Tag Archive: Hugh Hefner


“You read Playboy for the articles, right?

“No, I look at the pictures too … ”

He was repeatedly labeled then-and-now as a “sexist pig.”

He was seen as a dangerous cultural rebel.

He was an illusionist. He pedaled fantasies at a desultory time.

He advocated an exciting, edgy new lifestyle for men.

He was regarded by some as a new-age-for-males philosopher.

Hugh Hefner was an editor and publisher, who will go down in the history books.

Some will miss him, many will not … regardless he made a difference.

“Shaken, Not Stirred”

Author Ian Fleming passed away far too early at 56-years young in 1964.

The accounts of his fictional hero James Bond found favor with dashing debonair U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a priceless endorsement for any novelist.

Fleming’s writing/personal interview also found its way onto the pages of Hefner’s Playboy, “Entertainment for Men.”

In reality, Fleming’s secret agent with a license to kill, James Bond (played superbly by Sean Connery) was everything the America male was not, entering the 1960s. Alas, Fleming lived only long enough to see his prose transformed into two movies, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. The first raised many eyebrows with Connery as Bond teamed with bikini clad Ursula Andress, playing Honey Rider.

Honey Rider swam nude in Fleming’s novel, but not for the 1962 movie adaptation.

Seventeen years earlier, Life Magazine captured the iconic Rockwellesque image of the American sailor passionately kissing a nurse in Times Square on VJ Day characterizing the advent of the Baby Boom (1946-1964).

And with the babies came piss, poop, vomit, crying, wailing and screaming. The preoccupation during years of rationing and the G.I Bill was raising children in suburban communities. We liked Ike, but life other than the Korean War/McCarthy-era Red Scare was more than a tad boring with cookie-cutter cars, crew cuts, skinny ties and white shirts.

Enter Hugh Hefner in 1953 with his scandalous Playboy with a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe on the cover. On the inside was a totally unattired horizontally posed Mizz Monroe on red velvet. Asked what was on during her famous pose, Monroe reportedly replied, “the radio.” The collector’s item inaugural issue of Playboy was an immediate sell out.

There was far more than the girl next door in subsequent issues. There were fast cars, exotic global destinations, tasty liquors, perfect suits, gambling, executive jets and a walk on the wild side. Men were shown how their lives could be, and how to rebel against mediocrity instead of merely running out the clock on their boring/mostly forgettable miserable lives.

Ian Fleming’s M16 James Bond epitomized the Playboy lifestyle with his ejector seat equipped Aston Martin, his vodka martinis, sun glasses at the windswept beach, goggles at the Alpine ski resorts, how he defeated the bad dudes and won over the Bond girl.

Sure beats working all day at the office orfactory and returning to the burbs for meat loaf.

“Life Must Have Purpose”

Meryl Streep playing the role of Mrs. Thatcher, and replied to Dennis’ marriage proposal stating that her life must be more than simply raising children. In reality, Margaret Thatcher was more than the first woman PM of the United Kingdom; she made a difference.

Life indeed had a noble purpose for the Iron Lady.

Almost DailyBrett subscribed to both National Geographic and Playboy during the years as they both took you to places you will most likely never visit in your lifetime.

Your author rejects sedentary lifestyles (no binge watching) that emphasize doing and achieving. Hugh Hefner and Ian Fleming through their editing and writing respectively changed the world. Their lives had purpose then and now.

Hefner and to less extent, Fleming, were both accurately accused as being sexists who objectified the fairer gender. Both are guilty as charged.

The real question in the eyes of the author of Almost DailyBrett is whether we are better as a society in that  men were encouraged to do more in their lives than go to work, raise children and watch television at night.

There is a big exciting world out there and we are fortunate to be here for a relatively short period of time. This proposition applies to both genders. Life does not need to be restricted and boring. It can be upwards to the right, and not just on Wall Street.

There needs to be respect and understanding, but that does not mean we can’t go out and have our vodka martini in an exciting foreign locale… shaken of course, but not stirred.

https://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21729969-founder-playboy-empire-was-91-hugh-hefner-died-september-27th

http://www.ianfleming.com/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/farewell-to-the-girl-next-door/

The words-and-related-photo on the iconic cover of Playboy’s first issue in December 1953 are impossible to miss: “Marilyn Monroe Nude.”marilynpb

The text-and-related-photo on the second sell-out, collector’s issue of Playboy in December 1998 is also simple-and-direct: “Katarina Witt Nude.”

