Thursday, 11 February 2010

Mr (I Think I'm) Big: part 4

I got to the boutique 10 minutes late because I hadn’t realised 5th Avenue was one way and I couldn’t get a cab.
I needn’t have worried though, Mark keep me waiting 35 minutes before he even acknowledged me.
Eventually he introduced himself and showed me to his office, I told him I would consider a management position but I’d be far more interested in something away from the shop floor.
He was fairly dismissive of me and never looked me in the eye once; he took several phone calls during the interview and interrupted me virtually every time I spoke, he was intimidating and it was making me uncomfortable.

I don’t like being made to feel uncomfortable.

It is important to me that people feel comfortable in my company, I work hard at putting people at ease, when I don’t receive the same courtesy it gets my back up.

I’ve had to deal with a lot of men like Mark in my life, if I’d read him right I could turn the power balance on it’s head and have him eating out of my hand (if I was wrong I’d lost nothing but the possibility of a job as a shop girl with a difficult boss in a country where a visa would cost half my basic salary….)

So I stopped trying to impress him there and then, he'd have to impress me.

I took my portfolio off the table and put it in my bag, I crossed my legs and lent back in my chair and I said, ‘look Mark, your product is fabulous, your boutiques are beautifully merchandised and you clearly have a thriving business but your branding sucks, your staff are pushy, the atmosphere is intimidating and you’re only internet presence is people bad mouthing your hard sell tactics on web forums.
If you want me to help you sort all that out fine but I’m not interested in a commission based retail job. Now, I don’t want to waste any more of your time you’re obviously very busy….

He looked at me incredulous…oh my god, he’s gonna kick me out I thought….

At that point a gentleman walked into the office, he smiled at me warmly and introduced himself ‘sorry to interrupt Mark but I need to talk to you about this spread sheet’
‘Not now Korai, listen, take this girl out for dinner, somewhere nice, I want to talk to her some more but I have an appointment, I’ll meet you later’

So…now Mr dismissive was buying my dinner ;-)

It was the night they switched on the Christmas lights on the enormous tree at the Rocafella centre.

We tried to get close and have a look but the crowds were mad so we got off 5th asap and Korai took me to the Manderin hotel.
The resturant is on the 33rd floor and the views of Manhatten are to die for.

We ordered Tempura and white wine and Korai told me he was from a town in Turkey where his dad was Mayer. His family were very wealthy and he didn’t have to work but he felt unfulfilled and came to America to gain an education and to better his English, his Father had said that he would disown him if he left Turkey so now he had to earn his own living and work very hard to support himself.
I loved the way he talked of hard work and of his achievements making him feel like a real man, the fact that he sought out hardship in order to challenge himself and gain a sense of pride, I related to that and I admired him for it.
He didn’t want to be kept, he wanted to make his own way, and he wanted to feel proud and justified.
So many people in our British society feel the world owes them a living, it’s easy to forget that you can’t buy self esteem, pride or a sense of achievement, these are things you have to work for, these are things that have to be earned, they bring you self worth, which is more valuable in terms of happiness than all the money in the world.

The hardest things you ever do will often be the most rewarding.

After a while Mark arrived.
He greeted Korai warmly but barely looked at me, then, he paid the bill and informed us that we were leaving.
This man was so rude that I probably should have walked right then but Korai was nice, a real gentleman, I felt safe with him and I was alone in New York on a Wednesday night in December, spending time with this pair was as good an option as any.
We went to Mark’s apartment so that he could change, we sipped tequila and talked about dancing. Mark put on a waltz and I tried to teach Korai some basic steps. We were all laughing and the atmosphere softened slightly.

Then talk turned to me, we discussed my background and my portfolio briefly and Mark said that I should forget about New York because I wasn’t strong enough to survive there, I didn’t have anything to offer and I was probably just running away from an old boyfriend any way. He pointed out that I didn't have an education, I was too old to start again and my portfolio was average. He added that all English girls were the same, none of us can be trusted, we are all stupid and think that we are better than everyone else.

‘So there you go I’m telling you this as a friend, you seem like a nice girl so I suppose you’ll just go home and continue your little dressmaking job then’ he concluded.
I honestly had to fight back the tears, really fight...because he'd been so harsh and venomous, and because a bit off me thought some of what he'd said was true.
I swallowed hard and looked him in the eye.
‘Maybe Mark, maybe not, that’s what this trip is about, I’m considering my options because I’ve reached a plateau and I need a challenge, I’ll gladly listen to your advice, as I would any ones but I won’t necessarily take it, you’re not that important.'

He was listening now.

It’s great to meet someone as successful as you are and I appreciate you taking the time to give me your opinion but to be fair you don’t know enough about me to make any of those assumptions, this is partly due to the fact that you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said since we met.
You’re an inspiration though! You have absolutely no social skills are clearly very insecure and have some serious inadequacy issues. These are things I know, because I have listened to everything you’ve said.
I am assuming that a British girl broke your heart and left you bitter too, and through all that, look what you’ve achieved! Blimey! Anything is possible in this city!’

He smiled at me then, I smiled back, he picked up my portfolio, flipped though it again and said ‘I have the money to make your business work…lets go dancing.’

We went to a near by Salsa club with a neon dance floor.
Korai couldn’t stay because he had work to do so he wished me good luck, told me anything was possible and backed up this statement with a delightful story about him and his mates discussing extreme sports over desert one evening.
After a whim and a few phone calls, by 2am they were all skydiving over Manhattan. :-)

I had decided that Mark was a prize prick but I am always intrigued by socially dysfunctional people so I danced with him, he was a good dancer…a very good lead (no surprises there then!)
I told him of my ideas for off the peg collections and boutique stockists and how difficult and risky the supply chain seemed to me, he told me that I lacked intelligence and couldn’t do anything without someone like him.
I told him I was leaving without him, he chased me out of the club and begged me to stay, he told me I was the most amazing woman he’d ever met. He had tears in his eyes.

Finally this idiot was talking some sense.

To Be Continued...


  1. I second the last statement from him darling.. You truly are very special and lovely...xxxx

  2. What a controlling ego manic, love it!

    Gilly this is the fabulous start to a story..... to prove him wrong should make you so very damn determined to succeed! At the end of the story .....he begs you to marry him as you storm out to your fabulous show at fashion week leaving a crumpled man crying on the floor!

  3. LOVE IT!!! Do you have to keep leaving it on a cliffhanger !!!!

  4. Interesting headgame He played - BOY were you motivated to prove him wrong....

  5. More more...I want to know what happens next

  6. God, this is sounding like a good novel and I know it's real life! You're the inspiration here. CANT wait for next installment. xx

  7. How brilliant that you stayed with it! It must have been so hard hearing all of those negative and vacuous comments. What an idiot indeed. But I am really impressed with your assertiveness and quick intelligent responses. Well done you! Loving the story.

  8. Next ..pleaseeeeeee !!!....XXXXXX