26 November 2008

My First Playboy Magazine

My first Playboy at 12. I've been a fan of blue and yellow ever since.

I didn't understand this at all. But I liked the Morning Coat.

My scotch is Canter's.

I thought the woman in the doorway was waiting for the two in the foreground to leave so she could smell some of those colognes. Actually, it's still confusing. I'm not sure if I'd ever take a cologne break...Maybe he just needs the bottle.

You can never forget your first Playboy. This was mine. Purchased in Montreal when I was 12. We were visiting friends of my parents. Eight people crammed into a tiny townhouse if I remember correctly. I was sent on a errand to get milk or something at a Canadian 7/11. Instead of Playboy being under the counter - - this issue was proudly displayed on the magazine rack.

With more courage than I knew I had, I stepped up to the register with the milk or whatever and plunked the magazine down like I had done it a million times. The clerk picks up the Playboy, looks at me and says something in French with "Pla-boyye" ending his sentence. "Yeah, it's a Playboy," I say. "Oh, you're American. Where are you from?" I know this is all about confidence. "Virgina, we're visiting some friends." He's ringing it up and says, "Va-geeenia. Thaz a looong way." "Uh-huh." I give him a twenty and I'm out the door with Miss July. That's when I first learned there's a huge pay off in taking risk.

A block or two from the townhouse, I crammed the magazine into the back of my pants and un-tucked my shirt over it. Once inside, I deliver the milk or whatever to an adult and make a bee-line for the bathroom. There, I conceal Miss July under a big pile of towels stacked under the sink. "So far so good," I thought as I wondered if everyone would go through all the towels before I came back for my prize. I also discovered, about this time, that when I concentrated--really focused--I could do anything. Even wake myself up in the middle of the night.

Like James Bond I snap awake at 0200 hours. In a Bruce Lee-like tip toe, I dart into the bathroom and quietly collect the magazine. With hardly a thought and acting on pure instinct, I head for the garage, open our station wagon door and proceed to stuff the magazine under the front seat. The intense rush at sneaking around like this cannot be described. I don't think jumping out of a plane ever came close.

On the way home I sat next to my father while my two sisters and mother sat in the back seat. I was always told I was the navigator but my old man never listened to my directions--which were always wrong-- and still are. No, I was up front so he could reach me. I don't remember how long we had been on the road when I first saw trouble. I do know my ballooning confidence at pulling off this amazing caper disappeared when I saw the US / Canadian Border. Police were everywhere motioning cars to pull over...other cars being searched...clothes hauled out of trunks. This was not good.

I looked at my father. A man who wore a crew cut and frowned throughout my childhood. He was two years out of Vietnam. Now a major with a real career in front of him... Unless his son put the whole family in a Canadian jail for the transportation of pornography. What would you do? I fessed up fast. "We gotta pull over now." He looks at me confused, "What?" I breathe deep. "I have something in the car. We have to pull over before we get up there." From the back seat I hear my mother, "What? What did he say?" My father is slowing down at this point and he looks at me like he's gonna throw up. He's more scared than I am. You have to remember...there were a lot of drugs back in 1971. I never went near them. Not with a Green Beret for a Dad. But he didn't know that.

My mother is leaning forward in her seat, "What's he saying?" My father tells her to sit back and he shoots me a look, "What's in the car?" We're too close now. If we pull over the cops are gonna know. "I have a Playboy magazine stuffed under my seat. If they search the car we're gonna be in big trouble." I looked at him expecting full furry and I remember seeing the relief. And then he laughed. "I think we're gonna be okay," he said. I'm sitting in a pool of sweat on cheap Plymouth vinyl and I can only look down at my hands clenched tight. I rub them on my tie dyed bell bottoms and look at him. He's smiling as he steers into an inspection lane.

After we pull away - -without being searched - - he asks me quietly, "Where did you get it?" I tell him about the clerk at the Canadian 7/11. He nods. A few more miles down the road my mother is talking to my sister and my father looks at me like he never looked at me before and says, "If you ever want one..you let me know." When we got home I was convinced I'd make a great spy (sans the confession back there at the border) and asked my father how I might go about it. "The only country you'd be good at spying on is this one," he snorted and went back to reading Evergreen or the LA Free Press. For a career Army officer, my father was a bit out of the box. Brilliant, but out of the box.

Playboy was everything to me. Back then, I could spot one in a pile of magazines at a neighbor's house from 50 paces save for 'Southern Living' magazine that would occasionally throw me with its similar binding. I look back and realize Playboy is a lot like watching an episode of Rat Patrol. Much of it hokey and cheesy. But sometimes you just wanna watch 'em ride around the desert in jeeps.


Alice Olive said...

Hilarious! I loved that you confessed. Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding story! At that age I did the mag-in-pants move (front & back)with Playboys in the barbershop bathroom. I distinctly remember being disturbed when I saw more ilicit mags (spead eagle shots). Great memories - Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

great story. you've mentioned your youth in Virginia before. Post Vietnam, my Dad was at TRADOC, Ft. Monroe.

Anonymous said...

