At year's end, we all become more conscious than usual of where we've been and where we seem to be headed. The female Santa on our cover--like a ghost of Christmas past--will stir memories in the heads of those who recall those Coke ads of several decades ago. These images, which became familiar around the world, were revived expressly for Playboy by the artist who originally created them--Chicago painter Haddon Sundblom, who has shaped our visual consciousness in more ways than one: He also designed the Quaker Oats man.
Playboy, December, 1972, Volume 19, Number 12. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States, its possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year. Elsewhere add $2 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Victor Lownes, Director of Creative Development; Robert A. Gutwillig, Marketing Director; Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Michael Rich, Promotion Director; Lee Gottlieb, Director of public relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 405 Park Ave., New York, N. Y. 10022; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611; Detroit, William F. Moore, Manager, 818 Fisher Bldg.; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Blvd.; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter St.; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N. E., Atlanta, Ga. 30305.
The decision makers who so thoroughly deceived themselves as well as the rest of us as they entangled the nation in Vietnam are probed in David Halberstam's long, fascinatingly detailed contribution to the psychohistory of America's quarter century in Southeast Asian quicksand. The Best and the Brightest (Random House) provides a narrative of the spiraling disaster as experienced within the inner Government as well as a series of unsparing profiles of the protagonists, especially those highly educated aides-de-camp--"men linked more to one another, their schools, their own social class and their own concerns than they were to their country." From Dean Acheson (more responsible than even John Foster Dulles for America's plunge into disaster) to Walt Rostow, Halberstam reveals the casts of mind of the elite cadre of Cold War religionists "for whom the enemy is not simply the Communists but everything else, its own press, its own judiciary, its own Congress." Trained to lead, intoxicated by access to power, the "best and brightest" from prestigious banks, law firms and universities could not even conceive of asking by what right America was savaging Vietnam in order to save it. This, after all, was the American Century, and what was good for America was automatically good for the preservation of true civilization. Brilliant but not wise, tough and therefore not "sentimental" about such abstract notions as morality, McNamara, the Bundys, General Maxwell Taylor, Rostow, and even the resident doubter, George Ball, considered themselves accountable only to the Chief Executive, certainly not to the American people. Significantly, not a single member of the highest level of the inner Government has yet publicly expressed contrition or a trace of shame. Halberstam interconnects the internal power plays with the widely differentiated personalities of the players, up to and including the oversized Lyndon Baines Johnson. He makes clear--by name, deed and motivation--who was most to blame for the worst misadventure in our national history.
Mama's, at the corner of Stockton and Filbert, alongside Washington Square in San Francisco's North Beach, is a gustatory marvel compounded of a fresh-food takeout, a cheerful romantic lingering spot and the brisk kitchen of the loving mother you never had. Mama Sanchez really exists, and so do Papa Sanchez and their many children, one of whom, Michael, specializes in blueberry pancakes. What else? Well, perhaps one of 15 different omelets, including chili-pepper-and-sour-cream, crab, and Mama's family favorite--sautéed fresli mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes and melted Jack cheese. The over-all effect is of a healthy unspoiled French bistro, if you can imagine that, with French bread and 14 other varieties of bread available, some of which Mama makes into spectacular Swedish cinnamon French toast--covered not with syrup but with fresh--fruit cocktail and a powdering of confectioners' sugar. Even the bacon and ham and the bowls of raspberry jam and Mama's special blend of coffee lure your average young hip lawyer, stockbroker or architect (and their molls) down from Telegraph or across from Russian Hill for a morning meet and treat. At lunch, more fresh fruit appears: raspberries, strawberries, melons, or fruit and yoghurt, with superhealth pastries from 14 bakers. More ambitious trenchermen try the crab quiche or the Slim Joe--grilled ground chuck, onions, Monterey Jack and catsup on half a French baguette. Cole slaw? Try Mama's paper-thin cabbage slices with her secret dressing. Frittata? There is an Italian egg-and-vegetable concoction baked in seasonings. Mama and Papa Sanchez have eight children, and most of them helped name various sandwiches and dishes: Charlie the Tuna, Charlie's Aunt, Crab Joyce, John the Gardener, Papa's Favorite. Fresh flowers, honest food, happy people make this a rare, no-nonsense, nonethnic restaurant for extroverted gourmets. Open seven days a week from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Crowded. Cheerful. Cheap. A joy.
