“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to the Jane Game.”
I sink back down into my seat. Shit. Guess I’ll just have to talk to “Mr. Rude” later.
I desperately want to talk to him and find out why he flat out lied to me about being on the Jane Game, but I realize that I’ll have to wait.
Standing in the front of the room is a gorgeous, tall, slim woman. She has large almond eyes and long strawberry blonde hair. She is dressed impeccably head to toe, all designer.
“My name is Caroline, and I am the producer of the Jane Game.” People applaud, she smiles, I do nothing.
“I can’t wait to meet each and every one of you. I wanted to introduce myself and tell you that whatever you need, just ask! That’s what producers are for!” People giggle.
“I digress; I am here to make sure the show runs smoothly. Just follow the rules, have fun and be yourself. Do that and I’m sure all of you will find love in no time.” She says this and looks directly at me.
Caroline then goes into a long winded speech about her biography and all of her accomplishments as a producer.
Then she introduces the rest of her team and all of the personal assistants each of us has been assigned.
“Okay contestants, it’s time to split up, girls say goodbye to the boys, the next time you see them will be our first day on the show!” She flicks her hands and our assistants escort the girls out first.
I linger to the back of the pack of girls, hoping to steal one last look at Mr. Rude.
I’m slowly walking out when I feel a light hand on my shoulder.
“Right this way love! Onto the next activity on your schedule!” Says Maddie, pushing me quickly towards the door.
I turn back towards the room and the door slams behind me.
“Okay love, right now we have you image consultant meeting. Then after that we have the wardrobe fitting. Then lunch, and then the spa. Then the makeover expert.”
“Wait Maddie, image consultant… makeover expert… why do we need those?” I ask puzzled.
We follow the herd of women through the hotel.
“Oh, they are just here to help love!” She says picking up her pace.
We all march into a conference room. Where 8 strangers are sitting… one for each of us girls. We all pair up with someone and our assistants leave. Maddie hands me a water bottle before she does and says in more than a few words that she will see me in an hour and a half when the consultant session is over.
I introduce myself to my “image consultant”.
My person is a petite sweet looking girl named Sarah, and we easily fall into conversation. I notice she starts taking notes halfway through. After telling her a funny story about my loser ex, and how he unromantically sent me to the hospital on valentine’s day, I pause and decide to ask her more straightforward questions.
“Look, I like talking with you, but what exactly do you do? Why do we need an image consultant? Isn’t this reality T.V?”
Sarah looks startled for a second and then recovers. My forward question must have thrown her a bit.
“Good question. Well, we are here to find and highlight your strengths. On the show, we may ask you to exaggerate your strengths a bit, either during a competition or during a scene. This is just to add a bit of color to a show. They do it all the time. For example, your strengths are, warmth, confidence, and forwardness.”
“You mean, ignorance, pride, and abrasiveness.” I say in a flat tone.
“Oh no! Not at all! You are kind, strong, and bold.” Sarah smiles and touches my arm. “So during a competition, you may be paired with a difficult partner. We would ask you to be really warm and supportive of them, instead of taking the lead.”
I blink back at her.
“Okay, but I don’t want to do that. I want to win money. I would take the lead and make sure we win.”
“Oh.” She says with a frown. She scribbles in her notebook. “Okay, then let’s say we put the men and women together and your friend is alone in the corner. What would you do?” She looks at me expectedly.
“Well I would stop dancing and go hangout with her. She is probably more fun to talk to anyway.”
“Perfect!” Sarah exclaims. “You are displaying confidence that you do not care what others in the room would think of you. That’s what we mean. Just highlighting your strengths.
I was confused. Did they want me to act, or be myself? I crack open my water bottle and take a big sip.
For the rest of the “consultation” I sat and listened to Sarah jabber on about me and my strengths.
As promised, Maddie sweeps me up at the door when the session is over and whisks me to another conference room that is lined with gorgeous dresses from the regency period.
My mood starts to pick up again. Sara was a very nice girl, but I hate being analyzed and tested like that.
Towards the end I was starting to feel self conscious and grumpy. But seeing the gorgeous fabrics and ruffles was just the cure I needed.
I notice, once again 8 different stations set up for each girl. Maddie leads me to one at the far left corner of the room. I shake hands with Fluer, a petit girl who quietly asks me to lift my arms in a thick french accent. I oblige and am immediately stripped naked and then redressed into the first gown.
She zips and spins me around to look in the mirror. I gaze at my appearance as she grabs accessories to match the dress.
The gown is a rich warm grey, made from fine muslin. It has ha sort capped sleeves and a very deep swooping neck, showing just a hint of cleavage. I am given a rose colored shawl and my hair is tied up into a rose colored ribbon. Some of the ringlets fall and from the loose knot and frame my face.
I look just like a character from a Jane Austen novel. My breath hitches.
This routine is repeated over and over again, until I have a total of 25 dresses. 10 casual dresses, 10 “date” dresses, 2 dresses for physical activity, and 3 dresses for balls.
Then Fluer chooses my night gowns, under garments, socks, shoes, accessories, and instructs me how to wear each of them and for what occasion.
Maddie takes notes next to me and promises to add them to my binder of information later tonight.
After the wardrobe fitting, Maddie and I head out of the hotel for lunch with Charolette and her assistant.
The four of us walk to a cafe around the corner. Charlotte and I talk fluidly throughout lunch about how excited we are for the show, and the other female contestants.
I can tell that Charolette and I are going to become close friends in the month we spend in the mansion together. We both have the same intuitions about the other women after breakfast this morning and her reservations on the show. On our way back to the hotel tells me how strange she thinks it is that we have to go to a makeover expert later.
“I know!” I proclaim in agreement, “like why would we get a makeover, right before going on t.v. to find our true love?”
“Right?” Says Charolette, “For a show that made it very clear that we weren’t allowed to wear makeup, or support any modern practices, there’s nothing more modern then a complete makeover.”
-The Jane Game