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My quest for a copy of Playboy

I drove all over this town and the next last night looking for a copy of the January Playboy magazine.

Used to be, Playboy was a common coffee table magazine, but now that I think about it, I can’t remember the last time I so much as opened a copy.

I felt sort of funny questing for it, but I vowed not to mumble or blush or do one of those big explaining things that women do: “You see, I know somebody who’s being profiled in the magazine this month and his article isn’t online, at least not that I can find, and that’s the only reason I’m looking to buy a copy. Really.” I’d just walk in and ask for the darned thing.

Used to be, you didn’t have to ask. In the 1970s you could just pick it off the newsstand. It was right there next to Popular Mechanics and Esquire. Then at some point it got wrapped in an adult-proof wrapper. And shortly after that, Playboy and its discreet wrapper disappeared behind the counter where you had to request it. It’s been a long time since I even thought about it, but honestly, that’s where I expected it to be.

But nope.

“We don’t sell magazines like that,” a clerk the grocery store with the biggest selection told me, as if I’d asked for hardcore gay S&M porn with a little beastiality thrown in.

“You’re lookin’ for the Lindsay Lohan issue?” another clerk snorted, getting giggles from his friends standing around.

At that point, I admit I did explain, though not in that dumb way (or at least I hope not). “Yes,” I said, “the Lindsay Lohan issue. But that’s not why I want it. A man I know, Peder Lund, is profiled in it and I just learned that.”

Playboy? You’re trying to get Playboy in this town?” a third clerk asked. He named a city 75 miles away where he thought I might be able to find a copy.

It was getting cold and frosty out, so I headed home. And hey, you people at Paladin Press, you’re just going to have to mail me a photocopy of the profile on Peder! Or I’ll have to wait and hope Playboy puts it online and not behind some “Cyber Club” wall.

I found the whole thing kind of funny and kind of sad.

The irony is that Peder’s profile in Playboy is about his fight against censorship. And I can’t get a copy of the darned magazine within 75 miles — even if I weren’t looking for the super-duper-sold-out Lindsay Lohan edition.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anybody is censoring Playboy in the governmental sense. They’re obviously not. This probably has as much to do with the decreasing popularity of old media as it does with community morals. Maybe there’s just so much female flesh online these days that nobody buys Playboy for the pictures anymore. I don’t know.

Still, the incredulous reactions of the store clerks made me wonder.


  1. JS
    JS December 22, 2011 5:29 am

    Hi, Claire, … we’ve requested the article from Playboy and they’ve only agreed to send us a PDF of one page that would then link back to their subscription offers. Better than nothing I guess. I’ll be posting that on our social media outlets when we get it.

    Would you like me to see if we can mail you a copy of the whole magazine?

  2. Matt, another
    Matt, another December 22, 2011 6:28 am

    Hmmm, no chain convenience stores in your area? Circle K, and maybe 7-11 still sells them. I think the big chain book stores as well. I think your assumption about popularity is pretty accurate. I remember Playboy and other skin mags leaving chain stores some time in the 90’s. Mostly pressure from family oriented groups I believe. The older mags are just holding on in physical media because of the older folk that like to hold what they are reading, whether books or mags. Some things loose some of the mystique when on a Kindle.

    Last one I recall picking up (coworkers bought it for me) was the issue, back in 89 or 90 that featured Jessica Hahn the woman that brought down one of the tele-evangilists, don’t recall which one. I actually wanted it for the articles, it had the retirement interview with Barry Goldwater the last great senator of the state of AZ. It was a great and very lengthy interview, the type you seldom see now.

  3. Pat
    Pat December 22, 2011 6:55 am

    I daresay feminism had a lot to do with its un-popularity, too. As mainstream feminism — anti-male rhetoric, NOW, and political correctness — increased, male-oriented everything has gone downhill. Even Esquire is hard to find on some magazine racks these days.

    But heck, so are romance magazines (most often read by young females) hard to find since feminists decried romance in our lives.

  4. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2011 7:30 am

    Well, good sleuthing, Bill St. Clair. Unfortunately, I get a timeout on that link, but I’m glad to know it’s there.

    JS … thank you. I really don’t need the whole magazine (not caring what Lindsay Lohan looks like naked), but a photocopy of Peder’s article from it would be great. Can’t believe Playboy won’t even let you guys have a full ecopy of the article.

  5. EN
    EN December 22, 2011 8:36 am

    A friend of mine owns a barber shop and gets them sent for free. She gives them to me occasionally but other than that, you’re correct, haven’t seen a copy since forever. Life has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years. One can pretty much tailor his or her (woman look at more internet porn than men) preferences by Googling, “huge fake tits”, “Big Black pendulous Breasts”, “Itty bitty Asian titties”, or whatever it is one prefers. Dying Media indeed. I suspect the clerk was smirking because he was amused that you hadn’t seen the Lohan pix on the internet (two weeks before the official release of the issue). He probably felt you’re were some lady without a clue. I can hear the conversation when you left. “Dude, she ever hear of the internet? HaHaHaHa”

  6. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2011 9:17 am

    Ragnar — you have an entertainingly twisted mind. 🙂 I have to say that in all the times I’ve heard that song, it never once occurred to me it might have double entendres in it.

    Now? I’ll never be able to listen to it again without feeling like a giggling adolescent having just discovered …

  7. Matt
    Matt December 22, 2011 9:38 am

    The irony is delicious. People nowadays get their pornography from the internet. Which means that most folks who actually buy copies of Playboy are buying it…

    …wait for it…



    The most obvious and transparent self-serving lie of the late 20th century has become the actual truth.

