It's impossible to find a copy of the November issue of Playboy in Washington. The reason is that it features a 10-page display of "The Women of the U.S. Government" a la Playboy.
What is Washington's reaction to the spread? Shock, outrage and horror. I haven't spoken to anyone in the capital who studied the spread closely and came away thinking it had any redeeming quality.
One congreeman told me, "I've never been so shaken up in my life. I can't believe that any U.S. government employe would look like the women portrayed in these photographs."
A high official in the Bureau of Statistics said, "What we're dealing with here is crude data, and it's impossible to assess what we've got until we can refine it and see how much margin is left over for error."
An aide for a senator up for reelection said, "We feel that the photos were published at this time for political reasons. It is no accident that Playboy would spend so much time and effort on asking government women to pose for them if it wasn't an election year."
The fear in Washington is that, because of the 20 persons on display, the rest of the country might get the impression that all Washington women look like these women.
It is not true.
You can go from one end of the Department of Transportation to the other and not find one woman who bears a resemblance to anyone in the November Playboy.
The truth is the women in our government are plain, hardworking and devoted to their jobs, devoid of any of the attributes so brazenly displayed in the magazine.
They think about their work all the time, and take pride in what they're doing to insure that the taxpayer is getting his money's worth.
When a woman goes into government, she takes a vow of chastity, and promises she will devote all her working hours to see that the Constitution is upheld and all federal regulations are carried out regardless of race, creed or sex.
Women in Washington don't drink or smoke, because they know it will interfere with their efficiency. Rather than waste their hours in some singles bar or disco, they take their work home with them at night, so they'll be prepared for their meetings the next morning.
I know countless female government employes who have turned down dinner dates because they would rather have a good night's sleep than sit around a candlelit restaurant table with an attractive male, holding hands and wasting time talking about something that has nothing to do with their careers.
Washington women are a breed apart -- dedicated and loyal to the federal bureaucracies they serve. They would no more think of posing in the buff than they would of misaddressing someone's Social Security check.
Playboy's outrageous portrayal of them will only play into the hands of those who want more government instead of less.
As one who comes into contact with Washington's women every day, all I can say is that I'm glad I'm not Hugh Hefner. He's going to have to live with this lie for the rest of his life.