In the heady days of the 1960s, being a Playboy Bunny was considered one of the most exciting jobs around. But even Hugh Hefner’s glamour girls could not escape a bit of workplace drudgery, as revealed by this amazing ‘Bunny Manual’.
The vintage document was uploaded to a site for former Bunnies by ‘Bunny Regina’, who worked at the club’s Detroit branch in the late 60s.
It is divided into sections such as ‘Bunny Benefits’, ‘Bunny Behavior’ and ‘Appearance and Grooming’, all detailing the ins and outs of daily life at the swinging establishments.
The pamphlet’s introduction starts: ‘Welcome to the world of Playboy! You can take great pride in being selected as a Bunny; it’s a job that you will find is both unique and exciting.
‘The Playboy Bunny has created a new definition and standard for charm, beauty and friendly service.’
The company was clearly proud of its reputation, and boasts in the document of its rigorous recruitment process.
‘To guarantee the high standards which our Keyholders have come to expect, we are extremely selective in our Bunny hiring procedures,’ it says.
‘For instance, in opening a recent Club, we interviewed 500 girls but only selected 40 as having the personality and physical beauty required of our Bunnies.’
Seeking to allay fears that the scantily clad waitresses might be considered in any way trashy, the manual describes being a Bunny as ‘the top job in the country for a young girl’.
It continues: ‘Our Bunnies represent varied backgrounds – among them are former school teachers, secretaries, actresses, dancers, models and co-eds.’
However, the joys of the Bunny lifestyle clearly did not extend to generous vacation benefits – the girls were entitled to just one week off in their first year at Playboy.
And several pages of the manual are devoted to outlining exactly what rules could lead to the Bunnies getting fired from their dream jobs.
While most of these offences, such as insubordination and tardiness, could apply to any workplace, some are unique to the Playboy Club.
Employees are warned to avoid ‘bunny ears not worn in center of head’, ‘bikini panties showing or not worn’ and ‘unkept tail’.
The bizarre regulations governing the girls’ conduct also extends to regular ‘Bunny Councils’ with the ‘Bunny Mother’, a senior employee responsible for the workers’ welfare.
One activity which the Bunnies were allowed to take part in was smoking – but here too there were regulations on exactly how they conducted themselves.
‘In all cases when a Bunny is smoking on duty, she is to “take a puff” and set the cigarette in an ashtray,’ the pamphlet says. ‘Bunnies are not to stand or sit holding a cigarette.’
Although Playboy has always presented itself as a brand for the sophisticated gentleman, it has also attracted less salubrious characters – and the Bunny Manual leaves the girls in no doubt how to deal with them.
Bunnies are explicitly forbidden from dating customers, and from divulging personal information such as their surnames and telephone numbers – and since they were banned from drinking on the job, they were unlikely ever to let their guard down.
But the employees are allowed to dance with patrons – and the manual even suggests ‘acceptable dances’ such as ‘twist, watusi, bugaloo, etc.’
While the majority of the pamphlet could apply to most workplaces, it does have a couple of completely inexplicable pieces of advice.
‘Good grooming starts with a daily bath and good deodorant,’ it says. ‘Regular use of body lotion will keep your skin soft and pretty.’
And in a section entitled ‘Helpful Hints’, the manual tells Bunnies: ‘Try rolling your feet over an empty Coke bottle.’
The first Playboy Club, with distinctive Bunnies as waitresses, opened in 1960, and there were dozens of branches around the world before the last one closed in 1991.
The brand was resurrected in 2006, with mixed success.