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Pay No Attention to the Man behind the Bunnies

The wizard of The Wizard of Oz was wise enough to know that when the curtain was pulled back, it revealed a humble man who paled in comparison to his persona. Instead of taking a hint and telling the media to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Hef is still actively courting the media, seemingly oblivious to the creepy image he now projects.

It would seem that he is purposely driving down the brand in order to buy it for less money, though there would be no purpose in this since the image will be difficult to restore. Now, going private with the company, Hugh Hefner wants control of his brand, but tales of his creepiness keep turning up like a bad penny. Once upon a time, Playboy was a sexy brand, with a suave and somewhat attractive millionaire at the helm. His sprawling estate, wealth, and taste set the tone.

Playboy’s Retro chic seems to be the main gambling chip as they plan to use Playboy as a brand management company. Can a company which maintains its brand on sex appeal still function when the company’s flagship, the Playboy Mansion, is known to stink of stale dog urine? If the Playboy Mansion is the flagship, is the owner’s wilting phallus its mast?

An idea of Playboy rather than the reality is the shaky ground on which this brand rests. The reality is harsh and difficult to forget, especially when the idea of Playboy is about as fuzzy as the soft focus used on its Playmates back in its heyday. Here’s a harsh look at the media’s current reports of Playboy’s Reality:

The Mansion smells like urine: “Everything in the Mansion felt old and stale, and Archie the house dog would regularly relieve himself on the hallway curtains, adding a powerful whiff of urine to the general scent of decay.” Although Hef likes to maintain that the mansion doesn’t stink of dog piss, I assert the olfactory senses of an 84 year old man are probably not as sharp as those of the barely legal ladies who have complained of the smell. Hef and many of the girls have dogs, and one thing about dogs—they like to mark their territory. It’s a big house. Maybe they get lost and can’t hold it before finding an exit. Of all the people who have lived at the mansion, Mr. Hefner seems to be the only one trying to debunk this quote.

Diseased Dames: Group sex which has been described in horrifying detail by several of the girls. What would seem to be a sex fantasy for men is not so appealing for women. (WARNING! These mental images are Not Safe For Life!) Apparently he slathers himself with Baby Oil (not a condom safe material—not that he uses them) and has the lead girlfriend (a dubious honor if ever there was one) perform oral sex once his Little Blue Pill has kicked in.

She wipes off his penis, and each girl takes turns for about a minute at a time while the others act as cheerleaders. There have been reports hinting at anal sex as well. I don’t know (and I’m afraid to know) how that factors into the unprotected, taking-turns sex. The sex appeal of the Playmates is also tarnished as by reports of yeast infections running rampant among his “girlfriends.” Nevertheless, Mr. Hefner insists on unprotected sex. Although STD testing screens out known deadly maladies, yeast infections are rather common at the Manse. Now, when I look at the smiling blondes in photos with Hef at various social functions, I wonder how many of them are thinking about going home—not to Hop on Hef but to crack open a package of Vagisil.

They are paid for their services rather than willing “girlfriends” who freely share themselves: Every Friday they get a (wink, wink) clothing allowance of $1,000 per week which Hef grudgingly doles out in $100 bills, using the occasion to criticize any aspect of the girls’ performance/relationship/etc. Considering the “payment” for services and strict curfew (“So they wouldn’t be running around on me!”), it is glaringly apparent that one would not enter such a relationship for free.

Considering the humiliating (albeit brief work) required to be a kept woman in Hef’s kennel, it’s better pay than many degrading jobs.

Mentions of Hef in the news are thankfully sparse at the time, but it seems it’s about to ramp up again. He will be played by James Franco in a small part in the new Lovelace biopic. I wonder what kind of new exposure it will take to blot out the previous mental images created by previous news articles. Unless the brand is actually taken over by James Franco, the damage is expected to continue.

“The brand resonates today as clearly as at any time in its 57-year history…” –Hugh Hefner

No, really, I don’t think so…