Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Our True Magazines

Over on Pandagon last night, the women were talking about guys they think look hot. A few guys dropped in and we had a relatively educational little chat. There is a post I have not quite had the time or the full-head-of-steam inspiration to finish on the subject of sneaking a look at the other gender's literature. Lets see if Sheelzebub's post and all those comments do the trick.

It seems like it ought to be more common and a lot less maligned to be checking out how the other half thinks. When there is a guy going through the checkout at the supermarket he shuffles by the rack with Cosmopolitan. I can speak only for myself but, more than the provocative babe on the cover [Sorry, the airbrushed allure of magazine covers has no human depth, "doll" might not be such an inappropriate label either...its just not real], the halo of blurbed hooks around the image make me wonder who the editors sought to attract: "How to know if your guy is cheating", "How to drive your guy wild in bed"...you have seen these. Seriously guys, wouldn't you be just the tiniest bit interested what was being written there?

I never had the nerve to pick up a copy and peek.

With nobody looking on and the price being free of charge, I did pick up a copy of Skirt from a box by the MARTA station on a recent stay in the Atlanta area. In the hard copy version, they are free and that is because they have acres of advertising. This is tabloid format and vastly more celebratory and less desperate than Cosmo. Sense of humor is a strong suit in this publication. For example, page 39 of the April issue is devoted to what looks like an ad but is simply a question:
"Why is there an anti-cellulite cream but not an anti beer-belly cream"
You will notice them standing up for themselves when you go to read what PMS really stands for. That made me feel more at home since a lot of my reading lately has been at Pandagon and Feministe.

That diet of reading came about, I told myself, because "I will learn what their view really is and see if I get it and can place it properly among the perspectives that I catalog". But lately, honesty pipes up with a distinct and not dismissible reason: "that's where the girls are". Where girls minds are is at least as interesting as where their bodies can be found.

Looking back is reflexive to someone in his fifties in the throes of integrating new experience: if the past can help, there are plenty of helpings of it. I never did subscribe to Playboy, or Hot Rod. My dad briefly subscribed to True magazine when I was around 10 or 12 and, frankly, I found Time vastly more interesting. I read a few articles in his copies of Outdoor Life. 40 years later, when Tour de France is on Outdoor Life channel, I watch. In hind sight, both Time and True titles are assertions of relevance but one seems desperate and suspicious. One addressed the world to my attention in its filtered way, the other as far as I can remember, offered vicarious experience supposedly exemplary of being a man...but I already am one, thank you very much.

I don't feel a need to know what makes guys tick unless the guy is me. I am not a salesperson. And anyway, the guy-lit I have seen seems to lack or worse, misrepresent such insights. I do want to know the workings of those things and forces in this world that extend and enrich my life so I read my science news, my engineering press, my world news, my sources on domestic politics and activism and, now and then, articles "by women, for women". (At my age, why should I worry that I will be manipulated unawares by some Cosmo-girl putting her studied moves on me ;?)

BTW, My, how times have changed. Under the same name, True Magazine now operates for an audience that its original white male blue collar audience would not recognize. This is the True magazine I was talking about.


JahTeh said...

'Veeery Interesssting' Greensmile and I see my current joyful eyeful got a mention, go Hornblower.

GreenSmile said...

The whole topic seems to be kinda fun. But when I last checked at the Pandagon thread, not one person had answered my question about whether women expressing "interest" or "admiration" or "attraction" to various instances of the male form do so as a frustrated wish to obtain or as a bemused selfobservation of taste or...well or what?

JahTeh said...

Well I look, knowing I'm never going to have, but enjoying that indefinable something that makes my soul tingle. I have to say it's always the eyes for me, the dangly bits come a long way down the list.

GreenSmile said...

Interesting. Mrs Greensmile makes no secret of how very fine she finds the image of Paul Newman to be [we are older folk, yesterday's crop of heartthrobs are relevant] and she too says its the eyes that get her.