Confessions of a Heineken Girl
The day brains conquered beauty.
This is not one of those empty confessions. You know the type, they promise a lot; a scandalous affair, unclean thoughts about the gardener, waking up alone naked in a bed after a party with no recollection as to how you got there. No, most confessions usually fizzle out into something that most of us would just attribute to being normal; I snuck two blocks of chocolate instead of one, I like eating cold pizza, I read my emails on the toilet …meh!
A confession is something that when heard, triggers gasping, pearl clutching or contorted facial expressions. It is usually at odds with what people feel they know about your character. Reckless young adulthood is usually a wonderful source for confessions that your kids do not want to hear.
I have one such confession that once heard, cannot be forgotten.
I was once a Heineken girl!
Wait! Before you hurtle a copy of The Female Eunuch at my head with the full force of the suffragette behind it, let me explain.
It was 1990 (insert dream sequence and Ice Ice Baby). I was in the second year of my Bachelor of Ahh-This-Will-Do, at university. The demands of running my un-roadworthy car, a misguided need to keep perming my hair and enthusiastic partying had rendered my financial situation untenable.
I had been cruelly de-rostered from my part-time job at Target where I had worked from the time I was 14, (turning 20 meant that you were no longer entitled to participate in the Australian exploitative child labour program), so the pittance I had always complained about was instantly gone.
I needed to find another form of employment and fast. I had previously given waitressing a go at a German steakhouse. The close proximity to beer had been the initial draw card until it was discovered that I was completely shit at waiting tables. I am sorry I thought you wanted rum flavoured potatoes? This short and torturous stint labelled me unsuitable for any other service orientated work.
Fast forward a few months and I am trawling through newspapers (for those born after 1995, newspapers were a source of finding a job) with a crap perm (is there any other kind?) and contemplating cracking open the home brewing kit. I happened upon an ad looking for university students. I was pretty sure I was still enrolled due to my fast accumulating HECS debt. It was an advertising agency offering jobs in alcohol marketing.
Hello……perfect for the job.
I was sure I had studied at least one unit of marketing at some point and then I pretty much spent the rest of my time buying, drinking, dispensing and smelling of alcohol. I was going to smoke this job interview.
My over-zealous imagination went into overdrive. Corner office, Chanel business suit, and fancy drinks after work, cute male secretary (I must remember to tell him I only drink black coffee).
I would be running this agency within a week!
I fashioned myself a being-interviewed-by-snooty-marketing-nob outfit and breezed out the door promising to spring for a celebratory dinner upon my return, in spite of the unsupportive eye-rolling from my parents. Sometimes I think how wonderful it would be to still have that youthful ignorance that gave you the balls to assume you could do anything (says the middle-aged writer with fanciful notions of publishing success).
The salubrious offices of Kyzinksi and Ziegler promised so much, and kept my dream alive for marketing career domination. The gold rimmed glass doors shouted everything that was over the top and showy about the 80s money fountain.
I announced myself to the receptionist, who could have been mistaken for a set of bagpipes on account of her on-trend tartan two piece suit.
‘I am here for my interview for the marketing graduate position.’ I stated with a pleasant confidence.
Braveheart’s bratty little sister ran a critical eye up and down my size 12 frame with amusement. ‘Sorry, but you are not interviewing for a marketing position, we have you booked for a Heineken girl casting.’
Oxygen seized in my lungs. She directed me to a boardroom full to the brim with blonde, size eights sporting perfectly manicured fingernails, waxed eyebrows and not a visible panty line in sight. I mentally checked myself. Nail polish – no. Makeup – barely. Sexy bra strap peeping out from underneath white tank top – yeah right. G-string – what’s that?
Oh sure I had this in the bag. A tall, lumpy, brunette was what they wanted, surely.
A slick young gun bounced into the room ready to tackle this coveted job with gusto. A small amount of bile waved from my throat. For the love of self-esteem…RUN. Everything about me in this scenario was wrong. I could see my sociology lecturer stringing me up in front of the class as an example of the dark side. The sexualisation of women; glamorising alcohol; reinforcing a yobbo society...yadda, yadda, yadda.
But something stopped me. I knew I didn’t want the job (as if I would ever have a chance of getting it), so why not make a stand and give this lot something to think about. One by one we introduced ourselves, our likes, dislikes, work experience and natural hair colour.
The procession of girls who loved partying, hanging out with friends and shopping giggled their way through the next 20 minutes much to the delight of our horny overseer.
Then all eyes fell upon me and I opened my mouth.
‘My name is Jaquelyn Thatcher I am studying political science, I have brewed my own beer so I am familiar with the fermentation process involved in beer production, my mother is from the Netherlands, I can sing happy birthday in Dutch, I have visited the Heineken factory in Amsterdam and I refuse to wear a bikini, midriff top or push up bra’.
All totally true.
The room was silent. The horny overseer stared at me blankly. I found out later that he was actually thinking.
On the way home I sat silently smiling knowing I was still financially challenged but feeling empowered as my heart hammered the tune of ‘I am woman’.
A day later I get a phone call from the horny overseer.
‘Hi Jaquelyn, it’s the horny overseer from Kyzinski and Zeigler. We loved having you at the Heineken casting the other day. Listen sweetie (wanker) we would love to offer you a position in Heineken’s snow campaign this winter. Three weeks at Mount Buller, all expenses paid, do you ski? (Sure do, creepy little man). Great. And you will be wearing promotional snow gear so you don’t have to worry about wearing a bikini. Oh and the head of Heineken marketing is coming out to Australia and it’s his birthday.’
Two months later I am skiing down the slopes of Mount Buller, basking in the alpine sunshine having learned something. That being yourself does not suck as much as you may think it does and three weeks of solidly watching people get hammered on Heineken, is a great way to give up drinking beer.