Just How It Sounds: Reading 'Playboy' To The Blind

The cover of Playboy. Playboy.com
Playboy.com

By day, Suzi Hanks is a DJ at a classic radio station in Houston, Texas. It's what she does after work that makes people's ears blush.

Hanks volunteers with Taping for the Blind, an organization that makes audio recordings of popular books and magazines. When she started the gig three years ago, they put her to work reading pet publications.

"Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy and Bird Talk," she says.  "It was wonderful, but a little boring, to be honest."

Then one day, Hanks got a more interesting reading opportunity.  They asked her to read Playboy, too.

"The guy who did Playboy got married, and his wife told him he couldn't do it anymore," Hanks explains.  "So they came and asked me."

As a woman on a classic rock radio station with a predominantly male audience and fan following, the organization "thought it might be fun."

Hanks, of course, reads the articles in Playboy, but yes, a large part of her job is indeed describing the pictures. She does this without a script, speaking extemporaneously about what she's seeing.

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"Basically I'm their eyes. All I'm doing is providing accessibility to what's there on the page," she says.  "I don't have to try to be sexy when I'm describing the pictures.  I'm just a woman reading it, and it comes out sexy whether I want it to or not."

It's more than just body parts, she says.  "That would get boring.  You're painting a picture.  She's conveying something through her eyes, through her facial expressions."

Hanks will look for details in the photos like nautical sheets on the bed, or make observations like, "interestingly enough, in the centerfold,  it looks as if the tattoos have been airbrushed out. The tattoos are gone."

She's never been asked to tone down or censor her descriptions of the photos.  "It's just honest and very straightforward," she says.  "That's what I like about it."

But does her husband like it?

"He never really listened to it before, but the other day I brought one home and I read it to him," Hanks says.

"I was fully clothed when I read that to him, by the way," she adds.

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