Uncle Tom was married to my Aunt Gena, and they were very cool, uber-hippie types. He had long hair, a beard and a moustache, and was very handsome.
Uncle Bob was in his early twenties, living at home with my grandparents at the time. He was the one who introduced me to music and to the most important man in my life, Mick Jagger. He taught me everything about the Stones and took me through all of their songs and albums one by one, especially his favorite, "Let It Bleed." He had lots of cool stuff to look at in his room; cool books, cool records, cool posters on his wall, and cool magazines like Rolling Stone.
See, my grandma always tried to get him to hide them away before my brother and I took over his room, but he didn’t put much effort into it. I would take the Playboy and put it inside the Rolling Stone and pretend to be reading about The Pretenders when I was really getting schooled in articles about “How to Make Your Studio Apartment Into a Love Den” and “What Women Really Want in Bed.”
Of course I read Playboy for the articles.
I was eleven or twelve, and getting schooled in what real women looked like big time.
Or what I thought real women should look like. All I knew was that I didn’t look anything like them, and I didn’t know anybody who did.
I had seen glimpses of Playboy before, at the barber shop where my dad and little brother got their hair cut in our neighborhood. Playboy was laid out on the table in the waiting area right next to Field & Stream and Highlights for Children. While my dad got his haircut I would casually pick it up and start to go through it, playing dumb like I didn’t know what it was. Nat the barber would take it from me each time, waving his finger and saying in a thick Italian accent, “Not for little girls,” and replacing the boobies with the Highlights.
But at my grandparents I had more time to study the female form a little more closely. But actually being able to sit down and look at the pictures was still stressful. I would sometimes get really brave and sneak the magazines from my uncle’s room down the hall into the bathroom. The bathroom door didn’t have a lock on it so I spent most of the time in there nervous, with my foot by the door. And that mad dash from my uncle’s room to the bathroom was like running through a war zone. I was too stressed out to get too excited.
The women were so voluptuous, with big natural boobs, little waists, and long legs like ponies.
I was short and chubby and didn’t look like that at all. Although I did have big boobs, so I had that going for me.
I started to feel bad about myself.
I said little silent prayers at night while lying in my grandparents pull out couch, that I slept in next to my little brother in the den. There was the usual, “Please God, let me meet Mick Jagger,” but after reading Playboy, I added, ”Please, please God, let my legs get longer and skinnier like Miss May.”