Travels with Charlie |

Travels with Charlie

By now, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about the major magazine featuring scantily clad models in a recent issue.

Each winter, Nuttin’ but Knittin’ magazine features their men’s underwear issue, promising, “If you haven’t finished that sweater yet, this will keep you warm!” They call it the Balls and Skeins issue.

How humiliating for me to receive this magazine full of Chippendale chumps. I thought I was paying for knitting patterns, not Shortsfest.

As one among the 25 percent male readership, I’m sorely tempted to set my copy on fire and send the ashes to the publisher.

I wonder why, if the focus is underwear, a few of the models aren’t even wearing any. Are the clothiers happy to see their product crumpled on the ground next to the models? Is it the underwear that anyone notices or the promise of what’s beneath? The poses, facial expressions and volume of skin suggests that it’s not clothing that’s being sold here. Sex sells, so why not give the (majority of the) readership what they want?

To make a connection to the purpose of the magazine ” or more likely to further satisfy the fantasies of the readers ” a couple of well-known pattern makers (male, of course) are featured in their skivvies. Well, gosh, that makes it OK.

And ” how magnanimous ” there are actually a couple of female knitters shown. But their inclusion isn’t a nod to the male readership. Sadly, for the most part they are shown groping the models, leaving the majority readership to think, “If only that could be me.” At least they could have been practicing the garter stitch.

Am I supposed to believe that women are perusing this issue trying to decide which pair of BVDs to buy their man? It’s more feasible that it’s flat-out fodder for female fantasy.

As far as I know, Nuttin’ but Knittin’ is privately owned, and they’re free to print whatever they want. Pictures of naked men? Sure. Creme brûlee recipes? Why not.

I stand by their right to do something that will nevertheless cause me to cancel my subscription. I’m not going to move for a Constitutional amendment banning poor taste.

I guess what irks me isn’t just the insensitivity to the minority readership or the tastelessness of pandering to irrelevant basic instincts in order to boost sales. It’s the disingenuousness.

These women wouldn’t pass around an issue of Playgirl saying they’d like to “make one” with the models, yet because these men are in a popular mainstream magazine, the subsequent lascivious behavior is accepted with a nod and a wink. That’s why I call it the Purls before Swine issue.

Some of the women in my knitting circle ask me if I think there’s something wrong with the human body. No, quite the contrary, but ” and I’m sure George Bush will be happy to hear this ” I’d much prefer the female variety. “So would you be happy if the male-female split were 50-50, or even three men to each woman to reflect the readership?”

No, that’s not the point at all. This is a knitting magazine, isn’t it? Scantily clad males don’t belong here. It’s undeniably off topic and simply inappropriate, and if you say otherwise, you’re just telling a yarn.

” Charlie Wertheim is a copy editor at the Post Independent. He doesn’t know a darn thing about knitting.

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