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The "Real" Life of a Catalog Model

Updated on April 10, 2016

Remember when?

High-waist slacks?
High-waist slacks? | Source

So I was eleven at the time.

I always looked forward to receiving a nationally-known retail catalog in the mail. Yes, I am dating myself here, but since I cannot use the retail catalog's name, I just have to "wing it." But I am still telling the truth.

It was as exciting (for me) as Christmas morning to get this thick book that the retail giant must have spent over a few million in postage alone to get their catalog to their valuable customers. Please tell me that you do know the business I am referring to.

But like I said. I was eleven. "That" awkward age. Guys, you have walked this treacherous road before and it is a dangerous mix of excitement and fear at the same time. Let me spell it out for you. Puberty. Now, do you know where this is going?

What a creepy gig. Modeling male underwear.
What a creepy gig. Modeling male underwear. | Source

Speeding ahead.

The sole, most-important reason that I looked forward to looking at the thick catalog that came in the U.S. Mail was getting to inspect page after lovely page of those pretty female models in their frilly underwear. This catalog was considered the "Rural Pre-Teen Boy's Playboy." I cannot make this topic any more clear.

I did not think this was wrong. All I was doing was exploring and enjoying those pretty women and no one to bother me for my parents both worked. And I was home alone thanks to school being out for the summer.

It was not a "cakewalk."

I had to be alert and on my toes at all times. With each lovely page of women models, I would quickly look up and look outside for someone who might think someone was home and start knocking on my door.

I mean, "I" was home, but I had all of the curtains pulled, the television was turned off, but I still had to be on guard for annoying intruders such as my sometimes-friend, "Ricky," who lived down the street. Well, road, that is what us rural teen guys called a street in the country.

A 60's flashback.
A 60's flashback. | Source

Since I am limited.

I cannot upload the "real" hot photos of those hot women's clothing models in their silky underwear here in this story or else my hub will be flagged and I hate doing re-writes, deleting photos that i misjudged for being acceptable and "all that jazz."

But the above photo might put you guys back in "that" certain time in your life when girls were becoming more exciting and talking to them was more fun than chasing them with bullfrogs in our hands. Ahhh, I miss those times. I haven't held a bullfrog in my hands in years.

Talk about ignoring photos. When my hands got the catalog in my shaking hands, it was like an F-18 fighter jet taking off in relation to how quickly I turned past those "cheesy" photos of the male models wearing jackets, jeans, and underwear. What a creepy gig that must have been to stand around in your briefs in the hot studio lights while a finicky photographer takes his sweet time in getting a shot of you and other "cheesy" male models in their underwear for the catalog exec's who just happened to be visiting the photographer's studio on that day.


Besides the excitement.

Yes, there was more at stake besides me getting my visual "hot female underwear model" fix when I got that catalog, I became more and more interested and somehow curious about what these models had to endure in order to make a decent wage back in the "60's," which I might add were not the most-lucrative when it came to catalog models making huge cash.

So now it is time to read and hopefully enjoy what I am calling . . .

The "Real" Life of a Catalog Model

"I" never owned a pair of these pants. "Thank God!"
"I" never owned a pair of these pants. "Thank God!" | Source
 I have no comment.
I have no comment. | Source
I am feeling sick.
I am feeling sick. | Source

A Shameful Confession:

As the years went by and we received more and more catalogs by mail, I found myself wanting to be one of the male models who modeled jeans, coats and such. But this was not my real reason for wanting to be a male model.

I figured that the male models would be around those hot female models sooner or later because I also thought that the photographer kept the male models and female models in separate rooms during their photo sessions.

And if I were so blessed as to meet and get to know one of these hot female models, I would literally "live happily ever after" and not grow up in the small, lifeless rural town that I called my hometown.

My 'shameful confession' is: When my parents were at work, I would stand in front of a big mirror in their bedroom and practice my best male model "looks" that I copied from the male models' faces in the big catalog.

When do I start feeling better?

I did have a few probing questions.

But no one to ask what models, both male and female, had to face each time they were chosen to participate in a "catalog shoot," what sessions like these were called in this era "in the business."

My points of worry are these:

  • Since the major retail catalog only came out twice per year, spring and winter, did these models work elsewhere to make ends meet? I mean. Did they work for the city water department locating leaks in the huge water lines buried hundreds of feet beneath the city?
  • What might be some of these models' names? "Chuck," "Bruce," "Mitzi," "Biff," are names that instantly popped into my wondering thoughts.
  • What about the animals who appeared in some of these vintage clothing ads? Did their owners/trainers get paid to allow them to be photographed?
  • Were these models really proud of their work with this major retailer? So proud in fact that they were the "center of attention" at family reunions, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July parties?
  • Did the fun-loving uncles of the clothing models have fun with them by saying, "Hey, 'Leon,' show us some of those sexy poses you did in your last underwear session."
  • A more frightening question to accompany the one above is: Did these clothing models, males I mean, "really" stand and disrobe to show how they posed? And in front of their entire families?
  • Were these clothing models married? I ask because I put myself in the shoes of one of the guys modeling sports jackets and pretended that "I" had a pretty wife named, "Peggy." Upon arriving home after each photo gig, she would ultimately ask, "what did you do all day, stand around in your skives?"
  • Did the hot female underwear models ever get sexually harassed? This one is easy to answer. "Yes," due to there were not legislation voted into law preventing these ladies from being "hit on" while they worked. Even at age eleven, I imagined that "I" was taking one of them out to a fancy restaurant for a quiet dinner.
  • Were these models required (by contract) to never gain weight? Just another burden on top of the burden of having to look calm and relaxed while being photographed by some guy they didn't know that well?
  • I wonder if any of these models had children who always said things like this (in front of people who were visiting): "Hey, mom! Is this you in your panties in this big book?" Yes, kids to say the most-inappropriate things.
  • Did any of these models so dedicated to their craft that they stayed with this huge retailer until they retired?


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      How are things up there in Canada?

      I appreciate your comments. It is your comments that help me to say interesting in hubbing.

      Write me anytime.

    • skperdon profile image


      2 years ago from Canada

      Interesting topic


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