When I was writing 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' I became fascinated with a certain little lady - the Playboy Bunny.
Finding out about these beautiful ladies was quite difficult though because everytime I attempted to Google, alot of unsavoury pictures popped up or were consequently blocked - and then I stumbled across the wonderful ex-Playboy Bunnies.
This site does as it says - it is a webpage for former Bunnies.
Whilst researching the character of "Lily" I used this site alot for it's beautiful photographs and biographies of women who had once slipped on those uber fitted satin costumes and floppy bunny ears. At this time I had no idea there were so many different designs of the Bunny Girl outfit. Pictures I'd seen through the years always featured the classic black satin Bunny, so I was captivated as I flicked through the pages of former Bunnies to see the costume they were wearing, and the further I read, the more I had to incorporate this iconic figure into my work.
It was during research for the novel I began reading Kathryn Leigh Scott's 'The Bunny Years' - a fascinating account of the women who worked as Bunnies and what they are doing today. I mean, how many of us know Bunnies had to be padded out with dry cleaning bags because their breasts had to protrude a certain way in the outfit? Or having to stand in a precise pose (the Bunny Dip) when serving drinks even if it did almost break your back? Or that a Bunny should never "mingle" with a patron? These facts, along with many others were part of the 'Playboy Club Bunny Manual' and had to be adhered to at all times whilst on duty - they were very strict guidelines.
One other piece of information I discovered is the concept of the 'Playmate'. See, occasionally a Bunny Girl would be asked to pose for the Playboy magazine - the famous 'Centrefold' - she then became a 'Playmate.' As regular readers to this blog will be aware, my adoration for Miss May 1972 - Deanna Baker was founded at this time - a seriously beautiful Playmate whom captured my imagination and lead to the precise creation of 'Lily'.
By the time I had finished reading 'The Bunny Years', I knew Bunnies were not just sexy girls dressed in satin costumes with rabbit ears, they were infact intelligent, ambitious, and beautiful women breaking new ground.
I wanted to be one.
I don't think I'm giving too much away by saying 'Bunny Lily Ellen' wears green satin - often the Bunnies were given a certain colour/design based on her hair colour, naturally a beautiful redhead wears green - why would I want to change it?
I actually own an original copy of Playboy May1972 - I won it at auction on eBay a few years back. It is a treasured possession; and as I read about Deanna Baker's black belt in Karate and her ambitions of owning her own beauty business I realise there are so many feminist issues surrounding the Bunny, none of which I wish to go into in this post - but I want to conclude with a couple of wonderful quotes, the first from Kathryn Leigh Scott from the final chapter of her book,
"We were young women on the move, out there pushing a new frontier. We were like sisters learning together how to take charge of our own lives. We protected each other. We were a rare bouquet." - The Bunny Years (1998)
The second, a quote from 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' during a casual converastion between Lily and Jefferson-
'Bunny Girls,' she said over dinner, 'don't you think they're the epitome of Classy Sexiness?'
She makes me smile,
'Classy sexiness?' I said picking up my wine, 'is that a word?'
'No,' she smiled, 'I just made it up.' She started laughing, 'anyway J, the 1960's and 70's American and British Bunnies were as gorgeous as Hell.'
I think you know my standing on this one now.