Woody: What's Playboy without its bunnies?

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It was recently announced Playboy magazine will stop printing pictures of naked ladies.

In related news, McDonalds announced it will stop selling hamburgers.

What's a Playboy without playmates? Did anybody really buy the magazine to seek advice on stereo systems, fall wardrobe fashions or after-dinner wine selections? Of course not! They (we) bought it to see Miss November modeling her birthday suit.
Those are the bare facts.

I suppose I shouldn't take the news about Playboy's new no-nude policy so hard; after all, I haven't peeked at one of the magazines in years. And back when I did, like all young men, I was only interested in the (ahem!) articles.

Still, I felt a tinge of nostalgia when I read the story about the world's most famous girlie magazine's decision to drop girlies. Like most young males who came of age in the 60's, I assumed all attractive young ladies had staples in their navels.

Growing up in the country, I wasn't exactly a Suave Man of the World. As a teen I'd take my date to the Drive-In then we'd swing by the local Dairy Dip for a burger and a shake.

Playboy didn't run Drive-In movie reviews and advice about how to order curb-side. It ran tips about how to subtly invite a date to spend a weekend aboard your yacht after a ride in your new Ferrari. I figured they picked up the burgers on the way.

The only naked lady I saw during my formative years -- not counting my grandmother who stepped out of the shower one morning just as I opened the bathroom door, setting me back years in the puberty department -- was at a carnival one summer. My boyhood buddy Booger Johnson and I used fake IDs to get inside a tent to view an "exotic dancer."

For starters, she didn't dance. And she wasn't the least bit exotic. She looked like my Aunt Gladys. She waddled out on the stage, and as a scratchy record played "Hunk of Burnin' Love," she shed her chenille bathrobe and rolled around on the floor for a few minutes. I wasn't sure if it was part of the act, or if she'd fallen and broken a hip.

The lighting wasn't very good, but as best as we could tell there were no staples in her navel, as Playboy had led Booger and me to believe.
The demise of Playboy is no surprise. Founder Hugh Hefner is 89. When you turn 89 you're more interested in oat bran than Bunnies. I figure Hef is about Bunnied-out.

When you're pushing 90 it's probably time to stop dating young ladies you met when they dropped by for a sleep-over with your granddaughter.
Hef's new magazine will be called Playgeezer. It will run articles titled "How to Achieve Total Bowel Satisfaction in Thirty Minutes," "Sultry Dentures," and "Nursing Home Hotties."

Although Hefner's playboy days are over, his niche in our cultural history is secure. He will be remembered as the Che Guevara of the Sexual Revolution, storming the bastions of propriety waving a skimpy silk negligee as a banner. He took public nudity out of the shadows and thrust it into the light of day (inside a brown-paper wrapper).

Nowadays, of course, Playboy is tame compared to what we routinely see on the internet; or on the evening news, for that matter. What once was steamy is stale, what was naughty is natural. We've taken the risk out of risque.

The days of slick-paged, navel-stapled Playmates are gone. Goodbye, Miss April, and good luck. Long live the Bunnies!

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Larry Woody: Playboy
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