[Paleopsych] WP: Bared in Boston

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Bared in Boston

    Editor of Campus Sex Magazine Hopes to Put the Harvard Competition to

    By Libby Copeland
    Washington Post Staff Writer


    Alecia Oleyourryk is a fast-talking, jumpy senior at Boston
    University. When she's really concentrating, like now, she picks at
    her cuticles with a thumbtack.

    "Desperately grasping his damp skin," she says, picking away and
    reading aloud from a computer screen. She is editing her new campus
    sex magazine, called Boink, due out in February. The idea is to beat
    the Harvard students who last year published a campus sex magazine
    called H Bomb with references to Freud, French structuralism and
    Lacanian psychoanalysis, along with skin shots such as a naked guy in
    an Einstein wig.

    Desperately grasping . . .

    She doesn't like the "grasping."

    "What would you use -- 'cling'?" asks Christopher Anderson, 38, her
    co-founder. He is not a BU student but he is a man fond of
    photographing young people who wear no clothes.

    They're reading an account of sex in a Fenway Park bathroom during a
    Red Sox game. The piece is tentatively titled "Heading for Home" and
    includes the phrase "forcefully pushing me against the baby-changing
    station." It's supposed to be true, but it reminds you of those
    letters to the editor that start, "Dear Penthouse, I never thought
    this would happen to me, but . . ."

    Oleyourryk and Anderson promise more nudity than Harvard delivered --
    naughty bits and everything. Faces, too. (Many of the models in
    Harvard's magazine didn't want their faces shown. Something about
    wanting careers.) The Harvard editor says her magazine isn't porn,
    that it serves as "a rebellion against all of our porn-saturated
    popular culture." Boink has a different ethos.

    "It is porn," Oleyourryk says. "There's nothing wrong with porn. Porn
    has such a negative connotation."

    Oleyourryk is skinny but takes up a lot of space. She pulls her wavy
    blond hair into a messy ponytail. Her closet is a technicolor chaos of
    shoes, metallic blue pumps and metallic pink pumps with extremely high
    heels. What appears to be a red thong dangles from a pull on her
    bureau, and her bra lies on the couch in the living room of her
    off-campus apartment.

    There have been sex magazines at Vassar, Oberlin and Swarthmore, a Sex
    Week panel at Yale and S&M parties at Bard. As far back as the '70s,
    University of Chicago students held a "lascivious costume ball," to
    which students showed up in various states of undress. But Boink is
    mostly focused on outdoing Harvard. Oleyourryk exhibits an
    intercollegiate competitiveness that most students reserve for
    football rankings and U.S. News & World Report scores.

    Unlike H Bomb, she says, Boink will not have "artsy" sex, which is to
    say "sex that's okay." There will be fewer avant-garde photographs of
    girls covered in gold paint or slimy hair, or guys with their nether
    regions tastefully obscured by shadow. There will instead be a
    well-lit close-up of a guy's nether region, and a review of a sex toy
    called the BedBuddy, and photographs of guys kissing, and a heavily
    tattooed woman clothed only by a huge snake. While H Bomb has
    university approval and was given a $2,000 grant from the student
    government, Boink has been shunned by the BU administration and is
    beholden to no one.

    "We can do whatever we want," Oleyourryk says.

    Oleyourryk, 21, felt it would be hypocritical for her not to pose for
    Boink while asking others to, so she did two photo shoots with a
    20-year-old student named Erica Blom. She and Blom didn't know each
    other before they started working on the magazine, but during the
    first photo shoot they got to know each other more via a kissing
    session. Oleyourryk says it felt weird and she tried to imagine Blom
    as a boy.

    "I've kissed my friends before but not passionately," she says. "Just
    like, 'Hey, we're drunk and betcha if we kiss, he'll give us a free
    beer.' "

    The magazine's prospective cover came out of the women's second photo
    session, when they'd apparently gotten to know each other even better.
    In it, Oleyourryk is wearing only a pair of frilly red panties and her
    hand is wandering down Blom's torso.

    Go BU! Beat Harvard.
    The Natural Order

    In BU's student union recently, a table of mostly female students
    who've been reading about Boink in the campus newspaper regard the
    magazine with mild interest, as though it's no more unusual than a new
    Taco Bell in the food court. Two of them volunteer that they'd pose
    for it. Then the conversation devolves into talk of off-campus events
    like the " '80s Porn Party" and the "Anything-But-Clothes Party," and
    Boink starts to seem less shocking and more like the natural order of

    Pity today's college students. It's tough to be transgressive these
    days; all the good stuff's been done. Nudity is about as exciting as
    it gets, and even nudity isn't such a big deal. If you believe the
    spring break lore, everyone has already been naked at the tiki bar.

    College can seem like Las Vegas -- a place where debauchery is tried
    on like a tight outfit, where no one keeps score of misdeeds. A BU
    sophomore named Yianni, who doesn't want his last name known because
    he's posing nude for Boink, says he probably wouldn't pursue nude
    modeling after graduation. It's "fun" so long as he's in college, he
    says. "But in the real world, it's not like that."

    Still, Oleyourryk had to draw the line somewhere. Boink will not
    depict sex acts, mostly because she isn't sure about the legality of
    them. Eight printing companies that Anderson approached turned him
    down, six of them because of Boink's adult content. He finally found a
    printer in Quebec.

    Boink's one-upsmanship does not impress the editor of Harvard's H
    Bomb, whose first issue included a piece called "ART vs. PORN: the
    polemics of desire."

    "I find it kind of depressing, to be honest," says Katharina
    Cieplak-von Baldegg, a junior. "The focus of theirs really is nudity
    in a way that it never was for us." Cieplak-von Baldegg says in
    creating H Bomb, she was conscious of "the male gaze and the
    objectification of women." H Bomb, a nonprofit, is distributed to
    Harvard students free, while Boink, a commercial venture, will cost
    $7.95 per issue. Cieplak-von Baldegg feels that charging for nude
    photographs is "perpetuating the status quo" of commercial porn.

    Oleyourryk has no such compunctions. She doesn't talk about "the male
    gaze." There is something like integrity in her refusal to offer
    high-minded justifications for Boink. She's starting a magazine that
    she knows people will pay attention to, and that's reason enough.

    Oleyourryk is an unlikely rebel. She describes herself as having had a
    "sheltered" upbringing in Oswego, N.Y. Her mom does clerical work, she
    says, and her dad works for a power company and keeps beef cows on the
    side. Neither went to college. Oleyourryk describes them as "a bit
    old-fashioned." They wanted her to go to state school in Oswego, she
    says, but she demurred: "I'd rather blow off my own leg."

    She says she has tried to explain Boink to her mom, who thinks it's
    nice but doesn't seem to grasp the totality of the project.

    Oleyourryk is a magazine journalism major, but unlike her classmates
    she does not hope to be a writer for the New Yorker. "I picture a
    40-year-old man with bifocals and a pipe," she says. In her heart of
    hearts, Oleyourryk confesses, she wants to be a Hollywood actress.
    A 'European' Attitude

    Time to get naked.

    Christopher Anderson is at the home of Lindsey, a 19-year-old BU
    student who occasionally earns money by modeling nude. She is from the
    Gulf Coast of Florida and doesn't want her last name in Boink or this
    newspaper, not only to keep this from her parents but because she
    doesn't want "weirdos" stalking her. That her classmates might
    recognize the face of that naked girl is also a matter of some

    "It's definitely creepy," Lindsey says. "I almost didn't do it."

    But the money Boink pays models -- $100 per nude shoot -- is "more
    than I have," and she was flattered that Anderson contacted her twice
    after seeing her picture on a modeling Web site. Both her housemates
    are out and only a pet ferret is around to observe.

