The Playboy philosophy and modern life

I came from an era in which casual sex never happened. The pill changed it all, but so too did “The Playboy Philosophy”. Written in the early 1960s, it is Hugh Hefner’s contribution to the decadence of our own time. It has been the twentieth century’s most important contribution to philosophy and culture. The one and only rule about sexual relations is that other than monitoring the ages of those who are involved, there are no rules. There was a time when people knew what was wrong with the Playboy Philosophy – we read it in the same spirit that we read Abbie Hoffman’s Steal this Book – but those times are long gone. Sex without responsibility and attachment is a kind of adolescent boy’s dream come true. But as we have since discovered, sexual anarchy is the worst of all possible worlds. So to the song:

As the story goes, it was first offered to Johnny Mathis; Columbia Records boss Mitch Miller is said to have blackballed the song, claiming it was immoral. Dawn Eden might think ol’ Mitch may have been on to something:

Like many songs from that more innocent era, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” expresses feelings that most people would be too embarrassed to verbalize. There’s something painful about the way its vulnerable narrator leaves herself wide open. Yet, even though her asking the song’s title question implies a certain amount of courage, it’s clear that she’s ready to accept a positive answer without questioning it — which is not surprising, given the lyrics’ description of how the evening has progressed. By the time one is worrying about how the other person will feel tomorrow, it is usually too late.

For most unattached single women in New York City, and I would imagine much of the rest of the country as well, casual sex is the norm. It’s encouraged by all the women’s magazines and television shows from “Oprah” on down, as well as films, music, and the culture in general. And while “love” is celebrated, women are told that they should not demand to be loved tomorrow — only respected.

If it’s encouraged for women, it’s almost mandatory for men; a woman who is not sexually active is pitied, while a man who is not sexually active is mocked and ridiculed. (Which may be one reason why very few men — Frankie Valli is one who did — ever recorded this song.) “Tell me now, and I won’t ask again” turns out to be a variation on a theme by Scarlett O’Hara: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

This is a song from the 1960s written by Carole King but is the lament of many a woman of our own times. The way the song is presented in the video above by the Shirelles, who sang it originally, you would not know it is the saddest imaginable song with a sadder still message. Perhaps the Amy Winehouse version is truer to its meaning if for no other reason than that she herself had the saddest life. Here are the words with a message that can hardly even be registered by many inside our own decaying culture.

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”

Tonight you’re mine completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure
Can I believe the magic of your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrow

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I’m the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun

I’d like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now and I won’t ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow

Pick-up artists and the hook-up culture are the way of the world. A friend of mine’s nineteen year old daughter just put Tinder onto her phone. My friend is hopeful that it will be all right, but if it will be, it will only be by the greatest good fortune since the culture will no longer look after her daughter nor give her sound advice. The best that can be hoped for is to get through your twenties with no major disasters. How it can be done today is to me an unknown.

[The basic theme is from The Other McCain where the link is found.]

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