The comic strip Argyle Sweater recently showed two cavemen checking out Raquel Welch in her One Million Years B.C. bikini, and saying, “She’s no Venus of Willendorf.”
The Venus of Willendorf is a 25,000-year old figurine in the shape of a woman who today might be characterized as, well, Rococo. She has no hands, feet or face, but she does have, shall we say, prominent breasts, an even more prominent belly, a hiney that’s the very definition of what Sir-Mix-A-Lot rapped about in Baby Got Back, and thighs that would have inspired a thousand blues songs, had blues existed during the Middle Paleolithic.
PBS.org cuts to the chase in its brief discussion of the 4½-inch tall statuette: “Why were prehistoric humans stimulated by an exaggerated image such as this?” (Which is pretty amazing, because until this paragraph, there was no mention of stimulation at all.)
“The answer, according to neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and others,” PBS says, “lies in the workings of the human brain, in a neurological principle known as the ‘peak shift.’”
(And we all know what that really means. Wink, wink.)
“The people who made this statue,” the article continues, “lived in a harsh ice-age environment where features of fatness and fertility would have been highly desirable. In neurological terms, these features amounted to hyper-normal stimuli that activate neuron responses in the brain. So in Paleolithic people terms, the parts that mattered most had to do with successful reproduction—the breasts and pelvic girdle. Therefore, these parts were isolated and amplified by the artist’s brain.”
Translation: Fred Flintstone would totally hit that.
Which kind of leads us back to Raquel. I mean, every man my age has that One Million Years B.C. poster burned into his brain. And it’s pretty obvious that the parts that mattered most in A.D. 1966 were exactly the same parts that mattered in B.C. 23,988.
Or, more accurately, they’re the same…only different.
Were all cavemen aroused by the thought of making a woman who looked like Mama Cass into their baby mama? Maybe. But I’m willing to bet that didn’t stop them from settling down with someone whose measurements did not stack up to the perfect 52-56-52 standard of the day.
I’m addressing this very issue in Malibu Bride, the sequel to Palm Springs Heat (nee Fast Lane). At the outset of Malibu Bride, Sushma, the heroine, is bumming about not getting billionaire playboy Clay Creighton to love her. She sees herself in a window and “it reflected a petite woman with eye-catching curves and full, sexy hair. But Sushma saw a body that needed to be taller and straighter and hair that was too thick. In short, she saw everything that Lara Dixon was not.”
A few pages later we’re introduced to the hero, Holt Richards, and he’s thinking of Sushma as “five-feet-two inches of vavoom.” Oh, and he’s admiring her for her tenacity and outspoken honesty. Hell, he just thinks she’s hot. Which is to say she activates neuron responses in his brain.
Sushma’s no Venus of Willendorf—but she’s no Raquel Welch, either. It doesn’t matter to Holt. To him, she’s Sushma. And she’s the pinup poster image of his romantic dreams.
Note: Palm Springs Heat will be available for free from Amazon from Sept. 21-24. Get it, read it, and if you like it, give it a review. The author thanks you in advance.