There are numerous people I could blame for my surprise Playboy magazine debut: The supple-moralled photographer at the festival where nothing was as it seemed, the influence of my fellow exhibitionists or even the butt-naked old man next to me in the photo wearing nothing but trippy-ass body paint. (If there was a culprit behind all of this I’ve decided it would definitely be him), but then again, why would I blame anyone?
The beauty of AfrikaBurn was that anyone could do or be anything they wanted. For example:
Walk around in nothing but a tutu handing out candy to the community? Yessir, I did that.
Gate-crash an informal wedding presided over by Shrek? Yup, did that too – while still in naught but the tutu, except this time we were on leashes. All to draw attention to the woman on the other end of our leads to whom the groom owed some “Mandy” for house-sitting…
And ah, the Critical Tits parade. A mass march of proud mammaries of all shapes, colours and varying levels of gravity resistance… Where some feisty lasses donned and shimmied the nipple tassles made at a workshop a few hours before and others just let their nips enjoy a stint in the sun. One annoying little girl, who looked about 8 years old, screamed and melodramatically covered her eyes when she saw the undulating tide of teets coming towards her. She yelled: “Gross, guys! Put a top on!” But I just smiled. Better that than give her a spanking and piece of my mind, I thought, although that would have been first prize.
There weren’t supposed to be any photos taken of the Critical Tits women, although most of them didn’t seem to mind when cameras did pop out. A general sense of community and trust had developed in Tankwa Town so not only the exhibitionists felt comfortable with their jiggly bits on display. And why not? Breasts are pretty damn natural and even other milk jug custodians (such as myself) had a grand old time seeing what else was on the market. The only person I heard complain was that one brat who’s probably just in denial and will turn out to be a lettuce licker anyway. Just wait for college, my protesting poppet!
But back to my original point. The Playboy situation.
One day in Tankwa my gang of gung-ho partial nudists – and I say partial because none of us were mad or brave enough to go completely starkers, but perhaps we were just wise enough to avoid sunburning our genitals – set off around the Binnekring to perform our daily gifting ritual. Robin, other Caroline and I called ourselves the Sugar Mamas and spread sugar-coated future tooth cavities and delight around the neighbourhood. Maybe even the odd semi-erection too. There were also two Sugar daddy stallions with our posse – Lucio, Robin and my Swiss tent-butler, and Jai, the Free Willy poster child who appeared on 7de Laan about a month after AfrikaBurn.
Together we did our rounds with Jai in only a striped blazer and blue velvet hat (yes he looked like a paedophile, but no he isn’t), despite the fact that he had nothing covering him from the waist down and he offered sweets to children.
On our jaunt we encountered a few photographers who asked us to pose. One of them had a particularly cool, futuristic-looking contraption strapped to him that turned out to be a huge ring flash. His pictures were splendid! So splendid in fact, that he sent them to the South African Playboy and had a four-page spread published in June. This caused a bit of a fuss because he hadn’t actually gotten people’s permission to put them in a publication of murky repute, but I was chuffed. As was my father! He was the first person I told and seemed genuinely proud that his spawn had made it into a magazine that he’s probably been reading since long before he and my mother bumped uglies.
Although he had some issues when he actually got his hands on a copy of the edition. Firstly, he was disappointed that Playboy has ‘gone soft’ and secondly, the cheeky bastard had the audacity to complain that the picture of me in the spread was too small! I retorted that he didn’t have the right to complain because he had never made it into the Playboy. His response was, “what I have is too big to fit on one of those pages.”
That shut me up one-time.
Unfortunately my boyfriend’s conservative and religious mother wasn’t quite as endeared with my Playboy appearance. Besides living in Zimbabwe (where things like pornography and homosexuality are pretty much illegal), she had some choice words to say when he (I admit this wasn’t his smartest move) showed her the picture so she could see what his new girlfriend looked like.
“This isn’t the kind of girl I was praying you’d meet,” was all she had to say. Apparently his father just kept quiet and smiled wryly. So thanks to Afrika Burn and Playboy it looks like I’ll have at least one new friend when I go across the border to meet the parents!
Photo credits: Caroline King