Playboy pioneered the reality of that very special woman, providing the world with the gift of her beautiful unadorned body, for millions of admirers.

Since the beginning of time nude women have been portrayed in statues, paintings, photos, and in recent decades in digital still-and-video formats for consumers. Playboy took this legacy and became a legendary first-mover, trend-setter.

The magazine provided intimate looks at iconic women: Monroe, Witt, Cindy Crawford, Ellie MacPherson, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Barbi Benton, Stella Stevens, Bo Derek, Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and many, many others.

Men (and maybe a few women) wanted to see these celebrities, nude. They were grateful. Playboy -provided the up-to-that-moment-forbidden-peek-at-that-very-special woman. And similar to National Geographic, Playboy took you to places you would never get to in your lifetime.

And with these provocative peeks came widespread criticism and controversy, correctly charging Playboy with objectifying women … as if that had never happened before. “You read it for the articles, right?” Don’t forget the recipes.

And now that tradition is coming to an end.

Does the 62-year era of the “Girl Next Door” need to end this way?

Is The Cure Worse Than the Disease?

Just as Johannes Gutenberg’s 1439 printing press served as the destructive 15th Century communications technology. The same is true with the Internet is the 1990s. The 600-year era of the expensive-and-cumbersome printing press has come to an end.gutenberg

The directly related list of casualties is growing: Newsweek, Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.

Time Magazine is anorexic. Its days are most likely numbered, but should the news magazine give up its decades-long coverage of the White House in response to the digital threat? From this day forward, Time will no longer present stories about the executive branch because in three-or-less clicks readers can easily find stories and photos of Barack Obama.

This kind of bite-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face response to a new threat is one of those cases in which the cure is worse than the disease. What’s next? Will Baskin-Robbins no longer serve ice cream? Will Ghirardell no longer make chocolate? Will Nike no longer manufacture and market athletic shoes?

The decision by Playboy to abandon nude photography of some of the most beautiful women of the world is the wrong response to the destructive forces of digital publishing. Instead, Playboy will feature scantily clad women, which can be (not-so-safely) viewed at work.

The world already has a Maxim, it doesn’t need another one.

When In Doubt Declare Victory

That battle [for mass access and consumption to porn] has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so [nudity is] just passé at this juncture.” – Playboy CEO Scott Flanders

One of the most prominent axioms of public relations and marketing is when in doubt, declare victory. Playboy is trying to make lemonade out of its dropping nudity lemon of a decision.shamwowguy

Flanders’ proclamation is nothing more and nothing less than pure spin. Some will fall for it, and most will not.

Does this mean that Playboy will never republish some of these iconic women au naturel even though they have the exclusive rights to do so? Isn’t no nudity just that, no nudity?

And how does dropping nudity solve the digital-inspired issues associated with circulation dropping from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 now? Why should Playboy give-up its hard-fought, first-mover advantage?

Reportedly, Playboy editor Cory Jones convinced 89-year young founder Hugh Hefner that dropping its signature girl next door will solve all that ails of the magazine in the 21st Century.playboybag

Doesn’t the answer come from optimizing the full power of its “rabbit head” brand, and making binary code change its friend?

One must wonder whether Playboy will soon join Newsweek and many others in the ash-heap of digital history. Did Hefner just sign his company’s death warrant?

Farewell to the Girl Next Door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/13/opinions/robbins-playboy-no-more-nudity/

http://www.businessinsider.com/playboy-magazine-will-no-longer-feature-nude-women-in-its-print-edition-2015-10

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/playboys-move-away-nudity-actually-bad-sign

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

http://www.maxim.com/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2016/04/04/playboy-no-nudes/#5952556552cd

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/playboy-magazines-rite-of-passage/article26832781/

 

 

 

 

 

Is “clueless” male, redundant?

How about “disrespectful” man?

And to top it off, I have been labeled an “attention seeker.”

All of the above occurred in just one week as a result of a post that I wrote a little more than one year ago: The Trouble with Widowers.

These are just some of the joys of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Presumably, legions of women upset with widowers went to the web. They found my blog. They wrote to me. I wrote to them. The Internet bots recorded it all. My Trouble with Widowers blog is listed in the first and second positions on Google.

Can we do that again?

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Life is so short.

