Beer.... And Cheesecake
by Kimberly Gadette
February'such a special little month! The month that celebrates a beautiful, balanced mingling of gender appreciation. First up: the male, with his annual sports holiday of Bud, brawn and bean dip that is known as Super Bowl Sunday. Though in reality only 22 men are on the field at any given time, the "we" of the team includes all 77.9 million viewers in the US, yelling for all their worth at HDTV's that keep on broadcasting, no matter how wrong a call that idiot referee just made.
Carrying on in the spirit of fair play
approximately two weeks later, well after the last can
of beer has been crushed on the last forehead, the
female of the species gets her turn to display her
physical talents ' with the annual Sports Illustrated
This year marks an extraordinarily smooth transition from the first event to the second. It seems Billy Joel is scheduled to open the Super Bowl festivities by singing the National Anthem. Though Mr. Joel is a pop/rock icon in his own right, he will probably always bear the moniker of "ex-husband of supermodel Christie Brinkley." A shocking coincidence, Ms. Brinkley is one of the most popular supermodels in Sports Illustrated ("SI") history, having graced its cover during three consecutive years, from 1979 through 1981.
From Super Bowl to SuperModel: a perfect quarterback handoff if ever there was one.
But it's puzzling'though many women appreciate the Super Bowl (Nielsen Media Research reports that last year "among all adult viewers in the country, 45% were women"), the female readership for SI isn't as balanced. (With over 3 million subscribers, read by 23 million adults each week, the readers consist of over 18 million men.)
As opposed to football players who can tackle opponents with sheer brute force one minute, then dance a victorious jitterbug in the endzone the next, maybe it's the models' skill sets that are lacking. Though the ladies are outfitted in less than a 3.5 gram container of dental floss, perhaps the workaday woman is unimpressed with such unveiled feats as carrying (lobsters, a butterfly net, a pole); posing (holding up a wall, holding down the trunk of a Cadillac, holding still while balanced on a countertop); simultaneous lounging, stretching and arching; and performing deep knee bends on the damp sand while saltwater gently laps onto the crotch area. Not to mention the requisite skill of bare breast cupping'particularly necessary in cases when, as rumor has it, the bikini top gets mangled by wild beasts who are known to go nutty over a deep knee bend in the sand.
Perhaps it's all about the name of the magazine. Exactly
what part of modeling constitutes a sport? Instead of
"Sports Illustrated," maybe the publishers could opt for
"Women Without Warts, Illustrated." Or "Girls Who've
Lost Their Shorts, Illustrated." More accurately, it
might be called "First Quarter Reports, Illustrated." In
1964, Editor Andre Laguerre found that there was a
dearth of sporting events in winter. It was his idea to
take on a new angle, via women who'd take off a few
clothes. Per the Dow Jones Market Watch of 2/15/06: "The
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue alone brings in $55
million in revenue."
Let's revisit the boon of February, with the one-two punch of first celebrating Him, then Her. Aside from a new nacho cheese stain on the carpet the size of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the male's Super Bowl memories are over. Now it's the female's turn. Certainly the 2006 cover, with its eight supermodels sporting the most beautiful bodies in the world, prancing on the sands wearing nothing but a white bandaid on their bottoms spells out "You're Just As Beautiful As They Are, Honey" like nothing else.
However, some of that sand must have gotten into SI's eyes. It turns out that the publication date for the upcoming swimsuit issue is scheduled for February 14. That's right. Valentine's Day. Gee, dear, you don't mind if I flip through a few pages during our romantic dinner tonight, do you?
In unfair, over-generalized terms, most men are not only clueless at gift-giving, but come up short on Valentine's Day. Example: he may think that gifting his ladylove with her very own copy of the 2007 Swimsuit Issue is genius. (Especially since he'll be sprinting down to the nearest newsstand at sunrise anyway.)
Say she's tired of her workout routine '
what a perfect opportunity to inspire her by way of
pointing out Elle Macpherson's sleek hips (with a new
baby yet!). Say she wants a few new clothes? Show her
Heidi Klum (also recently with child) and her latest
layout, wearing nothing but body paint. She's hinting
for jewelry? Well, there's a model naked as a jaybird,
except for a few well-placed sand dollars ' who knew
shell debris could look that good!
Urban legends abound that domestic abuse increases on Super Bowl Sunday. Though the stories since been proven wrong by the Washington Post and others (http://www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/superbowl.asp), this year there still may be a problem. Oh, it won't be on Super Bowl Sunday.
But with that upcoming, unholy commingling of Valentine's Day and SI's debut of the 2007 barely-there beauties, men might be careening toward certain danger. Emergency room personnel should stand by.
That is, if they can take their eyes off that magazine.
About the Author:
A writer based in the Portland area, Kimberly Gadette's columns and articles entail a deep dismemberment of topics including film, politics, pop culture, male spectator sports, travel, dogs and dating (though surprisingly, not that many dogs actually date). Currently juggling six columns, she's been published over 170 times in the last two years in publications from the West Coast to the East, from The Oregonian to The Boston Globe, as well as internationally. Though no one's ever asked to see it, she has an MFA from UCLA. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org