Dec 152007

I mentioned three months ago that I had subscribed to Playboy, citing fond college memories of it, the fact that it’s almost free to subscribe (about $1.13 a month for two years), and that Lea didn’t mind.  I’ve now gotten enough of a sustained taste of it to offer informed impressions.

The pictorials are boring.  Yeah, yeah, the cliché:  “I only read the articles,” blah, blah, blah.  Well, I don’t only read the articles.  I flip page by page, which means I see the naked women too.  I stop, I look…

…I yawn.  Folks, there is just no titillation in “perfection.”  I like freckles.  I like birth marks.  I like the light catching a tiny hair in the small of her back.  I like a shape that indicates that she eats once in a while.  What is there to savor in a woman lit, made up, and computer-enhanced into high artificiality?

And born in 1988, what could she possibly have to say that would increase her sexual attractiveness to me?  The brain is by far the most powerful sexual organ.  Baby girl born during the first Bush administration, fercryinoutloud?  How could she possibly have the mental horsepower to flirt and tease engagingly?  Didn’t she just come from the mall?  Isn’t she “texting” her friends all evening?  Give me a break.

Moving on:  this intended demographic seems awfully muddled.  Here is Paris Hilton on one page, and Fred Thompson on the next.  Here’s an ad for an Xbox 360 game; here’s another for a $75,000 car.  There are liquor ads throughout.

Ah, I’ve got it!  Playboy‘s readership is composed primarily of college kids and middle-aged men who each wish they were the other.

The liquor ads are for the former, of course.  They have to go through that awkward if-I-cultivate-a-taste-for-scotch-maybe-no-one-will-notice-I’m-still-a-boy period.  (I presume they’re the same sorts of young men writing in to The Playboy Advisor and asking charmingly timid and tentative questions about sexual behavior.)

And God bless Hugh Hefner, but they’re going to have to find another photographic angle for him soon.  The photos in the velvet smoking jacket with the honey on each arm are finally looking a little tired.  Hef is 81 years old, and it’s showing in his face, and I’m wondering sometimes if the women are actually holding him up.

I’m getting enough out of it for the money.  (How entertained do I have to be for it to be worth less than $.04 daily?)  I’m reading a Stephen King short story in the December issue, and it’s fun.  Once in a while there is wristwatch content, which is always held in high regard.  And Lea’s enjoying reading them, as well.  It works adequately as a general interest magazine.

But I remain doubtful I’ll renew.  In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the death of the printed Playboy in the next decade or so.  There’s nothing here that’s not better somewhere else, and whatever cachet it has left isn’t nearly enough to sustain it.

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 Posted by at 6:27 pm

  3 Responses to “Playboy redux”

  1. I really, really love your attitude about women. Things like Playboy and Cosmo (I really do think that the mags aimed at women are the worst) really do work to kill women’s self-image. We out in the real world CAN’T be like that, because the women in the magazines aren’t really like that, either. Doesn’t keep us from lamenting, though.

    I’m very conscious about the messages that my girls are getting, not only from the media, but from me, too. I’m often naked in front of them, curves and all, and I try to NOT berate myself for what I see as certain physical shortcomings.

    I am smart enough, however, to be a world-class flirt.

  2. […] I’m taking Automobile right now, but it’s about even odds I’ll let it lapse.  My laughable indifference at my current Playboy subscription is well-documented, and that’s a guaranteed lapse.  I signed back up just tonight for National Review (though […]

  3. […] it’s always struck me as a bit haughty.  When I subscribed several years ago, the consistent impression I got was that it was published for college students and middle-aged men […]

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