The Men of Playgirl

posted by Madame Bubby

Playgirl magazine, often billed unofficially as the “magazine for women and gay men,” has undergone some changes in its presentation through the years (one can no longer obtain the traditional hard copies that were usually hidden under some gayling’s bed at some point).

Even the naked guys in the magazine have changed, and that change reflects some social trends. What is interesting is that as recently as last week, on a gay chat board, Datalounge, the subject came up, and it wasn’t just a retro/nostalgia discussion from the eldergays.

The original poster made a point that the models in the 1970s and 1980s generally revealed huge bushes, and that they were trim and muscular overall, not what one might term “gym-pumped” or, to be biased, “steroid” bodies.

Now, the first Playgirl centerfold was Lyle Waggoner, who gained fame by appearing as a regular on the iconic Carol Burnett Show. For her sketches, Carol needed a straight guy, and I bet she also knew she would attract a certain audience (the Playgirl audience) by showing off his easy, unaffected, yet indisputably, studly presence. The first issues of Playgirl did not show cock, though. That came later, when the previous censorship of such materials was finally letting up in the early 1970s.
 

Lyle Waggoner in the first issue of Playgirl
Lyle Waggoner in the first issue of Playgirl

Lyle Waggoner in a later issue of Playgirl
Waggoner in a later issue

When Burt Reynolds died recently, many remembered his moment in Playgirl. Of course the photographers hid his member, but there was plenty to fantasize about even if was not visible. And hair, so much hair. The poster I referred to on Datalounge mentioned hairy bushes as if that was a style of the past, and that observation brings up the issue of shaving. How much hair is attractive? Or the lack thereof?
 

Burt Reynolds on the cover of Playgirl in December, 1974
Burt Reynolds on the cover of Playgirl in December, 1974

And note that many of the models, especially in the eighties, loved showing off their luxuriant locks. This hair was not hippie long hair that evoked Woodstock dancing and shabby communes in the woods; it was more like the idealized long hair of medieval knights and cavaliers and the like, heroes and antiheroes of romance novels.

But the long hair encouraged even more muscles, perhaps a reaction to possible associations with effeminacy in the more conservative eighties. Thus, tight pants, pastel colors, and long hair were acceptable if your body wasn’t just buff, but pumped up.

And in 1992, a pumped up, hard-bodied stud with a tattoo (harbinging what is now a rather generic look among millennials) named Dirk Shafer appeared as Playgirl’s Man of the Year. And he was gay. He didn’t come out as gay until much later, and he died in 2015.
 

Dirk Shafer as the Playgirl 1992 Man of the Year
Dirk Shafer as the 1992 Man of the Year

Another Playgirl model, Bill Cable aka Stoner, apparently appeared with Christina Crawford (!) in a mysterious video which has disappeared from youtube, alas. He also died young, kiiled in a motorbike accident in 1992.
 

Bill Cable aka Stoner
Bill Cable aka Stoner

Now that gay for pay is prominent in the adult erotic world, one might assume that some of the current models in Playgirl’s online edition are gay. And perhaps, depending on their situation, they aren’t concerned about concealing their orientation. Still, this open fluidity seems to produce rather generic results.

The secret thrill of an actual print magazine that enticed because of its very danger, dangerous imagery, a dangerous situation for the reader, is missing.

I am not advocating for the closet, but one wonders if it’s time for Playgirl to reexamine its purpose and not just serve an Instagram page in a larger format accompanied by tips on fitness. Remember, this magazine actually dared to in its earlier years explore female orgasms and polyamory and reveal men as sex subjects and objects for women and gay men.

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I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together ...

Carol Burnett today

Yes, dear Carol, I was glad too, because I was able to see you in person for your annual reflection and audience/question answer event on Tuesday, June 12.
 

Carol Burnett live at the Chicago Theater

Carol Burnett at the Chicago Theater ticket stub

In fact, I was more than glad, because like the full-capacity audience at the Chicago Theater, I am a fan. If you are a person of a certain age (and many people of that age brought their now elderly parents), you grew up with this show, the last installment on that amazing 1970s Saturday night line-up that included classics like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family.

But this blog isn't just a nostalgia kick. Of course, to see clips of Carol singing with names like Ethel Merman and Mel Torme (names millennials might not recognize), or her spinning yarns in her inimitable way about going to the movies on a dime with her grandmother several times a week, fulfilled mine and the mostly older audience's euphoric absorption into their personal retro worlds.

What really got me was Carol (and she wanted people to call her Carol) is her complete humanity. No diva posturing (which she never did in her show anyway), no condescending royal “common touch” attitude. Like she did when she “bumped up the lights” before her show in its heyday, her wit and charm flamed out like the star she is, but rather than scorching, it emanated warmth and love.

She accepted the inevitable compliments graciously, but always managed to focus warmly and personally on the person she was speaking too, which ranged from a gay Catholic priest who admitted he would sing a variant of her song when he left a parish (how gay is that? my conservative priestly brother would cringe), to an odd question from someone who asked if she “had ever played a pregnant lady.” Huh?

