Sunday, July 08, 2007

Delta Of Cleanness

There’s no gentlemanly way to discuss this, I suppose.

When I began to enter that stage of Life in which a young man becomes curious about the ways that ladies work, I found myself informed by two major sources.

One was our high school Hygiene class. Having divided the sexes into two sessions as if it were an annual dance, our gym teacher endeavored to explain the whys and wherefores of what to expect from our newly pubescent bodies.

There was something about the class, with its strange medical terms and clinical descriptions, that made us feel as if we had suddenly become aliens. Usually, the lesson over, a group of us ended up gathering in the hall as we trooped dutifully to our next subject, saying things like the following:

“God, I’m sick! Do you feel sick?”

“That made me nauseous! I think I have to throw up!”

“It’s just so…disgusting!”

The whole biological carnival had come as a bit of a shock. Girls and boys would pass each other in the hall with these looks of profound dread and shock on their faces, all thoughts of dates or parties in the dark having been banished since the ugly truth about existence had been revealed to us.

It’s a miracle that any of us ever went on to have any sex at all.

Thankfully, there was also another educational tool available, which was called Playboy.

If they’d had any sense at all, they would have just put a couple of centerfolds up in Hygiene class for, in our hormonal frenzy, this was as much about women as we wanted, or were willing, to know.

Here was the mystery revealed, albeit stretched lazily across a pool table or a piano. The usual bewildering maze of frustrating foundation garments had no power here, as we were greeted by young women who seemed to have no idea that their appearance could be, in some circles, considered inappropriate. In fact, the expressions on their faces suggested that they probably went around like this all the time.

We had yet to meet one, however.

And, although our eyes usually went quickly and greedily to the upper portions of these portraits, it was in the lower half that we were confronted by that which felt truly mysterious and forbidden and, hence, erotic.

It was, in some sense, the final and inexorable proof that they were different from us.

Now I mention this because, although I’ve seen my share of these airbrushed still lives over the years, it never occurred to me that these would ever change in any major way. So when I decided to have a look at the past few years worth out of curiosity recently, I was somewhat unprepared for what I found.

I’d say that in about 60 to 70% of these modern centerfolds, something very definitely seemed to be missing.

And the funny thing about it is that such a huge fuss was made when it first showed up.

Now, I was aware of certain trends in this area that proclaimed that less was more, so to speak. But I hadn’t realized that the standard had changed so radically. Somehow, as the rest of the world was held in rapt attention, I had missed the entrance of this Brave New Mound.

This is a matter of taste, I suppose, but for men of my generation, this is what we went to centerfolds for. I can’t help but think that more than a few of them are disoriented by this.

This new bunch sort of look like Barbie dolls. But then, they always did.

Besides which, having been forced to scrape away at their bodies so much already, it seems a little ludicrous to add something else to the list.

I mean, I can hardly be bothered to shave my face.


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