I stumbled upon something pretty peculiar today. This is an excerpt from a 1959 issue of Girl Watcher magazine.
Considered one of the ‘creepiest and most perverted’ magazines of its day, the publication promoted randomly stalking and ‘collecting’ women as a hobby.
What really caught my attention was this special guide to ‘Girlwatching’ in Paris. I think you’ll find it’s kind of like a naughty version of ‘Where’s Wally?’ (or Where’s Waldo for my American friends!)
What makes it even more interesting is that in the issue that followed, several readers wrote in to the magazine to say that they had actually witnessed some of the scenes depicted in the previous issue’s illustration while visiting Paris…
Take the scene where two women are ripping eachother’s clothes off on a street corner [bottom centre of first illustration]. One reader wrote in:
It reminded me of one time when I was sitting at the Cafe de Flore, a spot where writers and would-be actresses in tight-fitting slacks meet, dine, sip and discuss art. Two girl writers, one a six-foot blonde and the other at least seven feet tall, got into an argument and they were off– that is they were tearing each other’s clothes off to the amusement of gathering crowds. In seconds they were down to panties and bras. In a half second later one of the bra buttons popped and that was when the kindly waiter ran out and threw a tablecloth around both of them.
-Saint Clair Morengo, Tennesee
Sounds like fun!
There’s the reader who wrote in to tell of a night he spent in Paris that exactly matched the scene in the centre of the second illustration:
In one of your cartoons in a recent issue the artist depicted a cowboy chasing a French doll with a lasso … Whoever drew that must have been in Paris a few years ago when a pal of mine from Texas and myself … painted the old town red, white and blue. For kicks we’d lean out our hotel window on Boulevard St. Michel, and lasso pretty girls right off the street. Not one of them objected. In fact we had trouble getting them out of our hotel room once we pulled them in.
Bart Ringo, Texas
The “sunbathing French Babes” section of the diagram also brought back memories for reader Dill Glover from South Carolina:
It reminded me of the time, just after World War II when I rented a pad in a hotel in the long hair left-bank side of Paris. I had a top floor room and I soon found I had a built in harem. All the seven other rooms on the top floor were rented by lovely “business” women. They insisted I eat, sleep and even take sun baths with them. It was too much. I had to move back to the States to regain my health.”
Despite the nature of the magazine and the fact that none of this makes French girls look particularly good (although certainly fun), I found both the illustration and the readers’ accounts pretty fascinating and full of nostalgia.
And if you’re curious to see more about the Girl Watcher magazine, the entire first issue can be viewed here.