And yet there is so much that one has to read for work, for school, for personal improvement.

And then there are the relatively few-in-comparison precious items that one actually wants to read.

A blogger needs to keep these essential truths in mind when composing a post. A blog is the most discretionary of all reads. No one makes you read her or his blog. If your blog is lame, no one will read it. If your blog is boring, the reader will simply stop reading after a few paragraphs. If your blog is predictable, then why keep on reading?

After posting 201 blogs…some obviously better than others…there are lessons that come from blogging, which allows me to offer my humble commentary to an imperfect world.

Many immediately start thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and how to entice the “bots” to visit their pages…and one should contemplate these strategies. It is all so binary code or digital ones-and-zeroes.

Having said that, some of the lessons that emanate from blogging are actually analog in nature. Some of these do not originate in digital high-tech environments, but instead they are taught in conventional Journalism school. These include catchy headlines, inverted pyramids, the use of familiar (e.g., celebrity) names, breaking news stories, controversial debate points and even subjects that pertain to matters below the waist line…that would be sex for those of you living in Springtucky.

Headlines Matter: Just as in conventional magazine and newspaper journalism, a catchy headline will draw the eye and entice the reader to take a gander at the first few paragraphs. Besides The Trouble with Widowers, my other heavily read blog posts include: Competing Against the Dead, Men and Their Schlanges, Magnanimous in Victory; Gracious in Defeat, Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility; It’s Not You; It’s Me; Taxing the Fab Four; Exiling the Stones; and A Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes.

Leads Matter: Not every blog has to start out with the classic inverted pyramid, outlining the what, when, where, who, why and how of the story in rapid order. After all a blog is not a hard-news story, more of a feature or “thumb sucker” for those in the profession. Having said that, the reader should not be left wondering for long what the subject is about. Get to the point.

My blog about Lindsay Lohan, Hugh Hefner and $1 million to pose au naturel (Lindsay, not Hugh) did not take long for the reader to comprehend: The Decision to Pose for Playboy. I am still amazed by how many are still searching for information about skating superstar Katarina Witt’s sold-out 1998 nude spread in Playboy.

Tags Matter: What do blog readers care about? How about Katarina Witt and the word, “nude?” So far, I have posted more than 1,750 different tags to entice eyeballs and search engines. An Oregon football fan cares about Uncle Phil, Phil Knight, Nike, Autzen Stadium, Chip Kelly, Rose Bowl etc. Write your blog with tags in mind and review it to make sure you are fully taking advantage of what tags can do for your personal brand, SEO, individual visits and page views.

Stakeholders Matter: The number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, LinkedIn groups all equate to higher SEO. Every blog should be shared on these sites. Search engines are important, but they are far from the only way to drum up attention to your blog and better Google placement.

Credibility Matters: The lawyers call it “standing.” Do you have the bona-fides to write about a given subject? Why should anyone listen to you? I teach public relations at a Top 10 journalism school. I know a thing or two about communications, but virtually nothing about math and science. I write to my strengths and avoid my obvious weaknesses.

Respect Matters: One cannot be a successful blogger without being provocative. That is different from being notorious. As a former press secretary, I am not afraid of mixing it up. At the same time, I try to be respectful of others and want the same. I have thick skin to a point. Let’s dispense with name calling, slurs or foul language. The key is to be offensive without being offensive.

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All of the above do not require an advanced geek degree in writing algorithms for Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google (all tags for this blog). The knowledge of effective journalistic writing and persuasive public relations all come in mighty handy in writing an effective blog.

Who said that analog skills are dead?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_bots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

https://www.google.com/search?q=Search%20Engine%20Marketing&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&gs_rn=9&gs_ri=psy-ab&gs_mss=The%20Trouble%20with%20Wid&pq=search%20engine%20marketing&cp=25&gs_id=ma&xhr=t&q=The%20Trouble%20with%20Widowers&es_nrs=true&pf=p&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&oq=The+Trouble+with+Widowers&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45512109,d.cGE&fp=b3ed9e4baad5b678&biw=1680&bih=946

From a personal public relations, marketing and branding standpoint, would I advise somebody’s daughter to pose au naturel for Playboy?

My answer is the ultimate of cop-outs: It all depends.

The most important public relations are personal public relations. Once a reputation and brand is tarnished, there will never be total redemption (e.g., Tiger Woods). This is not to suggest that posing for Playboy is necessarily unwise or potentially career limiting; some may conclude that is the case and others may have an all-together different opinion.

