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‘Playboy’ returns to The Plains, 1989-style pictorial likely to stay put

From the 1990 Glom: “Erica Duh stays busy on her job at the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office. In her photo which appeared in Playboy she was posing with two football players.”

Playboy is returning to the Plains next week to once again exploit that curious corner of male fan psychology that requires the coeds at the school whose team it identifies with be hotter than those at its rivals.

The magazine is holding a casting call April 3-4 for its latest “Girls of the SEC” pictorial, which will be featured in its October 2011 issue. Playboy was last in Auburn in 2007 (or was it Waverly?). They first came in 1981 and they were here in 2001.

But of all Auburn’s “Girls of the SEC” contributions, those from 1989 are the most immediately intriguing*, for three reasons: 1) unlike any of the others, a feature on the girls who modeled in ’89 was included in that year’s (1990) Glomerata, 2) it seems pretty much impossible for a coed — anywhere, anytime — to have a name more cartoonishly suited to the stereotype of the kind of college girl who would pose for Playboy than Erica Duh (no offense), and 3) two Auburn football players are pictured in one of the photos… the one with Erica Duh.

No. 3 is the only angle really interesting enough to serve as an excuse for a post** as it it seems reasonable to wonder whether No. 3 would fly in the age of The Auburn Family, with a fan base that has historically, and especially recently, not only kind of prided itself on going morally above and beyond other fans, but held it’s Hard Fighting Soldiers (who keep on bringing souls to Jesus) to similar standards.

Unlike Amy Eckman, an aspiring fashion designer and waitress at Touchdown’s (she had to quit because of all the attention) who was photographed kneeling in front of a motorcycle wearing ripped jeans, a Scrunchie, and nothing else (“I would much rather have liked to have had a classier photo,” she told The Plainsman, “but I figured that’s their business, and they would know what looks best, so I didn’t question a thing.”), and Maria Valens, an “Army brat” from Chicago shown coming completely out of a sundress in the passenger seat of a car, Erica was fully — if alluringly — clothed. Her shoot required 15 rolls of film, legendary “Girls of the…” photographer David Chan draping her over rocks and hanging her over the roof of the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center for eight hours in an attempt to capture the full splendor of her legs (“… he liked them because he said they were long”) before deciding to place her on top of a pickup truck*** (parked in what appears to be the Foy Union wrap-around), a veritable Neon Barbie in a “Girls Of The SEC” crop top, tighter than tight sea-foam bicycle shorts, an orange Vuarnet-ish bicycle cap, ankle socks and high tops with DayGlo shoelaces, arms outstretched (Touch Down!), legs apart, hips cocked. Samford Tower is the background, sultry, iconic, 3:16 p.m. And there on the ground in front of her in the shot Chan decided to use is running back Henry Love and wide receiver Dunican Casselberry (wearing a black Auburn Tigers t-shirt with, awesomely, one sleeve either cut off or rolled up), with looks on their faces that you might imagine two guys who just happened to be walking by and who were asked spur of the moment to step into the shot to have. Here’s how The Plainsman describes the scene:

Working with Chan was enjoyable because he was spontaneous, and he made her feel comfortable during the shoot, she said. In fact, the two Auburn football players who appear in the picture standing below Duh, Dunican Casselberry and Henry Love, happened to be walking by when Chan called them over and asked them to be in the picture, she said.

“I bet they’re freaking out right now about being in the magazine,” said Duh, who had no idea which picture would be selected for the magazine.

You have to think that Duh meant “freaking out” not as in thrilled, but as in I hope Coach Dye is a Penthouse man. So it likely raised at least some eyebrows. But with Deadspin, with Finebaum, in a culture where servers crash under the weight of Auburn football players in tooth fairy costumes, you also have to think that Onterio McCalebb and Trovon Reed would live in Gene Chizik’s “no comment” doghouse for half a season or something were they to photobomb their way into Playboy.

True, the water-skiing enthusiast with dreams of opening either her own bar or gym wasn’t naked, or even close to naked; Duh surely showed much more skin in the “Miss AU Tan” contest, a then annual celebration of high-waisted thongs and Panama Jack spray oil that the Glom regularly covered in full golden glory. But it’s the context: no one could much object to published photos — yearbook, newspaper, Sports Illustrated — of football players joining in on the ogling at a fraternity/Budweiser sponsored student tradition. But two football players posing with a coed, however innocently, in the pages of an adult magazine just seems so… Florida… so LSU… so not something Auburn fans, or at least today’s Facebook page-campaigning, Never To Yield‘ing, Auburn Family (TM), would be down with, curious corners of male fan psychology notwithstanding.****

Here are the other photos from The Glom’s feature:

“At Touchdowns, Amy Eckman picks up a strawberry daiquiri for a customer. She quit working at Touchdowns because of the recognition she received after posing in Playboy.”
“On a rainy day, Amy and Erica meet outside Haley Center. They have done promotional appearances together for Playboy on the radio at a Montgomery shopping center.”

* That I am privy to these facts is explained not by a preoccupation with pornography — morally against it (as opposed to art) — but with Auburn lore. It’s a dirty job… you understand.

** TWER also exploits male fan psychology — our two Molly Sims posts from November are currently receiving thousands of hits from a link in an Auburn message board thread debating who is “The Hottest Auburn Girl Ever” — but with a strict non-nudity clause, and as subtly as we can.

*** Car? Motorcycle? Truck? Congratulations if you were in Auburn in 1989 and managed to escape sans auto fetish.

**** I could be totally wrong on all of this.

Keep Reading:

* Auburn’s first nude model tells all
* George Hardy won’t let you piss on Cam Newton
* Best reaction to being named Miss Homecoming ever
* Rare candids of Pat Sullivan at the 1971 Heisman banquet
* My first meeting with Dean Foy
* Pompadours on the Plains: the 50s revival at Auburn
* ‘Cammy Koozie’s’ fund family’s trip to Glendale
* Auburn badass John Rochelle
* Former Auburn football player kills elephant with just a bow and arrow

* New Jersey man buys Toomer’s Corner for $10,000
* Bama pays professional boxers to beat Auburn for the first time
* War Eagle IV attacks Florida player, Auburn penalized 15 yards
* The Great Bo Jackson A-Day Race of 1984


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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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