Monday, September 28, 2020

Marcia Turner, where are you?

When we were boys we were fascinated by pretty women who appeared in magazines. They tended to be models for various products.
We dreamt of the day we would be grown up and go on to marry them.
If we ever so much as laid our eyes on a magazine featuring pretty models, we would scramble for it. We did not care to read the contents of the magazines. Our interest was in the women.

Because we were too young to have girlfriends, our solution was to fall in love with the women featured in the magazines. Glossy magazines were few and far between back then. But in those days, catalogues were in vogue and were easy to lay our hands on. Mail order catalogues was where we found our girlfriends because they were sent to various households for free.

Often we would get into trouble because a catalogue had vanished before our aunts had placed their orders. A new catalogue was a prized possession and anyone who arrived with it enjoyed the privilege of choosing a girlfriend first. The rest of the boys would have to wait to take their pick.
In particular, we loved the catalogues that featured lingerie models. The boy who owned a lingerie catalogue was king.

Our past time was to gather somewhere, far from disapproving adults and feast our eyes. We would ogle the models and choose our girlfriends according to taste.
There was a lot of infidelity, I must admit. Choosing a particular model as a girlfriend did not mean we would remain faithful to the end. If, in the next edition of the catalogue or magazine, there was a particularly ravishing model we would ditch our girlfriends from the preceding month and take up with the new one.

Skirmishes usually broke out when some one ditched their girlfriend and chose yours. The camera angle would make the models appear as if they were looking at us. I wonder what they would have said had they known that some nine-year-olds were actually fighting over them.

Not only did we stare at the pictures of our favourite models but we also kissed them. We loved our models so much that we would kiss their pictures in a display of total affection.

For many of us our first experience with kissing involved a picture of a model in some lacy lingerie.

One had to be careful they kissed only their girlfriend. If some one caught you kissing theirs, then all hell would break loose.

It pained us that in real life those models had partners. We tried to banish such thoughts from our minds because of intense jealousy. We didn’t want to accept that anyone could actually be sleeping with our girlfriends. As far as we were concerned our girlfriends had to wait for us to grow up, work, earn some money and then marry them.

We used to hate the male models because we suspected them of sleeping with our girlfriends.
It was not all smooth sailing though. Our girlfriends did cause us grief at times. We would sometimes come across a story to the effect that a girlfriend of one of the boys had gotten pregnant. The boyfriend of the model in question would be so sad. We would console our friend by inviting him to choose a new girlfriend from another catalogue.

Sometimes they got married and would no longer be featured in the magazines.
Heartbreak would follow for the boy who could not wait to grow up and marry the woman of his dreams. We realized that when the lingerie models grew older they did shots wearing full attire. The moment that happened we would ditch them and go for the younger ones in the lingerie section of the catalogue.

We may have been living in fantasy land when we fell in love with the models. But as I grew older, I realized that often when my relationships in real life with real girls experienced trouble I would wistfully think of my favourite girlfriend from those catalogue pages and long for her.

I am way past my childhood. My teenage years are behind me. I am approaching middle age. Increasingly I think of my catalogue girlfriends of years past.

It is said when people grow older they get all nostalgic and think of the wonderful years of their innocent childhood. I now wonder where my girlfriends are. I ask myself if they are married with families. Do they know that in some corner of a foreign land there were nine-year-old boys whose knees used to wobble when they feasted their eyes on them?

I have arrived at the conclusion that in my middle age I want to rekindle my love affair with a particular model. This time I want a proper relationship that will culminate in holy matrimony.

Back then, as I moved from catalogue to catalogue changing girlfriends, I remained loyal to this particular lady. I am glad I never came across any story saying she is pregnant or is married to any of the male models I used to hate with such a passion.

I am convinced she is out there waiting for me. Whilst we were all besotted with lingerie models, my lady showcased a certain brand of bath soap.

She would be shown in a bath tub covered in creamy lather, relaxing in the delightful fragrance of Lux soap.

At times I would even shed a tear or two, frustrated that I was not growing as quickly as I wished in order to finish school, get a job and hook up with her.

I used to kiss her face and dream of the day we would be together. I dreamt of the day we would be together in that bath tub, sharing a bar of Lux soap.

I dreamt of my woman scrubbing my back. Out there somewhere, someone surely has her contact details. I wish to contact the lady of my childhood dreams and live the rest of my life with her.

Oh, Marcia Turner, my love, where are you?

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.