Perpetual travel makes it hard to accumulate lots of useless crap, but I’ve managed to do it anyway. Most of it is stored in a box and hidden away in a spare room at my parents’ house in Fishers, Indiana.
Inside are several CDs of old photos, 100+ postcards from Europe (when I felt like I had to buy one from every city I visited), and a flowered lei from a Hawaiian-themed college party.
Tucked in with all of these things is a copy of Nuts Magazine, a raunchy UK lad’s magazine. (Americans: Think Maxim crossed with US Weekly, and throw in more boobs.)
And there is totally a good reason for that.
This magazine also happens to be the first (okay, only) magazine with my byline in it.
The internship at Nuts literally fell into my lap; I went to interview at a recruitment agency in Kingston, and Paul, the recruiter, was friends with someone who worked at the magazine.
The next thing I knew, he’d pulled some strings and landed me a week-long internship at Nuts. It wasn’t exactly travel writing, but it was kind of close – in between photographs of girls with inhumanly large breasts, there was an article about Fucking, Austria.
Before you ask, no, I didn’t write the article. I didn’t write any of the articles, actually.
Most of the week was spent sitting in the surprisingly normal office (save for one full-length poster of a busty blonde hanging on the wall) and flipping through old editions of Nuts. But they did give me a few basic tasks.
“So we’ll get you started answering some letters,” Paul’s friend said. The woman who usually looked after the interns was away for the week, so nobody knew quite what to do with me.
For a couple of hours, I went through letters to the editor. Most of them were from soldiers in the Middle East, requesting magazines and, occasionally, girls. In return for their letters, I stuffed envelopes with back issues of the magazine and XL Nuts t-shirts. That made me feel kind of good, like when you give money to charity.
On the third day, someone pulled through with a bit of writing for me. They needed a review for a television show called ‘Eureka,’ which I had never actually seen.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just make it up. Here’s a synopsis.”
I was scandalized. Make it up?
So that’s what I did. I gave it three out of five stars and wrote a paragraph summarizing the episode.
And – ta-daaah! My name, in a national weekly magazine. My mother was so proud. Or at least she would have been, if I’d mentioned it to her. Which I never did.
Collecting the Talent
I could say that the people behind the scenes are the backbone of Nuts Magazine, but that would be a lie.
It’s the topless models.
One of these models was due for an emergency photo shoot, and I was the minion who had to pick her up from reception. The Blue Fin building is home to IPC Media, which also owns publications like Marie Claire, Woman’s Weekly, and everyone’s favorite, Horse & Hound. It’s a modern, flashy building and people who cross its threshold are impeccably turned out.
That’s what made it easy for me to find my charge, a petite brunette in butt-hugging shorts and more cleavage than I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Omigod,” she said in the lift. “I totally love your accent. Is it American?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“That’s so cool.”
She didn’t do anything to dissuade my pre-existing stereotypes about glamour models, but the joke was on me because she was getting paid and I was there for free.
The magazine had a regular column called ‘Ask Lucy Pinder,’ where Lucy gave men advice on how to deal with the enigmatic topics of women and what they want in bed. Her primary qualification seemed to be the fact that she wore sexy secretary glasses, which gave an air of intelligence to her otherwise porn-star appearance.
The column that week should have been called ‘Ask Lauren,’ because guess what?
I wrote and answered each question in the column. All ‘Lucy’ did was pose for the photographs. So if you ever wondered whether or not those weird questions were real – they’re not.
The wide range of magazines in the Blue Fin building lead to a steady flow of free samples. They hold a regular sale in the atrium, selling designer products dirt cheap. I spent less than ten pounds and walked away with an armload of full-sized beauty products.
Unfortunately, that was about all I walked away with.
I look back at my week at Nuts as a squandered opportunity. I should have been proactive and pitched some articles. I should have made new contacts. I should have kept in touch with the one I had.
I shouldn’t have worn fishnet tights and a denim skirt on my last day. (Seriously. What was I thinking?)
Should have, would have, could have. I can’t change the past — I can only make the most of any future opportunities.
Until then, I can always sneak peeks at the dirty magazine hidden in my parents’ house.