When in doubt, go for nekkid people
The other day I was hanging around my local Walgreens waiting for a prescription to be filled, so I started wandering around the store. (I’m pretty sure that’s why they say it will take 20 minutes for your prescription to be filled when you drop it off, by the way — so you will walk around, look at stuff, and make a bunch of impulse purchases you never would’ve made otherwise.)
In any case, my stroll through the aisles took me past the magazine rack. As I stood there looking at the tabloid headlines, the pictures of pretty actresses I didn’t know on the covers of magazines I’d never read, and all the motorhead publications, something else caught my eye — a nearly nekkid Serena Williams on the cover of something called the ESPN Magazine Body issue.
Hmmm, I thought. That looks interesting. So I picked it up, fully expecting to find a lengthy discussion of the biomechanics of various sports. Seriously. But this was no bait-and-switch. Inside, there was page after page of photos of nekkid and near-nekkid men and women, athletes all. They had the “good parts” covered up, which is why it was available on the rack at Walgreens instead of behind the counter at your local convenience store. Still, it wasn’t your average sports magazine fare.
As I paged through, I found that our sport was well-represented. Softball may not be in the Olympics, but it was definitely in the ESPN Magazine Body issue. There, in all their glory, were Natasha Watley, Lauren Lappin, Cat Osterman, and a very pregnant Jessica Mendoza, channeling Demi Moore’s groundbreaking cover from Vanity Fare and apparently having a delightful time doing it.
The issue is interesting on a couple of levels. For one, I guess you could say “take that Sports Illustrated.” Not only did they forego the swimsuits entirely, they used actual athletes as the focus instead of the sidebar. They also put in plenty of photos of men, which may the only time some women buy ESPN Magazine. Ultimately, though, it’s that ESPN Magazine ran out of things to say about actual sporting events and so decided to fill out the year by running photos of nekkid people.
Actually, I know that last one isn’t true. Sex sells, and since the magazine industry generally is hurting it’s time to bring out the big guns, so to speak. Maybe the next step is to be like the British tabloids with their Page 3 girls and publish a photo of a nekkid athlete in every issue. Bet that would help drive subscriptions through the roof.
Ok, SI. It’s your move. Maybe Hef can offer a few pointers between takes on his reality show.