Monday, October 13, 2003

My day has been thrown completely off-stride by the discovery, via Fark.com, that Rachael Ray recently posed in FHM magazine. For those of you who don't happen to follow the Food TV network -- perhaps there was just one too many "bams!" for your taste -- Rachael is the cute and perky host of Thirty Minute Meals, a show about learning to cook good cuisine when you're short of time. She also hosts a series called $40 A Day, about the world's most luxurious getaways. Just kidding. She's all about middle-class perky. So, as you might have guessed, Rachael isn't cut from the "sensualist" cloth of Nigella Lawson et al. She's very much more in the Doris Day mold of television personalities.

So Rachael Ray has posed semi-nude in FHM magazine. That's her prerogative as an adult. She is certainly in excellent health, gauging from the photos.

But it's the context of the photos that has flummoxed me. Take this one, for instance. A beaming Rachael and her pie. Or especially this one, a beaming Rachael and her turkey. If FHM had merely done its usual starlet-slut photography (like this), it might have been less interesting, but it would have certainly been less jarring. Somehow a nice home-cooked meal never works its way into my sexual fantasies. The near-nudity seems like an accident, like the usual Food TV photographer didn't tell her that she forgot to put on her shirt. Or, more to the point, it has the stilted feel of early adolescence, like a boy's first sexual fantasy about his cute young teacher.

Or is it me that has the stunted sex drive? What's wrong with an overtly sexualized Donna Reed, or Dinah Shore? Should I just get over it?

Altogether weird, and ultimately more thought-provoking than anything else FHM has ever published.

 2:33 PM

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