Lament of a Playboy Bunny

July 30, 1995|By MONA CHAREN

Lisa Heughan gazes at the camera sadly, her lovely eyes brimming with melancholy. She has a story of mistreatment and injustice to tell.

It seems that Ms. Heughan had posed nude for Playboy magazine. On her way from Canada to attend a Playboy party in Chicago in 1993, she was recognized by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents at the Toronto airport. One INS agent reportedly found the relevant copy of the magazine in her briefcase and began to page through it, making lewd comments. According to Ms. Heughan, he then beckoned to several other agents to join him. ''Before I knew it, about 10 of them had gathered around. That's when they told me I'd have to be interviewed,'' she told the Washington Times.

After a degrading session with several agents, Ms. Heughan attempted to leave. She claimed that she was stopped by three agents who said they would let her enter the United States if she ''stripped at a party with a bunch of horny INS agents.'' They gave her a map to the party, which she handed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as evidence.

Finally, one agent appeared to intervene on her behalf, guiding her to a back office ''until things cool down.'' But, within a few minutes, the same officer returned and made indecent demands of her. She told him to drop his pants and lean against the desk. He did so, and she then fled.

This young lady deserves some credit for ingenuity (for her method of escape) but not much for common sense. ''Posing nude is not the same as wanting sex or sexual harassment,'' she complained.

Well, it ain't exactly an application to a nunnery either. Now, before going further, let me quickly state that the behavior of the INS agents, if true, was boorish, brutish and despicable. The absolute maximum that a gentleman would have permitted himself under those circumstances would have been a raised eyebrow (though, of course, a true gentleman would not even have recognized the lady since he would not look at Playboy magazines).

But what the Ms. Heughans of this world do not understand is that most men are not gentlemen and they need a little help from women in learning how to treat women. Women must insist upon being treated as ladies. But first, they must really be ladies.

A lady does not pose nude for Playboy. What else is she advertising if not her sexual allure and her loose morals? If she resented being propositioned by strangers, why did she expose herself to strangers? Oh, but the body is beautiful and has been worshipped for millennia, comes the reply of the pornographers. Well, yes, but certain elemental distinctions can be drawn between the Venus de Milo and Playboy. The Venus is not posed to suggest crude sexuality. Playboy's girls are. It is not the grace and proportion of the human body that readers of Playboy are invited to consider, but something else.

Modern women, who bought into the sexual revolution, are constantly disappointed by the disgusting behavior of some men. Sexual harassment suits proliferate. Sex codes are handed out to college freshmen detailing the proper way to ask for a kiss. Yet, never do these new tribunes of sexual correctness consider that they may have made a fateful wrong turn by embracing sexual license in the first place.

Consider this: It just may be necessary for women to maintain a certain sexual aloofness from men in order to keep men's respect. Oh, not all men, to be sure, but most men most of the time.

I haven't been to a beach in years. But even in my neighborhood, I am dismayed by the jogging costumes I see women wearing. They trot along in tiny bras and short shorts and then, no doubt, go home and complain to their roommates when men make lewd remarks.

''You're blaming the victim!'' say the feminists. Nonsense. It's a two-way street. If women want respect, they've got to begin to behave as if they deserve it.

Of course, women have flaunted their sexuality for centuries, for various reasons and in various ways. But only in our time have women maintained that they should be able simultaneously to distribute their nude photos worldwide and still be treated like

choir girls.

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist.

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