Bikini Bodies

I have a young, handsome friend who is also a fabulous musician.  A few years back, he got a recording and touring opportunity from one of the top names in the business, along with the caveat, “You must spend 2 hours every day in the gym.  And if you ever get heavy [or ugly], you’re out!”

He was given a clothing budget of several thousand dollars, told where to shop, and his hair became miraculously thicker and darker in a very short period of time.

There are some things we all know on a just-below-the-surface level, but we push away because no one wants to believe the world really works that way.  But then when confronted with the direct truth of it either through our own experiences or a friend’s, it’s like “duh.  That makes sense.  I sort of suspected that all along.”

I’ve been addicted to “Mad Men” on Netflix lately.  Can’t take my eyes off it actually and would probably watch the whole series back to back straight through till it was over if given the opportunity.  The ad executives are constantly spinning crap into gold through glossy words and pictures.  The idealist in me wants to scream, “Isn’t the cream cheese good enough?  Shouldn’t the cream cheese become popular enough just for being cream cheese!!?”

This morning I woke thinking about marketing, as a musician, and appreciating how celebrities are generally promoted through the specialized form of advertising known as publicists.

Then I thought about that little celebrity column that often pops up on the right of my screen when I’m online, with several dozen little celebrity icons and their celebrity news.   At least half of these celebrity news stories say something like wow look at so-and-so in their bikini body.  And I must admit, I’ve taken the bait several times.

Everyone’s making news with bikini bodies these days.  From the youngest to the oldest.  Did you see the ones of Jane Fonda lately with the headlines:  “75.  Still hot.”  (note: everyone over 40 gets a “still” in their headline).  And for the little kids just coming of age: “Too racy?  Or “[so & so] is all grown up and look at her now!”  Yup.  This is the big news.

I had a brief thought bubble of walking into a new publicist’s office and asking “How can I best promote myself as a musician?” and then being told:  “work out 2 hours a day and then we’ll post frequent pictures of you in a bikini.”

We all want to look our best, and thankfully I’m a musician, not an actress, because musicians seem to have a little more leeway in that department.  But it’s still out there.

I better get to the gym.

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