The staple in my navel

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I could almost have been famous!

An awfully long time ago, in 1972, I was approached by a young lady I knew, who worked for Cleo, a new women’s magazine, with a proposition.

After swearing me to secrecy, she confided that Cleo was about to publish Australia’s first ever nude male centrefold. The magazine staff had been asked to canvas possible candidates, and she’d suggested me!

“Would I be willing to do it?” she asked.

“Really?” I said, laughing, “Why me?”

“Because you’re a fairly out there sort of guy, who I thought might be into it,” she said. “And well, because you’ve got a great body!”

I was sorely tempted, and of course highly flattered. Remember that this was the seventies, when people were doing outrageous things. I thought it might be fun, and I’d actually get paid apparently. I also quite fancied the notoriety, and the sexual opportunities that might follow. Then another thought occurred to me.

I gave it a full half minute’s consideration, then thanked her very much for the thinking of me, but said I couldn’t do it.

My lady-friend looked sincerely taken aback.

“Why not?”

“Because my mother would kill me.”

I guess I lost a lot of allure or credibility or something, right then, at least within that particular circle of female acquaintance.

Australian readers may recall that the first Cleo centrefold was an actor called Jack Thompson, who went on to greater things. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as they say.

Curiously enough, I did eventually appear as a nude centrefold, some years later, in my university graduation yearbook, but I’m not sure that anyone really noticed.

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