“So?” asked Melissa. “Are you ready to become famous?”

“I guess,” was Sam’s answer, but he couldn’t help but wonder if famous was the right word. Judging by some of the reactions to the announcement, infamous might have been a better description.

“Cheer up,” Melissa said, patting his satin-clad rear. “You’re making history, babe.”

“There’s a whole picket line outside who think it’s the wrong kind of history,” Sam said, referring to the protestors outside of the studio.

“Them?” asked Melissa. “A bunch of hairy-legged macho men who can’t leave the past where it belongs. This has been coming for a long time, and you know it. Think about it, honey – the very first male Playboy Bunny. That’s you. It’s a huge deal.”

“I know,” Sam conceded. Despite his trepidation, he knew that Melissa was right. Given the state of the world’s gender roles, it was an inevitability. In fact, many people considered the Playboy Bunny the last pillar holding up a backwards way of thinking where women were sexualized to the point of objectification. That Sam was wearing the iconic costume (and looking great in it, he thought) was a breakthrough in gender equality.

It was similar to when the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad had incorporated their first male member nearly a decade ago. Now, the squad was populated exclusively by men. Or when Hooters rebranded itself as “Bunz,” and phased out the female waitstaff. There were dozens of examples, but none were quite as iconic as the Playboy Bunny. A production assistant poked his head into the green room, saying, “Mr. Davis? You’re on in five.”

When the pretty young man closed the door, Sam said, “I think I’m ready.”


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