by Abby Gale

Forget their cuisine--in the year 2080, when the universe's species are kicking it on Mars, that ancient land known as France will be studied and celebrated for their unsurpassed sexual brilliance.

The Kama Sutra of the future will document such hot historical riches as the Marquis de Sade, skimpy French maid outfits, and the m?ge ?rios.

Plus, the hero of France's eternal sexual revolution will be a legendary overachiever with a face like Skeletor who was afraid to undress with the lights on.

"There's a trilogy in my life," our hero Serge Gainsbourg said in Mort ou Vices, "an equilateral triangle, shall we say, of Gitanes, alcoholism, and girls--and I didn't say isosceles, I said equilateral."

Consider that music isn't even an afterthought in this musician's life equation, and you get a pretty good idea where his passions really lied--in getting his baguette boffed. Nonetheless, Serge Gainsbourg is one of the few French artists whose music made it Stateside--and yet only now is much of the world starting to catch on to his musical genius.

But we're not talking musicology; we're here to talk sexuality, psychology, and anatomy. For as homely as he was, Gainsbourg was able to pull box from some of the hottest French babes in history (or at least those alive in the era--I imagine Joan of Arc was skintillating in her time). We must study his story like a gospel. If Gainsbourg says fuck, we say how hard.

By the time he died at age sixty-two, obits pronounced him the Patron Saint of Seduction. His home was tagged with maxims like, "Serge isn't dead, he's in heaven, fucking." Not a bad afterlife for a man who didn't know what to do with his wanker until a prostitute showed him.

Which is the essence of his heroism. Like Ron Jeremy once did for unsightly porn gazers, Gainsbourg's legacy tells us we can have that sex bunny dancing on the bar no matter how sickly we look. With a well-polished equation of smarminess, ironic self-deprecation, and straight-up cool, girls are rendered blind--and horny.

"I have known many women horizontally," a coy Gainsbourg once told a reporter, "but I cannot tell you who they are."

But it took a lot of heartbreak for Gainsbourg to become the irresistible seducteur he was later in life. When he was young, as biographer Sylvie Simmons (whose book A Fistful of Gitanes immensely aided this writer's Gainsbourgian knowledge) recounts, his awkwardness caused hookers to mock him and girls to either ignore or abandon him. After his last adolescent rejection (by an art-school classmate who was the granddaughter of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, no less), Gainsbourg had enough sexual subordination for one lifetime and turned the tables on the opposite sex.

Oddly enough, it worked. Despite his standing as a beauty-obsessed misogynist, women began falling onto Gainsbourg's hog, one after the other. His aloof coolness made his "ugliness" sexy and mysterious. Surely scores of "nice guys" will be forever perplexed by the female's attraction to the Gainsbourgs of the world.

Gainsbourg's first catch was the prize piece for anyone's collection: Brigitte Bardot herself. Doubtless a weathered pin-up of Bardot has been under the mattress of one in five adolescent males every year since 1956, when she portrayed sultry, hormone-ridden Juliete in Roger Vadim's ...And God Created Woman (Picture: 1 - 2). Juliete was actually a lot like Bardot: a woman whose sexual savvy came off as trampy to the pervs and prudes around her.In fact, Bardot's bod is not just a titillating piece of art--that ripe figure and wild blonde mane helped catalyze the sexual revolution. Thanks to her fleshly freedom, we're all a little less oppressed.

Bardot was as prolific an actress as Gainsbourg was a songwriter. She played some variation of a sex kitten in nearly fifty movies, usually an untamed nympho being reined in by some paternal lover.

Bardot met Gainsbourg after he wrote some songs for her, and the two quickly initiated a saucy love affair. At first they kept it on the down-low, certainly not for any modesty on Gainsbourg's part, but because of Bardot's weariness of the paparazzi, who loved to make her life into tabloid fodder. Oh, that and the ring on her finger.One night, Gainsbourg and Bardot had a fight, and Bardot demanded a love song as compensation. Taking "love" in the most carnal of senses, Gainsbourg wrote the steamiest, sultriest, downright dirtiest song ever: "Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus" ("I Love You, Me Neither").

In it, Bardot's moans and sighs blanket Gainsbourg's play-by-play of a good fuck. The listener plays voyeur, hiding under the bed while Gainsbourg croons: "I go and I come, in between your kidneys."

Obviously, the press was exhilarated (and horny) over this juicy song and right away called up Bardot's husband, playboy Gunter Sachs, to see what he thought. Outraged, he demanded the single be pulled. Bardot, again paranoid about her rep, agreed, and Gainsbourg was forced to stash away what he thought would be his key to artistic immortality.

"For the first time in my life I write a love song and it's taken badly," Serge said. So that's what he calls love; something besides his heart was throbbing that night.

Bardot took this moment to feel a little guilty and slinked back to Sachs, leaving Gainsbourg heartbroken and stifled. He could've died (in fact he threatened it), but instead he decided to rival Sachs's playboy rep by being seen with (and in) as many women as possible. No problem for him.

