Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cosmo, Deconstructed

This week, Shaw's is having some sort of insane sale on 12 packs of Pepsi products. I know this because yesterday I spent 15 minutes in line behind a woman who was trying to buy an entire floor display's worth of Sierra Mist. The cranky old checkout woman was baffled by the whole transaction . . . is Sierra Mist a Pepsi product? Is Schweppes ginger ale? How do you even pronounce 'Schweppes'? Can we get a manager over here? Bueller?

While all this was happening, I had a plenty of time to browse the magazine racks / contemplate my own mortality. Which is how I even noticed this in the first place:

That would be Cosmopolitan magazine, with a faux-naked Lady Gaga on the cover. I should note that I spent a good portion of monsoon-weekend watching the Telephone video and contemplating making my own smoking glasses. Needless to say, Gaga in granny panties intrigued me. So, in a moment of grocery-store-impulse-buy weakness, I tossed Cosmo in my cart.

Now -- the last time I actually purchased an issue of Cosmopolitan, I was probably 14, and on my way to someone's pool party / sleepover.

It was a simpler time.

These days, I am a loyal reader of Bust, Bitch, Vanity Fair, and the occasional tabloid. Yeh, I like to keep abreast of how lonely Jennifer Aniston is, and whether or not Katie Holmes is preggers. But I usually draw the line at the heavy duty "lady-mags" . . . Elle, Lucky, Allure, etc. Which is why I was almost surprised to get home and find Cosmo in my bag.

So I sat down to lunch and started flipping through this glossy new world . . . and an hour of shame-eating later, my brain had officially exploded.

I feel like I need to share this experience with someone -- so internets, I choose you! Let's digest this amazingly whack lady-propaganda together, shall we?

What We're About to Read:

Welcome to the April issue of Cosmo! Spring is in the air, and you know what that means! Sex-capades and shimmery eyeshadow! Wheeee!! I can't wait to see what the 'Sex Article they Can't Describe Here!' is . . . its gotta be pretty freaky-deaky if the worldly Cosmo editors are censoring it. Also -- '50 Things to Do Butt Naked'? And here I could only come up with 32!

Page 30 -- Lady Gaga Wants You:

Wha-whaaa. Cue disappointment sound-effects. I don't know what I was expecting from a Cosmo interview, but this somehow managed to make the most eccentric performance artist of the times just . . . eh. Perhaps it has something to do with the target readership of Cosmo, which is ostensibly 14 year old girls and Snooki. But yeh -- they made Gaga fill out the effin' Cosmo quiz. Notice how she basically wrote in her own answer for every lame-ass question. Nice try, Lady!

Page 36 -- The Rise of the Less Successful Boyfriend:

Favorite Quote: "Give him opportunities to treat you in inexpensive ways. E-mail him a link to an affordable restaurant, and ask if he'll take you. Or point out little things you covet -- a hat, a pair of earrings, even a cupcake -- and say, 'I need to have that. Will you get it for me?'"
Everyone knows that successful relationships are built on a foundation of material goods and fancy dinners -- so keep those hats and cupcakes comin', boys!

Page 57 -- 4 Signs He's Hiding Something:

Seriously?! Way to fuel the paranoia-fire, Cosmo. The next time your boyfriend clears his throat or actually shares the details of his day with you -- throw that lying bastard out! Or, you could just cut the pockets out of all his pants. Problem solved!

Page 60 -- The Guy Report:

I'm going to print this out and keep it in my wallet for handy bar-reference. I recommend you all do the same.

Page 62 -- Why He Loves Your Cooking -- Even If It's Bad:

At first, I was trying to figure out how they stretched this to a full-page article. Or why this was deemed an article-worthy topic, period. To summarize this ground-breaking piece of journalism: dudes (by Cosmo's definition) are like giant 8 year olds who will gladly eat whatever crap is put in front of them.

Page 76 -- Beauty, HIS PICKS:

And here I'd been thinking that only chicks judged me based on my choice of nail polish color -- but it turns out, guys have very strong opinions about this, too. Um, direct quotage, in case you missed this: "Nails grown barely past your fingertips are the ideal length [ . . . ] They look feminine but won't stop you from, say, unzipping him or sexting." Brain exploding in five . . . four . . . three . . .

Page 116 -- Fun, Easy Ways to Fall More in Love:

I LOL'd so hard at this, I cried . . . and then I couldn't stop crying, for some reason. Best tips ever:
"Notice stuff about him. And then tell him."
"Really thank him. If he helps you paint your bathroom, leave his favorite salty snack in the pantry."
"Defuse a fight. Calling him by his pet name in the middle of an argument cools things down [ . . . ] Say something like 'Baby, I hate fighting with you.'"
"Learn a funny joke to tell him that night."

