THE NIGHT I HUNG OUT WITH HUGH HEFNER
What do you do when 90 year old Hugh Hefner shows up to a party alone? But more importantly, what does he do?
It was a peculiar night. We went to Vegas for the weekend last minute, because my husband was prompted by his partners to close a deal at a convention there.
So our after dinner our first night we headed to the bar at the Palms Hotel where we were staying. The bar is open and in the middle of the hotel and there was a lovely hip dude playing guitar and singing songs we all know. As we walked up we noticed Hugh Hefner in all his glory with a beautiful slender blond by his side — they were sitting having cocktails just like us.
My husband had already seen him earlier in the day. He and his partners happened to see Hugh and a slew of ladies get out of a Buick or some random car, they assumed an Uber. He was wearing his uniform — a red velvet robe with the Playboy bunny logo on the back. You can’t miss him. He looked as though he was having a difficult time walking, 90 was wearing on him.
Once in the hotel he had to have his lady friends take him into the men’s restroom. As they emerged, there were several people waiting to take a picture with him. There was a woman with him, who stood out as the leader or handler, they said, the only woman of color. I say that because as we all know his brand is blond. And they are by his side at all times. So it was interesting. She was strong and told everyone it wasn’t a good time. I like that she was the strong one, the only black woman with him. He certainly looked like he was struggling.
Fast forward to us at the bar at around 9:30pm when Hugh and his girl (the blond one) and what looked to be her boyfriend or brother all at a cocktail table having a drink, as we were. This was not the same man as earlier in the day. This man walked tall and didn’t need any women around him to help him. He was confident and had a pep in his step.
Mike’s (my husband) two partners met up with us near the bar after about 45 minutes and as Hugh was leaving to go to the restroom Mike’s partners decided to hit him up for a photo. I rarely do the photo thing with celebrities, it’s weird to me, but I tagged along as I knew the boys really wanted a photo. As their impromptu photographer and the assertive gal that I am, I asked him, “Mr. Hefner, my boys here would like to take a photo with you” and with that he happily obliged. He whipped out his handy pipe and I snapped the shot. Ironically we were headed to the famous Hugh Hefner suite on the 34th floor for an industry party. As we were walking away from Mr. Hefner, Mike’s partner said, “Mr. Hefner, we’re headed to your suite, would you like to join us?” He sarcastically said, “oh, I’ve been there before” then he said, “actually how many girls do you have up there? If not many, we can come back down and round them up.” We all were surprised as he really was true to his brand, a ladies man.
We headed up to the party and after about 30 minutes, we saw a crowd gathering around, we went to investigate and saw that Mr. Hefner actually came! Alone! This was a bone thumping, DJ playing party and Hugh posed for picture, after picture, after picture with every one at that party. Anywhere from 50+ people were all thrilled that Hugh Hefner showed up to the Hugh Hefner Suite, which is a massive penthouse, with a nude mural of Marilyn Monroe in a main hallway, a shallow pool overlooking the Las Vegas strip and top of the line everything. Exquisite.
So during the very informal “meet and greet,” I started to wonder if he really enjoyed this. I almost started to worry for him. The picture taking did not stop for probably an hour. He was alone, too. We came to the conclusion that he must have known what he was getting himself into and for every photo he whipped out his pipe and assumed the photo position; pipe in his mouth, arms around whomever he was with. It seemed like to me it was his last hoorah… or one of many. He’s a people pleaser for sure, enjoying the thrill people get when they see him.
He’s a major celebrity, a peculiar one for sure because of his line of business. After the pictures died down, I expected him to leave. But he didn’t.
At one point there was a crowd near the pool getting rowdy, Hugh was standing near them and I worried he might get shoved accidentally so I pulled him back inside. He appreciated the gesture, but didn’t seem shaken or worried.
A few of the guys asked for business advice. They asked if he could give one piece of advice, what would it be? For business. He said, “don’t give up, keep going, have your goal and do not give up on it.” Then when they asked him about branding advice, he said, “stay consistent”. When asked what his key to happiness was, he said “stay positive, because once you go negative everything goes bad.” He also mentioned “haters,” he said, “there’s always haters trying to take you down” and he said it with emotion, negative, bitter emotion. That stuck to me a little. I imagine, as anyone who has success, and the kind that he has had, in his line of business, that he has had his share of haters himself.
I decided to leave the party at around 12:45 or so as I was tired and Mike and his partners were talking to other industry folks. I said goodbye to Mike and told him I was heading to our room.
As I was leaving, I saw Mr. Hefner walking around alone, like everyone was finished with him. I wanted him to go home now. He’s 90 years old for God’s sake, it’s late, he’s alonr and he’s at a party with drunk folks. So I went up to him and told him it was nice to meet him and that I was leaving now. I asked, “are you staying?” He said he was and I said something to the effect of: wow, you’re outlasting me. He looked at me almost annoyed and with a look of “honey, please, I can hang.” As if he was 30. He asked me where I was going, I told him I was going back to my room, he smiled and asked if I needed help, that he’d be happy to help. Was he flirting with me? Really? Hmmm… Or was he being polite? I politely declined and left. I went back to my room and started to write a little about it and then Mike came in shortly after.
The next morning we met up with Mike’s partners for breakfast and they talked shop and of course Hugh Hefner’s name came into the conversation. Mike came back to our room shortly after I did, because the fire alarm went off and security cleared the party. But the partners said after the party cleared, that they had gone back and that Hugh Hefner was sitting in front of the fireplace on a couch, and that there were two nude women frolicking on a sheet laid out in front of the fire. That there were candles to set the mood and that apparently afterward the women he brought were offering private lap dances in the bedrooms to who ever was left at the party. I was shocked to hear this. We all were.
They were told that Hugh Hefner had got on the DJ mic and told the crowd that they were “boring” and that he was going to bring his girls up. True to his word, he did.
Being the kind of person who is passionate about people and their personalities and what makes them tick — I started to wonder how this 90 year old man (at the time) could come to a party where he knew no one, produce this type of situation and stay until 3:30 in the morning or later. I looked him up and started to read about him. The first thing that popped up was that same day, Friday, he was all over the news because he was being deposed in one of the Bill Cosby sexual abuse cases. He was accused of being a facilitator for Cosby’s alleged abuse at the mansion. It made me sick to my stomach, like we all glorified him. Because why?
I wondered if he flew to Vegas to get away from all the negative press he was getting since all of this just came out in the media that day. I wondered if that’s what he talked about when he said “haters.” I started to read about his ex-girlfriend and her accounts of their relationship, about how he really did have several women who were his girlfriend’s living with him. Like real girlfriends, whom he had sexual relationships with. I wondered why these women would be okay with living in his concubine — consenting to sharing a man. If you are a woman, you know that would be torture.
I started to really feel sad for him. Like was this as deep as he got? Like could it be that he was such an extraordinary womanizer and this was the driving force in his life? Like he loved women’s bodies so much that he wanted to share them with the world and this is how Playboy came about? Like is he going to die with a bunch of young blonde’s by his side, whose motives for being with him are seriously questionable?
I really am working at being at a place where I don’t judge. I try to look deep at why people may behave a certain way and find the compassion in me to try to understand it better. I know that when it comes down to it, we are all spirit, that we all have access to it, some who do the work have more access more often, and many are blocked. Living in consciousness means being guided by your spirit. Was Hef guided to do this by his spirit or by his ego? Has he really been happy? I don’t know, maybe he is truly happy, he’s lived up to 91 years old so far living his infamous lifestyle with women being at the center of it. I guess I won’t ever know.