Playboy in heaven


Playboy in heaven
by Jahanshah Javid

I was catching a flight from Washington's Dulles airport back to San Francisco. I usually sleep on the plane but sometimes I buy the New York Times and Harper's Magazine (it's the best, in my opinion) just in case. As I was looking through the magazines at the airport newsstand, Playboy caught my eye. I hadn't bought a nudie magazine in ages. Just the thought of it made me uneasy, like I was doing something wrong. Then I thought what the hell, I'm an adult now. I don't need to feel ashamed. Let me buy it for old times' sake.

I don't remember who I was sitting next to on the plane, a man or a woman. But I played it cool. I didn't open the magazine wide, but I did get a good look nevertheless. The featured woman was a blond bombshell from Texas. I never imagined a beautiful woman -- perfect body, cute face and everything -- could look so unappealing. Repulsive really. Too perfect? Or unreal? I don't know.

I used to die to get my hands on Playboy. Every picture, every curve turned me on. What happened? So disappointed!


My parents read a lot -- books, newspapers, magazines. And they could pretty much get anything they wanted from "Matbooa't Beynolmelalli" ("International Press", top photo) in Abadan's main Alfi Square. There were many foreigners -- and foreign-educated Iranians -- who needed their Herald Tribune, The Times, Le Monde, Newsweek or New Yorker. They were a week or two old by the time they went on sale. Remember, this was the 1970s and we lived not even in Tehran but down by the Persian Gulf. These days we can access thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world on the net. Back then we were at the mercy of the Iranian postal service which was not known for its speed or reliability. But it was still worth the wait.

I would often go along with my parents when they wanted to buy something there. It was a whole experience. You didn't just buy what you wanted and leave. You had to look around to see what else was available. This was our outlet to the rest of the world. And I loved going through the magazines and their glossy color pictures of people and places I had never seen. I particularly remember the ones with gory pictures of "world wrestlers" on the cover, blood dripping from their smashed faces. I think they were British. I had no idea these wrestling matches were all, or mostly, fake. Most of all I loved football magazines. My favorite was called SHOOT, which had great color pictures of English teams. I didn't actually read any of them.

One day I noticed something strange. The owner of the store bent under the cash register, stuffed a magazine in a brown paper bag and handed it to a customer. Very curious! What was he hiding under there? After some detective work I found out that there was a whole other world I was unaware of. Oh my fucking god! Magazines full of naked women! My 12-13 year-old mind was in a spin. I obviously couldn't buy them myself but I was determined to get my hands on them.

I became friends with the owner's assistant. He was a young guy, maybe 18 or 19, maybe even less. On some days, in the early afternoons after school, before the store officially opened, he would open the door and let me in. Let me into heaven that is. Imagine a time and place where looking at pictures of naked women was an extremely private affair. Believe me, it was harder to find nude material under the rule of the Westernized Shah than it is today in Islamic Iran. Adults had the pleasure of seeing breasts once in a while in Hollywood B movies, or cheesy ones from Europe, or even in some Iranian films. But in general nudity was barely legal, and hard to find.

And there I was, a young horny bastard, given access to hundreds of nudie magazines. I remember sitting on the floor behind the cash register, nobody around in the dark empty store, my heart thumping like it was about to explode, hands and knees shaking... I just couldn't believe my eyes. I'm sweating just writing about it more than 30 years later!

There was every imaginable variety, from hardcore northern European (I think they were Swedish or Danish) magazines with graphic scenes (I mean they were REALLY grotesque, not just simple intercourse) to the softer ones like Oui and Playboy. And to me, nothing beat Playboy. The women were simply the most beautiful. And I wanted to take them home with me. But I was too young to be able to buy the magazines. That didn't stop me. I found older people to buy them for me. They couldn't be relatives or close friends, of course. This was dangerous business!

One guy I found was this tough older kid, who was just 17 or 18, but a mature-looking looti type, kinda like Fonzi in "Happy Days", only shorter. He was maybe even my height, but the platform shoes, which were popular back then, made him look a lot taller. He seemed like someone who would do anything for a friend in need. We weren't friends as such, but we knew each other. There was a club -- the "Annex" -- where I often played ping pong. I had played him a few times, and won. I was a kid who was able to beat a real man! It was the kind of manly thing that impressed him.

One night I was standing outside "Matbooa't Beynolmelalli" hoping to see someone who could make my dream come true. And there he was, my Lord Savior, walking towards me, very cool, like (a mini) John Travolta in bell bottoms in that (opening?) scene from Saturday Night Fever. I was really nervous but it was something I had to do. I stopped him and asked if he would do me a favor and buy a Playboy for me. He didn't hesitate for a second. He was going to do this for his little pal! He took my 20 tomans (worth about 3 bucks back then), went inside and came out a minute later with my magazine in a brown paper bag. Woohoo! I could have screamed I was so happy.

