Boy Copy

Yes, somebody really does write that stuff, the copy that runs alongside the centerfold model in adult magazines.

Whether anyone reads it is another matter. The term of art for such sidecart essays is ‘boy copy’ or ‘girl copy.’ I’ve written both.

In the magazine business, it’s important to keep your target reader — for us it was always young men — coming back to your publication, rather than the competition. Sex, fast cars, cool fashions that weren’t too cool: each article had to have a hook that would grab the demographic. Each editor had to defend the articles he brought in, proving it pushed one of those hot buttons.

Everything was scrutinized except the sex copy, which it was understood nobody read. Junior editors like myself were free to have fun with it, even make fun of the pornographic conceits the magazine was selling. The centerfold model would do all the heavy lifting.

Still, for us junior editors toiling away in darkness, it was important to remain true to the graphic tradition of porn writing, especially in the later years when everything turned hardcore and blunt. The following is a sample of my favorite boy copy from the Zeros, that is, the Bush years, the single digit decade of the new century when I was the executive editor of a gay webzine with the magical name Nightcharm. You will find in these pieces the sort of cartoony phrases and overheated imagery that I would not use elsewhere, that could only draw breath in the kooky world of boy copy, true in its way to the shameless tradition of pulp fiction.