Before baring my opinions on this topic that once again came to the public’s attention as a result of Lindsay Lohan doing her best sans clothes impersonation of Marilyn Monroe complete with the red velvet background, one needs to be reminded that just a fraction of those that have the temerity to pose nude before millions of eyeballs are ever afforded the “opportunity.”

Besides having the requisite ornamental value, there usually must be a compelling business reason for the editors of Playboy to want devote a half-dozen or more glossy pages to a certain damsel. There is a literal media industry obsessed with fame (e.g., TMZ) and if the world has the desire to see what a particular, intriguing celebrity looks naked that draws lots attention, which translates into increasingly hard-to-attract advertising dollars. Reportedly, Lohan was paid $1 million under the condition that she pose 100 percent nude. There are 7.8 million Google results related to Lohan’s Playboy shoot and counting. The January/February issue (at least in major locales) with Lohan on the cover is a total sellout, which should bring a smile to Hugh Hefner’s 85-year old mug.

wittpb

So in the wake of her entertainment stardom, not to mention the DUIs, rehabs, shop-lifting and ankle bracelets, Lohan’s decision to pose even drew the interest of the Gray Lady, the New York Times. “You could argue that Playboy is actually a step in the right direction — toward what passes for class and decorum these days — and that she will now join the likes of Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and Katarina Witt, all of whom posed for Playboy without any damage to their reputations whatsoever,” wrote Charles McGrath.

In assessing this question, one should consider the permanency of the pose/no pose decision. There is no debate that we live in a digital-is-eternal world in an attention society. A celebrity’s (or wanna-be celebrity’s) published nudity (both analog with staples and digital through key strokes) will follow her to the grave and in fact beyond the grave (e.g. Farrah Fawcett).

In some cases, the decision to pose nude is made with an eye toward launching a career (i.e., Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson) and in other cases the decision is made to resurrect interest or at least a memory (i.e. Witt, Fawcett). And in these cases, the decision from a personal PR, marketing and branding consideration was the right decision … but it doesn’t appear to work for everyone.

Nancy Sinatra’s decision to pose at 54 came too late in her career; her best days were clearly behind her. Fawcett was 48 and 50 for the two times she took off her clothes for Playboy’s photographers, putting her on the cusp of being too … mature for this decision.

Model Cindy Crawford recounted how advisors were aghast by her consideration of posing nude for famous photographer Herb Ritts’ camera a second time at 32-years-old in 1998. Reflecting on the stated opposition of her camp, Crawford said: “That provoked me and made me want to push their buttons a little. People have to compartmentalize me. They can’t deal with a woman who has a serious career taking off her clothes and being sexy.”

For race car driver/Go Daddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick the pose nude/not pose nude question has not been settled in her mind, and whatever she ultimately decides it must help build and enhance her personal “brand.”

“Artistically, I think it would be really fun,” the 31-year-old Patrick said according to the Sporting News. “But it’s not things that I need to do to push the issue with my brand. There’s already enough stuff that I do that pushes that, so I’d rather stay in my full comfort zone than go that far.

“I’m not saying there never will be a day. When I speak to them and they ask me each time, I say, ‘Don’t stop asking. I don’t know. I might change my mind one year and it might be something that parallels something else I’m doing or where I’m at.’”

Lohan’s pictorial in Playboy may or may not have totally sold out. There is no doubt that the Playboy appearances of two women resulted in their respective editions becoming collector’s items: Monroe and Olympic figure skating champion Witt.

wittpb1

Like Crawford before her, Witt had a similar pose/no pose decision to make. “I’m sure that some of my skating audience, when they hear I’ve taken off my clothes for Playboy, will be shocked. They may be uncomfortable with it, or they might ask, ‘Why?’ I don’t know what to say, except that I was ready to do this.” She was also 33 in 1998, possibly prompting her to ask herself, if not now, when … and is later possibly too late?

Olympic swimmer Beard was always being asked if she would pose for Playboy. “I talked to my agent, to my dad, I talked to my boyfriend, and finally it was like, You know what? It’s flattering that they want me to be in such an iconic magazine. It’s a huge honor, and I’m not going to have this body much longer. I’m going to go for it.”

