“Then I was just over it,” she said. “I was like, ‘Ahhhh.’ I was over it. I just, like, walked away. I’m not turned on by Hef, sorry.”My usual eye-rolling ensued, along with a mild feeling of victory. (I've been musing on the private conversations of the Girls Next Door for years.) But that's not the whole story.
Truth be told, I have towering respect for Hefner's publication achievements. Playboy was cutting edge when it debuted. Hefner was a self-made man. He was impervious to criticism and Bible-thumpers. He was also a notorious hands-on control freak of an editor, and Playboy (at least before it turned into a Photoshop freakshow) was his and his alone. I even have a modest collection of vintage Playboys from the 60s and 70s.
It goes deeper. These here pages are very loosely based on the original essence of Playboy, at least on a conceptual level. I may be a one-woman show, but I try to offer an eclectic mix of content with a specific point of view. And I field plenty of criticism for my political and sexual content. When that happens, I'll review The Owner's Manual by browsing through the first several pages. I always come away thinking: no, this is a righteous publication and it is as I wish it to be. Then I carry on.
So my disdain for today's Hef does not stem from some feminist snarling. He was a publication icon, a giant. Now he's reduced to embarrassing humiliation at the hands of some silly little broad he never should have tangled with in the first place.
And he keeps doing it again and again with one faceless blond twit after another. Hef gets older and my disappointment in the man gets more profound.
Why couldn't you have done this right, Hef? Why couldn't you have stepped out of the spotlight with dignity?