Every.single.time I go to the Playboy Mansion I obvi go in with some sort of expectation and every.single.time. it ends SO much differently than anticipated.
"Oh, it's going to be chill ..." flash to going swimming half naked in the grotto.
After 8 years of going, I wasn't sure what to expect from this party ... but it CERTAINLY wasn't what happened.
So, I survived my super gnarly allergic reaction to the body paint. My eyes went from dragon lady red, to insanely puffy, to 15 years aged via massive crows feet after applying the hydrocortisone.
I could not BE any less vain but it was hella freaky looking in the mirror and seeing the skin around my eyes look so old. It's going to happen one day, clearly, but at 28 it was quite the sight to see.
I went to the store, and bought some moisturizing cream, foundation, and decided to just work what I had. I certainly wasn't going to let it stop me from going to the mansion, nor from promoting MessageMe while I was there.
My social media turned IRL buddy Heather goes to the Playboy parties as well, so she and I decided to go together.
I'm here, she texted from her Uber.
Be right down, I texted back as I grabbed my ID and credit card looking at my silk collared shirt, boy shorts, and thigh high leggings outfit wondering where in the hell I was going to put it.
Pocket. Going to just make the pocket work, I thought.
I then put the cards, my phone, and keys in the front breast pocket as I opened my front door.
I make it less than 6" before I hear WOOAHH coming from my neighbor's place.
(Our doors face each other and they are very, very, close together.)
Before I even fully process that anyone has even said anything, I notice that he has at LEAST 15 people in his place, and because of where they are all seated at the table, literally EVERYONE was staring at me.
Hello! I say with a smile and a walk that says ... I'M LEAVING NOW!!!
<tangent> My neighbor btw thinks I'm the spawn of Satan. I can normally get along with almost EVERY personality type, but this dude is SUCH a dick. He would always yell at my friends when they were over for one reason or another, and when you come at me ... I fight BACK. I've cussed him out NUMEROUS times over the last 2 years (which is ALSO completely against my character), and yeah ... he sucks at life. </tangent>
I then walk down to the waiting Uber and Heather and I catch up.
She recently moved up to SF so we honestly only see each other at these parties.
She then tells me that she's started her own company.
I'm SUPER proud of her for that.
It takes serious balls to start your own company. It's insanely scary, but I have COMPLETE faith in you.
Thank you, she said. And I've been keeping tabs on you.
I have no idea what you are talking about, I say with a playful wink.
We then arrive at the shuttle area (Playboy doesn't allow people to "drive up" to the mansion. You pick up a shuttle in Century City and it takes you to the grounds just a few miles away.) and Heather wants to take some pictures since its traditionally quite dark at all the Playboy parties.
Excuse me, we say to the guys standing in front of us in line. Do you mind taking our photo?
We then pose, smile and do our thang.
Thanks so freaking much I say to the guy that used my phone.
He then introduced himself and his friend.
They were both super cute, and obviously nice so we started to chat.
Have you guys been to the mansion before?
No, they both said.
This is AMAZING!!! You're going to have such a good night, I said. It's SO MUCH FUN the first time you go.
You've been before?
8 years strong, baby!!!
Heather pipes up. Jen is a great tour guide. She can tell you all about Playboy's history and the mansion grounds.
<tangent> I was actually approached by Playboy a few years back to be their "tech guru." I can't say why or who it was through but because a deal didn't end up in place their requirement for said personality dwindled. Thus, I didn't get it. It doesn't change the fact that I'm INSANELY passionate about the work Hef has done from an equal rights perspective, to even what he's done for women and their sexuality; playmates are goddesses. While I don't agree with how they are branding themselves anymore in the digital space, they are still a powerhouse and at any moment can change a few things around. Big fan of Playboy. I wouldn't ever pose, but I'm very very passionate about what they have done. </tangent>
We then hopped on the shuttle with our new friends, and even snapped some more photos ...
After a little more chit chat we got to the grounds and entered through the main hall ...
After posing for a few more photos, we walked over to the main dance floor area and over to the bar (which everything is paid for) by the grotto.
On the way past the dance floor though, I saw something I've never seen at any of these parties- someone in a wheelchair.
Understanding how difficult the grounds are in general to maneuver (since it is all cobblestone, stairs, and uneven pavement) I immediately felt empathetic to how difficult this experience must be for him. (Here I was complaining about not being able to wear spiked heels. Look at that, at least I can work my legs. Talk about perspective.)
