Lady of the Lake
it's hard to improve on the scenery around june lake -- unless, of course, you look like miss june, cathy larmouth
Mae West knew how to do it. Marie "The Body" McDonald didn't. Dolly Parton can do it. Edy Williams never quite got the hang of it. What we're talking about is a woman's knack for referring to her most obvious assets without seeming cheap, while at the same time retaining her attractiveness. The key, of course, is a sense of humor. Mae had it. Dolly has it. Cathy Larmouth, the lady with the fabulous pair of binoculars pictured at right, definitely has it. When asked if she feels like a celebrity because she has been chosen as a Playmate, she replies, "I don't want to be famous, don't particularly want to be an actress or a model. I just want a good man and a family. I hardly think showin' your bazongas to 6,000,000 people qualifies anybody as a celebrity. On the other hand, it's a great way to meet people." There's something earthy and at the same time old-fashioned about Cathy that puts the inner man at ease. She says things that are so completely unliberated, so utterly unchic that the intellectual / liberal / feminist supporter in us cringes and starts to protest. But there's another, deeper part of us that's secretly comforted by Cathy's philosophy of male-female relations. "I'm not against E.R.A., but the fact is that men are very different from women. For instance, a lot of women may hate my guts for saying this, but I think women are more emotional than men. I don't think blurring the sex roles makes any sense. Pretty soon, you'll be calling your grandmother your grandperson. That's not my style." So where do you think Cathy's from? Maybe somewhere in the Deep South, right? Nope. Manhattan Beach, California, just south of Los Angeles. A place heavily populated by the fabled California surfer (Homo surfboardus), a peculiar breed of American that, taken as a whole, is probably the largest segment of our society comprised of persons holding no opinions on anything whatsoever. Cathy, needless to say, is opinionated, which is one reason she wasn't destined to be a surfer. "I never made a good beach girl. I tried; I really tried. I got the darkest tan, I sun-bleached my hair and let it grow down to my butt, but I just couldn't carry it off. I'm not a good swimmer, for one thing, and I could never stay up on a surfboard. But more than that, I just didn't look the part. The perfect beach girl is Bo Derek. Blonde, willowy, Nordic-looking. I always looked kind of different. The Eurasian girl next door, maybe."
Actually, Cathy's heritage is English, French and Mohawk Indian. She was the youngest of four children (she has three older brothers), and admits that she was spoiled, especially by her father, who died when she was 22. "I loved my father more than anyone," she says, "and maybe I still do. He was a warm, funny, very smart man. I always carry a poem I wrote to him after he died, so in case I ever get hit by a truck or something, whoever finds my identification will know that I was a person who had a heart."
Cathy admits she's a hopeless romantic, who "should have been born 40 or 50 years ago. Politically, I'm very conservative. I love peace and quiet, and never listen to rock if I can avoid it. My favorite songs are from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties; my favorite bands are Glenn Miller's and Nat 'King' Cole's and my all-time favorite piece is Clair de Lune, by Debussy." Without too much persuasion, Cathy can be induced to sing one of her favorite oldies, such as Cry Me a River or More Than You Know. She has a good voice and loves to imitate various female pop stars, ranging from Dolly Parton to Helen Reddy.
"I've never done this stuff on a stage," she says, "and I probably never will. It's mostly for the shower." Still, it's a better-than-average voice. Why not try for a singing career?
"I hate to say this," she answers, "but the truth is, I'm not motivated. I'm basically lazy. I'd like to write a great satirical novel, for instance, but I never get around to it. I write poetry that isn't half bad, and I realize that all girls write poetry, but I think mine's a cut above that awful stuff you see in the women's magazines like Cosmopolitan, stuff like, 'I looked out the window at where your Rolls once sat/ The sight of your tooth marks on the Gouda cheese/ Nostalgia and pain/ I dropped two 'Ludes and turned on the dishwasher.' That kind of stuff."
We suggest that maybe Cathy has a future as a poetic humorist. She demurs. "Oh, come on. That's the hang-up most everybody in Los Angeles has. Everybody thinks she can sing, write and act, and that she's beautiful. The fact is that very few people get to be really good at any one of those things. And only a few people are really all that attractive, and they tend to float through life without ever developing themselves."
Could she be describing herself? "Well, somewhat. I'm sure I would have developed my potential a lot more if I looked more like, say, Lily Tomlin than Little Annie Fanny. Unfortunately, until I was about 20, that's what I looked like: a comic character. I was 5'8" when I was 15 and I weighed about 96 pounds, about ten of which were breasts. I had a low-cut dress with a push-up bra that I wore to school sometimes. Once, in my math class (which I wasn't doing so well at), my teacher, who was a man, stopped beside my desk and whispered, 'If you wear that dress to my class twice a week, I'll give you an A.' Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I did and he did. Isn't that awful?" She giggles mischievously.
"However, one can't just go through life being led by one's chest. At the end of my life, I'd much rather look back and see that I'd been a good wife and mother than that I'd been a model. But I need the right man to give me the feeling of protection I need. Once I've found him, I don't care if I never have another modeling job." Having pretty much given up on the possibility of finding the kind of man she's looking for in Los Angeles, Cathy is planning to move to June Lake, California, where Ken Marcus took her to shoot the outdoor photos in this pictorial. "June Lake is the most beautiful place I've ever seen," she says, "and the life people live there is the kind I like to live. I feel so lucky that Playboy introduced me to that area. It was sort of an unexpected bonus."
Cathy wants to give special thanks to Marcus. "Ken is one of the smartest, nicest, funniest men I have ever met. When he found out that I have a pretty big appetite, he nicknamed me Miss Piggy. Soon, everyone at Playboy Studio West was calling me Miss Piggy. Ken and the other Playboy staffers helped me live up to my nickname by taking me to all my favorite restaurants and letting me eat all I could. I once ate an $80 lunch. You might say I can put it away. After the shooting, they had a party for me at Studio West, and someone had a cake made with a picture of Miss Piggy on it. Ken shoved my face into the cake. I didn't mind. I love slapstick." Marcus always did have a way with women.
At 27, Cathy is pretty well traveled. She's already been to Europe, the Philippines and South America, but she hopes to see even more of the world (and the U.S.A.) on Playboy promotional tours. "Seeing the world is about the only thing I really want to do before I settle down," she says, "but I don't expect to find anywhere more beautiful than June Lake."
And we can't think of a more beautiful June Playmate, Cathy. Good luck.
Photography by Ken Marcus