fashion / writing

If Fashion Editorials Could Talk: “I, Robot,” the AI Love Story of the 24½th Century

Every once in a while, a magazine publishes an editorial that is incredibly inspiring and sticks to me like cupcakes stick to your midsection, either because they’re beautiful or because they’re incredibly bizarre. I am here to narrate the stories that they aren’t telling you.

 —

Cast:

Mina Cvetkovic – Serbian model, 24 years old, was lost but is now found

Voltron – once an esteemed defender of the universe, now a misunderstood societal outcast

Onlookers – thoroughly disturbed, wish they weren’t actually observers

The Dog – was actually once known as Count Arf of Arfington (a dog borough within New York City), fell from grace during the Great Dogbone Recession

SourceVisual Optimism

 —

When Mina had slipped on her powder pink satin skirt that morning, she had no idea that her life would be forever turned around, forever taken out of a lifestyle of mediocrity and colorful, expensive clothing, and forever be elevated above a life of lonely nights consisting of bottles of Two Buck Chuck and depressing conversations about life with her cacti collection. After she had zipped up her pink and red patent leather crop top, she had no idea her life would start echoing the deceptively darling sentiment of her favorite Röyksopp song, for you see, that morning, without realizing what was happening to her, Mina fell in love with a robot.

It all started when the hubbub of the New York streets harshly greeted her, robbing her of the sweet serenity of the warm cup of coffee and the heat that radiated through the thin disposable cup. The faceless crowd made her feel like she was swimming and the early morning fog of reality hadn’t yet been dispelled by her strong caffeine, flavored with enough sugar to mar the consistency into a syrup that slicked her tongue and made the inside of her mouth sticky – just how she liked it. Maybe, it was because of the mental haze, or, more probably, it was because fate worked in mysterious ways, but as she looked up from the ground and met his gaze, her world completely stopped. At first, she thought he was a street performer, the kind of person who paints themselves silver and stands in barely varying poses throughout the day in hopes for tips to celebrate his nonmoving stamina, yet ran late that morning and put on a subpar robot costume instead. However, the more she looked into those unnatural yellow eyes, she knew that he was not a lazy street performer, he was just a poor, misunderstood roboman. Did he want to look like a mishmash of child costumes welded together? Did he want to monetize his natural freakiness? Did anyone?

Wordlessly, she struck his robotic pose right by his side, hoping he would see in her what she saw in him. She wasn’t sure how long they stood there, all she knew was when he turned his head and said

“Greeting sequence has been initiated. I am Voltron.”

there was no turning back.

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Artificial intelligence had always terrified her as a kid. She had always been made uncomfortable with the idea that a machine would be able to think for itself, that one day her phone would be able to use her information for its own cause – like a demented Ferby, like her demented Ferby that kept repeating the same phrase she had said when she unwrapped it at Christmas, even after it had been locked in the far reaches of her closet. In the darkness of her bedroom, at odd hours of the morning, all she’d hear was “oh my god, what is this ugly thing?” It made for a difficult dating life and even more difficult attempts at copulation. To this day, Mina was so paranoid about artificial intelligence that she would go out of her way to avoid being attached to a GPS signal, going so far as to buying a stick shift ‘80s VW clunker, because it was the only car in the lot that didn’t have a GPS installed into the system. She didn’t even know how to drive stick. Her fear of artificial intelligence had convinced her that CGI movies were really precautionary tales and that robots really were going to take over the world, just like that terrible Will Smith movie that had given her nightmares for weeks.

For that reason, she knew that her love for Voltron was wrong and weird. After all, who just falls in love with a robot? What was a robot doing in the middle of New York City? They always said there was someone for everyone in the metropolis, but she didn’t for a second believe that it would happen to her. This, of course, also brought up speculation as to whether or not there was a secret underground dating pool of robots – would they accept her as a non-robot? She’d seen that one episode of Futurama, was that a chance she’d be willing to take? Furthermore, how did she even know that Voltron was a he? Weren’t robots unisex? Was she breaking some sort of unspoken law by being in a relationship with him? That was impossible, though. It wasn’t like she was fraternizing with a toaster! It was a roboman capable of thought…that had to mean something?

Question after question had begun cropping up at random parts of the day, things she never really thought of before. When he came up to her, well oiled gears turning and heavy feet leaving slight impressions wherever he tread, there was a temporary halt in the litany of whys, hows, and whos.

“Compliment sequence initiated. You look pretty today Mina.

Question sequence initiated. Would you like to get some sorbet with me?”

She looked up at him and smiled at his non-emoting mechanical face and said yes. Even though he never ate, he was always so kind and remembered that she loved sweets. Besides, it meant more sorbet for her.

irobot002

Their relationship was not a simple one. People had a tendency not to understand, which confused Mina, because she had seen plenty of dates around the city where the people were more concerned with texting their friend about the date or checking into the place through their social media platform that they hardly noticed each other across the table. They seemed to be more obsessed with technology than she ever was with Voltron. After all, when she was with him, the rest of the world seemed to fall away – he wasn’t a robot, he was a considerate roboman who adored her for her and not her luxurious fashion lifestyle. After a while, her friends stopped asking about their relationship whenever they met for coffee or a glass of wine, deviant photographers stopped asking about their private time, ex-boyfriends stopped ringing out of fear of being crushed by her multi-ton robot, and life went back to normal. Best of all, when she was with Voltron, she forgot she was a young, beautiful, ridiculously tall Serbian model – she felt normal.

“Discerning fashion sense sequence initiated. Wear the white shoes.”

Besides, he had a great eye for trends.

Two years after they met and began their relationship, they purchased a dog who loved them both despite their weird life quirks, like being a model who fell in love with a robot, or being a robot who looked like he was fired from entertaining a child’s birthday party for having a costume that screamed “I hate kids, I’m just paying the bills. No, seriously, get the slimy little thing away from me.” They made up a very motley crew, Mina, Voltron, and their speckled dog, which they named The Dog. They had a tendency to turn heads as they walked down the street, but had different ways of justifying it. Mina was used to it, as she was a gorgeous model with clothes that you’d find in the closet of Carrie Bradshaw. Voltron was used to it, because he was a giant robot in the middle of downtown New York. The Dog was used to it, for it is rather common to be ogled at when one is so handsome.

The outside world may not have understood it and that was okay. At the end of it all, they were happy.

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