(10 of 11)
Bedwork. With many more endorsements like that, Hefner might just possibly make sex go out of style. Whatever his philosophy may amount to, he does not belong to the peripatetic school. Is he out bunny-hugging every night in his sports car or carousing through his clubs with Playmates on either arm? Not at all. His Mercedes-Benz sits forlornly in the garage; his clubs never see him. Lean, rather gaunt, with piercing dark eyes, he has succumbed to the work ethic. He explains that he does not want to face all the outside world's trivia—small talk, party joining—that might distract him from his work. Nor does he have the distractions of a family. Hefner was divorced from Millie eight years ago. Their two children live with his exwife, who has remarried.
He does a lot of that work in bed—a round bed, 8½ ft. in diameter, which revolves or vibrates at the touch of a button. By rotating the bed toward the fireplace or the bar or the television, Hefner has the feeling that he is moving from one room to another. A life-sized epoxy sculpture of a seated nude girl by Frank Gallo crouches beside the fireplace, and a TV camera can be trained on the bed.
He does visit the office, but mostly he uses dictating machines to communicate with his staff, sometimes producing recorded memos 30 pages long. Two secretaries, one on day shift, the other on night shift, transcribe the flow. The complete man of electronics, he avoids face-to-face contact and gets his information on the outside world from newspapers, magazines and eight television monitors. He rarely watches a TV show when it is on the air, has it taped for later viewing, and also keeps a stock of several hundred taped movies.
No Daylight. Within his sealed capsule, Hefner loses all sense of time and season. He loves the night. By keeping his shades always drawn, he has effectively banished daylight from his life. He eats when he pleases—a kitchen staff is on duty 24 hours a day. But then he subsists largely on Pepsi-Colas, which are stocked in small refrigerators scattered throughout his quarters, including one in the headboard of his bed. Often he doesn't even know what day it is. A friend suggested giving him a set of seven pajamas with the day embroidered on each—in reverse writing so that he would just have to look in the mirror while shaving to see where he was in the week.
There is evidence that he might be looking in new directions. He sometimes sounds as if he thought the sexual revolution were over, thanks to Playboy, and that it is now time to move on to other social and economic challenges. Even the country's gross national product seems to interest him. "A publication," he wrote, "that helps motivate a part of society to work harder, to accomplish more, to earn more in order to enjoy more of the material benefits described—to that extent, the publication is contributing to the economic growth of the nation."
Like sex, G.N.P. has three letters. But for a real hedonist, it's hardly the same thing.
*Named for the 19th century French Positivist philosopher who added the word "sociology" to the language. * Playboy has itself practiced entrapment at times by hiring private investigators who pretend to be eager Johns and ask club bunnies for a date. If the bunnies are dumb enough to accept, they may get fired.