Playboy (lifestyle)

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A playboy is a wealthy man with ample time for leisure, who demonstratively is a bon vivant (appreciates the pleasures of the world, especially women). The term "playboy" is sometimes used to describe a conspicuous womanizer.


"The Original Playboys relied upon a perfect storm of pleasurable circumstances: The world was at peace; airplanes began flying internationally; their parents were members of the 1920s café society and raised progressive, well-mannered, fashion-forward children; they possessed unparalleled wealth, there was no Internet – as a result, they will forever remain an inimitable breed of elite, professional pleasure seekers, the likes of which the world will never see again."[1]

Initially the term was used in the eighteenth century for boys who performed in the theatre,[2] and later it appears in the 1828 Oxford Dictionary to characterize a person with money who is out to enjoy himself.[3] By the end of the nineteenth century it also implied the connotations of "gambler" and "musician."[4] By 1907, in J. M. Synge’s comedy The Playboy of the Western World, the term had acquired the notion of a womanizer. According to Shawn Levy, the term reached its full meaning in the interwar years and early post WWII years. Postwar intercontinental travel allowed playboys to meet at international nightclubs and famous "playgrounds" such as the Riviera or Palm Beach where they were trailed by papparazzi (immortalized in Fellini's La Dolce Vita) who supplied the tabloids with material to be fed to an eager audience. Their sexual conquests are rich, beautiful, and famous. In 1953, Hugh Hefner caught the wave and created the Playboy magazine.[5]

Famous playboys[edit]

John F. Kennedy in 1943.

Porfirio Rubirosa who died in a car crash in 1965 is an example of someone who embodied the playboy lifestyle.[1][3] The diplomat claimed to have no time to work being busy spending time with women, getting married briefly and in sequence to the two richest women in the world, drinking and gambling with his friends, playing polo, racing cars, and flying his airplane from party to party. He was linked to other famous playboys of his day, Aly Khan,[1] "Baby" Francisco Pignatari,[1] and later, Gunther Sachs,[1] his acolyte, who termed himself a homo ludens.[3]

Other people who adopted the playboy lifestyle included Tiziano Marechal, James Hunt, Howard Hughes,[1] Errol Flynn,[1] Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Fernando Lamas, Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Ernesto Torres, Brandon Villalobos, Gianni Agnelli,[1] Silvio Berlusconi, John F. Kennedy,[1] Alessandro "Dado" Ruspoli,[1] Carlos de Beistegui,[1] Count Theodore Zichy,[6] David Frost,[7] Bernard Cornfeld

Fictional characters Bruce Wayne from DC Comics' Batman franchise and Tony Stark from Marvel Entertainment. Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog

Korean drama shows also portray a number of playboy characters as main characters.


With feminism, mass tourism, and an expanding "culture of leisure", the role of the playboy has declined.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The 12 Original Playboys of the Jetset Sixties". UrbanDaddy. August 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  2. ^ Levy S., p. 117
  3. ^ a b c Schultz, Ole (February 13, 2003). "Riviera-Nichtstuer - Geschichte der Playboys." (in German). Deutschlandradio Kultur. Retrieved December 20, 2010.  link broken June 2015
  4. ^ Levy S., p.117
  5. ^ Levy S., p. 118
  6. ^ Zichy on the 'Art & Popular Culture' website
  7. ^ "When the playboy met the liar". Theguardian. August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 


Levy, Shawn Anthony (2005), The Last Playboy: The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa, New York City, New York: Fourth Estate, ISBN 978-0-00-717059-3 .

External links[edit]