And still there were nervous moments for Beard: “I’m used to being in not much clothing (yep, she is a swimmer), but I’m always in some clothing.” She had fun posing in the nude, and used the experience to try to get into the heads of her competition.

“What was most interesting is the reaction in the swimming community and the people I swim against,” Beard said. “The more I can distract them from my swimming, the better. Or maybe they won’t see me as much of a threat, and then bam out of nowhere … Another little mind game to play with them.”

Fawcett also reflected upon her fans and their impressions as part of her decision-making process. “Fans hand me posters, pictures, T-shirts to sign, and they talk about having fantasies about me. I decided, if they’re going to have fantasies, I’ll give them what I think they should have. As much as I wanted this, it wasn’t easy.”

In some cases, the decision to pose may revolve around money, (e.g. ,Lohan), notoriety (e.g., Kim Kardashian), break out the shadow of famous relatives (e.g., Lizzy Jagger) or to send a message to an ex-husband (e.g., Jeannie Buss).

From a personal brand-building/enhancing standpoint, the decision to pose worked well for the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Katarina Witt and certainly Marilyn Monroe. For others including Nancy Sinatra and quite possibly, Farrah Fawcett and Patti Davis, it was a mistake. And for even others, such as Tea Party fave Sarah Palin or sideline reporter Erin Andrews in the wake of the despicable stalker video of her, the decision to pose would most likely be curtains or at least eye-opening setbacks to lucrative careers.

Relatively new Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer raised more than a few eyebrows with her horizontal spread for Vogue. A horizontal pose for Playboy by telegenic Mayer would more than stir up Yahoo!’s NASDAQ ticker symbol.

Of course, times and mores change. Monroe was reportedly questioned by authorities what was on when she posed for Playboy. She replied: “The radio.” These days no one would care what music was playing when Lohan stepped out of her bathrobe.

Did they airbrush her ankle bracelets along with her tattoos?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/sunday-review/lindsay-lohan-in-playboy-overexposed.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.nndb.com/lists/272/000091996/

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9170927-president-reagans-daughter-patti-davis-poses-nude-at-58-photo

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/271833/20111223/lindsay-lohan-pictorial-leaked-playboy-photos-want.htm

http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2013-07-12/danica-patrick-nude-photos-swimsuit-pose-si-espn-go-daddy

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nascar-from-the-marbles/danica-patrick-won-t-appear-nude-espn-body-034511628.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1702957-danica-patrick-declined-to-pose-in-the-2013-espn-body-issue

http://articles.latimes.com/1995-05-14/news/ls-376_1_parallel-universe

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/living/marissa-mayers-vogue-photo-women/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/mayer-vogue-nasdaq-yhoo/

Why are men their own worst PR enemies?

Why is it only a matter of time before the blood gushes out of our collective brains flowing due south and getting far-too-many of us into some really deep doo-doo?

Are we really just slaves to our Schlanges (pronounced shlongers as in the one-eyed shlonger)?

boa

Do any of us really understand the word, “Accountability?”

As we live in a society of quicker-and-quicker news cycles, what was the story that blew Donald Trump and his annoying hair-do, personality and penchant for the “F-word” off the pages (as if there are still pages)? The shooting of Osama bin Laden and the feeding of his remains to Indian Ocean sharks.

And as welcome as the Navy-Seal-Osama-bin-Laden story was to the world that news cycle passed so much faster than what most of us in the strategic communications choreography would have originally thought; it was short, very short.

What ended the universal attention of the Osama bin Laden commando raid was two Schlange-induced stories in rapid succession, the au-naturel rape attempt of New York Sofitel chamber-maid by former IMF-chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn; and the love child revelation by former California Governator AH-nold Schwarzenegger, and the related divorce proceedings by Maria Shriver.

Were we really that surprised? To some extent, yes; and to some extent, no.

What was surprising was that Mssr Dominique, one of the most powerful men on the planet, staying in a $3,000 per night suite, couldn’t have just followed the lead of so many of his countrymen and rented a discreet happy ending?  If so, he would have simply tucked his Schlange back into his pants, settled into his first class seat on Air France, continued to try to bail out Greece while setting his sights on Nicolas Sarkozy.

In AH-Nold’s case you ask why someone so fortunate to be married to filet mignon, would take such a huge gamble with skirt steak in the form of domestic help that lives in a monopoly house on a God-awful Bakersfield cul-de-sac?

