We never look at Playboy. Never ever. Really. But we have gleaned a few things through the decades about Hugh Hefner, 85, the perpetually pajamaed player who built an empire on the curves of the girl next door.
We know that he's lascivious, a stud, a 60-minute man who probably has sex 14, maybe 15 times a day, and more on weekends. We know that he lives some kind of fleshly fairy tale at the Playboy mansion, surrounded by a devout blond flock whose job it is to giggle, bathe, hula hoop and drink from straws. We know that . . .
This just in: Crystal Harris, 25, who dumped Hefner before their June wedding, told Howard Stern this week that she has never seen him naked and he prefers "couch cuddling and movie nights" to sex.
Hugh Hefner, it turns out, is a regular guy.
Damningly, incredibly, preposterously, Harris claimed that the two had sex only once, and it "lasted, like, two seconds."
The news was met with flabbergast in some quarters.
"Does he not take Viagra?" asked Jeannie Robinson, 60, barkeep at The Hub in Tampa.
But others say, Of course. He has been around the block with Barbi Benton, Shannon Tweed, Kimberley Conrad, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson. He dated 20-year-old twins, Kristina and Karissa Shannon.
And now he's old.
"He's done it so much," said Larry Critten, 61, bellied up at The Hub, "he's probably all worn out."
"I'm sure he's not as virile now as he was when he was a young man," said Bob Biddle, 53, who has bought his share of Playboys over the years — not for the pictures — and is looking to get rid of them on Craigslist. "Hefner's been with thousands of women. Thousands of women. It's okay if he's chilled."
"At that age," said Robinson, thumbing through the August issue, "all I'd want to do is cuddle. After 10 o'clock, I'm ready to go to bed."
In other words, he has earned his downtime.
But if Harris is to be believed, if Hef's lion image is faux, isn't it time for him to come down from the chandelier? Maybe find a woman half his age, someone who could help him finish the crossword puzzle?
"If I looked like that," said Brian Grady, 51, "I'd hang it up."
Hang it up. Be, for once, a human, like the rest of us.
One sign he might be human? He didn't take Harris' insult lying down. He shot back on Twitter, trying to resurrect his reputation.
"Crystal lied about our relationship on Howard Stern but I don't know why," Hef said in a Twitter message that was later deleted.
"I feel sorry for Crystal," he wrote. "She seems lost."
He said he has already rebounded, and was happy to be in a better place with new girlfriends Anna Sophia Berglund and Shera Bechard. They play dominoes.
Late Wednesday, he tweeted: "We're having a late snack, watching another episode of Dexter, a little Daily Show & then to sleep."
That's kind of sad, and about right.
Ben Montgomery can be reached at [email protected].