When I was searching Playboy covers for this piece, the one you see on top of the page looked very familiar. It's the August 1975 issue. It's from the right time period, around when I started collecting the magazine. So I wouldn't be surprised if this is the one I got that night.

Soon my parents found out about my stash of magazines, but to my pleasant surprise, they didn't mind. Well, my father kinda did, but my mother convinced him it was ok for a boy my age. They weren't gonna teach me about sex and girls, so maybe I could learn something from Playboy. Of course I didn't learn a thing about sex and girls through the magazines, but I sure did enjoy them! I proudly had them in full view on my bookshelf.

There was one particular "playmate" centerfold I could not get enough of. It showed a gorgeous black woman laying on her stomach. I liked her so much that I had pinned the centerfold on the ledge between the curtain and the window in my room. Every day when I came home from school, I would go straight to my private shrine, open the curtain and say hello to my goddess. If any of you guys have a subscription to Playboy online and find this particular centerfold (it might have been one of the international issues, not published in U.S.), don't forget your buddy JJ! I wouldn't mind checking her out again -- for nostalgic reasons of course :o)

When I came to the U.S. for high school in 1976, I continued to buy Playboy when I could, from time to time. The one I remember most vividly is with Patti McGuire on the cover (November 1976). I haven't seen her centerfold since, but I could still describe it to you right now, millimeter by millimeter. Talk about perfection... man o man... Jimmy Conners married her and made a whole generation of guys very very very jealous.

My interest in Playboy, and nudity in general, began to go away with the approaching revolution in Iran. I began to read Ali Shariati and his brand of revolutionary Islam. After reading his books, "Fatemeh is Fatemeh" for instance, I was done with Playboy and the Western concept of women and sex altogether. I always had a feeling that looking at naked women was somehow naughty or wrong or whatever you want to call it. But now it had also become a sin.

Today, I'm still the horny bastard I was in Abadan. But pictures of naked women don't do much for me anymore. I don't watch porn and the few times that I have been to topless bars I have felt I've wasted my time. A real woman, in my arms, touching, kissing, making sweet love... now that's heaven. The rest is kashk.


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more from Jahanshah Javid

Now I know...

by ahvazi on

Where my dad got all those magazines from :-)


JJ jan delet zan mikhad baba jan

by Souri on

In harf ha'y ke mizani o hamash geleh gozari o darde del o in harf ha....yani ke zan mikhay vali root nemishe begi.

Khodam vaght nadaram vali az hamin farda khaleh o khambaji hamo miferestam beran vasat khastegari ....

AAkhe to ham gonah dari baba joon...


Oh my god what a horrible

by TheMrs on

Oh my god what a horrible song. I bearly made it to one minute.


Serge Gainsbourg

by John on

That song is so corny, but it is an absolute delight and will never grow old, although I prefer the Jane Birkin / Gainsbourg version.

I'm glad that my azizam has a sparkling personality and a sharp, insightful brain, and is beautiful inside as well as outside because the Bridget Bardot of 1956 grew old like we all do.  Inner beauty lasts forever.



by bahram9821 on



Thanks for great article, it reminded me of when I was 9-10 years old going to my dad’s office at home and looking at his Playboy Collection. He came home and realized I was looking at his Playboy, he beat the carp out of me and to this day every time I see naked women I shiver like hell. As for his Playboy collection they burned them in the yard after the Revolution. Few years ago I saw the first issue selling at an auction for around 25K looool. Long live Heff.

Would this clip consider to be Soft Porn?  


Just read Parthian's comment

by a woman (not verified) on

and it reminded me again of why I don't like macho men...




by old iranian chick (not verified) on

Oh my God, thanks so much for the je t'aime link. It's even funnier than I remembered it. It's embarassing! I remember being vaguely embarassed for the girls so into it -- but now...! The folks singing it are not adolescent girls though. Oh my God, it's hilarious.


JJ ..there you go..

by Parthian on

JJ, now that is what I am talking about. By the way, way to score with the ladies again. But while you were reading the great articles in Playboy (it does have some of the best writers ) up there, did you join the "self-pleasing" Mile-High Club? :)

bajenaghe naghi

jj jan

by bajenaghe naghi on

that was a great read. very funny and i could relate to a lot of things that you wrote. 

Party Girl


by Party Girl on

And since we're having a tell-all, baring our souls!

I know that these days side by side of men, women can access all kinds of pornographic and home-made sex "visual aids" for learning, discovery, and pure entertainment and pleasure.  Though I personally find human interaction a lot more interesting and provocative, I understand why pornography is such a huge business.

