For as long as I can remember, I've had a peculiar interest in the sex lives of octogenarian magazine moguls, so it should be no surprise that I've been reading up on the news that Hugh Hefner—founder of Playboy, paragon of virility, epitome of masculinity, lover of velvet—is getting married again. 26 year old Crystal Harris, who abruptly ended her engagement with Hef last year, has apparently had a change of heart. It's just like "The Notebook," except the exact opposite.
My interest in and fascination with Hefner is largely due to the fact that he, more than any other man I can think of, represents the most extreme (and by "extreme" I mean "grotesque") version of a story I and many others have heard numerous times.
Black man, aware of large discrepancy between number of "eligible" Black women and "eligible" Black men, uses this to his advantage, beginning a string of ego-boosting and sexually fulfilling pseudo-relationships, because, well, he can. Man continues this process for years, keeping interactions superficial while delicately managing "good guy" persona so women will continue to be interested in him, and eventually…
This story has no ending because, well, its protagonist hasn't conjured one yet. In his mind, there is no tangible end. Sure, things like marriage and children are vague wants, but he's so focused on the present and fulfilling immediate needs that those goals seem meant for another time, another place, and another person. So, he continues to date purposelessly—meeting and sleeping with women while saying things like "I'm not really ready for a relationship," and somehow ignoring the absurdity of those words coming out of the mouth of a 36 year old man—until he looks around at the bar one day and realizes that, while he hasn't become "the old guy at the bar" just yet, he is slowly becoming "the guy who dates women who lie about his age to their friends because she doesn't want them to think you're too old to date her."
In my opinion, the best, most insightful type of comedy has always been satire. When done properly, it's a funhouse mirror, exposing exactly how absurd a situation currently is or is in danger of becoming. I'm bringing this up because I do not know a single (sane) man who thinks Hugh Hefner is legitimately cool. Well, perhaps cool in a "that dude crazy" or a "he'd make a cool uncle" way, but not cool in a "I want to be exactly like that when I'm 89" way. Most think he's kind of skeevy and definitely creepy. I know I do.
But, cool or not, Hugh Hefner is their funhouse mirror, the literal manifestation of their obliviousness to their own arrested development. Actually, considering that I'm writing this, "our" is more appropriate than "their." I am over 30, single, and while I can explain away some of the reasons why I've remained unmarried, the fact remains that I am one of those protagonists, writing a personal story filled with exposition and lacking an actual climax, a point. And, perhaps the reason why I'm so interested in Hugh Hefner is that the funhouse mirror scares me so much that I can't look away.
What's Your Reaction?