Friday, May 2, 2008

The Sweats

By Charlie Kondek

I was explaining to someone what "the sweats" were and I came across a good write-up of men's magazines at this site. Apparently, Jahsonic is no more; they are now The Art and Popular Culture Wiki, but the archives are online.

The sweats, as you may or may not know, refers specifically to the postwar crop of men's magazines that replaced "the pulps," and took on a different character because the reading audience that grew up on Doc Savage in the 1930s was now adults in the 1950s. This genre of men's mags, which covered sex, crime, war, spy stories and adventure, got it's name from the images on the covers of unshaven - and sweaty - men in action poses.

You can read some of the more lurid examples of this stuff at Java's Bachelor Pad, which is a great site. It's the web presence of a lounge music show and podcast out of Champagne, Illinois (am I spelling that right?) and has, in addition to the men's magazine samples, articles on burlesque, music, clothing, coffee table books, etc. For example, from "The Girl Watcher," 1959:

Nary a male eyeball wavered as five foot and a half inches of cool blonde female wow, glided across the sun drenched small town street.

Her lemon yellow skirt fit like a sausage skin and she expanded a red silk blouse in a manner that would rate her a traffic menace violation ticket from any police department.

"That's a Pittsburgh Blonde Flipper," said the ardent Girl Watcher, with mounting interest.

"Don't hand me that jazz," the second Girl Watcher glowered, "that's a Philly Floozie! I'll bet my membership card on it."

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