But it didn't take long for Gainsbourg to find new trim to poke on, and her polar-opposite traits probably helped him get over Bardot painlessly. While Bardot had the full lips, curvy lines, and wild locks that personified the French Riviera, Jane Birkin's ironed brown hair and waifish figure made her one of the hottest exports of Swinging London. Teenage Birkin went from upper-class schoolgirl to sexy eye candy after starring in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup (Picture: 1 - 2 - 3), a 1966 film about a fashion photographer prancing about with naked models. In it, Birkin splendidly took the award for first full-frontal nudity shot in UK cinematic history.

Aside from being a tight little package, Birkin has made a name for herself as a strong actress and singer, loved in the UK and her adopted country, France. Birkin never had the sex-kitten stigma Bardot had to endure, so she was able to stay in the public eye with less drama.

But luckily, like most French film actresses, Birkin has regularly peeled out of her belt-sized miniskirt throughout the years. And as a bonus, she blessed us with two smoking hot daughters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon) to continue the Birkin-blood ogling into another generation.

Shortly after Blowup, Birkin flew to Paris to film Slogan, about a man who leaves his wife for his mistress, who then leaves him for her, uh, mister. Slogan's other star, Mr. Serge Gainsbourg, was none too pleased about this young, leggy Brit playing his lover. He treated Birkin with the grandest disgust, and she thought him an egotistical creep.

Eventually Gainsbourg fell for Birkin. He was aroused by this skinny, girlish babe who was twenty years younger than him. Birkin herself was surprised to feel attracted to a man she first thought was a self-absorbed snob--such is the effect of Gainsbourg's cool. In any case, the two were soon inseparable in the studios and on the mattress.

Gainsbourg was pretty damn cool before Birkin came along, but she perfected his style. She advised him to keep sexy stubble, tighten his jeans, and hold his omnipresent cigarette in the most dandy of ways. In return, he trashed up her own schoolgirl look into a sexy hybrid of '60s London and Gainsbourgian Paris.

Within a year after they met, Gainsbourg asked Birkin to record "Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus" with him. She obliged, and they hit the studios to record Birkin's virginal moans and na? sighs. The track turned out better than the original, as Gainsbourg's little Lolita made Bardot sound like a leathery bar skank.

"It was too ... hot, whereas with Jane and me it was total technique. It's like fucking. If you fuck hot, you fuck badly; if you fuck technique, you fuck better." With his tongue in cheek as always, Gainsbourg also defended the song in Rock & Folk magazine by pointing out that he never came: "As for reaching a climax, it would have had to be a twelve-inch for that."

When the song was released, you could feasibly feel waves of sexual tension released across the Western world. It hit the U.S. charts in 1969, reaching #69 and fittingly staying there. Gainsbourg had his hit, and Birkin will spend the rest of her life listening to strangers recount stories of their unplanned children conceived to the sounds of her faux orgasms.In a cream dream of ironic proportions, in 1973 Birkin and Bardot played lovers themselves in Vadim's Ms. Don Juan (Picture: 1 - 2). As the title supposes, Bardot plays the female equivalent of, well, her ex-boyfriend. She seduces men and then drops them, reversing the age-old double standard of the stud and the slut. Like Gainsbourg's transition from submissive to subversive, Bardot's character gets to trample on all the men who trampled on her.

Okay, philosophy and plot aside, the best shots in Ms. Don Juan are naturally of Birkin and Bardot in bed together, their hair sex-tousled and hands traveling this way and that. Whether in his brain or balls, the whole situation must've driven Gainsbourg crazy.

After a restless and weary Birkin left Gainsbourg for filmmaker Jacques Doillon, the two remained close friends up to Gainsbourg's death in 1991. They even kept rooms for each other in their homes. No matter her age, she was still his little nymphet.Oh, but wait, that's not the end for our seducteur. Despite being fifty-three years old and an alcoholic with less than half of his liver left, Gainsbourg put a new notch in his bed post--this one even younger and more barely legal than Birkin. Gainsbourg began shacking up with twenty-one-year-old Caroline Von Paulus, a.k.a. Bambou.

Despite having this half-Asian model giving his finely aging wood a workout, it's obvious that Bambou placed third to Bardot and Birkin in Gainsbourg's tome of conquered women. Nonetheless he put together a stellar book of nude photography and text featuring Miss Bambou, Bambou et les Poup?, an erotic tome that Skin Headquarters prays each night will make it to the motion-picture screen. Now we mustn't forget the littlest lady in Gainsbourg's life. And while she never moved between his loins, she did come from them, and inheriting those hormone-exploding genes should count for something. Charlotte Gainsbourg has a unique sexuality that is truly French: the natural, tousled look; the waifish, androgynous bod; the uninhibited onscreen clothes dropping. We at Skin Central have been known to watch certain unspecified scenes of Amoureuse (Picture: 1 - 2) over and over and over and ...

After Gainsbourg died, the world outside of France began to catch on to his genius. His tricky wordplay and triple-entendres make most of his lyrics untranslatable. Yet his music is catchy and sexy without any words--for the cool of Gainsbourg is a language of its own.

Much of Gainsbourg's sexual legacy was genuinely trashy--but that's why we love him. That's why Whitney Houston looks the fool for not succumbing to his live-television propositions to fuck him. We could continue for a lifetime, recounting his multitudes of muff, but even he grew tired of that.

Indeed, as time progresses and history books slowly bend stories (as they always do), future followers of Gainsbourg will believe he died of too much sex, not too much booze. Hell, other religions tweak history, why can't we?

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