And don't even get me started on that '5 Best Compliments You Can Give Him' box! Seriously, have I accidentally stumbled into a hot-tub time machine back to 1950? I'm fully expecting next month's issue to have a 'Get Back in the Kitchen! 5 Great Sandwiches You Can Make For Your Man!' feature.

Page 118 -- The Sex Article We Can't Describe on the Cover:

I've been waiting for this one, Cosmo! What lurid new sex trend are you about to reveal to your innocent readers? Fetish porn, orgies and bears -- oh my!
Wait a second . . . "oral sex"? That's your top-secret-uber-steamy article of the month??
Dude . . . this really is a magazine aimed at 14 year olds, huh? Not that that's any comfort -- especially with this effing side-bar:

Page 122 -- Be the Girl Every Guy Wants to Talk To:

Please note the first heading in this article -- 'Don't Say A Word . . . Yet'. Instead of, like, talking to a guy, you should, like: "try to casually touch the guy your talking to 5 times within every 15 minutes". And don't forget: "Being a bit fearless by sharing something that's a little out there -- for instance, recounting the time you won a karaoke contest with your awesome rendition of 'Endless Love' or admitting that you've seen all the Saw movies at least twice -- shows an attractive amount of balls-out confidence."

Page 156 -- Read This Before You Drive Alone:

Translation: FEAR! FEAR! FEAR!!!!!

Page 174 -- 50 More Things to Do Naked:

My personal fav is #31: "Bid on eBay. Wearing nada will make you feel ballsy, so you'll get exactly what you want." Huh -- I always thought sitting around naked in front of your computer buying used crap you don't really need was a sign of clinical depression . . . but thanks for setting me straight, Cosmo! Girl power!

Page 178-- Send Him a Secret Sexy Message:

Now, I don't consider myself a bra-burning feminist or anything . . . but this page of Sexy Secret Messages for Your Man -- which are printed on cardstock and designed to be pulled out of the magazine and actually used -- is making me wanna go throw paint at someone.
Also, I am totally gonna use these "Sexy Messages", so watch your mailboxes!

Most Amazing Weight Loss Ad of the Issue:

Ok, so if I'm reading this right -- you're supposed to live on "Almased" and vegetable broth for a week, followed by several weeks of "Almased" and one meal of veggies and lean meat. Why does this sound like a recipe for failure in a glass?

Sigh. Well that brings us to the end of the issue, folks! I think we've all learned a little something, right? I know I have! I need to find myself a dude who drinks microbrews and never puts his hands in his pockets and, ideally, is more successful than me. To do this, I must keep my nails short (but not too short), learn some funny jokes I can tell him while simultaneously not talking too much, and caress him 5 times during a 15 minute conversation. Also, stock the cabinets with snacks and my crappy-ass attempts at cooking. Also, send him sexy secret messages and ask him to buy me cheap hats.

Also -- oral sex!!! Tehehehe!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

T is for Toolgirl, Who's Terribly Handy . . .

After a rainstorm of biblical proportions, I was all set to start my Build-An-Ark project . . . but lo, the sun is shining once again! In fact, today was so damn lovely, I was inspired to do some spring cleaning / home improvement.

Now . . . I should note that I was raised in a family where doing things the "right" way with the "correct" tools was generally scoffed at. Why bother looking for a hammer when you can just pound that nail in with mom's old shoe? Who needs a flashlight when you've got a booklight / cell phone / Game Boy to illuminate your path? As a result, I've learned to just live with a lot of malfunctioning appliances, burned out overhead lights, and a tub that doesn't exactly drain correctly.

But the appearance of sunshine made me so giddy this morning, I rolled up my sleeves and decided to clear away some winter cobwebs before the next round of rain and gloom. And since my schedule will soon be filled with school and work, I figured I might as well get my household in order while I can. So I dragged the stepladder up from the Basement of Doom and changed all the lightbulbs in the apartment to low-wattage, energy-saving ones. Then, by the light of freshly changed bulbs, I tore apart my closet and got down to some good ol' fashioned organizing!

I have lots of hats. And shirts. And skirts. And not a lot of dresser space.

Alternative storage solutions were called for.

Soooooo . . . I strolled over to Target in the lovely bright sunshine, and came home with this bad boy:

Meet My First Drill! Drilly McDrillerson!

Wow, you guys -- do you know how much easier shit is when you have a power tool?!

Don't answer that.

Anyway -- behold, the fruit of my labors!

Julie gave me this hanging candle holder for Christmas, and I've been puzzling over how to hang it for months now. Clearly, those hooks with the sticky tape on the back weren't going to cut it. But with my new pal Drilly, mounting a hook into the ceiling was a snap! I might need a slightly longer chain to hang the light from, but overall it looks lovely.

