Call off the ab cops

You say you still have a tough nut to crack on your shopping list? You ever thought about a maid? That’s right, a maid. If that tough nut is a bit of a slob, whether it be male or female, a $75 to $100 three-hour spit shine by a squadron of maids is a truly thoughtful gift that never fails to shock and delight the recipient. It might also shock the poor maids, but they’re professionals.

Submitted for your approval (as the late Mr. Serling used to say) … the typical American family of four on a Sunday night in 1965. Mom’s making a pot roast and, as usual, is overcooking the meat so that it hits the table looking like a saddle. The family sits down for dinner, where they chat about kickball, chores, yard work and school. Then, they all move into the den to watch this week’s episode of The Wonderful World of Disney. After that, it’s an hour of Ed Sullivan’s variety show, and then off to bed for Sally and Timmy. Mom and Dad stay up to watch Bonanza, then put on their pajamas and slip off to dreamland in their separate twin beds.

Fast-forward to the typical American household in 2001. Dad brings Ashley and Dylan home around 7:30, since it was his weekend to have the kids. He also brings Sunday dinner, namely a 10-pack of tacos. As he hands out the little packets of hot sauce, they settle in front of the tube to watch the show they’ve all been anxiously awaiting, HBO’s The Best of Autopsy. Afterward, Dad says good night, hoping to get over to his new girlfriend’s house in time for a joint and a massage, while Mom tells the kids they have to do some homework if they want to watch Trainspotting in a half-hour. Ash and Dill head upstairs, get online and read movie reviews until the flick comes on. Mom knocks back a couple of Vicodin, and then passes out while watching Sex in the City .

Conclusion? It’s all Nixon’s fault.

I couldn’t help but notice the cover of Rolling Stone’s end-of-the-year double issue. Out of 20 pictures, 10 were of women, and in each and every one the gal was (1) exposing her flat, curvy belly or (2) generating cleavage. Every one. The knuckle-dragging ape zone of my psyche spent some time leering at each photo, enjoying the predictable wave of hapless primordial titillations.

But there was a higher part in the ole cranial attic that was slightly outraged. A part that recognized the narrow, sleazy message being sent to talented young women who might be 15 or 20 pounds "overweight." I mean, thank Jesus that Mama Cass and Ella Fitzgerald never had to be subjected to the tyrannies of the ab police. It all leaves me wondering if there’s even one contemporary female singer out there who knows what to do with a meatloaf sandwich and a sack of fries.