Fellini's Roma is a cinematic pearl, one of those gems that so often result when the germ of an idea lodges itself in the phantasmagoric imagination of Federico Fellini. Those who view Fellini's showmanship as a mere shell game may label Roma a documentary about the Eternal City--but we prefer to compare it with the etchings of Hogarth or Toulouse-Lautrec. (For a play-by-play sampling, see Playboy's October pictorial.) Spurning even the loose story structure of Satyricon, Fellini disguises his vision of modern existence as a quasi-biographical portrait of Rome, in triptych form--the Rome he imagined as a lad in Rimini; the Rome he discovered firsthand during the prewar Fascist era, at the age of 18; and Rome today. A dozen or more major sequences flash by almost kaleidoscopically, out of strict chronological order yet held together by Fellini's rich sensual imagery and extravagant perception. On Fellini's sprawling tapestry, resident celebrities Anna Magnani and Gore Vidal appear briefly as themselves. The screen erupts into vivid re-creations of wartime brothels for rich and poor, a far-out trip into antiquity via Rome's unfinished Metropolitana subway, a rowdy Roman music hall. Memorable in the heady blend of fable and fantasy are episodes filmed on the heavily trafficked Raccordo Anulare that encircles modern Rome, a rainy-day nightmare of urban ugliness; and the climactic night-riding revels of a band of noisy motociclisti in the ancient city, whose menacing shadows suggest that Clockwork Orange droogs are alive and well on the Appian Way. Superb cinematography (by Giuseppe Rotunno) adds panache to Roma's showstopping ecclesiastical fashion show--nuns and priests promenading like Vogue mannequins in a cruel and hilarious satirical statement that only Fellini would dare dream up or be able to materialize. Roma makes palpable the greed, corruption, coldness, insanity and unfailing magnetism of a great city.
Spencer Davis, who has been playing rock and folk music since the Fifties, is one of those relaxed and engaging guitarists who have, willfully or not, stayed out of the public eye and avoided the insanity of pop stardom. Mousetrap (United Artists) proves that he has not been idle. Davis and Tret Fure sing and play dual acoustic guitars in a tasteful, subdued style that ranges from British folk to Nashville, from Leadbelly to Delaney & Bonnie. The accompanying musicians are superb, consisting of people such as Lee Sklar, Jim Keltner, Ernie Watts, jazz trumpet great Harry ("Sweets") Edison and Sneaky Pete Kleinow (who produced the album). Traditional folk seems lately to be reaching a new and interesting accommodation with rock. This disc shows how it's happening. Two more artists who have come out from under the bushel are Roy Buchanan and Eric von Schmidt. Buchanan, the legendary rock guitarist, has lived and played in Washington, D. C., for years with his regular band, the Snakestretchers. He travels little, has had no previous recordings, was asked to join The Rolling Stones after Brian Jones died--and refused. Finally, after a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert and some NET specials, he was induced to make Roy Buchanan (Polydor), which in fact shows that he can play rings around most any rock guitarist alive. He sticks mostly to country and blues, but there are a fine bayou-music cut, Cajun, and a nod to the old days, Hey, Good Lookin', that will knock you out. Eric von Schmidt is a central, if shadowy, figure in the American folk movement. He appeared on the cover of Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home, and Bob has reciprocated with a paste-on blurb for Eric's 2nd Right 3rd Row (Poppy), his first record in three years. Word has it that Dylan and Garth Hudson, among other notables, sat in for some of these sessions. The album is about as quirky and eccentric as anything you'll hear, but nonetheless an absolute delight, with tunes about wet birds flying at night, Nixon in China, a beautiful love ballad (The Letter) and one really marvelous song about money and power and their consequences (Believer). To paraphrase a thought from one of these songs: This album should get Von Schmidt out of the woodwork and into your head.
