One summer day, when I was about four-years-old, I sat in the front seat of the grocery cart as my mom did her shopping. As she wheeled the cart around the corner, there on the end cap was a giant cardboard cutout of a little girl whose panties were being pulled away by a frisky little dog. Her backside was exposed for all the world and the local grocery shoppers to see. And I was mortified.
I clapped one hand over my mouth in disbelief and pointed at the offending image in horror with the other. I was aghast. I remember my mom laughing, amused at my reaction.
I think it is around this age that self-awareness and a sense of proprietary kicks in because I remember being embarrassed, for the little girl in the ad and for me. I remember feeling that I had seen something that shouldn’t be seen.
You probably already know that the ad to which I am referring is the sweet and innocent Coppertone ad from the 1960s.
But oh the times, how they are a changin’.
Last week, Sean and I were in Sam’s. He was not in a cart but walking along side me down the aisle with the books and magazines when all of a sudden we rounded an end cap and he was aghast. He stopped dead in his tracks. He clapped one hand over his mouth and pointed with the other at the cover of GQ magazine which was right at his eye level.
On the cover of the magazine was not a sweet little toddler and a frisky dog, but Gisele Bundchen who is sitting on a bed, looking a little disheveled and wearing a top of some sort, but nothing else. While the cover was not especially graphic, it was not lost on my son that he was seeing something that shouldn’t be seen.
“Mommy!” Sean whispered-shrieked, “Where are her underpants?”
I just didn’t really know what to say, and when that happens, I just go with the truth.
“I don’t know Sean, but she should put some on, don’t you think?”
We kept moving along and luckily he was quickly distracted by the next thing that caught his eye, and we did not have to continue that conversation. For now.
I’m getting old, I know that, but I long for the days of Camelot when the raciest thing in the grocery store was the Coppertone girl.