|This is the kind of story that triggers universal sniggers, all-knowing winks and nudges, and of course an avalanche of jokes, crude, funny, blue.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 84 years young, announced his engagement on Twitter on Christmas Day 2010. The lucky bride-to-be is 24-year-old Kimberley Conrad, Playboy Playmate of the month for December 2009.
Kimberley, predictably, is a looker in the time tested Playboy fashion, a long-tressed blond, leggy, tanned, a dream come true. No wonder "Hef" looks so smug and self-satisfied in his engagement photo. After all, he has pulled off what every aging (but still red-blooded) American male dreams of and has the eye-catching photographs to prove it.
What's this all about? We all think we know, don't we?
The first thing that pops into our heads is most assuredly NOT good wishes for the happy couple, certainly not. Instead of a match made in heaven, the general premise is something like this:
a man of money, position, and abnormally high testosterone levels, hits the bulls-eye with an All-American stunner who checked the actuarial tables before saying "I will" and liked the life expectation numbers she saw. Thus, she saw a golden future dead ahead should she outlive her groom and keep his attention for just a little time.
In short, they both were licking their chops.
Perhaps they really do love each other.
Americans, at root a very pragmatic people, can understand this quid pro quo, tit for tat, way of life. Many of us, after all, have made similar, if not quite so remunerative deals with the devil. It is something we understand.
But what if this initial, inevitable knee-jerk reaction is wrong? Suppose, in the spirit of science, the (almost) unthinkable, suppose, I say, that he loves her... and that she loves him. When a (typically) judgmental young friend of mind heard this news, his reaction was brief, harsh, absolute: "gross!" It was simply unthinkable, unimaginable that a young stunner could actually love a (by definition) tired old geezer. "Gross" indeed!
However, love, as all those know who partake in this surprising dish, is unaccountable. Every day people wed who find more joys in being together than could be expected from the hostile reaction to their togetherness Call it affection... call it fulfillment... call it love. Fate throws them together and animal magnetism and deep affection keep them together "till death do us part", happy despite a pronounced difference in ages.
Difficult though it is for my inexperienced young friend to assess this possibility accurately, it is not so difficult for me, a spring chicken of only 63.
"Hef" brings more to the table than just a plethora of years and lots of shekels. For one thing, he seems genuinely to like women. Oh, yes, I know what you're thinking...he certainly does. But I mean that he really likes women, not just as a series of riveting curves and surprising revelations. I mean that he likes and respects women... and derives great joy, on many levels, from having them in his life.
If such be the case, then he is truly a fortunate fellow, for love is, indeed, a many splendored thing when it brings about happiness and fulfillment, particularly late in life.
Still... there are those who hope for the very worst. It reinforces their glum view of humans and their twisted relationships. These folks would be completely unhappy at any denouement that made "Hef" and his intended anything other than entirely selfish, degrading, revolting... and so deeply satisfying to the man on the street, who expects the worst and gets it.
Meet the true Hugh Hefner, an important player in one of America's most important export businesses, leisure and entertainment
After the sale of arms (sadly always America's #1 export) the largest and arguably more important business is entertainment and leisure. Not only is it supremely lucrative but, at the same time that it racks up record profits, it also changes the world. Products in the leisure and entertainment field not only help people while away their free hours... they also change the way people think, act, live. They Americanize the globe. Here Hefner is a key player.
Hefner with, of course, the willing aid and assistance of a bevy of scantily clad ladies caught in piquant and naughty poses, has been responsible for billions of dollars coming into this country, not just those directly coming to Playboy and its many enterprises but from all related businesses. These all took their cue from "Hef", tracking him closely, for he was the real deal, a bona fide inventor and seer.
To put it bluntly, "Hef" has been since his first Playboy issue in 1953, an active, engaged participant in the easing and abolition of some of America's more heinous social views, including the domestic repression of women and the ridicule and oppression of homosexuals. Yes, at the same time as he (both directly and indirectly) sweetened our country's balance sheet, he aimed (partly through the magazine's articles which generations of college boys used as their "reason" for reading the magazine), he aimed I say,at nothing less than a social revolution. By removing clothes and creating fantasies, Hugh Hefner (no doubt laughing all the way to the bank) transformed the nation into a place entirely comfortable for him -- and his winsome Bunnies. Surely by this reckoning "Hef" deserves America's highest civilian decoration, the Freedom Medal, the name so very apt for such a man.
Sadly, no president (including his near Chicago neighbor Mr. Obama) will ever dare to give it to him in a White House ceremony with his beautiful young wife in the front row cheering him on, bashful but radiantly alluring. What a ceremony we'll never have.
Still, I think Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hefner will not complain overmuch for there is much yet to do in Playboy Bunny Land... with America's export trade to save... and an abundance of social ills to cure. As wife Kimberley sits on his knee of an evening, no doubt "Hef" is focused squarely on these crucial matters ... and on absolutely nothing else, except his pre-nup, which no doubt he consults often and carefully.