Playboy: Old vs New vs Maybe Old Again
We heard the news awhile back that the magazine that played a part in many a mans formative years, Playboy, was going to eliminate nudity. Of course, our first response was a laugh and the thought "what's the point?" Don't get us wrong - many of us did read it for the articles, and we did enjoy the occasional cartoon and style advice. But the thing that brought it all together was the nudity. All sorts of magazines offered what Playboy did just not in one spot, and definitely without the panache and class. You could read Hustler and get nudity, but it was a bit dirty and unapproachable. Playboy in the drawer and maybe on the table was a rite of passage. A little wink that hey, yes I am a little naughty but I can be a gentleman too. And we think women liked that.
We had been meaning to pick up a copy to see what nude free Playboy was about. Finally we just ordered a subscription for the office. Hey, it's a tax write off. One thing didn't change, they still dump old issues on you to prematurely wear out your subscription. We received two issues at once, then two days later received the latest (third) issue. So in three days we got three issues. There goes a big chunk of our subscription.
The magazine itself has adopted a little more of a trendy Details vibe, both in page colors and graphics. A modern look which is a bit generic. It's probably meant to appeal to a younger audience but it feels forced or at the very least, unoriginal. Esquire feels more like home now. Esquire did a good job of copying Playboy but shifted focus to content vs. nudity. But they still gave you a touch of skin sans nudity to keep you buying. Esquire isn't phenomenal by any means, but it plugs along in its mediocrity and gives you an alternative for the reading part of the PB game. Playboy lost the mojo but there is a still a chance of redemption right?
Well that's a big let down too. We kinda knew that the pics were a bit touched up, a little fabricated. But that was ok. Playboy was selling fantasy. I doubt women buy Playgirl to see five inch dicks. That's what they have at home. Human nature looks for perfection and outliers. The 8's and 9's were turned to 10's. Women looked the other way because they knew it wasn't going to happen, us ever getting that perfect ten. More so your wife or girlfriend knew the perfect ten didn't exist. Any woman with lighting, makeup and clothes can boost her stock a point or two. So it was another wink - your wife saying "sure guy you're a real playboy" as you sip your cheap whiskey and imagine its a little nicer. That the cheap cigar tastes a little better when enjoyed between the pages of Playboy. It was a temporary escape from the boring and hum drum life you lived. Its the same reason she pays too much for a dress or purse. She thinks that one accessory makes the rest of her that phenomenal.
New Playboy. It's lost the escapism, it's not finer things it's everyday things. The articles are watery with subjects a bit forced - brief for the ADHD generation. It's a quick trip through the magazine with few reasons to stop a long the way. Of course the occasional speed bump slows you down, the beautiful, ehh, well pretty and cute women.
Except now with less airbrush and no nudity the photographer is forced to find a new way to bring sensuality and deceive the eye. Photographs have a grainy haze to them, an artsy approach. Some feel a bit more dirty and in your face. I mean these are not bad pics at all, just nothing that hasn't been done. I think I would be fine with the change in direction if it was a new road, something that hadn't been done before. Instead it feels pop and current. Like Playboy is just trying to keep up but falling further behind.
Timelessness - the new Playboy takes that away. The artsy approach fails because the art was never the photo- it was the model herself. Think of the daguerreotype. It froze a moment in time forever. The female figure stands on its own and a Playboy pictorial froze a woman at her most beautiful period in life and our memory. I don't see any of the girls featured in my three issues with the potential to reach the level of fandom achieved by girls past. Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole, etc. the ones you still remember years later, that image frozen in amber, taking you back to summer of junior year.
Instead, its a girl of the moment feel, you wouldn't kick any out of bed but by morning you'll probably be asking them to leave. So while we could feel it coming, it's official: Playboy has lost its relevancy. It's become nothing more than a throwback piece of nostalgia with little place in our current world full of PornHub and Instagram.
What do you think of Playboy? Is the magazine still relevant? Comment below