Wednesday, April 21, 2004


Let me start off by saying that there’s a motto I try and live by: Be completely at ease in places you have no business being. Sometimes, when I’m in a situation where I feel like a complete moron, it helps me calm down and pretend I actually belong. That, and sometimes it helps me get away with stuff.

It definitely helped the night I attended Hugh Hefner’s Birthday party.

It wasn’t at the mansion, but at a chic bar on Sunset Boulevard where only the beautiful people get past the velvet rope. Yes, yes… How could I possibly manage to get past the gatekeepers of a world that only exists in the imaginations of most men? Well, this is the part where I skip some of the details. Let’s just say that I was with someone and we didn’t have to wait in the line. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think I touched the velvet rope.

Before I get to Hef and his birthday, let me explain a little bit about the goings on in this club. I did spy a few celebrities there… I saw an aging, but still bankable action star, an alum of Saturday Night Live-turned sitcom star, and someone who has been caught having sex with teenage girls. I think there were more, but as I’ve said before I’m not much into the celebrity deal. (note to self: you say you’re not into celebrities, but haven’t your last two entries been about that very subject?)

Throughout the club are good looking young guys, a few overweight, middle-aged men with loads of money, and lots and lots of beautiful women. And I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill good looking, I mean, take the best looking woman you’ve ever seen and multiply that by 10. As I’m wandering around, I’m thinking, “Where do these people come from?” I’ve never seen them out on the street, in the grocery store or using the automated teller machine. For god’s sake, where is the justice in the world? These people have ALL the looks. How about some for the rest of us?

These people were dancing and drinking and mingling. And it was hot, and it was sweaty, and they still looked like a million bucks. I still have one song stuck in my head that was playing at one point: Get Ur Freak On. Seems appropriate that this song will be forever attached to my fond memories of Hef.

Anyway, about Hef… Hef frequents this club on a certain night of the week and has a whole area in the back roped off for him and his entourage. By entourage, I mean 7 to 8 women who have graced the pages of Playboy and a couple of bodyguards. Yes, another velvet rope, but this is a super-duper-extra-strength V.I.P. velvet rope that NOBODY gets past without permission of Hef or his head bodyguard.

Behind that rope sits Hugh Hefner and a bunch of giggling playmates, and in front of that rope is me. Now, one might think, “There is no way in the world you could get past that rope… Right? Well, that’s probably true, but the person I was with somehow talked their way in and we were allowed to sit BEHIND the velvet rope.

So, we sat near Hef and his little harem. And I say near, because in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that we were sitting at another table 5 feet away, and we didn’t really talk to Hef or his girls, because there was some sort of unsaid understanding. As I was sat there, I kept thinking about my motto. I mean, what business did I have being in that club? None. What business did I have being in Hugh Hefner’s private party space? None whatsoever. What business did I have being in close proximity to Playboy Playmates? None. Zip. Nada.

But there I was.

And the interesting thing was the reaction of the people on the other side of the rope. They must have been thinking, who the hell are these two, sitting back there with Hef? It was strange. These beautiful creatures would lean over the rope and ask if they could come in and sit with us, they would flirt, they would offer to buy us drinks. One girl flashed us her breasts and another would have done lewd things if we had asked her to (and for the record, we didn’t). Of course, we told them all no and acted cool as if we belonged there, but really we were scared we’d get kicked out for even thinking about it.

It was surreal seeing Hef get out and dance with the Playmates. The girls’ hands were all over him and he loved every minute of it. Whether or not you condone this robbing the cradle kind of activity, you have to admit it’s a pretty amazing thing for a guy who’s starting to look down the barrel of 80.

Eventually, they brought out a birthday cake. Hef blew out the candles, fed frosting off his fingers to some of the girls and we raised our glasses in a toast to the founder of Playboy.

Not much later, they all got up to leave. For a moment, it looked as if we might be invited to wherever they were going, but alas, the clock hit midnight and my carriage turned into a pumpkin.

Hugh Hefner had left the building and there I was, an average person floating in a sea of beautiful people, but feeling at ease in a place I had no business being.

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