Friday, November 9, 2007

Front Cover Me Girl

Stuck at the dentist, I began looking at the headlines of multiple magazines at the same time. Thousands upon thousands of us purchase them month after month and year after year and it is quite possible that the magazines in question stopped writing actual copy back in 1980 and are just continually recycling past pieces with bright new shiny titles. Each magazine obsessed over fashion, trouble with men and how to eat excessive amounts of fattening food without gaining weight. They also revealed that we the readers were obsessing over these same things even if we didn’t know it yet.

According to these respected publications, today’s woman is supposed to be polished, organized, Zen like in her understanding of the earth, superb at balancing business and family life, fashionable, slim, thrifty, not to mention a gourmet chef that ensures everyone in the family gets plenty of sunshine, exercise and anti-oxidants. She is on the go but not stressed out, organized but not rigid, impeccably dressed but not vain, and self indulgent but in a good narcissistic sort of healthy way.

The pharmaceutical ads interspersed with these articles offered guarantees that we could experience nirvana even if our current reality failed to meet magazine expectations and that we should contact our doctor if we felt the slightest hint of a spiritual, physical or emotional malaise, real or imagined.

Apparently I am suffering from a dearth of desire for external medication. I’m sure there’s a pill for that too though.

Having thumbed through a few of these sagacious tomes, I have a slight quibble about the front covers. These covers always have one of two things on them, skinny women in elegant skimpy clothing, or gorgeous food. The skinny women obviously have never been allowed to view let alone eat the food shown on the fabulous covers. Perhaps once they hit the fossilized age of 20, they become the cooks for the magazine and are allowed to consume life sustaining amounts of processed carbohydrates and protein, not to mention sugar.

The food is always either meat or dessert. The meats portrayed are almost always steaks so perfect you want to go back down the aisles at the grocery store, find the identical selection of meat, spices and herbs and take it home to cook. Around November, Turkey shows up and maybe ham. You never see London broil on a front cover or chicken thighs.

When it is dessert, it is usually piled high and chocolate, or has that tri-color catch-your-eye-type-presentation because the chef used a few ripe raspberries and some fresh mint at the end to dress it up. No matter how few easy steps the cover screams it takes to make this simple no fuss always loved dessert, the actual process remains more complicated. It will however look just like the cover when you are done, just as surely as you look like the model on the other magazine’s cover if you buy the same dress.

Lastly, there is a question of which magazines offer Truth.

These reading tomes want our loyalty in the same way political parties, religious denominations and spouses do. They want a commitment, a subscription even, and possibly proselytizing by giving out subscriptions as gifts.

Do I want to seem Cosmopolitan, like the girls from Sex in the City, or like a cultured French woman and read Elle? Do I get my advice from Rosie, Martha or Oprah? Am I Today’s Woman, or a Working Woman or Working Mother? Am I confident of my SELF or in need of Shape? What am I missing out if I choose one over another? Am I turning a blind eye to the wisdom on female financial planning and weight loss in a week if I pick Redbook over Southern Living? Will I fail as a mother if I chose Child over Parents magazine?

As the hour ticked by and I waited for kids check ups to be over, I found myself pining for just one out of date issue of Grit or National Geographic. Digging through the piles, I finally found one. The cover was “Chocolate and why we love it.”

I am ashamed to admit, I took that one home.

2 comments:

Christine said...

Yeah, but National Geo is recycling copy, too. Lately, it is "People Baaaaad. Earth in Peril"

Jeremy said...

It's all about the church of the global warming....

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!