The Runaway Opportunist
– by David Matthews 2
This past Father’s Day weekend was supposed to be a very special one for a certain magazine legend.
Hugh Hefner, the man who epitomized the “Playboy lifestyle”, was supposed to be married to his latest “Number One”, Playmate Crystal Harris. Ms. Harris was the latest of Hef’s “girlfriends”, following the departure of the highly-publicized “Hefmates” of Holly, Kendra, and Bridget from “The Girls Next Door”. Ms. Harris and twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon took over where the first trio left off, and even became Playmates (a distinction that none of the original trio ever had, hence the title of “Hefmates”).
And then there was one, with a nice engagement ring to boot…
And Hef supposedly thought that this would be THE ONE. As in THE LAST Mrs. Hugh Hefner. He’s been married twice before, and his last wife, Kimberly Conrad, was even Playmate of the Year, as well as the mother of his two sons, but he believed that this would be THE LAST TIME, that this would be the woman he would spend the rest of his remaining years with.
But now there is none… because the wedding is off, and Hef spent the weekend watching movies (one of them reportedly being “Runaway Bride”) while the media does a few somersaults figuring out what happened… and laughing their butts off in the process.
Yes there are those in the media that are enjoying Hef’s misfortune. After all, he’s potentially out a quarter-of-a-million dollars over this!
In addition to the lavish ceremony and reception at the Playboy Mansion, there were also the television expenses, because this WAS supposed to be televised. The magazine also spent time and money to put Crystal in the July issue and on the cover as “America’s Princess: Mrs. Crystal Hefner”. The magazine then had to do a quick last-minute slap of a “RUNAWAY BRIDE” sticker after the news came out. These are not cheap, and the publishing empire is not as strong as it used to be. Things were getting tight for the Mighty Bunny even before the Great Recession hit, and THIS does not help things.
I feel sorry for Hef. I really do. I’m sure at his age he’d like to think that he still has it. Sure, Viagra helps. But the only thing he has right now is his name, his money (how much there is left of it), and his reputation, and a lot of women that think that hooking up with him would give them fame and fortune.
I feel sad when I see Hef in those scenes on “The Girls Next Door”. I try to compare that same man with the one that used to host two variety shows on national television breaking down racial barriers, the man that stood up for women’s rights back when it wasn’t being used for misandry, and the man that fights for the First Amendment. This is the same Hef that fought to restore the HOLLYWOOD sign, that hosts the annual jazz festival in the Hollywood Bowl, and who fights to preserve and restore those original classic Hollywood films for future generations to enjoy. It’s hard to see him today compared to the Hef of days gone by that used to be the inspiration behind Ian Flemming’s character James Bond.
I also don’t believe anything that Ms. Harris claims that supposedly made her dump Hef. Rigid rules? A curfew? An allowance? The bevy of babes? B.S.! You knew going into the relationship what was going on, Ms. Harris! You were a Playmate; you knew the environment. Did you think that this was going to end just because there’s a ring on your finger? Did you bother to talk with Holly, Kendra, and Bridget, or, for that matter, ex-wife #2 Kimberly?
Right now I’m going to discount the rumors of a planned wedding-day dump for a $500K interview and the idea that Ms. Harris was still with her music-making ex-boyfriend. Not that they don’t seem plausible (both Holly and Kendra did find new beaus while still at the Mansion), but even without those rumors, the blame is still on her for the whole fiasco. You don’t put up a quarter-of-a-million dollars for an event, including publishing a whole month’s issue highlighting the event, and then scrap it at the last minute.
Let’s get brutally honest here… while there are many that consider Hefner to be a dirty old man using his money to sew what’s left of his wild oats, the truth of the matter is that this is a man who has lived out his dream, and now is trying hard to keep it from being taken away from him. And it doesn’t take much for that to happen. All it takes is an ambitious young woman with an eye for the money instead of the man. And given his history in that department, maybe, just maybe, that explains some of those “rigid rules”.
It’s easy for some people to think that an eighty-something man with money is taking advantage of a girl sixty years his younger. They cannot help but see nothing but lechery, and that’s rather sad on their part. But the truth is that the eighty-something man is more likely the one being taken advantage of by the younger girl, and that certainly was the case with Hefner. The only good thing that one could say about this letdown, as costly an embarrassment as it is, is that it happened BEFORE the marriage instead of after.