"The Puritan ice may be melting in most Americans' veins, but not in Mother's."
A nude model fretted in Cosmopolitan over her worried mother's nagging more than three decades ago.
The young woman went on to explain: "How did the modeling affect my love life? It didn't. During that period I went with (numerous men). They weren't put off by my profession."
All positively normal, you see. Getting what you want when you want it, unencumbered by pesky things like biology.
"They gobbled her up," National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. observed in a 1970 article on the Cosmo phenomenon, "just like they'll gobble you up, if you do what Helen Gurley Brown tells you."
And so the great cultural gobbling continues. Not quite the cause for celebration or thanksgiving.
"Who needs a church?" he wrote. "Not the Cosmopolitan Girl. She needs Helen Gurley Brown. Who will tell her everything."
The Cosmo church is one that was always a bit too satisfy-your-man for feminists, and yet the spirit of faux empowerment has been at the core of the sexual bible.
"Mrs. Brown is quite aware," Buckley wrote, "that some people believe there are things people should do and things people shouldn't do. She just wants to help you if it happens that you want to do the things you shouldn't do. Mrs. Brown is always helping people out."
Fast-forward to the September 2012 issue, in which we discover there's a virgin working at Cosmo. (You can almost here a "Bingo!" as an editor makes the discovery of such a novelty in her midst.) The 23-year-old subject explains: "I'm not religious, so I'm not saving myself, and I've come close to having sex. But when it got down to it, I was never with anyone who I really felt like doing it with."
Could it be that somehow, amidst the bombardment, she's retained a sense of self-respect and intuits, if not a sacred quality, a purpose to sex beyond immediate gratification?
And yet, she defensively explains that she's at least "fairly normal," despite her virgin status. And, as if not to worry readers, she makes clear that she is prepared: "I take birth control," she writes, "own a vibrator, and enjoy flirting as much as any sexually active female. I always figured I'd lose my V card when the time was right, and I've never pressured myself about it."