It’s a tacky temple of sexism and Hef, 89, is its high priest
For sale: one sex mansion, slightly used. A once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase this beautiful home in the prestigious LA enclave of Holmby Hills along with its still living ghost, a man who lurks in smoking jacket and shadows, both haunting and haunted.
Here is a relic from a more testicular time, when men were men and women were girls. Construction of the Tudor Revival mansion began in 1927, in tandem with the deconstruction of humanity. The main house has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and two powder rooms. The estate also includes a four-bedroom guesthouse and a two-bedroom game house which opens out into the “van room”, a den decorated to look like the back of a van. There’s also a koi pond, a small citrus orchard, two well-established forests of tree ferns and redwoods and a clutch of ornamental women.
Montage sequence: Hugh Hefner abolishing slavery, in the mansion’s opulent gardens. Hefner fixing racism. Hefner inventing the Pill, in the mansion’s wood-panelled kitchen. Aerial shot of the grounds, lit by a rainbow.
The main draw of this classic property, this be-titted Disneyland, is surely its status as the ultimate sex object. With its seductive curves, it has welcomed the world’s most eligible men into its folds, got them drunk and sold photos of them to TMZ for diminishing returns. Has ever one property hosted so many fantasies and enabled so many exciting exploitations? Here is your chance to own a piece of the history of man – within these walls, an anonymous and ever-changing group of blonde women were seduced into being its owner’s girlfriends. It was here, too, that Bill Cosby was introduced to some of his alleged victims – there is an ongoing investigation into the case of Chloe Goins, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Cosby at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. But it’s not all bad – Cosby’s friend Hugh Hefner championed civil rights, equality and free speech. Women, calm down – he’ll get to your headaches next.
The price of the house includes Hefner himself, who will continue to live here until death or the end of double entendres, whichever comes first. The country’s most notorious and dedicated bachelor – a walking time capsule, a human fondue, a desiccated polygamist with a single pair of pyjamas, famous for dressing up women as rabbits. Now 89, and living the life of a dystopian psychiatric patient, over the years in this magical house he has performed the enviable feat of growing older while keeping his harem of girlfriends at the very same age. Upon leaving the house, some have written about the glamour of living under this charmed roof – the dog shit on Hef’s bedroom carpet, which would be quietly brushed away before his nightly orgies. The insistence on dinner at 6.30 every night, and his house rules, including what make-up is acceptable for them to wear. Like the 1960s Bunny Manuals given to waitresses at the Playboy Clubs which dictated how Bunnies could smoke (one small puff at a time, the cigarette resting in the ashtray, never the hand), how they could sit and how they could stand (the Bunny Stance: one foot behind the other), his wives and girlfriends are expected to carefully walk the line between sex worker and coy little girl without tripping in their heels. When she went undercover at a Playboy Club in 1963, Gloria Steinem wrote a list of things Bunnies used to stuff their bras with, including socks and sanitary towels. Today Hef’s girlfriends would presumably add “dreams” and “ambition” and “love” to that list. Perhaps it’s easier for them to think of themselves, rather than as girlfriends, as carers. The ultimate sexy nurses, and without even having to learn CPR.
Consider this the real man’s panic room. The last refuge for men’s rights survivalists, a place where the feminist chatter of the last 30 years can be shushed, a utopia for the four people who still believe Hefner is living the dream. A place of baby oil and Polaroids, and rituals, and myth. For $200m you, man, can buy your way out of a future where women are allowed to speak, and stand how they want, and age, and express emotion. For $200m (and the promise you will house Hef and his Viagra cellar), all this could be yours. Don’t walk, run.
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