‘Well, what the magazine does is to reflect the way men think. Men not only aspire to a well paying exciting jobs, nice places to live in equipped with the latest in the audio-visual, flashy cars, have his liquor cabinet filled with premium brands and so on. At the end of the day, he also wants young and beautiful women to be a part of his world. And one thing us men do is to immediately begin to undress the ones we may desire.’

‘You do?’

‘Certainly. Like right now, as you sit next to me I am undressing you in my mind’s eye. We never get tired of wondering, what does she look like underneath her clothes. So Hefner decided why not make this a part of his editorial mix?  My Rights manager Jean Connell sums it up aptly and justifiably that this is because men are visual and women aural. The reason why the readership of both Playboy and Playgirl is predominantly men.’  If she was trying to divert my sadness at how the evening was ending, she had failed utterly. Soon we withdraw within ourselves for rest of the way.

●●●

One of the most frequently asked questions of me was: How does your wife feel about your working for Playboy? My immediate instinct is to answer: How should she feel? How does a pilot’s wife feel about her husband flying and salesman’s wife feel about his selling and an accountant’s wife feel about his nose buried in the books? But I don’t. I do my best to hold back answering their question with questions of my own. However annoying I may have found them sometime, I realize that in their perception, working for a product like Playboy has to be different. More than working for movie productions or television channel. The product sexually charged with all that glamour and glorified women – yes, women. Naked women for Christ’s sake.

What they don’t realize is: That like any other businesses, first and foremost, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. too is a business. And like in any business what matters most at the end of the day is the bottom line, showing the hard profit and loss figures and not the soft curvaceous kind. Not any different than when I worked in production quality. To give the best example, when I did Sports Illustrated, other than getting the colors of the uniforms and the team logos right, the real challenge was always to acquire color balance in the skin tones of the athletes, especially that of the black ones. Just a few percent off in one of the basic color balance and you could end up with Michael Jordan looking like the Green Giant. Similarly, when working with the naked skins of all those beautiful ladies, you could easily cause them to look hot pink like lobsters. And  I would never have anything at all to do with the sexy hot bodies in the photos whose skin tones I was trying to match.

Okay, so I ended up not doing production quality as my main job  for rest of my life and did get into the editorial and the photographic aspects of the magazine and also in to the business of it all, with P & L responsibilities. And was involved intimately with the pictorial parts of the international editions as well. So fair enough. Once in a while I would have such conversations with Carolyn, mainly about what we called her painting devils on the wall. An expression I had picked  up from the American singer of the 60’s, Peggy March singing German schlager  of the Seventies: Male nicht den teaufel an der wand – don’t paint devil on the wall. And sometimes, she would be jealous. Or more like insecure. And I would do my best to communicate to her that for what I did for a living, it was all in the day’s work.

Since my job brought young women from all over, I would also be in charge of taking care of and entertaining them during their stays in Chicago.  Often, I would make it a point of bringing them home for dinner or tag them along and include them in our family lives.  Include them into the day-to-day  activities such as going to the movies, going picnicking and listening to the music under the swaying trees and the open skies of the Ravinia Park.

Pages: 1 2 3 4