When I was a young girl of ten and scrounging between the couch cushions for wayward change, I discovered my first issue of Playboy Magazine. Of course I opened it. I saw my first pair of double-Ds the day I opened it.
I saw who Barbie really was.
Surely, old Mesmer earned his word that day for I sat thoroughly enraptured as I flipped through photos, giggled at cartoons, and speedily improved my knowledge of the sensual world at large.
I was a girl uninterrupted.
Later that evening while watching television with my father, I casually asked him "Why do you read this?" and, lifting a couch cushion for the full effect, I gestured towards the hidden Playboy.
"Oh," he replied offhandedly, "for the articles...and, of course, the cartoons."
I thought about his answer. His response seemed genuine. Okay, I thought, the cartoons, yeah...and those articles are interesting but-
"Then, why is it hidden under the couch cushions?" I asked.
"Because some people are not open minded," he answered calmly, "and they draw negative conclusions before they thoroughly examine something."
I thought about that: it made sense.
"But, there are naked women in it," I said.
"No, honey," he gently corrected, "those women are nude."
I learned a subtle distinction in the English language that day, and I promptly dropped the matter of the Playboy. No big deal. But it was a big deal: I found that out the next day when I returned to continue my browsing. The magazine was gone.
It took every talent I'd learned from Nancy Drew to locate it: this time the Playboy was hidden in my father's sock drawer. Luckily, my relentless junior detective skills made it possible for me to finally resume my Playboy education. A few months later, the latest issue of Playboy was back under the couch cushions like before, making it much more convenient to access and peruse.
Happily, I read every issue of Playboy that came through the door until I left home for college. My parents never told me about the things I read in Playboy Magazine. My gosh, were it not for that fine publication I would have never learned about birth control. And the truth about sexually transmitted diseases?...My goodness! I shudder to think how unprepared I might have been for the secular world were it not for Playboy's fine journalistic exposés.
Therefore, I'd like to publicly thank Mr. Hugh Marston Hefner for envisioning and publishing Playboy Magazine, and a special thanks to him for all those great articles. For if in 1953 he had decided to not gamble on his idea, to not follow through with his personal creative vision, I would have been an uneducated child indeed.
Playboy Magazine had a positive effect on my life. And guess what? I didn't grow up to be a prostitute. (I left the music business long before that.)
Now, I do not recommend that parents purchase Playboy Magazine for the purpose of secreting it under couch cushions for their sex-clueless children to discover -- nothing of the sort. However, I do hope that when parents find themselves the recipients of uncomfortable sexual questions from their children, they will remain as calm and collected as my good old dad.
Certainly, no home needs Playboy Magazine in order to educate children about sex. But you have to admit - in Playboy, the birds and the bees are a whole lot cuter.