We had no access to material and references to learn about male anatomy and genetalia in the 1970's.  We couldn't ask questions and nobody ever spent any time telling us anything.  While young men could at least look at soft porn to "learn" about women's anatomy (among other practical purposes!), or visit local brothels to get some practice, most girls of my era were really isolated and completely ignorant about this. 

There was, however, one major exception.  We, unfortunately, had something none of you boys had!  We had male flashers in our midst!  I remember how frightening it was to be flashed by a grown man showing himself to me when I was in third grade on my way to school.  There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to when and where we might see a flasher around Tehran.  I actually saw one in a taxi cab one time, sitting centimeters away from me in the backseat, leaving me paralyzed with fear, unable to say anything.  There was a man on a bicycle who routinely passed our all-girls-school, showing off his penis to elementary school girls.  You know we all coped with the groping, pinching, and rubbing that we routinely received from some men in public, but the flashers were frightening and scary, quite possibly responsible for a lot of future scars and hang-ups for many women.

Of course things have changed in Iran now.  One of my friends was saying how desperate she was in dealing with her son's sexual activities in Tehran.  She said that at 4:00 a.m. one morning, she and her husband were woken up by repeated rining of their apartment bell in a Shahrak-e-Gharb highrise.  They opened the door to find an irate middle-aged couple outside, demanding to know where their daughter was.  She said they told the couple after finding out the girl's name that they knew the girl and she was a friend of their 18 year old son's, but that she wasn't there, not at 4:00 a.m.!  While voices were rising and things were getting out of hand among the four sleepy and irate parents, her son's bedroom door opened, the girl emerged and took her parents by the hand and led them to the elevator without a word!  She said this was the first time they discovered this girl routinely slipped into their son's bedroom and spent the night there, but not the last.  Apparently, the girl's parents knew more about this than she did and there was no honor killing, no law suit, and no forced marriage in the wake of this episode. 

Sorry for the long comment.  I have bared my soul now! 

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Thanks "old iranian chick" and Irandokht for bringing up that French song, "je t'aime". If you girls giggled at photos of named women, things like "je t'aime" make me laugh. Sooooo corny. I do like a lot of love songs, but this is just ridiculous. Clearly a chic song! :o)))


fun read JJ

by IRANdokht on

You do write well. Once I started reading I had to finish it! (even though it's busy at work this week) cute story :0)

Party girl is right, we were curious to see those magazines too... my sister found the key to my parents locked nightstand and we used to peek in there and look at their nudy magazines and pictures. It was weird to see those poses, the perfect bodies and to wonder if we'd ever look like that some day. I remember we giggled a lot and would go back there to see them again when our parents were out of the house.



PS: Iranian chick here's je t'aime



It really is funny!

by old iranian chick (not verified) on

That Emmanuelle clip is so so funny! Did people really take this seriously? Speaking of which, does anybody remember the song Je t'aime? When I was in highschool that was the hottest thing. I remember older girls (sikl-e dovvomi) virtually having orgasms talking about it while we younger ones (sikl-e avvali) cracked up at the panting and the groaning.

To this day soft-focus French pech-pech is hilarious to me. But it is cute that men never get enough mameh in life!

Jahanshah Javid

Selling to girls

by Jahanshah Javid on

That's so funny Party Girl. They would sell sex magazines to young girls? I guess it made sense in a twisted way: Girls looking at naked women was not considered titillating or perverted. I remember one of my sisters and another girl from her school looking through one of my Playboys. They would just giggle...


Good one!!!

by urstruly (not verified) on

Good one JJ, this one made me chuckle several times--where as the last one about men made me cry a few times!

Party Girl

Good one, JJ!

by Party Girl on

You wrote another brilliant piece.  Ha Ha!  Here's a secret which would make you eat your heart out!  During the same time period they didn't sell sexy magazines to young boys, they would sell them to young girls!  My sister and I bought a German sex magazine at Zand Bookstore on Karimkhan-e Zand Avenue when she was 15 and I 12!  We were too embarrassed to ask any questions or to linger at the rack of magazines for too long, so we bought the first thing we picked up!  When we had had a chance to look at it for a while (several weeks or months), I remember discussing our "find!"  We realized that the magazine was really for men and didn't do a thing for us, except to quench our visual curiosity; of course this could be because we couldn't read any of the German text! 

Darius Kadivar

JJ here's 2 for the Price of 1 ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Noosheh Jan JJ :

Mélodie D'Amour chante Le Coeur D'Emmanuelle

AmirAshkan Pishroo

sex is boring

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

"But pictures of naked women don't do much for me anymore."

This is because sex is boring, but not sexuality.

Splendid story.

ebi amirhosseini

My First & last Playboy...

by ebi amirhosseini on

I bought it form "Iran department store",in Shah Avenue.They sold it on first floor,under the scalator!!.Great Mom you have JJ jaan,God bless her.