I am proud to say that as many times I as look longingly at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups when I’m in line at the grocery store, I only cave in about once a year. Please do not take that to mean I am always so disciplined when it comes to chocolate, or desserts, or any form of baked good. But I try to save it for the good stuff- Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate bar, Trader Joe’s sea salt brownies, any loaf of bread from Wegman’s bakery, cranberry walnut scones wherever I find them. I just happen to be good at resisting the last minute urge to throw a Hershey’s product on the conveyor belt.
My relationship with magazines is kind of similar. Years ago I traded in the Hershey bars of the magazine world (i.e., Cosmo) for something just as indulgent but with less junk I don’t really want (i.e., Self, Bon Appetit). Yes, I just compared Cosmo to a Hershey bar- they’re both appealing and easy to impulsively grab in the checkout line, but also contain a lot of unnecessary crap I’ve outgrown (I just don’t want that much sugar in my chocolate anymore, and really, how many more “confessions” about 19-year-old women getting their periods at inconvenient and embarrassing moments do I want to read?)
Still, sometimes I am tempted…. I mean, I could use some advice on what jeans are most flattering. And what if that sixty-seventh way to blow your man’s mind is the one that isn’t (a) completely cheesy, (b) boring, (c) totally disgusting? And speaking of multiple choice, a quiz on “what does your nail polish say about you?” could be really informative and insightful. (Hello, Barnum effect.)
And in the same way that I allow myself the rare indulgence of a Kit Kat bar (usually during final exams), I always tell myself I have one opportunity each year to buy all the trashy magazines I want- when I go on vacation to the beach. The difference between this and the candy thing? I never can bring myself to actually go through with it.
Three years in a row, I’ve gone to Barnes & Noble eager to finally buy armfuls of Marie Claire and Glamour and Cosmopolitan. And three years in a row, I’ve looked at the covers, and said, “Oh God, I can’t do it.” (Interestingly, this coincides with my recent approach-avoidance with fast food: it’s pretty much the same reaction I have any time I think I might want to get a cheeseburger or milkshake from McDonalds.)
So my dilemma is this- I love magazines, and I want magazines for beach reading, but I can’t find any that suit me. I used to read Entertainment Weekly, but since I don’t have cable and almost exclusively listen to a “listener-supported” radio station, half the content in EW is meaningless to me these days (seriously… I only figured who Lady Gaga was about three months ago). Reading an article in Bon Appetit about cooking burgers with bacon ground into the beef just doesn’t seem appealing when I’m wearing a swimsuit and sitting in the sun. Plus I don’t usually cook on vacation so, at that time, reading about cooking seems irrelevant. As much as I liked Domino, the fact that owning a home or even being able to afford new furniture seems years down the road makes me think that reading something like Dwell is going to depress me rather than inspire me. And while I will fully admit I did look at Cat Fancy for a moment today (I actually had a subscription when I was a little girl), I’m just not secure enough with my cat lady-ness to be seen in public reading about Munchkin cats… unless I’m at the vet’s office.
As far as the “Women’s Interest” publications go…
Today I was at Borders with Nick. The “Women’s Interest” section is split in two rows- one on my left and one on my right. “This is why I can’t find any magazines to read. I’m way beyond this,” I say, gesturing to the five different covers featuring Katy Perry on my left. Then I turn to my right, “But I’m definitely not here yet,” as I look at Good Housekeeping and Martha Stewart Living.
So yeah… where’s the periodical for boring, married graduate students with no children, no money, and a wide range of interests?
Where do I belong??
Why can’t there be a magazine that includes:
- Food porn
- Some well-being and health-related articles to compensate for the food porn
- Home decorating articles that don’t suggest buying a $600 end table
- The occasional article about sex and/or relationships that indulges the part of me that misses Cosmo
- Pictures of kittens
- Fashion articles that don’t suggest buying a $600 dress
- The occasional article on important, worldly topics that indulges the part of me that feels guilty for not knowing more about what is going on around the world
Really, that’s all I want. Oh, hidden picture puzzles would be good, too.
So what reading material will I be taking to the beach this year? Baltimore Magazine’s countdown of the 26 best crab dishes in the city. And Real Simple, which is the closest to meeting my criteria, although it is seriously lacking in the cat photo department.