There were parties of course. But not much different than any other business get togethers. Among them my division’s annual conference and other divisional affairs in New York and Los Angeles, every year the spring/summer soirée at Christie Hefner’s rooftop apartment in the Gold Cost, where she invited her top managers with their spouses and dates that allowed everyone to let their hair down and partake in good spirits, good food and almost always enjoy the good weather from top of the building and feel the breeze coming in from Lake Michigan. Informal as it was, it was still prim and proper business affair. Add to them the bonding events such as a weekend at Kohler Design Center, in Kohler, Wisconsin, where we mingled amidst the latest bathroom fixtures, shower stalls and huge bathtubs, Jacuzzis and bidet. State of the art toilet bowls and bathroom sinks. We would be invited to a day of golfing at exclusive Westchester Country Club and meet up at the Playboy Mansion West for an informal drink and dinner event one evening during the long traditional Playboy Jazz Festivals in Los Angeles. Hefner himself would show up for a while during these evenings and mingle and make small talk with some of us. A Playmate or a Bunny may wander out once in a while, but looking no different than any well dressed good looking young woman at any other social gathering.  Not to forget the employee Christmas Parties every year. Sumptuous and fun, but not unlike any other corporate sponsored holiday event. And that would be the extent of it.

If I were to tell this to my ex colleagues at Time, even unbelieving, they would believe me because of my status as an outsider insider and sum up the Playboy crowd as being an L and a 7. A perfect boring square.

We at Time worked hard. Very hard. That’s what it took to get three weeklies and one monthly out on the trucks and the airplanes. But then we played as hard. Prairie House? Coach House? Booze & Bits? Butch McGuire’s? Name it, and you could have found us there. And we didn’t even have to scout for the liaisons outside of the group. Between our production and traffic offices on the 22nd street and the data processing /administration offices on Ohio – yes we socialized. We had softball teams and the bowling leagues. Those activities followed by ending up at one of the night spots or even at one of us single member’s apartments in the city. Including mine. There were plenty of young men and women, married and unmarried. But did it matter? These are the late Sixties and early Seventies. Bars with juke boxes. Us dancing to the Carpenters’ Close to you and Rainy days and Mondays. Squeezed together in the dim lit back room of the Prairie House or wherever. Hormones raging, falling in love and falling out. It was like the musical chairs of the coupling and uncoupling.  A real Peyton Place if there was one! Eventually I would define the Time crowd as being the most incestuous group of people I have ever worked with. And from what I understood from the photo editors and the art directors we worked with, it weren’t any different in the New York office. Only more lavish and most every foray even paid by the expense accounts. This was confirmed by The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd – who too worked at Time in her early days, recounts in her recent musings: After my sting in Washington, Time moved me to the New York headquarter, with its “Mad Man” aura of whiskey, cigarettes, four hour sodden lunches and illicit liaisons…On Friday nights when the magazine was going to bed, there were sumptuous platters of roast beef rolled in, and bars in editor’s offices. You get the picture.

Back to Playboy, whose offices were only three blocks north of our Ohio Street offices and thirteen blocks north of the production offices where I worked. Two different worlds. Could it be that we at Time represented New York of the era and Playboy, Chicago of the Midwest?

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