Outside, the storms of traffic; but inside the poodle and Ihasa were already at their watch, and the young women showed up one by one, like a new and improved Ark.
David Chan, photographer for Playboy, recorded the creatures as they presented their credentials - that is, themselves - and the poodle and the [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] Ihasa decided it was safe to walk about, after all, even though the room was full of spiked heels and bikinis.
"Where do we go?" asked a woman not far short of a squeal.
"In here, I think," said a husky-voiced beauty, starting to remove her dress.
"You can change in there," said Sherral Snow, assistant to Chan who journeys from Dallas to assist the photographer (who comes from Chicago) in arranging photo sessions.
It seemed time wasted, since the beauty had her bikini on under her dress and could easily have slipped out of the tent right there, without going into a dressing room.
"Young ladies," is what he calls them, and he is perfectly capable of resembling a vicar, even when he is bounding around the edge of the bed with his camera or posing a bikini person languidly against a post.
As half the women of the capital seem to know, Chan is here through Saturday, maybe Sunday even, shooting the women with his Polariod and collecting from them their own photographs of themselves, along with their application to be shown in the magazine.
Specifically the women wish to be Playmate for the 25th anniversary (December) issue, a jackpot that pays $25,000.
"These are going to be great days for you fellows," said Jacqueline Pompan, who competed a couple of years ago in Playboy's "Women of Washington" layout and who had come to assist Chan and Snow.
"Nneaagh," said a television camera person, with less articulate utterance even than usual, "all I seem to shoot these days is girls and automobiles."
Chan is newly arrived from Toronto where he shot 300 women. He is always being astounded at the beauty of women. Out West, after an earlier visit to the capital, he told everybody he was mightily impressed at the women here. And here he said he was quite floored by the beauty he found in Toronto.
It was early in the morning yesterday, but the room had perhaps seven gorgeous - if an opinion may be allowed - women, plus the dogs, which fortunately get on well together, and some reporters and their ilk.
J.F. O'Connor, a retired Foreign Service officer who has advanced to editor of party jokes for Playboy, and who commonly feels it is his duty to lend a hand at the helm when his colleagues from the magazine are deluged with girls, said the girls were arriving at 15-minute intervals.
Except, of course, those who just arrived, scheduled or no.
"Any plain girls here?" asked a fellow "I'm looking for some real dogs." "Just us," said Joyce Saadi, 25, "and you can make up your own mind."
For years it has been rumored the Playboy models are absolute scarecrows in the flesh, and you'd run a mile if you saw one on the street.This is evidently the least substantiated rumor ever floated, however.
Chan said of course the photographer uses art, paying attention to lighting, draping, angles and so on, to cover the women's slight lapses from fantastic perfection.
"Can you trim a few inches off 'em if their legs are too fat?" asked another man.
"No," said Chan, with the air of a priest accused of black magic. "But maybe a hickey, or the young lady may have a small bruise, or conspicuous veins in the bosom . . . "
Pompan said she thought the main thing was good bones, slimness, and the photographer could do the rest, even if the girl was one you wouldn't look at twice.
"Why would a plain girl show up in the first place?" she was asked.
"Ego trip," said Pompan.
Chan said if a girl is tubby, he tries to discourage her when she phones, but sometimes the girls says, "But you should see me because I don't look fat," so he often does.
Usually they look as heavy as they are, but Chan always shoots at least, a Polaroid of them, not to hurt their feelings. They may be wonderful girls, he says, but not quite right for Playboy.
Playboy sometimes makes men lust in their hearts. You may find in its pages a girl naked as a boiled owl creeping on her all fours over two pages.
Chan says that he never yet browbeat a girl into posing, or collecting the money. And his own relationship with the girls he photographs, he said (not that reporters dream of asking photographers such things), are utterly above-board.
He said he is a third-generation Chinese-Canadian by birth, and his family wanted him to be an accountant. Well, there is nothing wrong with accountants, but, well you know how it is.
Now they are not merely resigned, but proud, to have him a photographer. He lives on the 35th floor of a Chicago condominium with his Ihasa, Mei Ling, and he has an old girl-friend. He is slight of build with a spinach-jade ring set in gold on one hand, and some slender metal chains on another wrist, and a pendant of pale jade hanging about his neck. His sister gave him the ring, and he bought the neckpiece himself years ago.
"He is very thick with Mei Ling," said a woman, peering at the Ihasa apso, used to commotion and above it.
Chan, in the Chinese tradition, tried to obey his parents and went to college a year. Nuts. He went to a photography school and in Hollywood began shooting starlets.
The magazine got wind of this, liked the pictures and hired him 13 years ago.
"The main thing is the eyes," he said. "Twinkle."
Now the Playmate, as the nude layout is called, requires a girl to be pretty nearly perfect all over. Chan can do a lot with light and drapery, but if the girl is totally birthdayed he can do only so much, since there will be numerous pictures from various angles.
A picture may pay only $200 or $300, but the nude ones pay more and for a big special anniversary issue - well, $25,000 isn't bad.
"My dog doesn't look like any of us," said Jacqui Ferguson, shaking her mane of yellow (someone had said Chan looked like his Ihasa mutt) - "a Labrador and a Great Dane."
Robin Vann, whose skin gleamed like Circassian walnut over her spiky golden shoes, wore a brown and black bikini.
"I'm not interested in professional models," said Chan, "I mean a young lady does not have to be a model or an actress."
Vann, for example, never modeled for anything except once for her hairdresser who gave her a free hairdo.
Ferguson has just quit her job, in sales, and is looking about.
Sandy Minick, if she wins, is going to invest in a gorgeous secluded island in the British West Indies.
Saadi, who works in the Office for Civil Rights for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, said she'd like to travel, but as for winning the big money, "That would take an ego larger than mine," but at least "I'm having a good time seeing what the other woman look like - there's a sort of camaraderie here."
"Well," said Minick, pushing the down button of the Georgetown Inn elevator, "it wasn't as bad as I thought. Boom, and it's over."
Like spring itself.