Out there in televisionland, where a majority of every season's programs seem designed to confirm H. L. Mencken's observation that "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public," there are flickers of light--some evidence that educational TV may be easing out of its ghetto into prime time on major networks. On November 14 on NBC, British journalist Alistair Cooke--whose chores as host-narrator of last year's BBC series about Henry VIII's wives and the reign of Elizabeth I made Tudor England vivid to millions of American viewers--began performing a comparable service for the former Colonies with a 13-week series titled America: "A Personal History of the United States." Sponsored by Xerox, this BBC coproduction (in association with Time-Life Films) also enlists producer-director Michael Gill and many of the talents responsible for Kenneth Clark's memorable Civilization series in 1971.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko may be the world's best-known poet; surely he is the world's best-known Russian poet, and the most widely traveled. Despite frequent reports of his estrangement from the Soviet government, he darts in and out of Russia with the apparent freedom of an unofficial ambassador plenipotentiary. In a nation where political recognition is thought to hinge on Communist Party membership, he has risen to national prominence as a nonmember. In a society where atheism is the established religion, he willingly acknowledges his admiration for Christianity--even to the extent of wearing a gold cross around his neck. In a nation whose people are popularly viewed as drab and puritanical, he is fashionable, flamboyant and a self-styled Casanova.
Gans, The Father, lay dying in a hospital bed. Different doctors said different things, held different theories. There was talk of an exploratory operation, but they thought it might kill him. One doctor said cancer.
It's late June 1972 and I'm sitting in my car in a quiet, working-class neighborhood just a short distance from the Whitestone Bridge in Queens, New York, tracking down a Mafia Godfather. The Whitestone section is filled with cottages and bungalows whose uniformity give it the appearance almost of a Levittown. Trees that have grown past suburban adolescence umbrella over the roadway. A green belt of lawns runs down both sides of the street, shrubs against the houses are carefully barbered and flowers fill the borders.
The holiday season tends to be an Endless Celebration and chances are you'll be partying all over town between now and the new year with all manner of fascinating types. But in your heart you know the best party is a get-together with those you love and like--main chicks, good buddies, old friends. And Christmas is prime time for such a frolic. With a tightly knit group, you want to keep things loose and easy. Forget about formal themes or organized activities. Those so inclined can help with the tree or swap gifts, but that's strictly for the self-starters. Leave the troops to their own social devices.
"Painting female nudes is a very natural thing for a guy to do," says former Miamian Martin Hoffman, shown above in his new Manhattan studio with a huge Flying Tiger self-portrait. "I love their pure classical form, but I also try to make mine physical, to create a living presence on canvas with paint that picks up light like skin. So I use the traditional method of under-and overpainting; it's the simplest way to say the most with the least. What my portraits say, though, is hard to pin down. But to me they're like time machines, moving back and forth from antiquity to the present--and beyond. They're caught somewhere in between."
A few months ago, I was having dinner with my Playboy editor in a Chinese restaurant in Chicago, and midway between my Beef and Snow Peas Thousand Fragrance and my Hot and Sour Sherbet, he matter-of-factly slipped me the information that the guys at the mag had come up with what they thought was a rather amusing assignment for me: Basically, how would I feel about going to a sex orgy and writing what it felt like?
Sometimes mankind reminds me of a creature that has taken a billion years to climb a million-mile-high cliff. And here he is, putting his arm up over the edge and almost making it. Then, at the last moment, he leaps up, tromps upon his own fingers--and plunges screaming back, into the abyss.
