I’m a smart, confident woman. I subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair so I can stay abreast of liberal politics and sit in my “garden-level” apartment pretending to be an elitist, East Coast blueblood. Lately though, I’ve been keeping up with women’s magazines for blog ideas. And I gotta tell you, reading them makes you feel like dog doo.
First are all those supermodels and actresses with their awesomely toned bodies, shiny hair and perfect skin. Their photos are surrounded by tips on how we can achieve the look as if none of us have jobs or families to attend to. Did you know Jennifer Aniston had two rice cakes and a teaspoon of peanut butter for breakfast? When she wants to splurge, she eats bread. Wild woman.
Women have been kvetching about the impossible beauty standards set by ladies’ mags for ages. But to me, the articles are the killers. In the past month alone, I’ve found out my hair is unsexy (because it’s curly), stress may cause infertility and men’s midlife crises now start at thirty-five. I read an advice column that screamed, “Help! My Internet Boyfriend’s a Bisexual Cross Dresser” and another offering, “5 Signs You’re a Bad Co-Worker.” And I thoroughly enjoyed reading the masterpiece, “Why I Stole My Best Friend’s Guy.” As if skyrocketing unemployment and endless wars aren’t scary enough. Now we have to fear our best gals mackin’ on our dudes.
‘Course, in these mags, men are a bunch of selfish, untrustworthy hound dogs who either game-play their way into women’s undies or must be manipulated into relationships. “Make Him Stay” and “Why Men Cheat” are constant titles, while the slew of articles meant to guide women through human relationships could be summed up by the headline, “Ten Things Women Do to Screw Up Their Relationships (and, basically, their lives…idiots).”
The best article this week was a stunning piece of investigative journalism entitled, “Did You Know Your Vagina Can Fall Out of Your Body?” Must be one of those secrets the medical industry keeps from us. I can only imagine the conversations that’ll now take place across the nation: “You hear about Gwendolyn? She was running to catch a bus and her vagina just popped right on out!”
Ladies, we’re doomed. If you believe women’s magazines, we’re all a bunch of horribly unfit, unlikable, deathly ill losers who no one will ever love. And we can’t trust anyone. Not men, not our friends and certainly not ourselves.
Keeping oneself centered in the midst of life’s challenges is quite a feat, though usually I stay fairly balanced. But now I find myself asking, “why don’t I look like an oiled-up Eva Mendes in my Calvin Klein skivvies? Will the sunflower seeds I eat be linked to a healthier heart or leprosy? And who really cares if stress causes sterility if your vagina’s gonna fall out anyway?”
Ah, but men’s magazines. What beacons of hope! What tidings they bring of reassurance and good cheer!
There’s Maxim, an orgiastic handbook of gadgets, cars, sports and half-naked starlets. Maxim is like a guy’s frat brother urging him to have another beer (it won’t kill you), and offering tips on how to sneak out of the house or get his girl to shave everything “down there.”
Then there’s Esquire. I enjoy this one because their well-written articles treat readers as if they might have brains. Tailored suits, expensive watches, fancy cars, high-end scotch and disrobing A-list actresses – Esquire’s world of men rocks. No matter how chubby, boring or unsuccessful a guy is, reading it will make him believe he’s awesome. They present cover boys like Matt Damon and Bill Clinton as buddies, and offer comforting words for men’s failings. Romantic ineptitude, professional failure, erectile dysfunction – no worries, Esquire’s got your back.
Reading the October issue, “The Feel Good Issue,” left me positively glowing. Even before you open the darn thing, they’re already throwing roses at your feet. The headlines on the cover offered readers the “Sexiest Woman Alive,” “Encouraging Words from President Clinton” and finished off with a “You Look Great, By the Way.” Sure beats Shape’s, “Scary Truth about Germs.”
Inside was a “Box of Permanent Joy,” which included ‘70s sitcoms and Mahler symphonies. There was “A Guide to – and Celebration of – the Ablutions, Unguents, and Bathroom Rituals that Make Us Men.” Wow, even their grooming practices are worth celebrating.
Really, I love being a woman. Though I love peeking into the world of men, I prefer taking on life as a female. I only wish my magazines liked me as much as I like myself.