You sir, are a born storyteller. I've never been so proud to be a Canadian (sniff). Oh the delicious irony of having to travel to La Belle Province to buy iconic American porn...

tintin said...

Alice- Thank you and hope you're in a warmer place than Chicago. Although, a Guiness by the fire at RL ain't too bad.

W Essex- I missed out on the barber shop growing up. Always went to the on post barber. No magazines but they were every where else on post.

Tessa- Thank you for taking a look and yes, we were at Monroe as well. My old man was at CONARC. I loved that old post. One of my faves out of an endless string of crap holes (Bragg, Bliss, Sill,) we were assigned to. Were you an Army Brat too?

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving. We Hooterville Honeys will miss you when you head North to those more cold and rigid than us! Hope to see you soon!

Anonymous said...

Wolfe should sit at your tassled feet. Rare self-deprecating humor on a lifestyle blogosphere dominated by funereal egocentricity and not a naughty word that I can recall. I hope it flows effortlessly as stream of thought in real world conversation. Hay Street, wind swept Lawton & El Paso del Norte: Le Tour Grande.
Does Mamma cook grits or will you have to stop at a B. Boule. Bogangles? Enjoy your Raeford bird. jg
( www.jumpraeford.com )

tintin said...

Preppy Pauper- Love Canada. Give me a Blue and an Export A. Thank you for you nice words. I never know what to expect when I throw stuff against this wall. BYW, some amazing thrifting, dude.

Anon- Hooterville Honeys? Do you have an Uncle Joe?

jg- I've read The Web and The Rock at least 4 times. You know how to compliment. TW is my hero despite what Hank Bukowski said about him. Do we know each other? Your inside knowlegde amazes me. Maybe the Pop a Top, Suzy Wong or the Flaming Mug? BTW, I don't jump for fun anymore but I will for money.

Ben said...

Let's get this straight: Playboy is NOT pornography.

Anonymous said...

Priceless my dear, just priceless!
Happy Thanksgiving from the Heart of Dixie where you'll find the Watkins Clans eating oysters and hoisting a toast at noon tomorrow in front of the UGA/GA Tech game....all 75 of us and few close frinds too.
Cheers to you and yours!

tintin said...

Ben- It was when I was 12.

MME - Send my regards at the oyster bar.

jg- How foolish of me not to recognise your prose and concern about my profane vocab. Thanks for the tips on Gardner and everything else.

M.Lane said...

Great story! I can see you in that car...


heavy tweed jacket said...

Absolutely classic tale. I haven't laughed out loud like that in a long time. Thanks. Reminded me of many family vacations in the car. I can remember being old enough (11 or 12) to reload and light my Dad's pipe in the car, as I sat in the front seat next to him. Made me feel like I was really riding shotgun. Cheers, HTJ

Charles said...

Happy thanksgiving to you. Great story.

Derek said...

Great story, very well told. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Alan said...

For those growing up in the pre-internet days, dirty magazines were a key part of a young man's adolescence. It sure brings back some good memories. You sure capture the spirit of the times.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Tintin: yes was Army brat -- sort of. My Dad actually went to, shhh, Anapolis then switched over. Long story. Anyhoo, we were at Monroe from '76 til '79. Did you ever shoot pool at the YMCA? Hide out in the cistern by the Casemate? Slide down the inside of the moat walls on snow days? Remember that tiny little jail cell next to the main gate of the moat? Did the moat ever freeze over while you were there? Sorry for so many questions. Love the nostalgia.

initials CG said...

Mr. Hefner owes you a check for that incredible publicity.

Tintin, if you don't write your goddam books, a lot of readers will be poorer for the absence!

Great tale! Thanks

tintin said...

M Lane- Thanks and I really enjoy your stories.

HTJ-Always great to hear from you. As a family we rarely went on vacations since we moved very 18 months or so. I'm trying to find pics of my father on a real vacation to 6 Flags over GA. He looks like he's gonna kill someone.

longwing- Hope you had good TGiving as well. How's that post on OC and Stiggs going?

Cab Director-Interesting thing on baseball you have. Thanks for stopping by.

Alan-These images are burned into the brain aren't they?

Tessa- I was there 71-73. I remember the O-Club on the beach, reading old issues of Yank Magazine in post library and walking the pet cemetary on top of the fort. And eating dirt cheap at Fuller's Restauarant.

initials CG- You are very kind. I still have no confidence in myself when it comes to writing...much less wearing those Lobb Foxtons.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Bloody hell, Trad, that is a priceless tale. I remember when I bought my first girlie mag. I was 13 or 14 and bought it at a paki corner shop in Kennington south London. No carrier bag, I just held it in my hand. I got on the tube and the whole way back to South Kensington I could feel my face going deep red and beads of sweat appearing on my hairline. The cute young lady across the carriage kept looking at the rolled-up mag in my hand and smiling at me (What can I say? I was a cute lad).

Paul said...

I'm sitting at my desk at work with one of the other project managers just over the cube wall - I'm holding back laughter and my eyes are watering! This is a great story. Thanks for posting it - and letting us into your life as a 12 year old. Again - great story!