We were all excited when Sports Illustrated announced back in March that they were putting all of their old issues online: "150,000 stories , 2,800 covers, 500,000 photographs!" But for every intriguing journey into the SI Vault, there is also a very dark, disturbing one, as a tipster pointed out this morning by sending us a link to the following Frank Deford piece about him trying on a thong (thanks, jerk). It's no surprise that Deford assigned himself to this important story; he's the only sports journalist I know who has a reputation for making out with himself in dark, secluded booths at Manhattan clubs. A friend of mine says he actually travels with a full-length mirror. And back in March of 1975, he made the most daring fashion statement of all.

"I put on a thong. To be generous, I will say that it is only as uncomfortable as it appears. On the other hand, it is ugly. Nonetheless I pay tribute to Rudi Gernreich, the designer of the thong; he was also creator of the topless bathing suit a decade ago. Gernreich's topless bathing suit managed somehow to make bare breasts unbecoming and, in the bargain, did equal esthetic violence to those portions of the body it covered. The thong is no less incompatible with the human form and is also frightfully painful. Wearing one feels rather like being held up on a meat hook, and to spare you the necessity of going through any hasty anatomical speculation, I have been assured that the thong is every bit as excruciating for chicks as it is for us fellas. There is some solace, perhaps, in that Gernreich has thus reduced unisex to a painful absurdity."

Remember, back when he wrote this, Deford resembled not so much the man in the photo above, but more like this, with that very special Lil' Abner meets Ashton Kutcher thing going on. Still, it doesn't make the story any more palatable. But instead of cursing SI for this rather large helping of nightmare fuel, I choose to count my blessings. It could have been much worse; for 1975 was also about the time that the streaking craze began. A Daring Reporter Tries On A Thong, And Tells The Naked Truth About It [SI Vault]