How Many Awful Euphemisms for ‘Penis’ Can One Magazine Invent?


The answer, according to former Playgirl editor Jessanne Collins in her new e-book How to Be a Playgirl, is a lot, more than there are stars in our galaxy. Basically, anything with a vaguely cylindrical shape can be repurposed as a dick euphemism, although Playgirl newbies were apparently handed a 13-page thesaurus for penis synonyms.

In a recent interview with Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory, Collins, in an effort to promote her new micro-memoir, shared some insight into the dying planet that is the Playgirl brand, especially its editorial identity crisis as an ostensibly for-ladies version of Playboy, and a semi-closeted porn rag for gay men. It makes for pretty interesting reading, especially if you’d like to know just how the magazine was gradually overtaken by wax-chested men with aggressively purple penises, or how a fairly credulous liberal arts majors will literally take any publishing job that lets them wedge a foot in the industry’s door.

Among all the sordid anecdotes Collins shares (including a piece of fan mail she read from a dude who wanted to pose in Playgirl “as a lumberjack and beside a nest of hornets”), she made a pretty keen observation about the nuances between porn that actually titillates men and porn that actually titillates women (hint: a lot of male pornstars are styled in the grossest way possible, the better to resemble oiled Thunderdome gladiators). When asked is she ever found a Playgirl photoshoot “legitimately sexy,” Collins thoughtfully answered:

Honestly, no. I mean, maybe this is another sign that I was very much a fish out of water, but I just did not at all get the aesthetic. I don’t buy the myth that women are “not visual” people whatsoever. I check out dudes. I know we all have specific aesthetic triggers. And yet in all those pages upon pages of photos — none of them did it for me. There was an almost clinical approach to photography — almost as if these bodies were specimens under a microscope, every muscle all waxed and on display — and I think that’s the major thing. It’s this certain type of porn trope that doesn’t translate well for a real female audience.

“Specimens under a microscope” definitely doesn’t sound like a hot and sexy time, unless you’re a serial killer or something. In that case, you’d probably think “turkey gizzard” a playful, flirtatious phrase for describing a man’s scrotum.

Confessions of a Playgirl editor [Salon]

Image via AP

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