JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

the swimsuit issue

So the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue arrived in the mail yesterday.

My primary reaction: Creepy.

I love SI, obviously. It’s the place my career really kicked off, and now I’m thrilled to be back writing for the website. However, I’ve always been troubled by the Swimsuit Issue. As a kid, it meant I wouldn’t be reading about baseball or football for a week in February. At SI, it meant I had to answer “So, do you hang out with the models?” at least 10,000 times per year. (Answer: Yes. All the time. At my cubicle. In the cafeteria. Walking my dog. Doing dishes. They literally follow you everywhere)

Now, I just find the issue strange. The average SI reader is probably a male in his mid-40s. The average SI swimsuit model is a girl … usually 19-, 20-, 21- or 22-years old. They almost always have breathtaking faces (and mirror-perfected come hither glances) … with the awkward bodies of 14-year-old boys. I once went on a Swimsuit shoot with Molly Sims, and was naively shocked to see her bathing suit stuffed with “cutlets” to make her relatively nonexistent breasts pop out. In person, Molly was cute and attractive, but not someone who would stop a guy in his tracks. Truth is, most of these girls (I use the term “girls” because they’re friggin’ half my age, and I’ve earned the right to be a grumpy old man) are more alien-ish than bombshell-ish.

My point, I reckon, is that I’m really, really weirded out by the thought of wrinkled codgers drooling over these photos. I’m not trying to be moralistic or holier than thou, but …

Well, maybe I trying to be moralistic and holier than thou. It’s my blog, right?

Final thought on the topic: Picked up yesterday’s New York Post. The front cover had a picture of Bar Refaeli, the Swimsuit Issue cover girl, with a headline, AT LAST! A REAL STIMULUS. Now, let’s think about this. Literally, when a straight man sees an attractive woman, sometimes the blood will flush up his penis, causing what is commonly termed an erection. That’s the “Stimulus” in the Post headline. Thank God there was no real news going on …