An intriguing insight into the fashionable world of London in the swinging sixties was provided by a documentary about the bunny girls who worked in the Playboy Club. The show featured interviews with many of the now middle-aged women who used to work there.
You may imagine it to have been a permissive, anything-goes kind of establishment, but in fact, the bunnies were all quite naive and respectable girls from the suburbs, who were controlled with a maternal rod of iron by the “Bunny Mothers”. One of the first girls to work at the club, Andre Munden , said:
We weren’t meant to go out with punters, but many did, although the Bunny Mother kept a careful eye on us. It was like being at an all-girls boarding school, very disciplined, very strict.
Any indiscretion or minor rule infraction was dealt with ruthlessly , and one of the most common sanctions used was corner time, or, to be more accurate, having to stand and face the wall. (I guess most of the corners had tables in them.)
One former bunny girl recalled that she was always in trouble, and was constantly having to go and stand and face the wall. She said that when some big name American star came to visit the club (I think it was Sammy Davis Jnr. ), she didn’t even see him because she was facing the wall the whole time!
Now you may have heard Austin Powers saying “You’re going the right way for a smacked bottom”, and thought it funny, but Britain in that period was a much more deferential society, in which young girls were kept in their place with quite serious threats of this type. I have no evidence that an occasional “good smacked bottom” might also have been administered to bunny girls at the club, but suddenly such a fantasy no longer seemed . . .well, like so much of a fantasy.
In any case, the costume of a bunny girl has to be one of the most provocative “If-I’m Naughty-Please-Spank-Me” invitations ever invented. As this guy also seems to think.