The females of the species, who has been shaking their collective heads for years and years, are just thinking this is more of the same. This time it is Dominique and AH-Nold. Before it was Eliot. It was Hugh Grant. It was Tiger. It was Bill and Monica. It was Al and the masseuse. It was John Edwards and Rielle. It was Larry Craig and the bathroom stall. It was Brett Favre and his sexted Schlange. It was… (Add your favorite notorious Schlange story here).

Which brings up the next question: Do we really subscribe to the so-called biological imperative that men must spread our seed far-and-wide, across hill-and-dale, from sea-to-shining sea, across the fruited plain to fertilize as many eggs as we possibly can? To borrow an oft-repeated contention in another context, are we simply born this way?

If we subscribe to this notion then we have to come to the next logical conclusion, and that is that men are victims of our biology. We really cannot control what we do. Could this contention that my Schlange made me do it be the 21st Century version of the “Twinkie” defense? Are men simply helpless in subservience to our Schlanges?

What about that organ in between our ears as opposed to the one in between our legs? What about accountability? What about integrity? What about discipline? Didn’t Vince Lombardi say that there is something in good men that yearns for discipline?

And you wonder why the PR profession is being taken over by women? Are they perfect? Ask virtually any woman if she is perfect, and a litany of real or perceived faults will in most cases come flowing out…and that is refreshing.

Alas, for men our misadventures on behalf of our beloved Schlanges will inevitably keep marching on. One related PR debacle will follow another. Eighty-five year-old Hugh Hefner will marry (his third) 25-year-old former Playmate Crystal Harris on June 18. Hugh spared men from having to wonder what Crystal will look like on her wedding night. Now we can simply join with women in wondering what the dress will look like.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/19/dominique-strauss-kahn-resigns-imf

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-17/arnold-schwarzeneggers-love-child-bombshell-why-maria-shriver-left/#

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20454258,00.html

 

Did I get your attention?

Actually the purpose behind posing this question is much more than the yearning for the ultimate in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) victories by using the S-word as a verbal pheromone to stimulate the Google algorithms to draw even more eyeballs to my Almost DailyBrett blog.

Instead, my intentions are noble (yes, I know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions). As a result of being a widower for more than five years, I have been cast into an unenviable position as a mature, single follicly challenged male after more than two decades of blissful marriage. The padre really meant it, when he stated: “To death do you part.” And I thought the vows were just an administrative act that stood between us, the champagne reception, the delicious wedding night and the honeymoon in Hawaii.

And when you actually do part because of death (my spouse succumbed to dreaded stomach cancer), you are suddenly single wondering if you will ever recover from this ultimate curve ball of life and whether you will ever find another very special someone. So far my search has not born ultimate fruit, but it has been instructive and I have learned a lot about me and the opposite gender.

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As a communications choreographer, I have come to appreciate love, sex and romance as a core marketing and public relations skill. Today, we do not have to rely on the company dock, the Safeway produce aisle or the local tavern to scout out would-be partners. We can now use 21st Century digital tools to identify our target audiences, develop our strategic messages, execute our communications program and market our product (that would be me…in my case or you in your case).

Certainly I am not an expert in the affairs of the heart, but I have learned from my own experiences and mistakes and the errors of others on what works and doesn’t work when it comes to online dating. So what are some techniques that you should consider regardless of your membership in terms of the great gender divide and your orientation? Here are a few to weigh.

● First do not expect perfection when it comes to online dating websites. Some are better than others. Personally, I prefer Match.com and have been an on-and-off member for about three years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Match.com For some reason I cannot get past Neil Clark Warren the Ph.D founder of eHarmony and his embarrassing ads. Match.com gives you the tools that you need, but just be mindful that when you are done, cancel the service…otherwise they will gladly renew your subscription and renew it again and again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Clark_Warren

● Go into this process with the clear understanding that everybody is not for you, and you are not for everybody. Even though there are more than 3 billion card-carrying members of the opposite gender on this planet (or your own gender, if you are so inclined), your target audience in reality is relatively small. Plan on investing some time into this process, including responding to e-mails, participating in screening calls, and then meeting at a busy public, neutral site, such as a Starbucks or a wine bar. You can usually identify an ongoing awkward Match.com first-time meeting at Starbucks or any other upscale coffee joint. It really is a joint job interview where two people are alternating between interviewer and interviewee.

