There's good news for any of us who have one of those ill-advised nude photo sessions in our past.
Scott Brown's election to the U.S. Senate means those indiscretions no longer matter.
The voters in Massachusetts sent the buff Republican to Washington despite pictures of him in the buff in Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1982, when he was a student struggling to pay his law school bills.
Is this America, or what? In this country, anybody can sell pictures of their body and still grow up to single-handedly derail health care reform during his first week on the job.
I hope they let the Miss America people know about this. Nude photos cost Vanessa Williams the crown back in the day -- but then she wasn't running for elective office, where congeniality is a sign of weakness.
Mr. Brown's six-point victory in one of the most Democratic states in the country means much more than that the electorate is disillusioned with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress.
It means the Democrats are so poorly organized that no one in Martha Coakley's camp thought to exploit Mr. Brown's great pecs and poor judgment with last-minute negative ads. Now that's a poorly run campaign, all right.
I mean, what was Mr. Brown thinking when he told Cosmo that he had a hankering for public office? Did he have any clothes on when he said that?
He must have known somehow that in the next century nude photos would no longer be a source of shame or blackmail -- let alone a sign of arrogance or conceit.
He must have known that nude photos would simply be lumped in with all the other easily forgiven indiscretions of youth, such as pot-smoking, snorting cocaine or using your father's clout to get you out of military service, and would never be a stumbling block on the road to the White House.
It is hard to imagine that being Catholic used to be a problem for ambitious politicians.
This country has certainly come a long way, and I am glad of it. American children should know that there is nothing wrong with appearing buck naked in a women's magazine for money.
We may have to wait a generation until a woman can appear naked in a men's magazine, be paid for it and still aspire to public office. But we are on the road! I see a future where the greatest athletes of our generation can betray their wives with a list of women as long as a football roster and not lose their million-dollar endorsement deals, or inject themselves with everything but tree sap and still expect to get into the Hall of Fame.
A country where you can mess around with an intern the age of your daughter and go on to be a much-beloved international philanthropist.
I believe we will be a country where a man can run for the highest office in the land with the unflagging support of his cancer-stricken wife and still father a love child with a sexy campaign hanger-on.
Oh. Right. John Edwards already did that.
See what I mean? Is this a great country or what?
Susan Reimer's column appears Fridays.