January 25, 2009

"Some are as big as cupcakes, others are the size of a penny. They... come in a range of colors as varied as drugstore lipsticks."

From a review of "Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds," that's a description of nipples, photographed in the years 1953 through 2007. Evolution is slow, but when you can choose your models, nipples adapt quickly to whimsical tastes. Other parts are easily reconfigured:
Pubic hair diminishes as the nineties draw to a close. Neat triangles turn to Band Aid-sized strips, which become little Hitler mustaches or nothing at all. The modern crotch is a bit prim, a bit less forthright. You'd think that depilation would lend a youthful look to the genitals but it has the opposite effect instead, making the girls look older and slightly jaded. (Intimate grooming signals forethought.) The youthful quality of the early centerfolds disappears.
The review is written by a woman — couldn't you tell? — Molly Young.

38 comments:

Michael H said...

Really? I just read (past tense) Playboy for the articles. There were pictures? Dang.

sonicfrog said...

Funny, at first I thought this was talking about cockroaches.

Meade said...

Are those varying hues of lipstick or are you just really excited about the rule against perpetuities or some such thing?

Dave said...

Jaded genitals?

SMGalbraith said...

The modern crotch is a bit prim, a bit less forthright.

Bush's fascist regimented America at work again, I suppose.

I guess with Obama it's back to hirsuteness.

And you know that somewhere someone is working on doctoral thesis linking the two topics.

Big Mike said...

Dang. Instead of going into a technical field I could have done my doctoral research on the evolution of breast sizes, nipples, and pubic hair in Playboy. I would have still put in as many late nights, but not in the laboratory surrounded by guys as unshaven and unkempt as I was. Bet a lot more professors would have been interested in being on my research committee.

I might never have lived down the oral exam, though.

Original George said...

Playboy stock price:

1.66

52 week high:

9.13

Just closed its New York editorial office to centralize operations in Chicago.

Doomed.

Tibore said...

Hmmm... what an odd mix of attitudes in that article. It somehow combines the viewpoint of a hectoring scold with that of an insightful admirer. It's a schizophrenic piece in many ways, but it also somehow manages to get some essence of Hefner across.

It's an interesting work because of that. It's like the author was torn between reflexive distaste and grudging admiration, in the end settling on the former but not being able to hide the latter. Once again, a piece on a person tells us quite a bit about the author, although unlike other articles on other notable personalities, this lady manages to provide insight on her subject at the same time.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

While I disagree about the pubic hair thesis, I think the author has some very astute observations that mirror many of my own.

There is an annoying lack of variety in the centerfolds of the last decade. The quote of the article is:

"Gone are the freckles and downy arm hairs of the predecessors. Breasts are surgically standardized; gym routines and spray tans produce identically toned and tinted bodies. Girls of all ethnicities blend together into one latte-colored woman, and the result looks computer-generated."

There are very pleasant exceptions, but this is among the reasons I canceled my subscription (Bush derangement syndrome and a distinct move toward leftist liberalism away from libertarianism in editorial content being the primary reason.)

My guess is that the blame can be laid (ah, the puns) on Hefner's badly aging feet. His latest "girlfriends" (and ex-girlfriends as he chucks out the "old" for the new are unnattractive in more than their faces.)

Every now and then, though, Hefner seems to remember what made his magazine different and he picks a centerfold who is different and natural and who has that girl-next-door look. I've noticed that they don't stick around though--the whorish quality of the mansion probably doesn't appeal to them.

William said...

The ongoing decline of violent crime in America coincides with the growing prevalence of Brazilian bikini waxes. Conincidence? I think not. In formal French gardens with their trimmed topiary, the philosophes debated the fine points of cartesian existence and fingered the delicate edges of porcelain. In English country gardens replete with wild flowers, lawless and lyrical thoughts were inspired...Good fences make good neighbors; trimmed hedges make gentle neighbors.

Simon said...

Original George said...
"Doomed."

Well, they offer articles and nudes, and the internet has more of both for less money.

ricpic said...

In the garden the philosophes come and go
Fingering delicate edges;
Unlike thoroughly lawless Tom Jones & Co.
Getting it on behind hedges.

Chip Ahoy said...

Would you like to see my imitation of a Playboy profile? OK, goes something like this:

I grab the nearest chair and begin striking ridiculously provocative poses while claiming my list of favorite things are girlishly innocuously tenderly sweet, "I like my stuffed animal collection, kittens, walking hand-in-hand through the park, watching T.V. under a blanket with bowl of freshly popped pop corn." Continuously reposing as if for a camera, "I'm studying pre-med because I've always wanted to help people, but I'm thinking of a second degree in law." Then on my back with my legs spread in the air, "My favorite authors are Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Leo Tolstoy, Margaret Mitchell, and Umberto Eco." Then I spin around and strike a natural pose and smile coyly and flirtingly at various angles for the camera.

Ann Althouse said...

Let me remind you that my father read Playboy, from the first issue on, and I saw the magazine on the coffee table throughout my entire childhood. I was never prevented from looking through it, even as a very young child, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on in that world.

Anyway...

What I found most poignant about the magazine was the persistent promotion of jazz. There was this fantasy world, and the music was always jazz -- played on very nice stereo equipment. Playboy purported to have a "philosophy" -- and part of it was that the right music was jazz.

peter hoh said...

