Sometimes, during our travels, I will purchase a fashion magazine at the airport. It’s a terrible idea: they’re expensive and they don’t make me feel good about myself, but for some reason, I keep buying them (note: this also applies to skinny jeans and ten-pack-passes to barre class. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend we’re something we aren’t).
I will read my glossy rag with an optimism that is in no way grounded in reality, hoping to find an article about how the new trend on the runways is a Streisand-esque nose, or how eating cake is good for you. I repeatedly strike out on those fronts, but once, I found a piece in Cosmo about how going braless was in vogue.
I immediately unhooked mine, pulled it out through the sleeve of my shirt, and flung it across our hotel room while yelling, “I AM FASHION.”
My husband was somewhat confused, but nevertheless appreciated the gesture. In hindsight, I suppose the article was targeting skinny girls with perky boobs, but I’ve always been egalitarian when it comes to eschewing lingerie.
Letting the girls hang loose for an evening is probably the high point of my relationship with women’s magazines. I repeatedly blow $7 on a bound stack of pages that is mostly comprised of full-page spreads for products that make me want to stab someone in the eye, and the occasional advertorial about how the key to making any marriage work is effective depilation of everything below the waist.
The simple solution would be to stop buying these miserable manuscripts in the first place, but THEN what will I do when I’m at 30,000 feet and I’ve already finished my book and eaten all the loose Tic-Tacs at the bottom of my purse?
Besides, these magazines help me focus my anger, which worked really well for Luke in Return of the Jedi. As such, I have compiled a list of things that I come across on a regular basis in women-targeted magazines that make me particularly rageful.
My husband, I should note, was unaware of what half of these things even were.
- Thong underwear. I have been repeatedly told by magazines, television, movies, and the occasional well-intentioned but obviously insane friend that I am making a huge mistake by refusing to wear thong underwear. It eliminates panty lines, they argue, but I maintain that if you can see your underwear line through your clothes, then either 1.) your clothes are too tight, 2.) your clothes are too thin, or 3.) this isn’t actually a fucking problem because who cares? If men’s boxers are constantly visible over the top of their jeans, then human females should get to wear underwear that isn’t designed to be embedded between their butt cheeks.
Plus, thongs increase your chance of bacterial infection and bacterial vaginosis. AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING DOES THIS. Ultimately, though, what you wear to cover your bits is none of anyone’s business, right? So when I say I like full-coverage granny panties (and I do. Oh, how I do), it would be nice if people didn’t react as though I told them I club baby seals for fun.
- Latisse. Because the list of things that I should feel self-conscious about isn’t long enough, I apparently need to add “too thin eyelashes” to this list. While I can understand this being a treatment for a legitimate medical problem, Latisse is advertised like a beauty product. Except that, you know, if you get it in your eyes, IT WILL BLIND YOU.
- Ads that are for … I don’t know, ennui? Vampirism?–
- Spanx. A few years ago, an enterprising woman decided she wanted to embrace the circulation-inhibiting snugness of a control-top pantyhose without the warmth of the actual hose. So she cut the legs off a pair, and –voila– a new generation of corsets were born, making her a billionaire (and proving, once again, that we are our own worst enemies).
Another one of those fashion products I’m repeatedly told I can’t live without, Spanx are sweaty, constricting, and make you feel like an overstuffed sausage without the added benefit of actually getting to eat any sausage. I wore a pair for approximately two hours on my wedding day before running to the bathroom, whipping them off, and tossing them across the room (apparently I tear off my underwear and fling it across the room a lot. I’m just realizing this now).
- Nudity without context. Look, as all my underwear-flinging-across-a-room suggests, I’m totally okay with showing some skin, especially if it makes sense in the context of the ad. But stuff like this makes my eye all twitchy, because I just can’t follow the narrative:
Is there ever, ever a real-world scenario where you would be wearing designer clothes, clutching a several-thousand-dollar purse, and also inexplicably topless? I’m asking partially out of curiosity, and partially because it sounds like fun.
- Anything weight-loss-related. Because seriously, what the fuck.
- Ditto for anything that mentions a thigh gap. Wage gap? We can talk about that. Education gap? That deserves attention. But whether or not your thighs touch is not a useful barometer for anything unless you are a cat burglar who really wants to wear corduroy pants. When I mentioned it to my husband, the following discussion ensued:
“Wait, what is it?”
“It’s the gap that women are supposed to have between their thighs.”
“Your thighs aren’t supposed to touch?”
“How is that even possible? Like, are you supposed to stand with your feet together? Because there’s no way I can stand with my feet together and not have my thighs touch.”
“I don’t know. But if I stand with my legs really far apart … ”
(Cue us doing weird wide-legged walks in our dining room.)
- Ads that make me hungry even though they have nothing to do with food. This one is for a hotel, but now I want a cookie:
- Anything that feels like it was originally pitched as a pastime for residents of The Capitol in The Hunger Games.
Sorry, Bob, can’t talk now. I’m in my home library, using my designer leather purse as a feedbag for my stallion. Mondays, amirite?
I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t note that amidst all the crap, there wasn’t occasionally something surprisingly delightful. Like when a prominent brand depicts a same-sex couple in one of their ads:
It’s almost enough to justify me buying more magazines … right?