    Anderson walks in and out of the room in a plaid lumberjack shirt,
    holding a light meter. For nine years, he ran a software consulting
    company. Since he sold the company three years ago, he has
    photographed fine art nudes, supplementing his income with software
    consulting work. He calls his attitude toward sex "European." He says
    he shoots the naked body because it is a thing of beauty.

    After Anderson shot some free photos for the first issue of H Bomb in
    exchange for ad space, he e-mailed Oleyourryk. They'd been friends
    ever since she modeled nude for him a few years back. He said he
    thought H Bomb was a cool idea, but they could do better. She was

    Oleyourryk and other models who've posed for Anderson describe him as
    polite and professional, but he's well aware that he may come off like
    those older guys who hang around high schools, chatting up underage
    girls. He shakes it off.

    "My mother's worried about that. I'm not worried about that," he says.

    He circles the room taking test shots while Lindsey sits in a beige
    chair from Wal-Mart, nervously applying lip balm .

    "I don't want to do this forever," she says. "This isn't my passion."
    Her dream is to work for a pharmaceutical company and discover an
    alternative to antibiotics. In the meantime, she says, she works only
    with photographers whose work is "tasteful." She won't perform sex
    acts, or pose with others. She is strawberry blond, dimpled and
    pretty. She has modeled nude for a photographer friend and not-nude
    for a tattooist who paid her by needling an abstract design into her

    Anderson mutters something to Lindsey about "some skin, all skin," his
    voice soft like they're sharing a secret. Lindsey lifts off her
    T-shirt and stands awkwardly in a white bra with the shirt in her

    He starts shooting.

    "I like that, actually," he says in his quiet, soothing voice. "Tilt
    your head to the side. Bring your chin just a little bit. Yeah, I like
    the hair falling . . . "

    Lindsey's hands bunch the T-shirt, unbunch it, bunch it again.
    'It's for Entertainment'

    Just how fulfilling Boink will be to its readers remains to be seen. A
    reader who buys the magazine for the cover photo of Oleyourryk and
    Blom might not enjoy an inside photo of two men kissing. Boink is
    supposed to represent everyone; Anderson says they'd include a
    transgender person if one volunteered. But successful porn plugs into
    a niche; it is not tied to lofty college-campus notions of diversity
    and inclusion. And unlike H Bomb, Boink must be compelling enough to
    make people buy it.

    Anderson and Oleyourryk charge on, confident, already planning a
    second issue for May. On a recent Sunday afternoon, Oleyourryk hosts
    an editorial meeting with about 20 people. They are mostly BU students
    and a few from other local schools, equally divided between women and
    men. Some are preppy and a few are punk or goth, wearing leather
    jackets or steel-toed boots. Oleyourryk, barefoot, takes a seat on the

    Issue No. 2 will be devoted to the topic of self-gratification, she
    announces. The students start offering story ideas and making lewd
    jokes, and Oleyourryk's cell phone rings.

    "Mom, can I call you back?" Oleyourryk says.

    A BU sophomore raises his hand.

    "Are we going to have any legitimate articles?" he asks, as if he
    doesn't quite get the point of Boink.

    After the meeting, Oleyourryk proudly shows off the prospective cover
    photo, featuring herself, to a Boink student staffer named Simon
    Snellgrove. She analyzes the positioning of the bodies and the facial
    expressions and sounds pleased.

    "Props, babe," Snellgrove says. "I didn't know you had that good a

    Oleyourryk goes out into the kitchen, where she cooks pasta for
    dinner. A friend eats Cheerios out of a champagne flute. Oleyourryk
    and Anderson consider what, ultimately, is the point of their venture.
    Are they helping people? Are they creating a necessary forum where
    college students can talk honestly about their desires?

    "It's not necessary," Oleyourryk says. "It's for entertainment."

    "It's not like without this nobody's going to talk about sex,"
    Anderson says.

    The room watches as Oleyourryk joyfully throws a strand of spaghetti
    at the ceiling, and it sticks briefly before falling. "It's ready!"
    she says.

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