For months now I've been struggling with my mixed feelings about the Suicide Girls - 21st century pin-ups who come in just about every flavour you can imagine. They even have a weekly podcast that's one of the most popular aural entertainments on the web.
Visiting the site I notice that you can take your pick from a drop down stable of 858 fillies. Each girl's personal page includes a whole swag of demographic data such age, birthday, gender as well as things like body modifications (eg "tattoo of a cross with a staked heart on top of it, zero from nightmare before christmas, the quote "it can't rain all the time", another quote "my body is secondary to my soul", a dandylion, 12 stars down my side, and tally marks and bellybutton, nipples, hood, and tounge pirced"...[sic]), fave bands/films/books/TV, what they're "into" (eg "looking at boobies" - though she doesn't indicate whether she means breasts or men), Amazon wishlist and so on. In fact just about all the things you'd be interested in if you took the time to find a real girlfriend.
Now while I find it hard to believe that anyone other than 11 year old "tweens" are genuine fans of this genre, I'm told it's extremely lucrative. They even do tours.
Each girl, apart from publishing an ongoing intimate photo set, posts to a blog which is a bit Bridget Jonesish - information on when they last had a cigarette, what they've eaten, descriptions of squabbles with siblings etc which is charming enough in its own banal way but things sometimes get quite poignant, such as the girl who excitedly posts "i now work... at a pizza place.... it rocks.... life is good!!!" which almost brought tears to my eyes.
Paid up members, who pay $4 a month to access various sections of the site closed to cheapskates like me, are given personal pages with similar "about me" lists, a "salon" (no less!) where they host discussion and a section for pictures of their favourite Suicide pets. And from what I could tell, most of the members are males.
But I don't want to pay someone $4 a month to look at breasts when I've got two perfectly (and I do mean perfectly) good ones at home, so I figured there must be another way to peep behind the curtains. And there was. I could become a Suicide Girl too. What the heck, I thought. I'm emancipated. I'm into grrrl power. I have charming idiosyncrasies that could earn the attentions of swarthy weirdos with aspirations. Especially if it'll get me free membership, stickers and the coveted pink SG panties which I could wear when I'm not at work.
The application form was straighforward enough: Have I modelled, what do I look like (send lots of pictures) and why do I want to be a Suicide Girl. Piece of (cheese)cake! Though I did wonder why there were no questions about body piercings, whether I'm a vegetarian or how I feel about Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Never mind. Maybe they'll ask me that at the interview.
The website continues: "Your journal will reach millions of people, and you're free to advertise your projects, events or art... Just from being featured on Suicide Girls, girls have been hired to appear in music videos, tv shows, radio shows, film and music festivals, fashion shows, countless magazines and advertising campaigns." Hot DAWG! That sealed it. Maybe I could one day get a job as one of those booty shaking popettes in 50 Cent videos. That'd be so great. I've never walked on a leash before.
But just as I was uploading nude photos of myself I started to lose confidence about whether I could handle the pressure - all that blogging, for a start: "Watched Australian Idol which totally ROCKED!!! Had pasta carbonara for dinner. Saw a tampon ad that really made me think!..." Could I handle the pace? The adulation? The sheer flattery of being part of an 800 strong database of drop dead gorgeous, drop down menued chicks with attitude?
To be quite honest, most of the girls made me want to spit into my hanky and clean their face. I couldn't find one over the age of 21. And anyway, I'm not even sure I have what it takes, which became quite apparent when I was browsing the site for ideas on what I'd write when asked "most humbling moment" and "favourite sexual position". (Er, "awake"?).
In the end, I came across this fantasy from one of the girls, referring to us, the customers/admirers: "It rains lollipops and you get a tattoo of my face in your ass crack."
And once again, I found myself right in the middle of those mixed feelings about the Suicide Girls.