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!!!


  1. There is a special place in hell for the person who designed the Almased ad.

  2. "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."

    Hey now, don't knock the power of the bacon-tomato-avocado sandwich. It is made of sex and awesome.

    On a vaguely related note, I agree with Alison, Almased is fucking terrifying.

  3. oh, i don't deny that sandwiches can be sexy! but the sandwich-making responsibilities should be dividing equally between partners, so that both can enjoy the deliciousness.

    and if either partner suddenly becomes uncomfortable with the sandwich, they should use their "safety word".

  4. I recently read a Cosmo I found on a friend's coffee table and had a similar hilarious/ disturbing experience... Well said!