Sometimes dreams don’t come true

Matthew Friend

There are a few dates that I circle on my mental calendar every year.  Some of these include my birthday, the last day of school, and February 12 – the day of love.

Don’t get too worked up yet, that wasn’t a typo.  While Valentines Day is great for some people, it isn’t consistent enough for me.  Also, as my Twitter feed has enlightened me, Feb. 14 is also known as Single’s Awareness Day.  Whether or not there is a lady in my life, this special date will never disappoint.  I am, of course, talking about the release of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

Like a young child during Christmas, I ran faithfully to my mailbox as the sun began to rise on Swimsuit Morning, and received the best present a teenage boy could ever ask for.  I probably spent a good ten minutes looking at the cover alone, before realizing I was standing outside in the cold morning air with nothing on but a pair of boxers.

By the end of the day, I had been struck by Cupid’s arrow.  The recipient of my affection, a blonde bombshell by the name of Kate Upton.

I had it all planned out.  Kate and I would get married as soon as I was of legal age, and we would move to a remote beach somewhere.  We wouldn’t need much, as our love would carry us through thick and thin.

But like any good high, I eventually began to come down from my pipe dream, and realized there was a better chance of me starring in the next Mission Impossible, after first winning the lottery, than ending up with my “dream” girl.

Even after coming to terms with my fate, I couldn’t forget the brief love affair I had had with Kate, even if all I knew about her was that she loved to wear skimpy bikinis in the Arctic.

That’s the problem.  Much like myself, countless other high schoolers from around the globe have fallen victim to this ploy.  Sports Illustrated has taken some of the most beautiful woman in the world, dressed them up, by the loosest definition of the word, and shot photos of them in some of the most complimenting landscapes known to man. Then, on top of that all, they have been touched up in Photoshop by professionals whose sole job is to turn these models into goddesses.  What is presented in these magazines isn’t real, no matter what I keep trying to convince myself.  Tan, exotic woman with flawless bodies don’t just walk around Antarctica in skimpy bikinis (that is, outside of my dreams).

However, even though most people know this to be true, they can still be influenced by the overwhelming dosage of sun-kissed skin.  Men may be left with unrealistic standards for the women around them, and some women may feel the pressure to fit this unrealistic demand.

I’m obviously an avid reader of Sports Illustrated, especially their February special edition, yet, even I have to question an institution that promotes this false perception of women.

According to Sports Illustrated, there are an average of 3,150,000 issues of the magazine put into circulation each month, and extra issues are printed for the Swimsuit Edition.  Therefore, every February, millions of people, belonging to both genders, are exposed to images that raise the bar for the ideal body to an even higher level.

So while I love receiving my annual fix on the latest swimsuit trends, perhaps this magazine is causing more harm than good.  As much as I hate to admit it, maybe the girl of my dreams can only exist in that realm, because sometimes it causes more harm than good to print fantasy as reality.