Not wanting to make a scene, and not wanting to fuss over someone just for being in a wheelchair (I've heard from "disabled" friends that they want to just be viewed as everyone else. I HATE that word "disabled" btw. Some of my friends that are yes, physically or mentally handicapped in one way or another have EXCELLED SOOOO AMAZINGLY in other areas of their lives. While I can't speak from a personal experience, they have said that physical incapacitation is all in the mind. They can still do ANYTHING they want to do, it's just all about their state of being mentally.) I just kept on going leading the way with my new friends.
I then gave the new besties a tour of the grounds focusing on the game room, the mattress room, and the red room and blue room.
I showed the blown up $5 with the Esquire logo ...
In 1953 Hef (as he prefers to be called) worked for Esquire as a promotional copywriter. He then asked for a $5 raise and was denied. Instead of accepting defeat, however, he left, raised $8K from various friends, family, and investors starting his own magazine which we now call Playboy.
Step right this way gentlemen, I said in my best "docentie" sounding voice.
A few minutes later the tour was complete and the guys thanked me. One of their friends, who was also at the mansion, had texted them at that point and they asked if we wanted to go and meet him.
Sure, I said without even giving it a second thought.
I then forget how the topic came up, but one of the guys started telling me that his friend was here with the wounded vets charity.
My brain IMMEDIATELY connected the dots to the man that I saw earlier in the wheelchair.
Is your friend in a wheelchair? I asked.
Yes, he said.
I know right where he is. What is his first name?
Dillon, his friend said.
Does he have a good sense of humor?
Oh ABSOLUTELY, he said.
Great, I have something I think he's going to enjoy.
I step ahead of the guys as I guide everyone back to the grotto area, where most of the party was happening.
I see his friend talking to a very gorgeous woman.
I interrupt their conversation.
So, you give me the BEST sex of my life, I say and then you never call me again Dillon? What's UP with that?!
He starts SMILLINNNNGGGGGG from ear to ear with hands down one of the best smiles I have ever seen. So genuine!!
Wait, who are you? You're GORGEOUS, he said sitting up.
Staying in character, I say, oh I see how it is. You give me MULTIPLE ORGASMS (I say directly looking at the girl) and you can't even remember my name?!?!
His friends approach at that point laughing and high fiving him.
I lean down, hi I'm Jen, I say. I've always wanted to do that. You're a great sport.
I also introduce myself to the woman and emphasize that this was all in good fun.
Everyone was chill, but man oh man, I WISH I had a camera on his face in that moment. Sheer joy ... PRICELESS!!!!
I then get everyone a round of drinks at the bar as we decide to go into the grotto.
It was pretty packed at that point, and unfortunately because of the uneven grounds it was difficult getting the chair in.
This is bullshit, I say to the friends. Let's get him in here.
I then asked some of the people to step back or out as we helped clear a path.
The guys then grabbed either side of his chair and lifted him into the grotto.
We snapped some pictures as we had the entire place to ourselves at that point, and Dillon even requested that I be in one.
Sit on my lap, he said.
Ahhhh ... but I don't want to hurt you, I said putting my best "spinners" leg muscle to work trying to balance myself on him.
Out of all the years at the mansion this is HANDS DOWN my favorite grotto photo. What a kind, kind, soul.
We hung out with the guys for a bit longer, but Dillon being the chick magnet he was, we didn't want to impose.
Heather and I then bopped around making some new friends. You'd have a one-sie or two-sie be a partial creeper but overall the vibe at the Playboy Mansion is AMAZING! Everyone is there to have a good time, and because everyone is half naked (or fully naked) there's this peaceful and non-threatening element to the environment.
My outfit, btw, was a HUGE hit. Both men and women commented to me on it.
Can I see what's underneath said no less than 10 guys. Which is hilarious if you consider there were AT LEAST 20 girls completely naked in eye line at any given moment.
A handful of women also stopped me by the restroom.
Look at you, she said showing me to her friends. Your outfit is perfect. Cute, sexy, and classy. Well done.
I thanked her for the kind words.
This teaches me so much about people and marketing in general btw. If something is so blatantly just BOOM there, it's uninteresting. Everything is in presentation and packaging. Had I just gone totally naked it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting aesthetically. BUT because I didn't and left a little element of surprise, suddenly what wasn't visible became a commodity.
Of course that analysis changed by about the third drink, and a trip back to the grotto.
It's pretty much a faux pas to keep clothing on at that point (and especially since it's so hot in there in general). I walked allllll the way to the back jacuzzi and started relaxing sans the top but keeping the bowtie and my underwear on. (obviously)
Wow, you have really nice boobs said this guy and girl to me.
Thanks, I say looking down.
