Hugh Hefner was a media pioneer in terms of what he did with Playboy magazine, creating a completely new way to look at nudity and liberation, and he did all of this at a time when society frowned upon what he was doing. For all the positive reasons Hefner will be remembered, his entire legacy is not necessarily a positive one.
There are many who saw Hefner as creepy. The kind of man who did what he did and created what he created so that he could have some sort of power over women.
People will believe what they want but there’s some evidence to prove, at the very least, that Hefner had a different way of thinking. When it came to the models he used in the magazines and online (they were called Bunnies), he made them part of his “Playboy family.” The family seemed a bit dysfunctional, but it was still a family.
Those who wanted to be a part of that family had to follow some often unique rules. This list is dedicated the many ways Hefner showed his power, dominance, and quirkiness. Many of these rules displayed a sense of loneliness and insecurity, but women lined up to oblige. After all, this was Hugh Hefner and Playboy, arguably the most famous publication for women ever created. Think some of these rules were a bit too much? Comment below.
15. Initiation To Get In
If you wanted to be Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend, there were certain things you had to be willing to do. One of the most obvious was the willingness to give a little in the bedroom (if you know what we mean). Most of the girls described the experience of being with Hefner as completely unsatisfying and void of emotion.
But, when you have a bunch of girlfriends and are already in your ’80s, it’s difficult to imagine there being much emotion when the routine is set, and things barely work like they’re supposed to. If you asked the women, they would probably compare it to an adult riding one of those little kid rides at the mall. Put in a quarter, go for a ride, but never really get too excited about any of it.
14. Hush Hush During Interviews
If Hugh Hefner was about to be interviewed, by anyone really, the girls weren’t just supposed to be quiet or less obtrusive; they weren’t allowed to speak at all. It was both a “keep your mouth shut even if spoken to sort of thing” and a “you’re too rowdy sort of thing.” It was a strict rule that if Hef was being interviewed, you made absolutely zero noise.
Who knows if that’s because he couldn’t hear well or needed to concentrate but Hefner certainly didn’t like it if he could hear the girls when he wasn’t supposed to be hearing the girls. It would be like a parent having to try and speak over a bunch of children if a workmate called the house and you were trying to tune out a bunch of silliness in the background.
13. Everyone Gets A Turn
Hefner didn’t just require that you were up for a little bedroom action if you were his girlfriend; he required that you get in line and take your turn until he was no longer able to perform, thanks to the Viagra he had taken. It was like an assembly line of action, and that was probably one of the main reasons why the bunnies described the experience as so emotionless.
The idea of having to wait for your turn to hop onto an old guy who really isn’t into it is just odd. Imagine being the bunny who had to go last. What an awful experience that must have been. Then again, any woman willing to do this might not be someone who cared too much where they fit in the line.
12. Stay Or Lose The Car
Outside the walls of the mansion, it was important to Hefner that the girls looked the part of an upscale female so he allowed them to use one of the many cars that he either owned or would lease for them. The kicker was that this was not a gift. If you were a bunny and left the house or didn’t want to be his girlfriend any longer, the car privileges were removed.
Hefner was aware that the girls couldn’t afford these cars on their own, so in a way, he had many of them staying in the house only for the perk of driving a fancy car around town, even though they had no real desire to be there. They say women do like men with fancy cars but this seems a bit much.
11. Weekly Clothing Allowance
As was described by Izabella St. James in her book, Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, “Every Friday morning, we had to go to Hef’s room, and then ask for our allowance: a thousand dollars counted out in crisp hundred-dollar bills from a safe in one of his bookcases. We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship. Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony among the girlfriends — or your lack of s*xual participation in the ‘parties’ he held in his bedroom. If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official ‘going out’ nights (when Hefner liked to parade his girls at nightclubs), he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.”
Hefner wanted the girls to look good but he also wanted them to know that he had demands that went along with getting the money they so desperately wanted. The reality is that any of these women could have refused to take the money and not get involved in the process, but they all did.
10. Baby Oil, Vaseline, And Kleenex In Every Room
Whether it was because Hefner didn’t know what room he’d be in or he thought that house guests would feel the urge to pleasure themselves with all this fine talent around them, Hefner didn’t want people going unsatisfied but he also didn’t want anyone touching the girls (many of whom would probably have welcomed the opportunity).
In every room were the tools needed to ensure that a house guest could release any s*xual aggression or attend to the needs that arose walking around the house or being a part of one of the parties. It sounds kind of disgusting but it was probably fairly practical, considering the environment. The bunnies weren’t allowed to be with anyone else so they would often make sure that house guests knew of the amenities at their disposal.
9. It Was Like The Clone Wars
If you’ve ever noticed that a buddy of yours always dates a certain type of woman (women who are only attracted to lean buff guys), then you know that certain people have a certain type. Hefner’s type was busty blondes with bright hair and no tan. According to former Playboy Bunny Holly Madison, “Hugh wanted white, white hair, with no pigment.”
There were other types of women used in the magazines and a part of the “Playboy family” but to be his girlfriend and live in the house, this non-unique look was usually a requirement. Take a glance at any of his wives and girlfriends from past pictures and you’ll see that it’s true. Pretty much every woman had the same features and pretty much every woman looks like a cardboard cutout of the others.