Whenever bread came within Simone de Beauvoir's reach, she crushed it to death between her palms. She'd crushed a hundred loaves between Marrakech and Tunis, talking the whole while. She hadn't shut up since Casablanca and I hadn't had an unmangled slice since Fés. Why she had to turn fresh loaves into crumbs simply to turn Marx, Hegel and Freud into dry crusts, I understand no more today than I did in June of 1949. A Bedouin toiling between the shafts of a donkey cart, she assured me, was doing so because he could not afford to feed (continued on page 222)Médenine(continued from page 153) a donkey. For correcting my first impression that the man was Darryl Zanuck, I thanked her.
They are the final sigh: sunny green islands, 700 of them, scattered over 100,000 square miles of gleaming warm ocean, death shiver of a mountain range going down for the last time, drowning old peaks crusted with coral and sawed off by the sea. They are fragile; most are merely cays, islets, barley rising into the air, usually snarled with the low mangrove scrub that the thin topsoil grows when left to its own devices; and others are pocked by huge brackish salt marshes, lunar and desolate, where the ocean is closer to claiming them than not. They are delicate and difficult scraps of land, practically useless, beautiful only where they touch the sea; but that is almost everywhere, in mile after mile of graceful curving beaches, white and empty and sloping slowly down to water clear beyond belief, transparent at the edge, then shading in long pure swirls down through bright changing levels of green and blue, markers of banks and channels and sudden mile-deep plunges.
No doubt for all men since Cain, the first true tastings of life have blurted to the palate of innocence coarsely, rank and violent as new garlic. I suspect that one of the common events in the private unarticulated history of my own generation, growing up during the Fifties in the fluorescent beginnings of the shopping-center civilization, was that we tended to come by those rude musks of experience by way of playing pinball machines--much as poolrooms once served the boyhood seasoning of our fathers. In America's lost age of villages, even in the most meager and grimly prim township could be found at least one pool hall, unobtrusive on a dirt side street, with a kind of sleazy indestructibility, a solitary quality of being one great gong of time older than all the trim white churches, the banks, the schools, the flags. It shared this peculiar primeval authenticity with only one other place in town, the jail. In fact--aside from such trivial tokens of freedom in the poolroom as half pints sagging lumpily in hip pockets, a petty interchanging of linty wadded dollar bills and the idle clack and murmur of cue balls--the interiors of the two places were virtually indistinguishable. There was the same mute stalking and pacing of derelict figures under wanly glaring light bulbs, in a muggy lassitude of tedium faintly sour with the brutal swelter of (text continued on page 164)PinBall(continued from page 159) weary but unflagging human quick, enclosed in bare glum walls scribbled over with an infinity of graffiti. For a youth from the genteel and circumspect neighborhoods in town, where on sunny Saturday mornings the careful measured cadences of piano lessons gusted lightly from front-parlor windows, the pool hall was a clandestine entry into the darker, measureless labyrinth of his more ancient and elemental legacy as a man, the local depot beyond which lay those unknown primordial regions of mortality.
Despite all the Blather about airplanes and racing cars, the ultimate commingling of man and machine still takes place at the silk-smooth flipper buttons of a well-tuned pinball machine. No other human endeavor so involves skills of mind and body with the challenging intricacies of a mechanical toy. Nowhere else are the rewards as rich, the sorrows as devastating. Except for its ability to preoccupy for hours or even days at a time, pinball playing could be compared to making love. Both acts are sources of a pleasure better experienced than described. Both improve with practice and respond to innovation. And both can prove satisfying day after day for an entire lifetime, as refinements in technique supplant flagging desire and increasing familiarity.
