This offer arrived in the mail the other day from Playboy's Market Research Department:
Dear Domenick Scudera,
To attract readers with preferred demographics, you have been selected to receive this courtesy. As a special incentive, the price is reduced down as low as we are allowed, giving you a full year of Playboy for a token $12.
A sampling of my friends' responses:
- "I hear the articles are good."
- "Wasn't this on your wedding registry?"
- "I think the label has a misprint -- it should read '...to a token,12.'"
- "Oh, c'mon. Everyone knows gay men love women."
- "Did u forget to tell us something?"
Gay acceptance has reached new heights if 49-year-old, recently married gay men are one of Playboy's "preferred demographics." I feel blessed that Playboy has extended me this courtesy, one that I never would have received back in the days when gays were being denied equality.
The offer says that I will get the "beyond-beautiful women, obviously." In addition, they believe that I will "appreciate the award-winning journalism and no-holds-barred interviews" in every "smoking hot issue." The fine print includes this guarantee: "Playboy always guarantees that if you are ever dissatisfied for any reason whatsoever you get a full refund on all unmailed issues."
I am somewhat dissatisfied with my subscription. Don't get me wrong. There is a lot to admire in your magazine: The articles and interviews are terrific, and the women are, obviously, beyond beautiful. However, I would enjoy more male nudity in my magazines. Please refund me the amount of my unmailed issues, until you are prepared to give me some smoking-hot maleness.
This is not the first time I have received an offer for heterosexual porn. When I was 7 years old, I innocently opened up a plain, white envelope addressed to me. There was a series of pictures of naked women with their legs spread wide, and before I knew what was happening, my mother leaped across the room, wrestled the envelope out of my hands and appeared to have some trouble breathing. The next thing I knew, she was on the phone, complaining to someone, trying to make sure I never received offers like this again. Who did she call? The Post Office? The Better Business Bureau? President Nixon? I have no idea, but whoever it was, she was ineffective. I received more offers for years. She carefully monitored my mail until I was well into my college years.
Were 7-year-old gay boys one of the "preferred demographics" for Screw?
Most likely, these marketing departments have misidentified me. This is a problem I encounter often. For instance, when I watch television, the advertisers assume that I am a heavyset, single female on her period. I gather this from the fact that most of the commercials are for weight-loss supplements, dating sites and tampons.
About an hour after I received the Playboy offer, a pleasant young woman knocked on our front door with an offer for educational books for our children. When I explained that we have dogs, not kids, she showed me the books anyway. Did I know that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp, and that they would be white if they did not? No, I did not. This is educational, but my nonexistent children will not learn this, because I did not order any of the books.
Am I missing out? There might be other interesting factoids in those books, and Playboy's "no-holds-barred interviews" might offer some insights. But for now, I think I will hold on to my gay dollars for another day.