Saturday, July 16, 2011

Remembering Marilyn Monroe and "The Seven Year Itch"

Marilyn Monroe
In Stockton, California, in 1955 my brother, our friend Peter and I caught the bus at the corner of W. Poplar Street and N. Yosemite and rode downtown to see a movie.  It was "The Seven Year Itch" starring Marilyn Monroe.  Monroe was a mega-sex idol in those days.  It's difficult to explain just how popular she was.

The film had a very sexy scene where Monroe's character is coming out of a movie theater with her date, the character portrayed by actor Tom Sewell.  There is a sidewalk grate over the subway tunnels below, and since it is a hot summer night, Monroe's character stands over the grate and lets the breeze from the trains below blow up her dress, ostensibly to cool her off.  The breeze floats her white dress up rather high, giving a great view of Monroe's stupendous legs.  I almost choked on my popcorn.  I was only 9 at the time, but I already knew I was a leg man.

Of course, the scene was designed to haunt young men's dreams, fire the agony of desire and drive guys completely nuts.  It worked.  People poured into the theaters to see Monroe's famous scene and fabulous legs.

Yesterday in Chicago's Pioneer Court, they unveiled a 26 foot statue of Marilyn Monroe in her famous subway grate pose, with her white dress billowing up.  Ah, the memories.

Marilyn Monroe was not the first person to ever make me aware of the striking differences between the anatomy of men and women.  The first time I ever saw cleavage is when a lady friend of my mom's came by the house.  She was wearing a low cut blouse and her lovely breasts were pressed together in a most pleasing way.  I was maybe three years old.

I then embarrassed my mom as only I could do, completely, thoroughly and profoundly.  I pointed to the lady's boobs and demanded to know "What's that?"  There was a lot of stammering and stuttering and gasps and sighs, but no straightforward answer was forthcoming.  Noticing that the subject matter was round with a crack in the middle, I observed, "It looks like a butt."

At that point a crack in the floor opened up and my mother descended into the nether regions of hell, simply to escape this abject humiliation.  Well, actually, no she didn't.  But she wanted to, believe me.  Personally, I was astounded to know that some women had butts on their chests.  A two-headed Martian would not have surprised me more.

Anyway, to return to Marilyn Monroe.  My friend Peter lived across the street from us in Stockton, and his father owned a 1954 calendar with the famous nude of Monroe, sitting on a red satin sheet, one arm locked over her head, an orgasmic expression on her face.  One day, when his father was off to work, Peter invited me over for a peek at the calendar.

I was thunderstruck.  It was the first time I had ever seen breasts.  I was utterly fascinated.  Hmm, so that's what a woman looks like, thought I.  I wanted one.

Read about the Monroe statute in Chicago here.

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