She lived on a New Jersey farm until she was six years old, and her fondness for the country life and animals lingered long after her family's move from the East to Los Angeles; so it was logical, when Mercy Rooney saw a rodeo last summer, that she'd fall in love with it. Here's how it happened: "I was deeply involved in clothes designing for a couple of years, and eventually I began to specialize in leather. Through a series of contacts, I agreed to do some leatherwork for rodeo contestants and decided I should go see a rodeo myself in order to get an idea of how the clothes should function." She got the chance a short time later, driving north along the California coast to the vegetable valleys around Salinas, where a major rodeo was being held. Everything about it impressed her: the spectacle, the crowds, the athletes and their ladies, and she formed some interesting perceptions about the sport. "Most people think of rodeo as man conquering beast--men riding bulls, roping calves, that kind of thing. That's not it at all. Rodeo is actually man conquering his own body, being able to control it and make it work the way he wants it to. The real pros are very disciplined people; with discipline comes skill, and that's what makes the whole thing a treat for fans. Riding rodeo is a beautiful, graceful art when a person's really good at it." During the Salinas events Mercy met somebody who's probably as good at it as anyone ever gets: five-time all-round champion Larry Mahan. "Larry and I became great friends. He's simply tremendous to watch and he let me see the whole thing from the chutes area. I liked being right down there with the dirt kicked in the air, flying in your face, and the animals lunging so close that you have to jump for a fence to get out of their way." Mahan and his colleagues enjoyed Mercy's visit at least as much as she enjoyed being there. Asked about the reaction when she appeared on the scene, Mahan says, "I recollect hearing quite a few 'Good God A'mightys!' And one of my friends said to me, 'We gotta get her out of here. I can't concentrate on ray horse.' " When she isn't distracting rodeo performers, Mercy lives a busy life in Los Angeles, following a schedule that divides time between Bunnying at the L.A. Club and returning to an acting career that she had pursued after high school, then capriciously dropped for a couple of years. "I'm back in acting school and working hard at it. I guess I quit before because I just had too many things going. I was designing full time, I managed a chain of design shops for a while, then became a Bunny, too. Now I'm working at the Club only three nights a week so I'll have time to take some classes and audition for parts. I've done some TV already--The Tonight Show, Laugh-In and several commercials. This time, I plan to keep acting until I meet the man, retire to a ranch and raise animals. But that figures to be in the very distant future." Her rodeo friends are certain that Mercy will find what she wants. Says Larry Mahan, "Mercy's gonna be a very successful young lady in this little ol' thing we call life."
Of Time and The River: All who have sought the Mississippi have found something more, have found their own sources and outlets, as if the river were a god or the oracle of a god. Mark Twain as Huck Finn, on the church of his raft: "It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking aloud, and it warn't often that we laughed--only a little kind of a low chuckle." T. S. Eliot, St. Louis boy Englishing his childhood awe: "I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river / Is a strong brown god...." William Carlos Williams, tough baby doctor sprawling loose before the New World, the New World for him a goddess in wondrous bloody lust baiting priapic De Soto: "And in the end you shall receive of me, nothing--save one long caress as of a great river passing forever upon your sweet corse." De Soto's men, fearful that the Indians would discover by their leader's death that he was not the god they thought him to be, cased him like a nut in a hollowed cottonwood log and dumped him into the river, where he perhaps became a snag, became a towhead, became an island midstream and then was duly washed away to the Gulf, detritus of conquest, discoverer dissolved by the flood he discovered, as are we all. No man steps twice into the same river. Not even his own.
