There was that time in all of our lives when we felt ourselves transmogrifying from boys into young men. It may have been while watching “Charlie’s Angels” or studying a Stevie Nix album cover.
For me, it all got whipped up during a sleepover at Rudyface’s house in 1978. We had been through the normal routine where Rudyface barked the sleepover rules as I put down my gym bag.
These were his rules and they were not to be broken. He took the first shower– always. I wasn’t allowed to ride his bike. He got to shoot first in our “HORSE” basketball games. If he decided he wanted me to go home, I would have to leave immediately. And we were gonna watch whatever TV show he wanted. Oh, and he got the bigger and more comfortable bed.
But there was one other rule he let me in on that seismic night 43 years ago. When we got into our separate beds, he would get to read and examine the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and there was no time limit to how long he stared at the pictures.
This was all par for the course. So I reclined in the uncomfortable bed as he flipped the pages, stopped, turned the magazine on a vertical and then horizontal axis, then vertical, then horizontal.
Then on to the next page. This went on for a good 48 minutes. It sure seemed like Rudyface was caught up in what he was reading and seeing. Then he turned another page. That’s when his boyhood ended with a thunderbolt. His manhood kicked in like a shot of bourbon.
“She’s wearing a fishnet, Sportface,” said Rudyface. “That’s a fishnet. She wearing a fishnet suit.”
She was Cheryl Tiegs. It was the photo heard around the world.
“Look at this, Sportface,” said Rudyface. “She’s wearing a fishnet. That’s a fishnet.”
I checked it out. Sure enough, Cheryl was in a fishnet bathing suit.
“Sportface, this is unbelievable. I can’t believe this. Have you ever seen a picture like this? (I hadn’t.) Cheryl Tiegs went all fishnet on us. Is that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”
Overwhelmed by the fishnet, it was the greatest moment in his young life and, to this day, it’s still the best he’s ever felt. He’s never accomplished more than he did when he saw the fishnet.
Rudyface started calling all his friends and asking if they’d seen the fishnet. From Montgomery to Prince Georges to Loudon County, everybody Rudy knew got a call from him. He didn’t care about his friend Sportface who was over for a sleepover.
“I’ve never felt like this before in my life, Sportface,” said Rudyface. “That picture has changed me. I’m no longer a boy. I feel something I’ve never felt before. It’s so weird and uncontrollable. Not get out of my house, Sportface. I need to be alone.”