The guns are silent; the camps empty and thank God the men and boys will be heading out of that Hellhole before Christmas.
Now before you get all activist on me, I do not mean the Middle East in general as a Hellhole or even Iraq in particular. If you live there as a native I am sure it is a wonderment beyond all western understanding. But if you have been sent there with a gun and instructions to keep the peace no matter how the locals feel about your doing so then any place becomes a Hellhole.
I am sure that if troops were sent in to subdue the locals and enforce Western Culture on Texas there would be shooting and explosions and IEDs everywhere.
So let’s all enjoy the fact that our guys are leaving and their guys are taking over and let there be peace on earth good will toward man.
But even with the end of hostilities and the return of many of our fighting men, there are empty beds and lonely wives aplenty and with the holiday season fast approaching some of them are bound to think frisky thoughts and want to pep up their partner with a visual aid or two.
Oh come on, it’s not like they weren’t married and even if they aren’t what happens between consenting adults is none of our business. Women have been reminding their men and now with the shifting work force make up men their women just exactly what they are fighting for and what sort of reward waits when the victorious come home.
You don’t think all of those Roman Legions conquered the known world because they had athlete’s foot and had to keep moving or die of itching? They had an itch, just a different sort.
And since the middle of the nineteenth century when those French guys started making images on glass plates or when the flax merchant’s wife could get Rembrandt out of bed, pictures of an intimate nature have been passing back and forth in the barracks and trenches. Leave a soldier unattended and he might wander off to one of those places and well you never know what sort of low person might be in there after all they are in a foreign country like, Kuwait and you know how the time weighs heavy on someone who has to go out each morning and get his or her ass shot at.
So it should come as no surprise that there is an emerging market for boudoir art.
The first question you should ask yourself before getting involved with this aspect of the business is, “Can I do it and if so should I?”
That isn’t as simple as it sounds. You might feel that this sort of thing is just not appropriate for your skills or even more to the point your Long Suffering might want your skills taking out the trash and cleaning the gutters and not slaving over diaphanously clad Marine or SEAL.
You might not approve on moral grounds. Perfectly reasonable, it isn’t for everyone.
But if you search your soul or whatever governing body controls your moral compass and it has no objection them you are ready to move on to the next question.
Can you be trusted? The person contracting the painting/photo/sculpture is hanging their person way out on a limb for you because they trust you and it might be helpful to know if their trust is merited. Will the temptation to post just one of the finished pictures to your Facebook account be too much? If it is this is not a job for you. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping.
Finally will you be able to Do the Job. This is after all a commissioned work, just like that ten foot paper mache buffalo you made for the Windfest, and if you can’t be serious and do the work without sniggering or slacking, pass. It takes a dedicated professional to work with a client on a project which offers challenges and stresses not usually seen in painting boats.
If you make your list and check it twice and all of the check boxes are marked off, then how are you going to do it?
Have no fear there are lots of resources and if at first you have no idea how to go about it, a quick look around the Internet should kick start your creative juices. No, it is not a license to cruise those sites where only pervs and sickos go. You wouldn’t find anything helpful there anyway.
The reigning queen of fantasy Bettie Page is a good place to start, Bettie worked back in the fifties and sixties when a flash of skin could cause vapor lock at ninety yards. She was so cute and playful that even buck nekkid she was an elf herself and not nude and rude like some of the Stag Queens. I recall, and believe me recalling anything is difficult enough, a Yule time photo of Bettie in a Santa hat and a smile by the Christmas tree that was pasted on every locker room wall and packed inside every foot locker headed for South East Asia.
More recently two of the best Plus-Sized models ever have created images which fire the blood, but don’t offend the standards of Tarsus the Good. The Large Odalisque, Ingres's masterpiece of 1814 was re-created with an undraped Emme and was viewer safe enough for People magazine.
Kate Dillon played peek-a-boo with a SAKS sign and like Sally Rand no one knew if the fans hid something more or less than Miss Rand.
The trick now is as it has always been making the mind think the eye isn’t catching everything there is to see.
Are you up for the challenge or do you think this is just an excuse to do cheesecake and not be called a hack. It is hard to find the erotic while not making the illicit. Try it and see if you have the skills to walk the line.
And yes, I know it is too close to Christmas for this to do you any good at all, but Valentine’s is only eight weeks away. Just the right time frame for a completed work, and unfortunately the men and women who need the inspiration will still be in the field making life easy for us.