Aphrodite ... Venus ... Ishtar ... to the ancient Phoenicians, she was Astarte. Symbol of sex and fertility, lover and destroyer of men, taken by all, owned by none ... and recently hailed as the patron goddess of women's liberation. But to balletomanes at home and abroad, Astarte is the perennial showstopper of New York's hip and venturesome City Center Joffrey Ballet. One London critic called the work "so far out it will meet other ballets coming back," while New York Times critic Clive Barnes declared Astarte "not only better but far, far sexier" than Oh.' Calcutta! Company director-choreographer Robert Joffrey says, "Had I done the ballet in 1970, I would have done it nude, but the time was not yet right." Here, with impeccable timing, prima ballerina Nancy Robinson and Herbert Migdoll, Joffrey staff photographer and art director of Dance magazine, uncover for Playboy a new, never-before-seen Asfarfe. First of the multimedia hard-rock ballets--utilizing film and an award-winning score by Crome Syrcus--the Astarte myth became Migdoll's mission as he sought to capture "that cool, marble quality" of the goddess depicted in classic Assyrian and Greek sculpture. The lotus emblem on Astarte's brow is an eternal symbol of life seed nourished by water, and Migdoll waited months for the rare flora to bloom at Bluebeard's Castle in the Virgin Islands, a somewhat paradoxical site for his photographic essay on a tantalizing Astarte "who springs from the lotus like Botticelli's Venus on the half shell. Nancy was turned on by the setting; she thought the vines were sexy." California beautiful, with a "now" look and outlook that deepen her affinity for contemporary ballet, Nancy felt this new, wild, watery world might provide a wellspring of inspiration for Astar te. A man rises from the audience, moves toward the goddess as if in a trance, strips down to his briefs and takes her. She in turn uses her liberated sexual powers to emasculate him. So goes the onstage version of Astarte, a psychedelic sex dream re-created here by Migdoll, with Nancy and her partner, Christian Holder, sans costumes. "In performance, I have often wished we were nude," says Nancy, who once thought herself too human and earthly to dance Astarte. "I always begin feeling very celibate. Later, I get quite turned on ... I feel five or six different ways ... soft and alluring ... lustful ... the crazy kind of feeling, like an orgasm. At the end, I can't talk, or relate to people, sometimes for hours." Added to photographer Migdoll's light-show legerdemain inspired by the triumph of Astarte, those words yield more than a clue to Nancy Robinson's reputation as today's most erotic ballerina.
Bob Evans was asked into movies twice, the second time by Darryl Zanuck. He didn't make it as an actor but liked the industry enough to sell his interest in a fashion business for a few million and take an office at 20th Century-Fox. A few years later, he was named head of Paramount. He made more enemies than pictures in Hollywood at first, but then he had a good run of movies. He also has a big house and drives nice cars. His most recent picture is "The Godfather."
After his wars with G. M. et al., Ralph Nader has decided to take on their strongest and most inviolable ally: Congress. All these crusades have made him one of the most respected figures in the country--especially among the young--but success hasn't spoiled Nader, who is nobody's good-time Charley. He still lives in a rented room, takes the bus and has nothing but contempt for frivolous things like novels and movies. When you're saving the world, there's not a whole lot of time.
In the world of big business, Robert Townsend is two things: a success and a wise ass. He used his own panache and one of Madison Avenue's memorable slogans ("When You're Only Number Two, You Try Harder") to turn dismally slumping Avis into a profit maker. Then he quit and wrote a book, "Up the Organization," that instructs others in unorthodox management. The book was a huge success--well, a huge seller; most executives still have a secretary answer the phone.
"As a columnist the noblest of us all," William F. Buckley, Jr., once wrote of Murray Kempton, a man with whom he shares few political theories but a long record of iconoclasm. When Kempton appeared regularly in the New York Post, it was typical of him to defend Carmine De Sapio against the raging reformers--also typical for him to lose the battle. Kempton liked Mayor Wagner's style, of all things, and defends the Mafia as "a league of small enterprisers in a declining industry."
When I first met Gretchen, in the winter of 1970, she was living in a Roscoe Street apartment on Chicago's North Side, just a few blocks from where Bugs Moran had lived many years before. She was in her salad days then: a tough and pretty street pharmacist who knew all of Chicago's joints and alleys and all the ways to spot cops. She was living with a guy she called the Chemist.
I want to tell you about a very odd experience I had a few months ago, not so as to entertain you but because I think it raises some very basic questions about, you know, what life is all about and to what extent we run our own lives. Rather worrying questions. Anyway, what happened was this:
To judge from the films of 1972, the women's liberation movement is having a greater impact out in the audience than it is onscreen: The biggest, hottest, most potent sex stars of the year were predominantly male. It was not ever thus. Sex stars have traditionally been female, the words conjuring up such sugarplum visions as Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot or, from the more distant past, Greta Garbo and Rita Hayworth. Nor was it merely male chauvinism that held these heavenly bodies firmly in place; women liked them, too. Some see this year's relative paucity of distaff stars as the result of the libbers' often strident objections to the use of sisters as sex symbols; it seems more likely to us that female movie fans today feel freer to express openly their admiration for a sexy man.