● Trust your instincts when it comes to safeguarding personal information. Don’t share your cell phone number (never give out landlines, assuming you still have one) or your personal e-mail address (never a work e-mail address) to someone until you have developed a rapport. If necessary, do a Google search on the lovely Mizz X or the mysterious Mr. Y. They are probably doing the same with you.

● Sweat the details when it comes to your profile. Use your spell checker, but then read your profile out loud (or ask someone to proof it for you). Keep in mind that spell checkers will miss the wrong word spelled right (e.g. “pubic” instead of “public”). Also avoid the dreaded “I” disease as in “I do this…” and “I do that.” Avoid coming across as self-absorbed, particularly if you are a guy, or needy, if you are a female.

● An early 20th Century advertising executive once said that “A good picture is worth a 1,000 words.” In online dating, good, recent pictures that accurately portray you are absolutely vital to success or failure. If necessary, have some professionally produced digital photos taken. They should not be corporate, but not cheesy either. Sydney Biddle Barrows, the infamous Mayflower Madam, said that “a man falls in love with his eyes; a woman with her ears.” http://www.sydneybarrows.com/  Despite the wisdom behind this turn of phrase, women are also very attracted to a portrait of a confident, handsome man. Oh and be sure to smile. Forget the linebacker stare.  Most important of all, be sure to post photos of yourself, if you want to have any hope at being successful in Internet dating. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words

● Many lie like rugs on online dating sites, particularly when it comes to age, height and weight. And once you are caught in a lie, your would-be partner is wondering what other facets of your “background” are not the truth. Keep in mind, she or he is going to meet you and decide for herself or himself. Be honest. Don’t be deceitful about your age in order to beat the search engine (e.g. under 50…when you are clearly over that mark). You are what you are.

● If you are not happy with your appearance, don’t expect miracles. We cannot all be perfectly enhanced and airbrushed Pam Andersons. Having said that, spending a few weeks to really get yourself in the best shape possible will improve not only your physical appearance but your personal confidence as well.

● Be reasonable when it comes to that first meeting over coffee or wine (safer than a long lunch or dinner with someone who is immediately incompatible). If it is not clicking or if you are not attracted, then just have a nice cup of coffee or a good glass of wine with a friendly acquaintance. The most important point of all: If you set up the encounter as your first meeting with Mrs. X or Mr. Y, you will most likely be disappointed, and besides is that really fair? This is an awkward time for her or him as well.

● Be realistic about your expectations. If you are a 55-year-old guy (and you are not Hugh Hefner), do you really think that a self-respecting 22-year-old female is going to be interested in you? Let’s face it; you are old enough to be her father. The same applies to Cougars on the prowl, albeit some young bucks may be interested in a meaningful overnight romance. My humble advice: Pick on people who are in your own age group.

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● Don’t subordinate what is really important to you, but at the same time don’t impose standards that are virtually impossible for anyone to live up to. Everyone has some baggage (and so do you). Look for someone with a carry-on bag and be willing to be flexible. If a college education, not smoking, working out, having parental experience, loving animals, harboring reasonable ambition, are important to you then don’t settle. Compromise is good; settling for someone who is not a match is a recipe for a very expensive divorce, particularly in a Community Property State.

● Stay away from tailor-made arguments. Opposites do attract to a point. Personally, I am very wary about “currently separated” (ongoing combat?), “never married” (north of 50), Bible beaters or the opposite, atheists and/or agnostics…these are just fights going somewhere to happen. Personally I relish a good political discussion, but I know when it is best to fold my tent in the face of a militant extremist (Redundant? Maybe) regardless of ideology. Avoid extremism, drama queens (or kings) if you can and seek out people who are even-keeled.

● Don’t send or respond to Internet dating websites on Friday or Saturday nights. Perception is everything, and you don’t want to unintentionally send an unwanted signal. Your pithy messages and responses can wait until the morning.

● If you have eccentric hobbies, habits or fetishes, you might want to hold off on revealing these until you have established a clear relationship. I am not advocating withholding the ultimate truth. I am suggesting like any good PR practitioner to manage the flow of your information.

Finally if you are contemplating taking the plunge into online dating, my advice is to go for it, but do it with your eyes wide open. Is having that very special someone in your life the key to ultimate happiness? Maybe. There is only one way to find out. Digital tools are now at your disposal. Use them. Besides how is she or he going to find out that you are available and all the wonderful things that you have to offer?

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