The beautiful woman in the photograph above has nothing to do with the context of my following entry, but she sure is pleasant to look at, which is how models will be presented next year onward in one of the most prestigious, American nudie magazines.
Who’d ever have thought Playboy would stop featuring nudes to increase their circulation? From the start, nudity is what men and curious woman paid for when taking home a copy of the venerable publication, or receiving it as a subscription in the mail.
Every pubescent male in my generation went through their sexual rite of passage by absconding a copy somehow and reading it under the bed covers with a flashlight. OK, maybe not everyone, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to become perverted at a young age.
As a lad of twelve, I bought the monthly periodical often at a neighborhood sweet shop, Nat’s Stationary in Hackensack, NJ, to be exact. I told the proprietor the magazine was for my father, and so were the Marlboro cigarettes purchased with a few nickle packages of baseball cards, each containing a slab of bubblegum.
He must have known the contraband was for me. Whenever I bought these items, Nat would look while wearing a crooked smile and say, “For your father, right?”
“Yes, Sir,” I’d say, “and would you fix me a walnut sundae with a glass of water at the soda fountain? Oh, and I’ll be taking the latest Superman comic.” He had dollar signs in his eyes whenever I walked in. All of this was a perk for me, courtesy of a very lucrative newspaper route.
The last time in my hometown, I noticed the small confectionery shop was no longer there, so it shouldn’t be a problem for having mentioned the store’s real name. I’d be very surprised if Nat and his wife Sarah were still alive.
Today in Pennsylvania, stores are prohibited to sell cigarettes to anyone under eighteen. Many establishments require ID for individuals up to twenty-seven years old. My, have times changed.
We can blame this earth-shattering development on our beloved Internet, where at almost every click of a mouse, pornography reigns for free in most cases. Why would someone want to pay for it anymore?
Playboy’s yearly circulation went down from multi-millions in the remunerative past to a not-so-shabby, yet paltry eight hundred thousand in contrast to the former count. Looking toward the future, the magazine wants to change its image, seeking for more mass appeal to generate a larger readership.
The twelve-year-old in me mourns this upcoming purging of content from their honorable periodical, but realistically, I haven’t bought a copy of the magazine since the smut explosion of the Net in the ’90s.
It will be interesting to watch how this old institution evolves its brand to become relevant again in the twenty-first century, and what possibly can they do for me to buy a subscription.
Speaking of nudity, I look forward to Mardi Gras, which is less than four months away. I’m considering another hedonistic trek down to one of my favorite cities in the world for the event.
The cover art used for my latest musical anomaly is a shot from an intimate encounter during which I exchanged beads with two festive, young women on Bourbon Street in New Orleans for a wonderful souvenir. Please allow me to share it with you as a shameless plug to visit my SoundCloud account: