Joan Smith: Bad luck, Hef – the bunny's hopped it

The jilting of the original Playboy

Share
Related Topics

Discovering on the eve of your wedding that your prospective bridegroom is still seeing other women might come as a shock. But I can't help feeling it should have been a less-than-seismic event for Crystal Harris, 25, who turned down the opportunity to become Mrs Hugh Hefner at a lavish ceremony in the Playboy mansion yesterday.

The former Playmate of the Month (December 2009, if you wish to consult your archive) pulled out of the wedding last week and gave a tearful TV interview, astounding the world with the revelation that "I wasn't the only woman in Hugh Hefner's life".

In other breaking news, it also turns out that Henry VIII had a bit of a roving eye, although sadly his contemporaries were denied his thoughts about matrimony on Twitter. The Playboy founder responded manfully to being jilted, tweeting that he hadn't seen it coming but "I'm glad things went wrong before the marriage instead of after". I can see why Hefner, 85, is relieved to have escaped the prospect of decades (ahem) of marital disharmony, but the cancelled wedding has caused red faces at Playboy magazine. Executives are frantically trying to fix "runaway bride" stickers to the latest issue which features Harris with a jaunty sailor cap and pipe – no, I don't know why either – and describes her as "Mrs Crystal Hefner". Technically, indeed prophetically, this form of address suggests she's already divorced, but I don't suppose they worry about such details at Playboy.

Playboy has been around for nearly 60 years. Its founder has aged and so has his ideology of faux-sexual liberation, overtaken by gender equality on the one hand and a rapacious commercial sex industry on the other. For years there's been something vampiric about this elderly man, shuffling along in pyjamas and dressing gown but still casting a critical eye over "girls" who weren't even born when he launched his career as America's most swinging bachelor. Hefner was actually married when he founded Playboy in 1953 and he didn't get divorced until six years later, but in the drab post-war world he offered American men a vision of themselves as perpetual consumers: of apartments, flashy cars, vacations and women.

He amassed a fortune and enjoyed a lifestyle most of his readers could only aspire to, but he also surrounded himself with acolytes who seem never to have warned him what an absurd figure he was becoming. His decrepit appearance at the recent reopening of the Playboy club in London was a brilliant metaphor, a reminder that his "philosophy" is long past its sell-by date.

The original Playboy bunnies were expected to abide by a code that might have drawn approving nods from the religious police in one of the more liberal Arab dictatorships, permitting them to "converse briefly with patrons, provided that conversation is limited to a polite exchange of pleasantries". Hefner flatters himself that his ludicrous empire was at the forefront of liberal values and it's true that there was a moment, probably circa 1965, when he was briefly in step with some of the aims of the sexual revolution. But that was before a new generation of feminists emerged and proposed that modern women should have more adventurous erotic ambitions than being nude centrefolds or glorified waitresses.

I can't say I blame Harris for rejecting another alternative, becoming the third Mrs Hugh Hefner. She's had to forgo the strawberry wedding cake and the party at the Playboy mansion, but every cloud has a silver lining. My advice is to dump the sailor cap, get a proper job and go for a younger man. He's unlikely to be as immature as the world's oldest swinger.

www.politicalblonde.com





React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album