Ugly Bunny Tales

From the retro drama se­ries The Play­boy Club to Bey­oncé shoot­ing a video in a Bun­nyesque cos­tume, the Play­boy icons are hav­ing a mega mo­ment. But re­ally? De­spite how it looks, the job wasn’t pretty.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - ONLY IN COSMO - By Anna Davies

We take you back in time, to re­count the har­row­ing time Play­boy bun­nies had dur­ing their stint as wait­resses and the po­lar­i­sa­tion they suf­fered on the job. It wasn’t just about look­ing beau­ti­ful, it en­tailed a lot more. Many suf­fered, some re­belled, one went un­der­cover to pen down what re­ally hap­pened be­hind the scene. It was quite a jour­ney for these stun­ning and stat­uesque women as they tried hard to main­tain their dig­nity and do a good job. Some were laid off when they got fat or tried to have a life be­yond work. It was a tough ride!

Bun­nies had to spread their legs... for a pelvic exam. Even though the Bun­nies were wait­resses, in the early club years, they couldn’t re­port to work with­out their gy­ne­co­log­i­cal health be­ing con­firmed. Af­ter fem­i­nist Glo­ria Steinem pub­li­cised the prac­tice in her fa­mous 1963 Show mag­a­zine ex­posé, Play­boy Club CEO Hugh Hefner elim­i­nated it from em­ploy­ment re­quire­ments.

Their cos­tume hurt. The uni­form con­sisted of an ul­tra­tight, corset- like leo­tard, ears, cuffs, and a tail. “We were ac­tively en­cour­aged to stuff,” says Mary Chip­man, a Bunny in the early 1970s. Among the items Steinem re­ported see­ing Bun­nies use to en­hance their chests: tis­sues, gym socks, and cut- up Bunny tails.

The shift was gru­elling. Bun­nies weren’t al­lowed to be seen drink­ing any­thing in front of cus­tomers— not even water. If they were busted, it cost them 10 de­mer­its ( rack up 100 and you’re out). And tak­ing a break from strut­ting in 3- inch heels was a no- no. They learned to mas­ter the Bunny perch— rest­ing one hip on a ban­is­ter or lean­ing on the back of a chair.

Their boss watched their weight. Re­mem­bers Lili Bee, a Bunny in the late 1970s. “A man­ager looked at me and said, ‘ I didn’t know Shamu es­caped its tank.’ I was re­quired to weigh in. When they re­alised I was al­most four pounds over my hir­ing weight of 112, they sus­pended me for a week.”

Bunny wasn’t just their po­si­tion; it was their iden­tity. “We had to in­tro­duce our­selves as Bunny ( our first name),” re­calls Sharon Bern­stein Pey­ton, a Bal­ti­more Bunny in 1964. “You couldn’t have the same name as an­other Bunny cur­rently em­ployed at the club. If you did, you had to make up a new name,” she says.

They could be fired at any mo­ment. “A Bunny would look at the weekly sched­ule and re­alise she wasn’t on the cal­en­dar be­cause she’d ‘ lost the Bunny im­age,’” ex­plains Mar­cia Do­nen Roma, a ’ 60s Bunny. Af­ter wit­ness­ing co- work­ers be­ing canned in this man­ner, Roma helped or­gan­ise a strike. “We held it on a Satur­day night, when busi­ness could be hurt,” she says.

It cost them a bun­dle. Make- up ( in­clud­ing false eye­lashes), tights, and dyed- tomatch pumps were all out- of- pocket ex­penses not re­im­bursed by the club. Be­fore each shift, women were in­spected, and if they weren’t deemed “Bunny per­fect” ( im­per­fec­tions could be any­thing from tights with a run to too- pale lip­stick to a tail that wasn’t fluffed), they could re­ceive de­mer­its.

They were spied on. “To en­sure we weren’t break­ing rules, like dat­ing cus­tomers, we were told that men pos­ing as cus­tomers would be sent in to watch us,” re­calls Chip­man. “It was waived if you were asked out by a Play­boy exec,” says Bee. In fact, Steinem wrote, they were en­cour­aged to date those men.

For­get about show­ing their guy where they worked. Steinem re­ported that she learned dur­ing her un­der­cover stint that a Bunny was sup­posed to meet her hus­band or boyfriend at least two blocks away from work af­ter a shift. “I al­ways thought they had that rule be­cause the man­agers wor­ried a cus­tomer might see one of us smok­ing, drink­ing, or car­ry­ing on a smoul­der­ing af­fair with a guy,” says Bee.

“The bunny is ready for some play.”

Clearly, the chal­lenge for a ’ 60s Bunny was not spilling... out In 2011 pro­test­ers pick­eted in front of the club re­open­ing in Lon­don

Serv­ing the cus­tomers with a smile and more...

NBC’S new se­ries The Play­boy Club has Am­ber Heard play­ing a naive Bunny

A young Hugh Hefner sur­rounded

by his play­mates

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.