The Problem With Hugh Hefner

Hef, back when he was legit. Image: Alan Light via Creative Commons

I have a question. Is it cool with y’all if we quit pretending like Hugh Hefner is legitimately dating super-hot women 60 years his junior? It’s really starting to bug me. Because it’s bullshit, and you know it. So why does everyone pretend like it’s not?

On Friday, HuffPo‘s Judy Kurtz blogged about Hef’s “engagement” to Playboy Magazine’s upcoming covergirl, 25-year-old Crystal Harris. Or, rather the called-off engagement.

Hugh Hefner’s 25-year-old fiancé, Crystal Harris, left him high and dry this week, calling off her wedding to the Playboy creator just days before the nuptials were scheduled to take place…But rather than go on a tear about his bride-not-to-be, Hefner is keeping it classy (at least on Twitter.) The 85-year-old lady lover started tweeting after the news broke, writing, “The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart.”…

Kurtz notes that the timing of Harris’ cold feet seems a bit suspicious, given that the news broke on the same day that Harris’ first single was released on iTunes, the speculation being, of course, that it was the perfect moment for her drum up a little free press.

And being the jaded misanthrope that I am, I wouldn’t doubt for a second if Hef was in on the whole thing. After all, the guy didn’t build an empire by being ignorant in the ways of marketing.

So calculated marketing? I’m buying it. But Hef still making 25-year-old hotties all hot and bothered? Sorry. Selling. And you should, too.

See, the problem with Hugh Hefner is that he’s been rolling with the same image for over half a century now. And the problem with all of us is that we’re letting him do just that. Encouraging it, even. And as a result, this American icon has turned into a parody of himself. A caricature of a parody.

Don’t get me wrong. For quite sometime, I, too, was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I mean, he’s Hef, for crying out loud. Able to rock silk pajamas with a certain panache that’s hard to come by. But so, too, is the willing suspension of disbelief needed to buy into his romantic life. At least for me it is. Unless I start reading stories about him playing footsie with some saucy 78-year-old named Hilda.

So c’mon, Hef. You can still rock the parties at the mansion. And you can even still pose for all the photo ops with scantily clad, vapid lovelies on either arm. But quit pretending like it’s anything more than it is, okay? Because what you’ve got going on are business relationships with people who weren’t even born when you blew out the candles on your 60th birthday cake. To pretend like it’s anything else is a thinly veiled form of prostitution.

It’s time for Hef to hang up the smoking jacket and live out his twilight years with some dignity. But more than that, on this Father’s Day weekend, it’s time for us to put to rest the grandfather of lies and stop pretending like Hef’s something he no longer is.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Weasel Momma

    I was never a Hef fan myself, seeing that he was a womanizing cheat from even his early days.  He now ‘gets the girls’, not for his charisma, romanticism or machismo, but because of his wallet and power.  It’s all a great facade, but I but he may be the only one that that doesn’t realize that the the rest of the world has all spotted the little man behind the curtain.

    • John Cave Osborne

      @WM your ears must have been burning. was just talking about you the other day. it’s been too long. re: Hef: do you really think the rest of the world has spotted the little man behind the curtain? b/c i kinda think the rest of the world is all like “yeah, Hef. still goin’, man.” it’s sad and pathetic. hope you’re well. been thinking of you lately!

  • Anonymous

    To tell you the truth, I really don’t think about Hugh Hefner all that much. In my mind he is an outdated symbol of the 1960s and the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. Whenever I see him with a young girl on his arm, especially one that is his supposed ‘fiancee’ I just think um, sure. Marketing? Probably. His power and money? Most likely. I have to ask myself what 20-something would really want to date and marry an 80-something. In most cases, too many years between them to find any common ground. But, since I have too much on mind, I don’t really think about Hef.

    By the way, every time I read your bio I have to laugh. Grand Finale Osborne? Now that’s a unique name!

    • John Cave Osborne

      yes, it sounded better than Nomar Kids Osborne.

  • Juli Westgate

    I think the only person who believes the Hef hype is Hef himself. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      re: Hef being the only one who believes the hype… i don’t disagree, but why does everyone *pretend* like they believe it?

  • muskrat

    I can’t believe you’re hating on Hef! 

    Then again, think about how many lives his sources of income have destroyed.  But that’s a topic for another post.

    • John Cave Osborne

      Dude…I didn’t hate on Hef. if i had been hating on Hef, i woulda made fun of his combover and also made some joke about dick pills.

  • PJ Mullen

    Hell, I shorted this story three 25 year olds ago. He could be rocking a viagara-levitra-cialis cocktail and there still isn’t enough coin for these chicks to be doing what they are alleged to be doing.  Funny how each “ex” goes on to either reality tv or drops a single shortly after “breaking up” with him. I’m sure if either of us cared enough we could chart a pattern, but I’ve got a flat iron steak and a tall pilsner calling me.

    • John Cave Osborne

      sure, YOU shorted it. but why doesn’t everyone else short it? most who commented were all like “yeah, Hef’s the only one who still believes he’s a player.” and i agree. but why do all the people who report his various romantic escapades (and these days, failings) do so with a straight face instead of just being like “okay, this is bullshit and we all know it”?

      because you’re right. there ain’t enough coin or little blue pills for this guy to be pulling this shit off at this age.