Hit & Run: Twins spell trouble in Hugh's harem

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The Independent Online

That Hugh Hefner, eh? Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety – or the infinite non-variety of his girlfriends.

They seem to come in batches. When the Playboy editor-in-chief and world-class bon vivant came to England in 2001 to address students at the Oxford Union, he was accompanied by an entourage of seven: Tina, Regina, Kimberly, Tiffany, Stephanie, Michelle and Darlene. "Can you explain how it works with seven girlfriends," asked one student, "purely for the technically-minded?"

Before that, he'd gone out with Sandy, Mandy and Brandy Bentley, three sisters who formed a kind of matching set, like a three-piece suite of furniture, in each of which the randy but wrinkled octogenarian could relax (yeesh) in turn.

Last year it was the turn of Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt, co-starring in the TV show The Girls Next Door. In the autumn, the first two left the Playboy Mansion, one complaining that there were far too many "random-ass hoes" wandering about the place. The third, Bridget, stuck around, presumably reasoning that to be a wholly interchangeable piece of generic ass getting by as a live-in sex toy alongside a dozen identical big-breasted birdbrains was a small price to pay, self-esteem-wise, for the slender chance of being picked out by a casting producer for stardom in a Saturday-morning reality TV show.

Mr Hefner did not despair. He guessed (rightly) that love is always available to the most gummy-gobbed, saurian-skinned, rheumy-eyed, Galapagos-necked multi-millionaire sugar daddy, provided his heart is in the right place. His gaze fell upon Karissa and Kristina Shannon, blonde 19-year-old twins who dress in identical outfits, hairstyles and lipgloss. Despite looks of virginal innocence, they both have criminal records for aggravated battery after attacking a girl in January 2008 outside a house party in Florida, and smashing a beer bottle over her head. They just love doing everything together.

There's something different, though, about this relationship. At the recent Playmate of the Year party, Hefner actually admitted that he couldn't tell them apart. You mean the one with whom he discusses Gothic literature and the Counter-Enlightenment could be Karissa or Kristina? Bloody hell. You mean, he doesn't know for certain if it's Kristina (or Karissa) who is the Stravinsky fan? Stone the crows. "I have one trick, one has a little mark," he told reporters, pointing to his neck. "Other than that, I don't know."

He didn't, unfortunately, say which one has the little mark. Maybe it's hard to see with the lights out. But he really ought to find out. It would be a tragedy if the great man were found one day bashed on the head with a bottle of Eau de Playboy cologne...

John Walsh

It's reigning dogs - but not cats

Good news. The debate about the intelligence gap between dogs and cats has finally been settled. You may not have been aware of this hotly-contested issue, but no matter. On your behalf, a psychology lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent was suitably bothered by it to make it his mission to find out.

Britta Osthaus spent last month hard at work conducting the "string pulling test". By this means, she determined that dogs were able to work out which string had food on the end faster than cats. This immediately proved their superior problem-solving ability, thus catapulting them into a sphere of higher intelligence.

The revelation comes as no surprise to The Independent's pet expert Chamois Rose-Wood, string or no string. "Dogs are much better at manipulating you," she says. "Just look at all the dog salons and grooming they get treated to ... dogs know how to get what they want." She decries the assumption that when your dog trails after you like a needy ex, it's because they're a bit dim. No, no – it's a sign of pure unadulterated genius. "Dogs know that if they follow you around they're going to get treated like a king. Cats haven't worked that out yet," says Chamois.

So despite the traditional view that the aloofness exhibited by cats is proof of heightened brainpower, surely it's not just because they're a bit rude? "Cats have a snooty air about them, dogs say join the party!" says Chamois. Is this a good thing? May the catfight commence.

Kate Proctor

Face the facts: you can't sleep through a tattoo

Belgian teenager Kimberley Vlaminck claims to have been "mistakenly tattooed" with 56 stars across her face. The 18-year-old says she asked Romanian tattooist Rouslan Toumaniantz for just three stars around her left eye, but he misunderstood. She apparently "fell asleep" when he was doing it. Is she for real?

The experts don't buy it. "Her whole story is total bull," says Curly, of Lionel's Tattoo Parlour in Oxford, who also has his face tattooed. "In theory it's possible to fall asleep when having your face tattooed, but only if you are the kind of freak who doesn't feel any pain. In 16 years, I have only had two people fall asleep on me and they were hard, and it happened during long procedures. There is no way you would have time to fall asleep having a couple of stars done on your face. It's insanity."

Toumaniantz is hitting back. "She was awake and looked into the mirror several times as the procedure was taking place," he says. "She asked for 56 stars and that's what she got." So it doesn't look good for the Belgian teenager, who is suing the tattooist for £8,500 to have his work surgically removed.

Next time she should get her belly button pierced.

Rob Sharp

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