My lovely left-handed loverWill be riding down from GenevaOn the afternoon Catalan bound for Barcelona.I'll catch her all honeygold at NîmesAnd embrace her on behalf of the city council,On behalf of Apollinaire, on behalf of Lou.Ah, Lou, Lou, she is somewhat like you.My lovely slowcoach, come, I'll teach you.The Geneva train is faster than a river.I am no laborious and insipid drone,But an Irish poet, and thus perfectible.Together we will submitTo the mesmerism of objectsPainted or hewn--and without too much cheating.And all this nonsense about women's liberationWill fade into the fifty-fifty of kisses shared.Let us be enemies of intellectual coziness.Every embrace is an empirical exchange of vitamins.Your last postcard from the dark lake read:"Se réaliser? Oui. Mais comment?Darling, I am buying a clockwork mouseTo show my independence from men.Signed: A real woman."Perhaps now do you see why?
Something in the air, the water, the natural surroundings--whatever it may be, the town of Siena is well known for producing dunderheads and braggarts among its men and abundant beauties among its women. Some apologists I know have explained that it isn't so much that Sienese men are naturally stupid--it's simply that the sons are careful to imitate the fathers in order not to be taken for bastards. As for the charms of the women, that is God's blessing and is not to be questioned. In any case, with these two natural phenomena side by side, Siena has generated a tale or two.
"Thy Baths shall be the juice of July-flowers,/Spirit of roses, and of violets,/The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath/Gathered in bags, and mixed with Cretan wines." The particular ingredients listed by Ben Jonson, Shakespeare's rival playwright and poet, may prove hard to find in your town. But aided by a few products that are currently on the market--and, presumably, by a congenial partner of the complementary sex--you can, in the intimacy of your own pad, enjoy the fine arts of bathing and massage. They haven't always been favored by Americans. In fact, a lot of people believed H. L. Mencken in 1917 when he wrote that the first American bathtub was built as recently as 1842. Mencken later admitted he was putting everyone on, but in the meantime, the remark had found its way into the Congressional Record and (concluded on page 258)Ablution Revolution(continued from page 227) stirred up considerable ruckus. Bathing, anointing and massaging, however, have long been celebrated in the arts and institutions of other cultures. The Bible abounds with references to ointments and potions, both sacred and sensual. "Thou anointest my head with oils; my cup runneth over," wrote the best songwriter of ancient Israel. And his son, who inherited his father's penchant for secular dalliance, picked up his Shulamite in a litter that came up from the desert "like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant." The athletes who competed in the original Greek Olympiads laved their nude bodies with olive oil. The Finns invented the sauna and the Japanese their public baths, at which patrons cleanse themselves by sudsing in one tub, then soaking in another. (It's no accident that Nippon has the world's most uninhibited legacy of erotic art.) Europeans of a few generations ago believed in the healing powers of mineral baths, and their "spas" sent American travelers home with the desire to enjoy similar luxuries on this continent.
You would never guess that Swami Rama has been practicing yoga since the age of four and heads a monastery in Rishikesh. Now, in his mid-40s, he looks more like an Italian nobleman in his Nehru jacket and turtleneck sweater, and so he appeared very much out of place in Topeka, Kansas.
New paths for those seeking a freer fashion approach to the gala occasion. Left: An Indian-silk single-breasted two-button jacket with notched lapels, wider shoulders and no vent, $150, worn with pleated wool flannel wide-legged slacks with a satin side stripe, $50 per special order, both by Pierre Cardin; a polka-dot silk shirt, by Gentleman John, $40, and a cowhide belt with metal buckle, by Tex Tan, $6.50. Right: A paisley-patterned cotton velvet jacket with a deep center vent, $110, is combined with a matching paisley-patterned shirt, $40, cotton velvet slacks that feature slightly flared leg bottoms, $35, and a silk pocket square, $7.50, all by Bill Blass for PBM.