Now might seem like an odd time for me to give up my subscription to Playboy magazine – considering that it is restoring nude models to its pages.
As you might recall, the men’s magazine surprised many when it announced a year ago that it would discontinue its decades-long practice of featuring naked women.
Instead, it filled its glossy pages with models in various states of undress but gone was the full-frontal nudity of the past.
Well, that idea apparently flopped like a rabbit’s ear because the company recently announced it was reversing course.
Cooper Hefner, a son of the Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said on Twitter that the way the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, “but removing it entirely was a mistake.”
Hefner, the company’s chief creative officer, said in an interview with Business Insider that he thought the choice made no sense.
“When you have a company, and the founder is responsible for kick-starting the sexual revolution, and then you pluck out that aspect of the company’s DNA by removing the nudity, it makes a lot of people, including me, sit and say, ‘What the hell is the company doing?’” he said.
What the hell is the company doing, indeed, is what I say.
When Playboy revamped the magazine, it lost some of its playfulness, smarts and voice, in my opinion.
It expanded the size of the pages, reduced the point size of the print (and for us oldsters who actually do read the articles, that makes a big difference), got rid of some favorite features and began feeling more like a general circulation news magazine.
With a metamorphosis like that, why would I want to keep subscribing — even at the heavily discounted rates it offered?
Consider, for example, the Playboy Advisor column.
The advisor answered reader questions about drinks, food and sex as well as travel and etiquette.
For a side-by-side comparison, I consulted the July/August 2015 edition (pre-redesign) and the July/August 2016 edition (post-redesign).
In the old Playboy, the column spread across two pages and answered 11 questions with a blend of wit and useful information.
In the new-and-improved version, it answered a single question and I found the writing to be meh.
Gone from the new version were the playful cartoons. Reduced was content about movies and television, which I enjoyed reading.
Sure, the models were pretty and all, but for crying out loud, I’m now old enough to be their father and some of them were born after I started my professional career.
But I did still enjoy the opinion pieces, the smart journalism and the interviews. Somehow with its revamp, it tinkered too much with those appealing elements and it lost me as a reader.
To be fair to the magazine, though, I have come to this realization: My reading material has evolved as I’ve aged.
I started with Highlights magazine.
Then I advanced to Boy’s Life.
Then came Mad, Cracked and National Lampoon.
From there it was onto Maxim and Playboy.
So maybe I’ve just naturally aged out of the publication that branded itself as “Entertainment for Men.”
Up next: AARP magazine — in big print.