Just skimmed the article, but it doesn't seem that the writer attempted to link the decline of bush with the ascent of Bush. The transition occurred during Clinton's second term.

Remember Amy Poehler's commentary on this topic?

And lastly, ladies, what's up with all the deforestation going on down there? You need hair down there! It's a backup system for underwear! Even when you're showing it, you're not really showing it! There was a time when a lady garden was as big as a slice of New York pizza. Then it turned into an upside down John Waters mustache!

chuck b. said...

I just want to say, if your nipples get to be as big as cupcakes, go see a doctor. You might have a tumor.

peter hoh said...

Playboy for the articles.

In the Simpsons episode, All's Fair in Oven War, Bart comes across a pile of old Playboy magazines, sans photos.

From wikipedia: While demolishing the kitchen, Homer unearths his old collection of Playdude magazines. He innocently tells Marge he kept them only for the articles, and she decides to make sure by cutting out all the nudes from the magazines. Now that they are useless, Homer throws them away (angrily saying "What man would want you now?"), but they are discovered by Bart and Milhouse. They read the articles and are greatly inspired. Using these 70s-era magazines as a model, Bart decides to renovate the Treehouse into a sort of Playboy Mansion replica, replete with James Caan.

The best line? Bart, wearing a velvet bathrobe, says to Nelson, "Your debonair wit reminds me of a young Mort Sahl." He then turns to Milhouse and says, "I have no idea what that means."

David said...

It was my lovely now deceased second wife Sally who taught me that women (or at least women like Sally) actually have to think about how to groom their pubic hair. One of her lines was "It's supposed to be pubic hair, not public hair." My current wife--a true redhead--says its how you can tell a genuine redhead.

traditionalguy said...

Marilyn, we hardly knew ya. Has anyone planned the Playboy Museum yet? This could include a site for Heff's burial,like Ronald Reagan's Library. It could include a display of 60 years of Breasts we have seen and loved. Kind of an Ellis Island of Memorial for the Breasts of our Youth, arranged as the 100 all time best's in show order. I realize that this could cause the self esteem of smaller women to flatten out. To guard against offending them, I volunteer to serve as the Titular Head of this museum in charge of guarding against the inclusion of any over the top Outliers, such as a Dolly Parton exhibi-tit.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

An ungroomed pubic are is also known as "retro bush".

Jeff with one 'f' said...

area

Michael McNeil said...

My ex-father-in-law the late writer Robert Anton Wilson (Illuminatus Trilogy) was formerly an editor at Playboy, and used to talk about how the folks there consumed too much marijuana and not enough LSD.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, yeah, more LSD is the solution to so many problems...

Michael McNeil said...

He thought so.

Michael McNeil said...

It was during the 70's, which was a different age. Another book by RAW: Sex and Drugs. He died just two years ago.

Meade said...

I agree with Robert Anton Wilson. Properly administered, LSD can open a person's mind to positive spiritual and psychological experiences. As mind expanding drugs, marijuana and alcohol are dead ends. Also, unlike LSD, marijuana and alcohol are known toxic substances, highly carcinogenic and directly causing brain damage among other physiological injuries.

Meade said...

William's "fingered the delicate edges of porcelain" and "country gardens replete with wild flowers" made me laugh long and out loud.

fcai said...

Yeah, you can always tell a true redhead, you just can't tell them much!

Big Mike said...

@fcai, can I pass along your address and mug shot to some redheads I know?

And would you prefer cremation or burial (assuming there's enough left to bury).

blake said...

Isn't this one of those "useless without pictures" threads?

Original George said...

Meade--

You do know from whence we get the word "porcelain"?

Meade said...

No, Original George, I did not know that. But I'm glad to know it now. Porcella -- very nice.

And thanks for pointing out another layer of William's humorous comment.

Steven said...

Of course, none of the models actually had nipples the size of cupcakes. They had areolae the size of cupcakes. The nipple is the part that is erectile, the areola is the broader colored circle.

rhhardin said...

Imus characterizes the Fox Business Channel, in an ad, as, if you turn the sound off, a Hooters Cam (real audio).

The new Playboy.

Michael McNeil said...

Also, unlike LSD, marijuana and alcohol are known toxic substances, highly carcinogenic and directly causing brain damage among other physiological injuries.

As far as marijuana and cancer are concerned, this is wrong. However, it is true that inhaling a lot of small sooty particles (whether from smoking or being around unsealed wood stoves and fireplaces) is bad for the lungs — which is why physicians who recommend marijuana for patients (in states where medical marijuana is legal) will typically suggest consuming it using a vaporizer rather than via conventional smoking.

Meade said...

Michael McNeil : Thanks for that reply. I'll revise what I said to:

Also, unlike LSD, marijuana and alcohol are known toxic substances, with alcohol directly causing brain damage among other physiological injuries.

from the webpage you linked to:

"...according to [a] study..."

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Quayle said...

What I found most poignant about the magazine was the persistent promotion of jazz. There was this fantasy world, and the music was always jazz -- played on very nice stereo equipment.

But once jazz music started to include the flute, it was a certainty that true social decadence was not far off.