After drilling into the ceiling, I was ready to tackle a wall. But I was still a little nervous about attempting this. My apartment building is very old, and there's no telling what secrets / faulty wiring lie behind the walls. Perhaps a more conscientious person would have used a stud-finder -- or even a tape measure -- to figure out the best way to mount something. I used the next best thing to a stud-finder -- Papa G.

Papa G: "Good afternoon, Guarie Design Group."

Me: "Papa, it's me. I have a home improvement question."

Papa G: "Oh, God . . ."

Me: "If I just drill into the kitchen wall, will anything bad happen to me?"

Papa G: "Well, you could electrocute yourself. Where'd you get a drill?"

Me: "How will I know if I'm going to electrocute myself?"

Papa G: " Just don't drill directly above any light switches or electrical outlets and you should be ok."

Me: "Ok. If you don't hear from me for a few days, it probably means I've zapped myself and I'm being eaten by the cat."

Papa G: "Good luck!"

So, I called upon the protective powers of the Patron Saint of Household Chores, and went to work. And not only did I survive -- I managed to successfully hang this Ikea storage rack that's been in my closet for months!

You have no idea how happy this thing makes me! I have no drawers in my kitchen. At all. My silverware has been living on the sideboard in these little metal containers -- which look way cooler hanging from the wall!

After my success in the kitchen, I moved on to the closet:

Fancy-pants new rack . . .

. . . means no more hunting for lost scarves and hats!

Who knew hanging shit on the walls would be so satisfying/empowering! If anyone needs any drilling done, you know who to call!*

*ew - not that kind of drilling, you pervs!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

maeby this time . . .

blargh, it is march. tis the season for madness!

i feel like i haven't seen the sun in a year. i'm beginning to think this might really be the end of the world -- earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards in places where we grow citrus. i fear that boston is doomed to become a gray colony of mole-people. or perhaps we'll be overrun by glittery vampires, escaping the sun.

i need to get out of the house.

i'm not going to lie to you, internet people. i've spent the better part of this week in my bathrobe, watching Arrested Development. when i confessed this to my therapist, she said, "well, that's fitting!"

rut roh.

seriously, though -- nothing cures late winter SADness like an amazingly clever sitcom. i don't know why i didn't pay more attention to this show until now. i seem to jump on the pop-culture fan-wagons about 4 years too late. so in 2014, i'm gonna be all about vampires and Lost. adjust your christmas shopping lists accordingly.

anyway -- so yesterday, i tore myself away for the antics of the Bluth family, put on some clothes, and dragged my pathetic ass to the gym. i was fully prepared for a beat-down by Ron. i have not been very consistent in my gym efforts of late. my procrastination efforts, however, have been off the charts!

Ron has switched up the workout routine to a 30 minute, full-body gorefest. last week, i was left shaking and sweating, flat on my back in the middle of the weight-lifting room while Ron's smug face spun above me. this week, i was prepared for a similar out-of-body torture experience. and i wasn't looking forward to it.

"what's the point of all this exercise bullshit, anyway? the world is clearly ending soon. i should be out eating ice cream and making bad decisions."

once Ron and i got down to business, however, my rouge muscles seemed to pull themselves together and turned out a decent workout. at one point, as i lunged the length of the gym, Ron called out, "you are lookin' goooood right now!" i assume he was talking to me and not the WWE-wannabe who was grunting menacingly on the other side of the weight bench.

when i'd completed my final crunches and was sprawled on the floor at Ron's feet, i asked him to give it to me straight.

Me: "am i improving at all?"

Ron: "you've definitely got potential . . . i mean, you're lookin' good right now. all you need is consistency -- you just gotta get in here and do this routine every other day, and throw some cardio in on the off days, and you'll see the results."

Me: "i get kinda intimidated when i'm doing the workout solo, you know? i've . . . i've never been athletic at all, i've always been kinda goofy and clumsy, so i feel really self-conscious when i'm back there tryin' to do crunches on the big rubber ball without you there to make sure i don't roll away."

Ron: "you gotta be confident! you got this -- and you already look great as it is, you're just tryin' to tone up a little bit. trust me, i wouldn't tell you no lies . . . you don't need to feel self-conscious."

Me: "spring is coming. i'm freaking out about shorts. also, bathing suits."

Ron: "don't be thinking about the summer or the clothes or any of that. just work on bein' consistent, and you'll see the results. you've got this."

this is why i'm paying Ron the big bucks -- to tell me that i'm not a giant mountain of mole-flesh that should just go home and wait for the apocalypse to start. he also puts my goals in perspective. they are not as insurmountable as they might feel, here in the deep cold depths of winter.

the sun will shine again. i will wear shorts again. don't over think it. you got this.