I was out to lunch with someone I hadn't seen in a couple years. I asked her, "How's your nephew? The one who lived with you for a while?"
She made a face. "He's shacking up with a woman of questionable character," she said.
"Drugs?" I asked.
"No, she's an exotic dancer." And then she leaned in. "But please don't think I'm judging you."
"Why would I think that?" I responded.
"Oh, Mithra," she said. "Don't be embarrassed. I know you worked at Hooter's."
"No I didn't," I said, laughing.
"Yes you did," she said.
We had reached an impasse.
At that moment, the server stopped in to take our order. And while my companion requested extra dressing for her spinach salad, it hit me. I had, in fact, worked in the Playboy Building, back in 1985, as a traffic manager for an advertising agency in Chicago.
"Maybe I mentioned once that I worked in the building where Playboy Magazine was headquartered?" I suggested. "Maybe you thought I was a Playboy Bunny?"
"You don't look like you could have been a Bunny," she said. "You look like someone who worked at Hooter's."
"Well I did neither," I said.
But she wasn't buying my story. She thought I was running from my past. I even admitted to being a lifeguard one summer, with Bo Derek-style cornrows and a very fetching mandatory one-piece swimsuit, but she remained steadfast in her conviction that somewhere somehow, I had earned a few paychecks from Hooter's.
Later when I complained to my husband, he was not sympathetic. "I used to brag to my friends that you worked in the Playboy Building," he said.
For the record, I never saw Hugh Hefner. Nor did I see any Bunnies. Everyone going into that building looked the same - young, overly-permed, and wind blown. The only naughtiness I witnessed occurred on our floor, in my department, where my boss, a petite blonde from West Virginia, would get totally sloshed during her three-hour lunches and then crawl under her desk for a nap with me guarding her door.
This is why I can never run for political office, why I'll be stuck selling vintage forever. Covering for a drunk boss makes me look weak. Working in the Playboy Building as something other than a Bunny makes me pathetic. And then there's the Hooter's job, which just makes me look cheap.
To honor the passing of Hugh Hefner, I'm listing a beautiful woman bread knife. Click on the photo for prices. Thank you for looking!
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