What kind of man reads Playboy?

I’ve always had an interest in the mojo of Playboy magazine. Not really the magazine itself, with its nude ladies and the all-important articles, but more the cultural icon that Playboy has become.

I wrote about Playboy back in 1997. Back then I’d got hold of a copy of the magazine itself, and ended up somewhat disappointed that it didn’t live up to the exotic reputation it had held years earlier amongst my friends at primary school.

But since then Playboy has changed. The magazine still exists, but the iconic bunny logo has totally gone mainstream, having been licensed for all sorts of products related to the Playboy lifestyle. But it’s moved from representing a sophsticated, sexual thing for adult men to being a crazy fun thing for younger men and women who just want something that says, “Hey! Sometimes I have sex! I might have sex with you! Waaaagh!”

The old ads asked “What sort of man reads Playboy?“, with the answer being a worldly, wealthy, jetset, scotch-drinking kind of man. But what kind of person buys products with the Playboy bunny logo? I’ve started noting products that have licensed the bunny, in an attempt to gain insight into the new consumer of the Playboy brand.

Flannelette sheets

Flannelette Playboy sheets

One would think, maybe, that the beds at the Playboy Mansion would be made with satin sheets, perhaps in a deep burgandy colour. But what’s in stock at Briscoes? Playboy flannelette sheets.

The perfect bedding for the playboy who lives in an uninsulated, unheated flat, who wants to ensure he (or she) can put on their jimjams and snuggle down with a mug of Milo into a nice warm bed in winter, but also wants to ensure their image as a sexy person is maintained year-round.

Duvet cover

40% off

If the pattern of the flannelette sheets was too subtle, how about a giant screen-print of the logo on a red duvet cover? This duvet is for those mornings when you don’t want to go to work because you have a performance review at work and you just know your manager is going to say something about that box of black marker pens you took that one time. So you call in sick and then start to actually feel a bit sick and spend the rest of the day eating two-minute noodles and watching “Titanic” on your HP laptop. Also: 40% off! Yay!

Throw cushions

Bunny cushion

How about a throw pillow to add some colour to either your flannelette sheet set or giant red duvet cover? There’s a black pillow with little bunny hearts (yay, love!) but more demanding of your love and attention is the giant bunny-shaped pillow.

While technically it is a pillow, it is also secretly a cuddly animal toy. If you feel that you’re too old for Mrs Panda and Colonel Teddy, the Playboy bunny cushion gives you a nice animal friend to snuggle up with when you’re feeling a bit lonely. No one ever need know. They will see the pillow and just think you are edgy, cool and sexual.

Fragrance

Gift suggestion

Oh, hey, merry Christmas! It’s a couple of days late, but your boyfriend’s dad and his stepmum are giving you their present. You guess that’s some sort of perfume gift pack – fingers crossed it’s the new Britney one! But, oh, it’s a Playboy perfume and moisturiser pack.

Your boyfriend’s stepmum immediately demands that you put some of the perfume on. She grabs the tube of moisturiser and starts smearing the cream all over your hands, insisting you deserve “a bit of pampering”. It smells like Ribena and curry. Your boyfriend looks ill.

Body spray

Discarded at a train station

Playboy body spray exists for the young man who has a busy life – too busy for daily showering or the regular laundering of clothes. It’s ideal for those situations when Work Corey has to quickly transform into Date Corey before the train arrives.

Just grab that can of Playboy body spray in the Miami fragrance (this guy on Facebook says it’s the strongest), shove the can up your shirt and spray liberally. Remember not to squirt it down your trousers, but you may wish to give your area a little spray just to be safe.

Car seat covers

Flammable, like my love for you.

Cars – they’re a bit boring. It’s nice to individualise one’s automobile and there’s no better way to do that with some fluffy sex dice and some plush Playboy car seat covers. This is the kind of car that starts out with the formal nickname of Bertha, but ends up being called the Shaggin’ Wagon, much to the owner’s disappointment, but with the reluctant acceptance that it is sort of true, especially after that one time down by the river. But the good thing is the Playboy car seat covers are fully washable, so if you spill some banana Primo on it, you can easily clean it off.

Playboy Is Rude

When I was about seven years old, the epitome of rudeness was Playboy magazine.

My friend told me that at midnight Playboy tv shows were screened. She was sleeping over one night and we stayed up to midnight, which was a major effort at that age. At 12.01 we turned on the tv, an old black and white set that took ages to turn on. There was some tv show on with a fully clothed man and woman talking. We figured that was Playboy, we’d seen it, so we went to sleep.

Another time we arranged some naked Barbie dolls (and this was in the days before Barbies had underwear permanently moulded on) on a pot plant and took a photo of them. Yes, I was a 7-year-old Barbie porno photographer. And here’s the photo.

As well as Playboy being rude, so was anything with the initials PB. There was a boy in our class whose initials were PB, so be figured he was some sort of Playboy person. Peanut Butter was also really rude.

I was once exposed to Playboy. My family went through a walk around Mt Pirongia. We were walking through some trees and attached to one was a centerfold. I went over to it and pulled it down. I remember seeing the “Playboy Party Jokes” on the back. I wanted to keep it but my parents wouldn’t let me. I went to put it back on the tree, but there were some people coming so my dad said “just leave it, let’s go”. I guess he didn’t want those people to think that he was this guy who took his family on bush walks and made his daughter stick up posters of nude chicks.

I remember sitting around asking my parents “So… who’s read Playboy?”. I was slightly shocked when my mother revealed that she had when she was staying at someone’s place and that’s all there was to read.

So those were my experiences with Playboy. In the next 15 years I became no longer obsessed with Playboy. We inherited from my grandmother some glasses with the Playboy bunny on the bottom. I read an article that Gloria Steinem wrote about her experience as an undercover reporter as a Playboy Bunny and how badly treated she was. But I’d never read a Playboy.

Then one night I thought it was about time I read a Playboy and see just how damn rude it was. I was too scared to buy one myself. I blame that on, uh, my parents?

I found a willing victim, or purchasing agent. He said he’d buy it for me. There was a bit of hilarity because he thought I wanted the Playboy for the pictures of nude people and brought, as a gift, a publication called “The Cunt Cock Connection”. As impolite as it is to reject a gift, I did so.

Anyway, after trying a few service stations we eventually found one that sold Playboy and he bought one for me. It was the May 1997 issue of Australian Playboy with Pamela Lee on the cover. After bidding my purchasing agent good night (and making sure he took CCC with him), I went back to my place and examined the magazine.

After opening the plastic bag it came in and getting through the tape on three sides, I started to read it. It was more or less like men’s magazines like Details, but with more sexual content. People writing in with questions about their sexual problems. There was a quite interesting article (ha!) with John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis. There was a boring short story, an article about old cars and, of course, the girls.

There was an article about the top babes on the web. Pictures of semi-naked chicks. Where’s all their pubes gone? I got a bit of a shock when I discovered that the centrefold chick was born in the same year I was (but unlike me, she cooks in the nude). It was also pretty scary seeing all the fake boobs. Implanted boobs just don’t look real.

The funniest thing was an erotic cartoon. It has been drawn showing quite explicit things, but was censored with speech bubbles. So where you originally saw some action there was instead a bubble with things like “Ohhhhh….”

All in all, it was pretty average. I think if there was a time when I would have appreciate Playboy it was back when I was 7 years old But at the age of 22, it was just another magazine, with some pictures of semi-naked chicks.