8. Plastic Surgery Was Covered
Perhaps one of the reasons why the girls stuck around for so long despite all these rumors, rules, and weird guidelines were for completely selfish reasons. Not to stereotype, but there is probably a good chance that many of the women in Hugh’s life were a bit focused on their looks. As such, Hefner agreeing to pay for any plastic surgery they would desire or require was covered as long as they lived in the house.
It was rumored that there was always a bunny or two in the house recovering from some sort of surgery. It happened a lot and one can only imagine what the monthly bill was for plastic surgeons to make the women look the way Hugh wanted them to look. Plastic surgery can get expensive, and as we’ve already established, a number of these women couldn’t afford it.
7. Strict Schedules – 9 PM Curfew
As one of the women described the curfew situation in the house, “When you’re here, you have to be in by the 9 p.m. curfew. You’re not allowed to invite any friends up to see you.” — Carla Howe, The Mirror
Hugh Hefner had a schedule and routine he wanted all the women to follow. Whether it was jealousy or just being able to dictate his own rules, all the women had to be back in the house, either with him or each other by 9 pm every night. Men were not allowed to visit after those hours and your time was Hugh’s. Whether that was watching a movie or taking your turn helping the old man get his rocks off, it was a reason why many of the women left the house.
6. No Talking To Other Men
Tied in closely with the curfew rules, women were not allowed to have male guests over at the house without permission from Hugh himself, and it sounds like that was rare if it ever happened at all. Karissa Shannon, a former mansion dwelling bunny said, “We were not allowed to have boys in the house. That was the absolute number one rule — no boys allowed. That was one of the main reasons we moved out.”
It’s one thing to have to be okay with standing in line to pleasure a 91-year-old man and pretend that the experience is pleasurable when devoid of all emotion, but it’s another to completely outlaw these women to have guys or boyfriends. Many of the women couldn’t handle that kind of restriction and ultimately left.
5. No Other Jobs
Hugh Hefner flat out refused the bunnies to get other jobs unless the work they were doing was a personal appearance for the Playboy empire. In a way, that makes some sense, especially if you’re going to live in his house and take his money for free. Not everyone felt that way.
Former girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson said, “I hate putting my hand out, but we couldn’t have jobs other than getting appearance fees.” If you wanted to live in the house and be a Playboy bunny, you were not allowed to venture out on your own, either as employee somewhere else or a businesswoman. The reality is, not a lot of women probably felt the same way Wilkinson did and were happy not to have to work, and putting up with Hugh’s “quirks” were a minor trade-off.
4. Code Of Conduct
Considering the fact that Hugh Hefner made his fortune on shaking up American culture, it’s interesting to note that he had such stringent rules about how the girls should behave when part of the “Playboy family.”
Former bunny and housemate Melissa Howe described it saying, “If you do something wrong, you’ll get an email. There’s a strict code of conduct. There are even rules about Instagram and Twitter. You’ve got to show everything in a good light and if you’re drunk in a picture, you’ll be in trouble.”
Again, this is one of those rules that is harder to hold against Hefner. Playboy was a brand and, in society today, it’s extremely easy to damage that brand by being careless on social media and running around misbehaving. Most people probably don’t associate the bunnies with being completely self-aware so perhaps a little guidance was wise.
3. Main Girlfriend Always Goes First
Some of the details that have come out regarding the business of “love” in the mansion are disturbing and creepy. Jill Ann Spaulding wrote in her book, Jill Ann: Upstairs, “She’s the first to go because that’s the safest for her. No protection and no testing. He doesn’t care.”
Let’s hope this isn’t true. For a man known to be so s*xually active and not faithful to one woman, the least everyone could do in this equation was be safe about transmitted diseases that come from being active in this regard. Not sure how Spaulding figured going first was the safest, though. Seems like everyone was unsafe is this accusation was true.
2. Pink Flannel Pyjamas
Hugh Hefner was known for making a living out of wearing a bathrobe. Sure, he dressed up for his parties, but the iconic image everyone knows (and many love) is the man who dressed in his pajamas almost all of the time. He wasn’t the only one required to make that trend popular.
The women were all required to wear pink flannel pyjamas as often as possible. It sounds like black and white were also permitted but pink was the preference of the main man, and oftentimes, after the 9 pm curfew, the women would be seen around the house all dressed in their pink flannels, getting ready for a movie or going to bed early. Even at parties, pink was a popular color. Hef must have had some association with the color to women or cute or Playboy.
1. You Fit Into One Of Three Categories
The women often did not get along inside the house. It was well-known that this was one of Hefner’s biggest issues and the thing he complained about the most. He might not have realized that some of the women were trying to take advantage of their situation.
Some of the women said that there were three distinct categories the women fell into. There was the Hustler: women who tried to milk Hef of his money. There was the Runner: women who realized living in the house was not all it was cracked up to be and left rather quickly. Finally, there was The Fighter: women who were undermined constantly by the hustlers but tried to make everything in the house work smoothly and feel like a family.
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