Today’s NYT “The Upper Middle Class is Great” article focuses on the value of working in college or some such idea which doesn’t make sense to most of the people in the world. And, like most such articles, it fundamentally misunderstands its central point. The author’s son is working as a nude art model, a job which the author continually implies is easy, “a job where you get paid a lot and don’t do much work.”

Not exactly. I bet the author’s never taken a life-drawing class before. Being a nude model is pretty difficult. You have to know how to pose your body in may different ways and then hold those poses for a long time. The Boing Boing commenters have got it right:

[M]odeling for life drawing is HARD. Just try to stay completely still for ten minutes straight (or half an hour). No fidgeting, no scratching, no twitching or changing position. Now do that while standing or sitting in an interesting pose. If you do take a break during a long pose, you have to get back in exactly the same position. I can’t do it myself.

Back in my art school days, good models really helped us learn new techniques, while bad models made creating art a lot more difficult. It’s not a matter of having a traditionally great body or face -those aren’t necessary – but being interesting to look at and able to maintain an artist’s interest throughout a class or drawing session. If you can do that, you’ve got skills, and pretty marketable ones at that.