The other night, Jan hauled out one of her catalogs to show me something she wanted to buy for vacation. I kind of glanced at the clothing, but I was more interested in the women, and not for the usual reasons. I wanted to see who this particular catalog had brought back for another season of modeling clothes. I've learned that certain catalogs have their "favorites", and will bring them back season after season until they get too old and then they are unceremoniously dumped for younger models. I also like to see how the photographers try to make 4 or 5 models look like 20 by doing their hair or make up differently, or shooting them at different angles.
My relationship with catalog models has become more complex over the years. When I was a kid, I just went straight to the bra ads and wondered what the girl's nipples looked like. But, as the years went by, I abandoned some thoughts and layered other thoughts in. My viewing evaluated the women as potential girlfriends and mates. After all, you saw them in all their good moods; laughing, serious, pensive, pouting, smiling. And you saw none of the unpleasant moods; angry, crying, murderous, straining to take a shit. You got to see them in all kinds of clothes and you could almost imagine what they looked like naked. The catalog pages were perfect for thoughtful evaluation!
And, as I became older, I started wondering about personality. Sure, it would be great to have one of these women as your girlfriend or your wife, but looks aren't everything. What are they like? Do they have screechy voices? Did they graduate high school? Can they carry on a conversation? Do they chew with their mouth open? Do they neglect their personal hygiene?
So many questions! So many standards to be met! But what about me? Would I meet their standards? What if they rejected me because of some flaw they perceived?
And so, because I basically have an imagined dossier on every model I see now, I don't look at the catalogs so often.
Except for the bra pages.