I was trying hard to bite my tongue on this one. Yet, I cannot. Because he was a big part of my growing up. A culture that is dying out and being replaced by another. A few years ago, my oldest son was 14. He got some slippers and a bath robe for a Christmas present. Being the lazy conflicting son as he was, he decided to go to both his grandparents’ Christmas celebrations dressed comfortable. He sat around mostly. He put up with the adults and ate lots of food and relaxed. Grandmother CC laughed when she first viewed him and said,
“You look like Hugh Hefner!”
“Who is that?”
The adults laughed and we soon enough described Hugh’s character and personality. A hip he man from another generation or two or three.
I grew up with an adjoining BOYS room next to mine. They got a pool table, stereo and had a stack of Playboys under the pool table. My friends and I would often look at the naked ladies. At 12 I had no idea of what is was all about. I did think it strange. As I got older and my brothers moved out the Playboy magazines ended up in a box under the pool table. My first boyfriend found them while we played pool listening to the Beatles’s White Album. I felt jealous but he said he liked reading the editorials and enjoyed cartoonist Gahan Wilson. I read the editorials, and interviews, and enjoyed the comics as well.
Then as I grew up and became a self-conscious woman I realized the hypocrisy of Hugh and his magazine. The desire for women as objects for masturbation. It sickened me. I could not figure out why women did this either. It all came down to money, fame, and fortune.
When I became aware of Gloria Steinem’s exposé Undercover as A Playboy Bunny, I was sickened what women do for money.
Years went by and then came the film Fight Club. I did not read the book. The film helped me to understand men better. I know that men and women have a different idea of what love and sex is. I don’t confront the issue anymore. I look the other way. I realize we all masturbate.
I do hold in my mind and heart the dignity of what women like Gloria brought to the table.