You’d be a bunny to buy this den of de­bauch­ery

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP -

Houses for sale some­times come with pot plants, or per­haps some fur­ni­ture. But if you buy the Play­boy Man­sion, a sleazy oc­to­ge­nar­ian in silk red py­ja­mas is part of the deal.

The famed party lair is for sale for $285 mil­lion, as long as Play­boy founder Hugh Hefner is al­lowed to con­tinue liv­ing there un­til his death.

Given that he’s now 89, it pre­sum­ably won’t be too long. It’s not clear whether Hefner’s lat­est wife – a plat­inum blonde called Crys­tal – is in­cluded in the pack­age.

The Cal­i­for­nian man­sion has long been a key part of the Play­boy em­pire be­cause it is a con­crete sym­bol of the he­do­nism and sex­ual free­dom the bunny brand es­pouses.

Par­ties held in the lav­ish man­sion and ex­ten­sive grounds were once leg­endary. Back in the 1960s and ’70s, busty lin­gerie-clad women min­gled with A-list stars such as John Len­non, Jack Ni­chol­son and Kirk Dou­glas.

Be­ing part of “Hef’s” in­ner cir­cle was a fast-track to fame and riches for many young women. Things cer­tainly have changed.

Now par­ties are at­tended by on­line bloggers who merely turn up so they can take pho­tos mak­ing fun of the run-down toi­lets and bad taste art­works on dis­play. You can even buy your way into a famed Play­boy Man­sion party as long as you’ve got $4270 and a will­ing­ness to over­look the tacky decor and urine-soaked car­pets.

Hefner still in­sists the house is his “cre­ative cen­tre” and “in­spi­ra­tion”. Oth­ers call it a fetid jail full of dodgy bronze stat­ues and bed sheets that haven’t been changed since the 1970s.

The house’s sta­tus as a den of de­bauch­ery packed with glam­orous and sex­u­ally ad­ven­tur­ous girls hav­ing the time of their lives has slipped even fur­ther in re­cent years.

De­tailed ex­posés by women who lived there paint a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture.

Some say they were lit­tle more than glo­ri­fied pros­ti­tutes paid $1400 a month to have sex with the old fella at least twice a week. Their ac­counts re­veal the man­sion as a grubby, dirty house dom­i­nated by Hefner, who paid for their boob jobs and act­ing lessons. Most nights they had to be in bed – of­ten with him – by 9pm or they wouldn’t get paid.

The world was cer­tainly a dif­fer­ent place in the 1970s when Hefner first bought the house.

At that time, Play­boy was one of the big­gest brands in the US, with the raunchy mag­a­zine sell­ing more than seven mil­lion copies a month.

It was the mag­a­zine men bought, not only for the high-qual­ity nude pho­tos of gor­geous women, but for the ar­ti­cles by writ­ers such as Doris Less­ing, PG Wode­house, Mar­garet At­wood and Kurt Von­negut.

The mag­a­zine was even wel­comed by many women in the pre-fem­i­nist era, lik­ing the fact that they were fi­nally seen as sex­ual be­ings who could en­joy sex on their own terms.

This view was en­cour­aged by the fact that the famed Play­boy “Play­mates” were pro­filed and iden­ti­fied in the mag­a­zine rather than just por­trayed as anony­mous nudes.

More than 40 years later, peo­ple are mak­ing their own porn on their mo­bile phones in­stead of buy­ing mag­a­zines. Women don’t need a porn brand to tell them they are al­lowed to en­joy and ex­plore their sex­u­al­ity. And Hefner’s ro­ta­tion of busty blondes 60 years his ju­nior is now tawdry and sad rather than ex­cit­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous.

It’s no won­der the Play­boy brand is try­ing to rein­vent it­self in a new era. “Less sweat­suit, more Tom Ford,” as the mar­ket­ing man­ager puts it.

In­deed, th­ese days Play­boy mag­a­zine doesn’t even have nudes, the re­main­ing staff are all un­der­go­ing “sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing” and it’s all about “nat­u­ral beauty”.

Get­ting rid of the man­sion is there­fore not just a good eco­nomic move, but a sign the brand is mov­ing on. This is ap­pro­pri­ate given that half of its rev­enue comes from mer­chan­dise sales in China. In­no­cent buy­ers snap up any­thing with the cute bunny logo, of­ten not re­al­is­ing the sex­ual his­tory of the brand and its founder.

In my opin­ion Hugh Hefner is no longer a famed Lothario but a dirty old man wear­ing De­pends roam­ing his lair try­ing to find the hot tub.

The sale of the house is def­i­nitely the end of an era – and it’s a good thing too. Blog with Susie at susieobrie­n.com.au, fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob and Face­book.com/ NewswithSu­se

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