You're a C? she asked.
HA, I say. I don't think so. Last time I checked I was a B, but meh, who ever knows these things.
<tangent> I hit puberty super late in life. In high school I was super flat, and barely 5'. It wasn't until I was 18 that I shot up to 5'7 got a rack, and became a woah-man. Because of that though, a lot of things just genuinely don't register. Dudes that date me are more of a "butt" person anyway thanks to the badunkadunk I got going on ... but every.single.time. I hook up with a dude and he sees the goods they will ALWAYS comment on how much bigger my boobs are than they thought. I just don't believe in the whole false advertising. Work what you've got, own it, and move on. Really padded push up bras are uncomfortable and just not my thing. </tangent>
I then laughed at the life experience of having this very technical boob analysis while in the grotto sometime after midnight.
A few minutes later I decided it was time to meet back up with everyone and get the shuttle back. I was tired, and didn't want to ride back solo since it will NO DOUBT lead to a series of poor decisions via after hours.
I caught up with Heather by the bathroom. She was also ready to go.
Great, I said. Go use the restroom, I'll just be right here.
At that point, I had put my shirt back on (which was silk and not comfortable wet) and was holding my thigh high socks in my hand.
I looked to my left and saw a guy sitting down. He was CLEARLY out of his mind wasted.
Two years ago, at this same party actually, I saw a dude in the same situation and he got dumped off the shuttle and just left there. Obvi it's not Playboy's responsibility to make sure everyone gets home, but the mama hen in me didn't want to see all that go down again and feel partially responsible for being just a descent human being and helping someone out.
I walk over to him clapping my hands.
DUDE! I shout.
He looks up, eyes glazed over.
You have less than 5 minutes until you either completely pass out or they kick you out. Where are your friends?
He stares at me ... again ... glazed over.
I see his Droid in his hand.
I grab it.
What's the first name of a friend you have here?
Rick, he says as he leans back and throws up in the bushes.
I then scroll through his phone and find a "Rick." Hoping this was the same person, I pressed call.
He answers almost immediately and shouts COME MEET US IN THE CABANA!!!
I'm not your friend, I say. My name is Jen.
Realizing at this point, no guy is going to want to leave a cabana to take care of a sick friend ... I decided to use my "womanly" ways to get him some help.
My name is Jen, I say, and I'm over by the grotto bar. I'm in a silk shirt, white bowtie, and I'm not wearing any pants. Want to party?
I'm on my way, he said.
Literally SECONDS later, I see a dude on his phone approach the bar area. I wave.
Hi, he says grinning from ear to ear.
Hi, I say. Your friend needs your help and I wasn't sure how to get you here otherwise. I certainly wasn't about to move him.
He starts laughing.
You just did that?
Yeah, I said. I'm leaving now, but I couldn't leave him here. They just put people on the shuttle and they get dropped off. I wanted to make sure he found his friends at least.
He then grabbed both of my shoulders and SUPER seriously said, who are you? The world needs more people like you.
I started laughing.
I run a website. I'm sure this story will be on there.
What is it?
Instead of giving out my card (which people lose) I ALWAYSSSS grab their phone and just put it directly in their browser.
I'm Jen Friel, and I assure you, this was selfish wanting to pay back some of my own karma. I live off of it actually.
How can I give you money? He asks very excited. $1,000 yours.
<tangent> This is also the second time in my life I have been offered that kind of money just for genuinely being a good person and helping someone out at the mansion. I'm saving that story for my book, but I had a car from Ford one trip and gave a guy a ride home. Trippy, trippy story and saved me just as much as I saved him. </tangent>
He then kissed me on both of my cheeks (a sign of respect) and said thank you. He grabbed my hand again as I walked away, please keep being you. The world needs more people like you.
I laugh thinking to myself, just don't be an asshole man. Help people out. We're all so afraid to touch one another to either get a disease, be attacked ... anything ... and we forget that touch is something we all need. Race, sexuality, who fucking cares. Help someone that needs it if you're capable and watch the universe gift you back with good karma. Continue to be an asshole and you'll reap what you sow. Period end of sentence.
I then got back on the shuttle and grabbed an Uber home with Heather.
The second I got back I popped on the DVR and turned on Shark Tank - which is my version of pornography.
Good night, good time, good to meet new friends. The night definitely didn't turn out how I expected it to be, but fortunately that was a very very good thing.
Rock on nerderinos and THANK YOU for all the messages on MessageMe. I'm still trying to bury myself out, but am happy to still send over some of the naughty pictures I can't post. Also, your doodle photos make my life. Send me more ..... please.