Coming back to Japan, there were times when the Japanese editors in their creative frenzy would  want to include in their layout one of the photos published in the US edition. No matter a blob of curls plainly in sight. What do they do? Have it airbrushed out. They knew I would scream murder when the issue hit my desk a few days later. Then it would be too late to do anything about it. I would hear from other executives of the company – including once directly from Christie Hefner,  how horrible and unnatural airbrushed pussies looked?  I know! I know!! I would slap hands of the Japanese. They would apologize with a promise to never do it again – that is until they would some months later. Hoping that Shah-san won’t notice. But notice I did.  Dismayed, as I often sat at my desk staring at those bald as an eagle-head patches so expertly smoothed out and blended into rest of the skin, like them I too hoped that no one else would notice – Christie most of all.

Fast forward to 2007. After nine years sojourn in Prague and after fourteen years since I left Playboy, I have returned to Chicago to live. I am sitting in my guest room on a chair next to my floor to ceiling bookcases filled with the issues of more than forty-five years of Playboy.  Sitting across from me on the edge of the bed are my neighbor Melissa and her younger sister Andrea. They want to see the issues of the months  and the years they were born. I hand Melissa the bound volume containing the first four issues of 1974. She quickly flips through and zeros in on February Playmate Francine Park’s pictorial. The opening spread doesn’t get her attention as much, but as she turns the page, at the bottom of the next page is a shot of reclining Francine with her eyes dreamily closed, her torso lifted slightly by the pillow underneath and rest of her body seductively sloping downward. Her right hand reaches up above framing her head, the left hand resting down by her thigh. And staring right at Melissa is her ample tuft, dark and dense, bushier than a bird’s nest. And I see Melissa pointing at it and then hear her screaming exclamation:   Oh my God! Those girls had pubic hair!!!.

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Jordan Rutherford

Next Friday: January 11, 2013

TELEVISION, VCR, CAMCORDER & ME

I have been incessantly and relentlessly pelted by e-mail, mail orders and even over the telephone, companies offering me package deals for satellite/cable services. When I tell them, I own no television to start with, they are left with a speechless Oh!

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