1) Poke a fingernail through the black, plastic wrapping applied to protect preteen boys from racy, mutant images such as side-boobs with the nipple removed via airbrush, ass-apples, and cowgirl hats worn nowhere near the head. Tear package open.
2) Open halfway at any random page and shake vigorously like an Etch-a-Sketch so as to knock out all the "Save 67% off the cover price!" inserts onto my desk. No deal they offer me is cheaper than free, and by removing all the inserts now, I avoid having to do a balancing act on the toilet later when they've fallen and scattered all over the bathroom floor.
3) Flip immediately to the centerfold. Realize quickly that the centerfold picture is the least flattering shot in the model's entire spread.
4) Read centerfold's profile page then attempt to convince myself that I didn't just read the most boring questionnaire ever completed just to see how much younger she is than me.
5) Carry magazine to my boyfriend's office. Commence fifteen minute discussion about whether or not her breasts are real. Discuss other merits of her body and face. We usually agree, and 85% of the time, they are fake.
6) Carry the magazine outside and read the entire "Playboy Advisor" section while sitting on the porch swing. Note the typical range of questions from how to properly trim a cigar to how to age a steak to what rhythm of stroking a woman finds most pleasurable to how to tell your girlfriend that you want to sleep with her best friend. I find this much more informative than anything I've ever read in Martha Stewart Living. Although I enjoy Martha Stewart Living, too, both magazines seem to have problems with reality. Very few women look like the ones in Playboy, and I don't have 32 hours or the OCD to handcraft those tiny, scrapbook-worthy Christmas tree-shaped place cards for my next crown-roast dinner party.
7) Fold down corners of the pages with really poignant political articles I should take the time to read. Never read them.
8) Deposit issue on the back of the toilet for future neglect. Once every six months, actually read one of the "poignant articles" then retire the issue to coffee table so kesterly can read the joke section when she visits.
9) Be honestly surprised when my friends with kids tell me I have too many Playboy issues lying around my house that I should probably put away before company comes over.
10) Hide them only when my mom visits.2
1 Back in 2002, I had so much transcription work to do before a deadline hit that I paid maxine, who was a destitute college student like me, to help me with it. Instead of getting paid money for her work, maxine asked me if I would make an online purchase for her since she didn't have a credit card. At her request I order a Playboy director's chair a gift for nyarl's birthday. The director's chair was out of stock, the order was immediately canceled, my money was refunded, and Playboy has been sending me free issues ever since. I have often wondered if this is because they want to keep their female readership numbers up. I'm not complaining.
2 Not because I'm embarrassed; just so she doesn't have to look at naked women everywhere.