miss march is an old-fashioned girl with a novel way of showing it
As a high schooler in Sparks, Nevada, Laurie Wood played Miss Lonelyhearts to a circle of girlfriends. Her friends had constant "boy trouble." The trouble was that boys wanted two things from them -- sex and more sex. Laurie, calm as a breeze off the west Nevada desert, counseled resistance. The advice she gave her lustlorn girlfriends seemed, to them, a bit quaint for the mid-Eighties. Save yourself for marriage, Laurie said. True love -- and true lust -- are worth waiting for. "That's what I believed, and still is," says Miss March 1989. "Some of my high school friends stopped talking to me because I wouldn't go to bed with anyone," she says, shaking her head. "On dates, the most I ever did was kiss. Boys would say, 'Nobody wants a virgin anymore.' Of course, I wondered what making love was like, but I was willing to wait. I didn't want sex to be an entertainment." Soon after high school graduation, her virginity intact, Laurie married the man of her dreams -- a man who wanted one virgin in particular. Soon after that, she gave her new husband what she had protected so diligently. "I was scared. I didn't know what sex would be," she whispers. "But it came naturally. It didn't hurt. It was as perfect, as sexy as I'd always hoped it would be." Laurie's libido, built to critical mass by long years of discipline, surprised her. She became the kind of wife men fantasize about. The erstwhile just-say-no girl of Sparks High now dresses up for her husband in outfits that might shock her schoolmates -- lingerie of black lace or gold satin. "My favorite," she says, "is a garter belt, undies and a pink corset with laces that go all the way up. Strings are fun." Last year, casting about for the perfect birthday present for husband Jeff, then a Coast Guard yeoman stationed in Seattle, she had a brain storm. Why not do the sexiest thing a woman can do -- strut her stuff in Playboy? We couldn't just say no. This month, Playboy presents a woman with the sex drive, and sex appeal, to make a birthday present of her birthday suit.
Remember The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry's classic tale of poverty-stricken lovers in old New York? A poor man sells his only prized possession, a gold watch, to buy his love a set of combs for her long, beautiful hair; meanwhile, she is selling her hair to a wigmaker, in order to buy him a fob for his watch. Laurie lived O. Henry's story. After high school, she tried her hand at modeling in Seattle. "You look great," modeling agents told her, "but you're going to have to cut that hair. It's too long." Laurie loved her luxurious hair, and her husband reveled in it. Still, they were struggling to pay the rent. Laurie cannot count the times she swore to cut her hair; each time, Jeff talked her out of it. And this story has a happy ending. She never gave in to Seattle chic. She kept her golden locks and will soon make her modeling debut in Los Angeles. Moral: Stick to your guns. And if you look like Laurie, don't change anything.
How does a virgin bride turn sex symbol? "It wasn't easy," Laurie says. At first, the shyness that kept her fully clothed on every premarital date made her blush at the thought of posing nude for millions of men. When friends said,"You could be a Playboy Playmate," she would turn beet-red and say,"No, no, not me." But as Arny Freytag's camera clicked, Laurie realized she was a natural. "I thought of my husband, as if he were standing there watching me, with nothing hidden, and I relaxed. Nudity is so natural, and I'm a natural woman." There is no artifice in Laurie Wood, no sexy Method acting. "I could never stand in front of a mirror and make sexy faces. I can't act as if I'm blowing through a straw and make that look sexy," she says. "I can't fake sexy. I have to feel it." For years, she resisted temptation, saving herself for marriage. Now married, Laurie is holding nothing back. "My girlfriends must have known something," she says, laughing. "At my bridal shower, I got nothing but slinky lingerie. Jeff and I honeymooned for three weeks, and I wore something different every night." The honeymoon ended; the romance did not. When her man, now a civilian, comes home from work, Laurie greets him with honeymoon passion. The sexiest thing in the world, she thinks, is being a good wife. And this month, "as a birthday present to my man and a tribute to the institution of marriage," she reveals what the boys of Sparks High, class of 1985, missed. A corny tribute? Maybe. A novel birthday gift, certainly. She was never conventional. Laurie Wood, the girl her high school classmates would have voted least likely to succeed as sex symbol, did.
Photography by Arny Freytag