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RIP: Bettie Page

Bettie Page

Bettie Page, who we previously reported was in seriously bad health, has died at age 85.

You know, it’s weird. Seeing the reports about her passing and the pictures of her during her heyday, most of them the full-on pinups–I think that we’re looking at something else passing on too. I’m speaking about guys here, since female sexuality is one of those mysteries that men can’t even get their heads around. “Well, we could explore the mysteries of female sexuality or we could build the Large Hadron Collider and try to catch traces of phantom particles that existed in the flimsoseconds following the Big Bang. Which is it?” “Hmmm. Let’s go with the LHC. It might be a crazy expensive longshot, but it’s a safer bet.” “You sure? Female sexuality–we figure that out, it’s not just a Nobel Prize, it’s…you know, lots of sex.” “Very, very sure.”

Used to be that the time-honored way to discover the full-on beauty of the female form was to find your dad’s Playboy collection (of which Bettie was one of their most famous playmates, second only to Marilyn). And then that was a sort of Moment, you know. It wasn’t even the…shall we say…Shangri-La Moment that would follow later, it was just the sort of epiphany of Wow. Well, would you look at that. That’s…even better than I expected. Thanks, God. You know? And then later on you can move onto an appreciation of less orthodox (if that’s the right word) forms of…ahm…pictorial…renderings. Yes.

But now young men are probably experiencing more sexual images before they’re eighteen, thanks to the Internet, than your parents probably saw their entire lives. Unless you have really interesting parents. And I think we’re losing something by not having that gradual indoctrination into the appreciation of the body as not just a temple, but a temple in which you can have great parties. Instead it’s straight to Mardi Gras. Is this detrimental? Probably not, just different and I’m feeling old fashioned in my old age.

But back to our friend Bettie who kicked off this reverie. She never did understand, apparently, how it was that she was so popular. I think it was that her pictures were the perfect combo of playfulness and sensuality. I always admired the fun inherent in her pictures–not even the kinky fun (although that never hurt) but just the attitude of, “Well, here I am. Might as well enjoy it, right?” Right. Certainly right.

And regarding the fact that you don’t see many pictures of her after her modeling career ended: it was by request. “I want to be remembered, as I was when I was young and in my golden times…I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.” You’re immortal, Bettie. Thanks for everything.