Today we bring you a lesson in do-your-own Americana. If you want to make an apple pie, you must bake it. If you want to make a mom, well, there are several ways you can go.
Let's go with one of the more popular routes, the one enshrined by Playboy magazine (which, for those of you who still need help, is not called Test Tube News for a reason). We refer to the four-letter word "sex." But somehow when it comes to mainstream images of motherhood and sexuality, never the twain does meet.
Until now. Former "Melrose Place" temptress Lisa Rinna takes Demi Moore's Vanity Fair cover one step further and unveils her maternal self in the September issue of Playboy, which goes on newsstands Aug 4.
The six-months pregnant pictorial was Rinna's brainchild. "I was at the newsstand," she says in the magazine. "I saw a Playboy next to the cash register, and all of a sudden something in me said, 'You have to do Playboy pregnant.' "
Well, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. And it didn't surprise us that Rinna was the girl to do it. We'd seen her out & about in the kind of low-cut, form-fitting wear that might make people think she was actually, forgive the term, pregnant.
"I never wore a maternity outfit," Rinna tells us. "I continued my life exactly how I've always lived my life. I didn't all of a sudden go, 'Oh, my God, I have to be put on the back burner for nine months and then come back out and feel good about myself after I lose my weight and I'm acceptable again.'
"I really felt that pregnancy was the most inspiring time of my life. I've never felt better about myself, about my body, about who I am as a woman."
We are enjoying the ocean breeze on the patio of the sun-washed Malibu cottage Rinna shares with husband Harry Hamlin, golden retrievers Buddy and Annie, and new tenant Delilah Belle, who popped up, or rather out, six weeks ago. And we are learning what it truly means to be a celebrity, which is that on one of the hottest days of the year, the couple enjoys some of the few square inches in Los Angeles that actually contain air.
But, hey, breathing is overrated anyway, as most Angelenos know. It isn't what a girl breathes but what she wears. And what Rinna wore when she was with child got attention. Try this one on for size: a red cashmere, floor-length Halston that Rinna wore to the American Comedy Awards, revealing all six months of her pregnancy. "I was in a public bathroom," she says, "and a woman knocked on my stall. I open the door and she goes, 'I just have to tell you, I love that you're wearing that dress.' "
What do women like about it? Let's ask a typical former girl pornographer, cybersexpert and author Lisa Palac.
"A lot of people will find it really refreshing that they're showing another angle to the whole sexual package, that it's not just about being 20 with a really flat stomach and a perfect body," Palac says. "Being sexy is something that happens over a lifetime."
Of course, it does. To everybody on the planet. Except for one person.
"That goes right back to the whole Oedipus complex, and that gets really heavy," Rinna says with a hoot. "I don't want to go there. We're having too much fun."
Fun is good. OK, let's talk about guys with less complicated reactions.
"Men think you're beautiful, and from what I experienced, they are moved by it," Rinna says. Rinna's main fan is her main man, who appears with her--clothed, if you must ask--in the layout shot by Alberto Tolot.
"I think pregnant women have a glow about them that's extraordinary," Hamlin says. "She was absolutely gorgeous as a pregnant woman.
"Of course, it's extremely tasteful, and there's certainly nothing exploitative or prurient about it. Those kinds of pictorials in Playboy--so I'm told because it's not a magazine we have around the house--they are usually done very stylishly."
We're betting there will be a Playboy around the house this month. Delilah, close your eyes.
And now, an epilogue: Rinna will do the mom thing until something tasty comes along in the way of a feature film project or sitcom. Hamlin appears on the Fox Family Channel in the upcoming Christmas movie "Tyler Madison Is Coming to Town" as Santa Claus' son.
Santa Claus had a son? You mean . . .
As for Playboy, the magazine is contemplating other boundaries it can cross on the way to sexualizing America.
"It seems we settle into conservatism in terms of the pictorials that we do," says West Coast photo editor Marilyn Grabowski, "and so I think there are a lot of barriers to be broken."
Could that mean the final frontier--pudgettes?
"Without giving anything away, there's a certain celebrity I'm approaching, and we'll see what happens."