The Sauce That Time Forgot

The sun-kissed allure of the naughty holiday postcard

You can still find a few comedians in Benidorm performing routines that would get them done for ‘hate speech’ in present-day Britain, and you can also still buy mucky postcards in continental holiday destinations that would have our many modern-day, middle-class puritans tut-tutting at best.

For how much longer? An EU official made noises a couple of years back about getting them banned, so we’ll see if they can survive the PC tsunami that continues to engulf us.

Let us hope they don’t go, because they’re great. Like scoffing tapas in a Spanish bar or lying on a Greek beach till you’re bright red, they’re an escape from domestic greyness – these postcards offer a touch of illicit, exotic, often tacky naughtiness.

The main difference between the naughty postcard genre and the saucy postcard genre is of course that these are primarily photographs as opposed to drawings, and they don’t revolve around double entendres. They’re frequently rude, unabashed, and they offer plenty of variety, necessitating my segmentation here into six categories (others could be thought up…).

Long may naughty postcards live on. All we need now is to be able to actually go on holiday to buy them…

Ladies’ posteriors feature heavily in the naughty postcard world, often repositioned as landscapes – whether they’re being used as a construction site, grazing land for bison, or just having a cartoon character sink their teeth into one.

Foreign language postcards, or ones that exhibit a mangling of the English language, provide a good deal of wonderment and befuddlement, with captions forever lost in translation – and imagery of breasts as oranges or dirty dancing mud-men make the eyes open wider still.

Some postcards show multiple images depicting the beauty of a region or country… but just can’t resist throwing in a picture of a girl with her boobs out – clearly presented as just one of the local attractions – even though that pic might be so small you could miss it. Grandma could easily send one of these by mistake.

It’s not all blatant T&A. Some postcards make the effort to distance themselves from smut by featuring more refined photography, surrealist humour or simply incorporating a bit of art on the side. With amusing results. You can put all the exotic flowers you like on a card, but it’s the knockers that’ll get the most eye clicks.

Some cards go the other way and are pretty much soft porn, with the name of a holiday destination arbitrarily slapped on alongside a fruity image. One of the Cyprus cards here doesn’t even bother putting the sexy girl in a beach setting. Mind you, nude sunbathing is forbidden on Cyprus.

Some postcards are mildly rib-tickling, especially if you have been sampling the local booze. Although in the case of the Blackpool ones shown here, the humour is perhaps unintentional, as bronzed models in sexy swimsuits and a topless beauty underneath Blackpool Tower are rarely the sort of sights you’ll see at the beleaguered northern seaside resort.


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