Self-described “super cool dude” Brandon Cohen is a Vanderbilt graduate with a B.A. in economics. Upon graduation in 2008, he figured out he was too stupid and bored to pursue a job in his major. Now a video producer for BroBible, he’s doing a genre of work he calls “fish out of water.” He puts his bro-self in situations that take him way outside his comfort zone. Last week he donned women’s high heels to see how they would make him feel.
It turns out, like shit. Like he wanted to die.
“I’m already in so much pain it’s astounding,” said Cohen in his video just after putting on the braided strappy black heels and teetering down the street. And later… “I want to kill everybody.”
From 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., Cohen spent the day in the heels. He said he sat for 90 percent of it because he couldn’t function otherwise. In the video he did the normal things people do in the course of any day — except he was in heels. He walked down stairs. He belched loudly. Young Asian women followed him at the mall. He leaned on a car. He paraded himself in front of a homeless man. He stumbled around town and went to a cafe.
“This is my life for the day,” he said. “It’s tough to be a chick.”
In an age where getting attention now requires a fair amount of strangeness, news outlets around the country took notice. BuzzFeed. Yahoo. NBC’s “TODAY Show.”
“He thought he would totally be able to dominate the heel game, but it turns out the heels dominated him,” wrote BuzzFeed, one of the sites that covered the semi-humiliating experience.
“They played it on the TODAY Show,” Cohen told The Mirror in a phone interview Monday. “My mom was screaming.”
Inside Edition went a step further.
Producers put him in gold heels (even higher than the ones he wore for his own video) and had him stroll around Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
“They were so ridiculous looking,” he said. “They were five-inch heels and gold. Everything about it was just worse than the ones I had.”
A big downer comes at the end of the video when he won’t show his bare feet. He says he can’t go on. He bails on evening activities and says he’s going home to take Advil.
Asked if his feet were bloodied and blistered (like real woman’s feet can be at the end of a day in heels), he said they were not that visually interesting. Besides, he wanted to leave something to the imagination.
“They looked red,” Cohen explained. “I didn’t want to give the foot fetishist another opportunity to jack off to my feet. They were open toe. I didn’t have much rubbing up against my feet.”
Cohen may not have had an aesthetic horror show. But the pain was amazing.
“It wasn’t so much my feet as much as it was the muscles in my entire leg,” he said. “My calves are probably what hurt the most. Showing my feet wasn’t going to give people a full view of how much my calves were on fire.”
The next day was rough. Again — his calves. “Not so much my feet, but my calves,” he said. “I’m not someone who does a ton of exercise. The next day, every time I sat down I looked like I was handicapped. I spent a lot of time foam rolling and stretching.”
Cohen said he came up with 20 ideas in the “fish out of water” genre. So far he has done about four of them — a wine festival (“I ended up getting super drunk), catcon (“Just interviewing cat people), and attending a gay pride parade in New York (“I think a lot of BroBible readers would never be caught dead at a gay pride parade.”
On the subject of the gay pride parade… “My best friend from college came out last summer,” he said. “I’m objectively so much gayer than he is. He was not someone you would’ve suspected. It was a shock at first. It obviously hasn’t changed my relationship with him.”
Cohen has also dressed up like a rat.
“I did a thing where I try to infiltrate cartoon animals,” he said. “I dressed up as a rat. It was almost worse than the heels. I was in a full rat costume and it was basically like I wrapped myself in a wool blanket and was running around Times Square.”
As he explained it, “Every time I put the helmet on it was like I was going into war. It was unbearable.”
But none of it was as rough as trying to pursue a career in finance.
“I did an internship, but it was way too boring,” he told The Mirror. “I consider myself to be a relatively smart person and I felt like an idiot. I just don’t have the head for it.”
Describing the evolution of his thought process, he said, “I have no idea what any of this means, but I should probably be doing something where I don’t feel like a complete moron. I always thought I was going to end up doing finance. My dad worked in finance. It seemed like the easy thing to do — and then I realized how stupid I was. It seems like I made the right decision. ”
Cohen started out small — at a talent agency, in the mailroom. He moved on to a gig at truTV in the development department. He was an editor at Thrillist. He began screenwriting on the side and won a competition. Last week he and a friend had their film, The Escort, premier at the LA Film Festival. It’s about a journalist who does a story on a Stanford-educated escort.
A year ago, he moved from New York to LA and began working full-time for BroBible. “They needed someone to go to a porn set,” he said. “She was filming her first film. I went and shot that one for them.”
Life doesn’t get much more bro than that, but give him time.