‘I mean, Miki Garcia from California, Ellen Michaels from Long Island and Marilyn Cole from London, are not exactly what we could call the girls next door for “our” readers.’ I rattled off the list of some recent American Playmates that had appeared in the German edition.  Bob let me continue and just listened encouragingly.

‘One hardly could relate to them if you lived, say in Munich, Milan or Paris. They never could imagine running into any of them walking down Leopoldstrasse, for example.’ I added. I saw both Bob and Lee shaking their heads in assent and also Rainer while Heinz remained visibly non-committal.

‘Okay, here is the main reason. Even not considering the production costs and while Munich is overflowing with most beautiful models and starlets, they are not exactly girls next door either.’

‘But there are so many beautiful young women all over Germany.’

‘So they are. But I don’t think any of them would want to pose in the nude. It would be very difficult to find the ones who would and still be up to the U.S. standards.’ Freddy said, looking a bit frustrated.  He had a point. Nudity per se was not a taboo in Europe. Even the “news” magazines such as Quick and Neue Revue carried nudes on their covers, majority of them of unknown origin, submitted by freelance photographers. Would we want one of those girls to be in Playboy? Probably not.

‘What if I found us an acceptable  Playmate?’ Don’t ask me what made me say that. Even I was astounded at my own chutzpah, especially considering that both of my big bosses sat at the table and I was at the very bottom of the totem pole of our group hierarchy.  It must have been that both Bob and Lee remained silent, tacitly allowing me to take the reign.

‘You probably could Mr. Shah. But I wouldn’t want it to interfere with your day job!’ Lee said in half jest, being his Machiavellian self as ever.

‘What if I do it in my spare time?’

I didn’t want to divulge the amount of spare time I had. For someone who had done three weekly magazines at Time – for me to do a monthly magazine, planned months in advance was something I could do in my sleep. Not to mention my most able counterpart Heinz Nellissen  planted firmly right in the printing shop in Essen.

‘If you find us a candidate that is acceptable to Chicago, then we will certainly consider producing her.’ Freddy relented with Rainer and Heinz van Neuhuys nodding their assent.

‘I think we might be up to something here. Chicago will of course help you with the production and the expertise. We will make available one of our top photographers to work with you guys.’ Bob assured.

‘We absolutely will.’ Lee seconded.  Those promises were comforting. If Freddy still remaining somewhat apprehensive, we were all in agreement that a local girl with the staples in her belly would indeed make it an authentic German edition.

No one was exactly betting on me really finding a Playmate candidate acceptable to Chicago.  We parted feeling pleased at having addressed and agreed upon an important issue.  Soon, everybody seemed to have comfortably sloughed it off and tucked it away in their subconscious.

That is, except me. I had work to do.

©2012 Haresh Shah

 Next Friday, December 7, 2012

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HUNTING FOR THE GIRL NEXT DOOR: If she indeed lives right next door, why can’t I just knock on her door? My next door neighbor at the time was good old Dr. Max Grenzman – a gynecologist. That certainly didn’t help. Or? Wait, how about one of his pretty patients?

 

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