But for the locally produced Japanese edition of Playboy, we would have to come up with a selection of photos that didn’t contain even a tiny wisp of hair. Since Playboy shoots thousands of photos for about a dozen they end up using, this normally wasn’t a big problem for someone to sit down and select fotos sin pelo pubico.  Even so, sometimes it was difficult to find enough usable photos  with right expressions on the girl’s face.  It was initially my job to go through those thousands of photos and do an edit for the Japanese.  Frustrated, sometimes I would accost the photographers and remind them that we needed ample non-pubic photos.  At times it was difficult for them – having just been freed from the shackles and having to go backward must have been psychologically daunting for them. So much so that when in 1987 we were producing a multi-girls pictorial, to complement the Miss Playboy International Beauty Pageant  broadcast live from Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth Stadium, when the Turkish candidate Arzum Cibir, showed up in the studio with her pubic region clean-shaved, the photographer Byron Newman and his wife/stylist Brigitte  were horrified.  A minor crisis ensued in the air. Of the solutions discussed and bounced around was also the possibility of giving Arzum an artificial patch of pubes, in the form of a custom-made, how can I say it – a pussy wig? In the end, the silliness discounted and sanity prevailed.  We decided that they would pose her in a way that would not require her to shoot full frontal.  There were thirteen more girls in the group. So…

But for the legal requirement of the countries, there was not much the photographers could do, because now we needed them not only for Japan but also for Brazil (launched in August 1976), and Mexico (November 1976), later added to the list would be Turkey (January 1986) and Taiwan (April 1990).

In the cases of Mexico and Brazil, we couldn’t even call the magazines Playboy, until years later. In Brazil it was called Homem (Man) and in Mexico Caballero, con Lo Mejor de Playboy (Gentleman, with the best of Playboy).  In Brazil, every nude layout that went into the magazine, had to be presented to the censor board and approved by the authorities before they could be put into the magazine. They required not only no-pubic, but also we were restricted to show only a single nipple in an image. And this is in the country of Samba and the wildest Carnival and the skimpiest dental floss bikinis running around Copacabana beach!

The most absurd thing to happen was in Mexico. One fine morning Eduardo Gongorra, the General Manager of the Mexican edition was called in by the authorities and told that their license to publish Caballero was suspended. Not only they couldn’t call the magazine Playboy under any circumstances, but the new law dictated that no publication can use a noun as its proper name. They couldn’t change it to Señor either, because Señor too was a noun. How about Signore? It meant the same, but in Italian and not in Spanish. Since they couldn’t come up with an immediate retort to that, after several harried phone calls between Chicago and Mexico City, it was collectively agreed to change the name immediately and continue publishing while we would appeal and fight the battle to eventually be allowed to call the magazine by its rightful name, Playboy.

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