Poetry

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Playboy 50th anniversary logo

Playmates

by Lionel E. Deimel

Playboy 50th anniversary logo

 

What happened to the Playmates of yesterday?

 

Some died young, of course, departing this world with their youth intact,

but many survived to be grandmothers and great-grandmothers,

enduring mastectomies and hysterectomies,

fighting unsuccessful battles against wrinkles and brittle bones,

keeping their dirty little secret from the other residents of the nursing home,

or maybe not.

 

Some open their dog-eared copies of Playboy from time to time to marvel at their former selves,

or simply contemplate what was,

or think: what were they thinking?

 

They are members of a special and exclusive sorority,

one that brought happiness and anticipation into their lives,

but also regret, longing, and disappointment.

 

Their initiation was in a different time,

when the art of strategically placing arms or props was still practiced,

when pubic hair, if caught on film, fell victim to the air brush.

That was a time before legs were uncrossed and crotches emerged au naturel,

when only the photographer saw everything.

 

They ponder the immodesty of their modern sisters

and how would they have felt about showing naked labia,

the delicate folds decorated by manicured clumps of hair

surrounded by seemingly prepubescent skin,

the mons veneris advertising itself as so well-named a feature.

 

They are content or regretful or jealous or appalled,

and they all wonder how the new sisters of the sorority will feel

when they have grandchildren.

 

 

This poem was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Playboy magazine. I must hasten to add that the poem is pure speculation, and, I suppose, its purpose is to inspire others to speculate on aging playmates, too. (“Now, Tommy, please don’t ask Aunt Bambi what job she had when she was young.”) I wrote the poem in a single day (12/10/2003), but, after presenting it to my writers’ group, I spent the next week revising it, completing the poem on 12/18/2003.

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