With Love, to Hef
I woke up in the middle of the night, checked my phone, and saw there was a text from the BBC. Was I available to talk about Hefner? There was only one possibility: Hef was dead. Not long ago, I received an invitation from his son Cooper to attend the annual Midsummer Night's Dream part at the Mansion. I couldn't attend, and in declining, I wondered if it was my last chance to visit the Mansion while Hef was alive. I've been there two or three times before -- for various events. I worked for Playboy TV for five years, and at one event at the Mansion, I met Hef. He was smaller than I expected. I think he was wearing either a pink or a lavender shirt. He was friendly, and I was gobsmacked to be meeting a legend in the flesh. Wandering the grounds of the Holmby Hills property was another experience altogether. Pink flamingoes picked across the lawn. Little monkeys danced around enclosures in the yard. The grotto was unreal. It was a kind of Shangri-La. Here's to presuming Hef now presides over some equally paradise-like dominion in the sky, surrounded by bunnies.
I wrote an homage on my Forbes blog:
"For years, I proudly wore the Playboy bunny on the front of my shirt, in the shape of a pendant I hung around my neck, on a baseball hat. Unlike the feminists who had attacked Hef for his portrayals of female sexuality, I found in his entrepreneurial spirit, his unabashed love of women, and his unrelenting curiosity about our sexual selves a role model that gave me someone to be."