “look book” and if you met all of the criteria that was documented in this book, only then would you be considered for hire.So you could imagine my excitement when I first got offered my summer job at a staggering rate of $6.25 an hour.It was a dream come true for Dean!
The Boston store was sprawled out onto four floors.And depending on how attractive you were determined which floor you would work on.The best looking people worked on the first floor.These were the individuals who got to be the store “greeters”.The greeters were typically these beautiful young guys who stood in the entranceway, bare-chested, tossing around a football, while greeting the 13-year old girls as they skipped into the store…with their moms.The second floor housed the brand representatives who were considered to be good-looking but not quite good looking enough to go bare-chested.I worked on the third floor…but didn’t mind for one second.I was a) pleased not to be on the fourth floor and b) simply felt honored on a daily basis that I had scored such an influential job.
Spending my summer days and nights at A&F were some of the best times of my life. I was constantly surrounded by a plethora of boys all of whom at one point or another, I wanted to date.And I certainly wasn’t alone in my quest to get to know each of my male co-workers.I can say with absolute confidence that everyone who worked at our store had a similar mindset.
The brand representatives were constantly sneaking off into fitting rooms, the elevators, the break room, or even the stock room down in the basement to make out.The boys would cleverly drop hangers on the floor and watch as the girls would slowly bend down to pick them up.And the girls were always there to “offer advice” to the boys on helping them to select outfits to wear.This was a ploy so that they could watch the boys undress in the fitting rooms.Let’s just say that the brand representatives were very good at finding a way to do anything…but actually work.
The only requirement to get a job at A&F was to be good looking.That’s it.It was the one place that didn’t matter if you were smart or not.My very first summer crush at A&F was, Dense.(Note: Dense is not his real name but rather a carefully selected name that I have chosen for him in order to help conceal his true identity.) When I first met Dense, he introduced himself to me as an M.I.T.Being that our store was in Boston, I had automatically made the assumption that he was a student at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).Of course, I couldn’t help but to be attracted to Dense.I mean here was this beautiful (and obviously smart individual).What girl wouldn’t be attracted to him?He was the complete-package.But after a few days of getting to know him, I was a bit confused as to how he actually got into M.I.T. in the first place.
Dense and I went out for lunch together one afternoon.When I asked him what town he lived in, he responded with a one-word answer, “Guess”.
“Um, Brookline?”I guessed.
“Allston?”I guessed again.
“Nope.” He responded.
“Cambridge?”I asked beginning to feel somewhat annoyed by his silly little game.
“Nope.”He responded without seeming the least bit phased by how dumb our conversation actually was.
As we continued to eat our lunch together that afternoon, not a lot of words were exchanged.I never did find out what town he lived in.But I did learn that he had a tattoo on his six-pack abs.The tattoo was of the word, “Mom” and the “O” was perfectly centered on his bellybutton.I remember not really knowing what exactly to think about his tattoo. The whole “mom” thing just seemed so weird to me.
A few days later, I learned that Dense was not actually a student at M.I.T. but rather he was a “Manager in Training”.The A&F manager’s program typically lasts about 6 weeks.Dense had been transferred over to our store from another store and had been training for the manager role for over 6 months.Even though it was taking him longer than expected to grasp the concept of becoming a manager, he would never be fired from the Company.He was beautiful after all.
After I officially decided that Dense was too dumb to date, I moved on to another brand representative from Ohio named, Gabe. (Note: Gabe is not his real name but rather a carefully selected name that I have chosen for him in order to help conceal his true identity.)Much like Dense, Gabe was also beautiful.But he was beautiful in a completely different way.Dense was a “jock” whereas Gabe was much prettier with a set of piercing blue eyes, a button nose, and perfectly waxed eyebrows.Throughout the first part of the summer, Gabe and I became very close.We would always spend our breaks together, talk on the phone with each other when we weren’t at work, and had very deep conversations about our favorite articles of clothing in the store.I remember feeling absolutely beside myself with excitement when he finally asked me to go and see the movie “Clueless” with him.My beautiful friend, Gabe, who I had been crushing on for several weeks at that point, had finally asked me out on a legitimate date!We shared a bucket of popcorn together at the movies and I was feeling like I was on cloud 9 that night.
At the end of the movie, I walked back to his place with him praying that we would share our first kiss that night.But when I got to his place he put his hand on my knee and said, “Remember that part in the movie when Cher had a huge crush on Christian and he turned out to be gay?”
“It’s like you and I are replaying that very same part in the movie right now!”He said with a huge grin on his face.
And that’s exactly how I learned that Gabe was gay.A few days later, I also learned that he had a boyfriend back home in Ohio.
I felt slightly defeated at that moment.But luckily that feeling did not last for too long.I did work at A&F after all and that did mean that there were plenty of other good-looking guys at my store who I could crush on.
So that’s exactly what I did.Next I moved on to, Ty Tyson, the hot brand representative who was visiting Boston for the summer from Arkansas. (Note: Ty Tyson is not his real name but rather a carefully selected name that I have chosen for him in order to help conceal his true identity.)It turns out that Ty Tyson grew up on a farm right smack in the heart of the Bible Belt.This meant that he had never seen (or talked) to a Jewish person before me.Ty Tyson loved to ask me all sorts of questions about Judaism and what it was like to attend a “Jewish Church” (This was the term he used to describe a Temple.)And I reciprocated by asking him all sorts of questions about what it was like to grow up on a farm riding a tractor and raising chickens.
Ty Tyson and I were like two peas in a pod.Actually, I take that back. We didn’t have a single thing in common. But none of that really mattered at the end of the day because Ty Tyson and I had decided to officially go steady…for the rest of the summer. (i.e. about two weeks) He was beautiful and he taught me how to fold a pair of men’s pants like no one else could.We spent many nights together toward the end of that summer, folding men’s pants together for the “pant wall” and having all sorts of deep discussions about our unparalleled lives. Ty Tyson was the best summer fling a girl could have ever wished for.
I learned a lot from my job at A&F that summer. But the most important lesson I learned is that you don’t have to be smart to be successful.You just have to be pretty.Really pretty. Because good looks will get you everywhere in life…well at least that was the case at Abercrombie & Fitch.