  8. JS
    JS December 22, 2011 10:01 am

    You bet, … I’ll get that in the mail when we return next Tuesday. Snow day today.

  9. Scott
    Scott December 22, 2011 10:09 am

    When I was in elementary school, one story we read in My Weekly Reader(or something like it) was originally published Playboy-so sayeth the little footnote(as I recall, a story where smart children were executed with a mint-flavored poison by the government). Matt took some of my thunder…

  10. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2011 11:01 am

    Thank you, JS! I hope you enjoy your extended holiday. Merry Christmas to you!

  11. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2011 11:03 am

    LOL, Matt and Scott … that’s pretty good.

    It’s always been embarrassing for those of us who actually did read Playboy for the articles to have people look at us funny when we said so.

  12. Ragnar
    Ragnar December 22, 2011 12:43 pm

    And speaking of Playboy articles… I was 5 years old when Karl Hess’ “The Death of Politics” Interview in Playboy came out… but I did eventually find an original copy on eBay awhile back…
    seems like that search got started after I read “Mostly on the Edge” which I read after a Karl Hess mention on some Freedomista’s blog… can’t think of who that would have been. 🙂

  13. EN
    EN December 22, 2011 3:10 pm

    Ragnar, Thanks for bringing up Hess. It seems like just yesterday when I listened to him speak. I was not five years old when I first read “The Death of Politics”. . I was 17 and never been kissed too much and most particularly never by an angel. I was living with my Mom and being the oldest I had to hide certain “literature” (and various Herbs and quasi pharmaceuticals). My Dad got me that Playboy which incensed his liberal ex wife (more commonly known as mom) greatly. Brings back lots of memories.

  14. Bulucanagria
    Bulucanagria December 22, 2011 4:52 pm

    I had a subscription for awhile back in the early 90’s and I actually did buy it for the articles. Their Playboy interview was always one of the best and they consistently published excellent fiction. They’ve also been a significant part of the fight for first amendment rights.
    That being said, I can’t say that I ever skipped looking at the pictures.

  15. JS
    JS December 23, 2011 6:30 am

    Thank you Claire, … I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  16. Rocketman
    Rocketman December 23, 2011 11:26 am

    Most liquor stores carry a small selection of adult magazines and the usually do it right out in the open. Makes sense since minors are not allowed in the store there.

  17. Claire
    Claire December 23, 2011 1:29 pm

    Rocketman, you must live in civilization. 🙂 The liquor stores around here are family affairs; I can see and hear kids playing in the backroom, behind the counter in both the two nearest. And alas, nope. No Playboy magazines.

  18. Chem
    Chem December 23, 2011 6:41 pm

    Most large bookstores (Barnes and Noble, Hastings, Books a million, etc) carry it (and usually much more), most places that carry genuine smut I suppose dont bother. Military PXs carry it, probably because prudes get all heated up if the military makes real pornography available.

    Interestingly, the PXs carry a full assortment of survival type magazines (I think BHM isnt carried just out of economic reasons), FYI.

  19. Claire
    Claire December 23, 2011 6:46 pm

    Much though I appreciate the Handy Helpful Hints from several folks, those hints are mostly serving right now to highlight the differences between living in civilization and living … well, where I live.

    Chain c-stores? Liquor stores that sell magazines? Chain book stores? Not here, friends.

    Might help somebody else who’s looking for the Lindsay Lohan edition, though.

  20. winston
    winston December 24, 2011 6:47 pm

    Well I’d mail it to you if I didn’t already trade it to somebody for a Slayer tshirt, a nearly full can of Grizzly and a 2-liter pepsi full of…something other than pepsi that’s made in Tennesee. (Pretty good trade considering I only paid like 7 bucks for the magazine AND still have the centerfold.)

    If you aren’t shy about going in one (and can find one), any “adults only” shops would probably carry back issues.

  21. Claire
    Claire December 24, 2011 9:09 pm

    LOL, winston. Been a while since I went into an adults-only shoppe. (I remember the last time well because I embarrassed the clerk by looking at a very elaborate mechanical device with a lot of attachments and asking, “What does that do?” He had told me to feel free to ask about anything, but judging by his response, I don’t think he really meant it.) And then there was the time that my boyfriend and I … um, never mind. It was a very long time ago.

    I suspect the nearest adults-only shoppe is even farther from here than the nearest liquor store that sells magazines.

    So thank heaven for photocopies; I’ve had two offers on those already and I’m going for that.

  22. Claire
    Claire December 24, 2011 9:10 pm

    BTW — Definitely a good trade. And welcome back! And Merry Christmas.

  23. JS
    JS December 27, 2011 10:35 am

    Photocopy in the mail today.

  24. Claire
    Claire December 27, 2011 10:49 am

    Thank you, JS! And hope you had a great holiday.

  25. Eric Oppen
    Eric Oppen December 27, 2011 6:13 pm

    This is one reason I am less fond of living out in the toolies than you are. I had enough frustrating times just trying to get some decent comic books as a kid to last me. Finally had to sub to _Tomb of Dracula._

  26. Keith Sharer
    Keith Sharer December 29, 2011 8:01 am

    You meaqn they still print Playboy??? There is only one place in my town to buy adult oriented material and only available if the manager is working.
    Cosmopolitan isn’t even available for the women folk to read!

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