When the inevitable political question came up (of course, in this fraught social climate), she admitted that she never worried about being PC when someone asked a question essentially lamenting political correctness and its effect on comedy, because the show was there for a belly laugh, not politics, and definitely not a laugh in bad taste (hear that, Roseanne?). The conservative members of the audience (they were there, I could tell the white Chicago suburban crowd like New Yorkers can tell the “bridge and tunnel crowd”) approved loudly.

But, when one of the soccer mom types who either brought her children or her mother asked her if she had ever experienced a #MeToo incident, Carol was honest. She had not. She admitted she was lucky. She married the producer of the Gary Moore Show (the place where she began her ascent to fame), and overall the men she worked with her were gentlemen. But she really zinged the audience when she said if any guy had tried anything with her, she “would kick him in the balls.” Deafening applause, ensued perhaps an elusive show of unity.

I could go on and on with her stories … her fake lesbian kiss with Julie Andrews meant to be a joke on Mike Nichols, but Lady Bird Johnson ended up as the audience for that one … the chin operation that nearly ruined a retake of a big scene in the movie Annie where she played Miss Hannigan …

And she, a truly gracious lady, acknowledged the late Harvey Korman in several clips and Bob Mackie, the masterful designer of the costumes for that show (she guesstimated he had to produce during the 11 years of that show 17,000 costumes), Bob Mackie, still active and working for The Cher Show, a gay man whose life partner Ray Aghayan died in 2011. When one thinks about the get-ups Carol wore for her beloved characters like Mrs. Wiggins and Stella Toddler, and of course the curtain rod dress in her movie parody “Went With the Wind,” one sees the show as the work of several geniuses who all came together to create (while enjoying a glorious time doing so) a world of joy and laughter.
 

Mrs. Wiggins
Mrs. Wiggins

Curtain dress
The curtain dress

The show was one of those few moments in life where time stood still. But then it was over, like the words to that song:
 

Seems we just got started
and before you know it
Comes the time we have
to say, “So long.”

Carol Burnett Show cast

Now Carol's got her own youtube channel. Check it out!

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Featured

Ear

 

Shirtless guy with sexy ears


I enjoyed sex with this guy off and on for some time in the nineties (both “vanilla” and BDSM), and one time when we were making out in his van he began to blow in my ear. The action itself doesn't really get me a woody, but as part of the whole erotic foreplay it definitely added something to the experience as a whole. 

Now, the ear itself doesn't strike me as being particularly erotic, but what it is supposed to do, transmit sounds, can add so much excitement, especially in BDSM sensory play. I used to like (and still do, but I am the “binder,” not the “bindee”) being bound and hooded and hearing the dominant sound of boots walking around the dungeon, For me, the sound of power is the sound of hard-heeled boots, and I've noticed lately that men's boots and shoes usually possess rubber heels to mute the sound. Why? I wonder, when the same does not apply to women's footwear (that's another blog). 

And of course there's dirty talk, which can occur even in more conventional sex scenes. Or doing it with music in the background. It takes great mental concentration and keen listening to try and time your orgasm to the climax of Wagner's Liebestod (I know from experience.) 

Overall, some people experience reality through hearing, some are more visual, some are more tactile. Still, what about more directly physical interactions with the ear itself? 

Blowing in the ear combines both a tactile and a hearing sensation, but then there's also guys who like to nibble on the ear (something my cat does, in her case a sign of affection as well as impatience, play with me, feed me). 
 

Ear nibbling

Maybe it's getting down to something really primal, the nibbling, but the ear of course features significantly in so many other cultural contexts. 

As a child, I was fascinated by the pointed ears of Spock, and all those elves and fairies sported them as well. Perhaps just changing slightly a feature of the ear was enough to evoke images of otherworldly power and knowledge. (And to set the record straight, Tolkien's elves, regardless of the movie's visualization of them, did not have pointed ears. See Appendix F of The Return of the King.) 
 

Spock's ears

 

Legolas' ears


And let's not forget the legendary Carol Burnett who would tug on her ear at the end of each show (one time I remember she pulled an earring off while doing so!). It originated as a signal to her grandmother because Carol in her early days at the Gary Moore Show couldn't shout out, “Hey, Nanny, are you watching?” She always knew her beloved “Nanny” was watching her famous granddaughter, and even after Nanny passed, she kept that signal as a way of connecting with that memory. 
 

Carol Burnett tugging her ear

Cutting off the ear was a punishment in the medieval and early modern periods, especially for offenses regarding religion. For example, in the seventeenth century the Puritan William Prynne was condemned to this punishment for heresy by the Anglican ArchbishopWilliam Laud, interesting, for one might think the other side would want him to hear their version of truth. But perhaps Laud thought it was appropriate because he led the faithful astray because they heard the Puritan's sermons. 
 

William Prynne

Are you still listening? One can hear, but not listen, so often in this frenetic culture where words disappear in cyberspace in a nanosecond. 

Take the time to really listen, and maybe try and remember and share your own unique, erotic ear experiences (but save the earwax stories, ew! I recently experienced an issue with that substance). 

And Bijou Video offers unique “dirty talk” audio CDs from those Old Reliablerough trade guys in the Sexcessories section of our website.

 

Check them out, along with other auditory delights at BijouWorld.com and BijouGayPorn.com
 

Old Reliable CDs

 

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