As a self confessed gym bunny, procrastinator, and chick, I’m an avid reader of Cosmo. And Self. And Shape. And Elle. And…well, you get the picture. Reading articles like “One Sock Brand to Drive Your Man Wild” and “How to Get the Perfect Body in Just One Week” pass the time spent elliptical-izing quite nicely. I eat it up: from the bedroom confessionals (you did what?!), to the diffusive health warnings (cigarettes are bad, go figure), to the starlet interviews (this month, Jessica Simpson says, just be yourself!). I love a good trashy mag. But Elle Woods circa Legally Blonde’s assertion that she brought her client “The Bible” aka Cosmo is taking it a little far. Plenty of women jokingly refer to it as that, but I have a hard time canonizing a magazine that reprints essentially the same content month after month. “10 Things Guys Crave in Bed” and “His Sex Fantasies” sound like the same article to me. The juicy and alluring Sex headlines that Cosmo is known for are always conveniently placed in the upper left corner, and vary little with each installment. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for seeing doggy style explained 5 different ways, but the “New!” and “fresh!” tips Cosmopolitan and other such magazines promise every month simply aren’t being delivered on.
This isn’t groundbreaking; anyone who has picked up a couple of women’s magazines can pinpoint the similarities. I’m not suggesting that we boycott these publications poolside, fem-bot out and subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times or limit ourselves to the on-flight magazines when traveling via aero-plane, rather I’m encouraging an open mind. My current fave? Men’s Health. The content is similar in some ways but all-encompassing; the featured articles are generally better written and topics seriously run the gamut. If for nothing else, pick one up to see the hilarious advice men give other men about women. Awkward. Maybe a fitness centric mag covered in pictures of sweaty, muscly beefcakes isn’t for you (in which case we are no longer/never will be friends), but check out something else at the magazine stand. Just once. If you’re all about music magazines, pick up one about technology (Wired) or film. For a newsy but not wholly overwrought pick try The New Yorker. Over the diet recipes offered in Self? Flip through Cooks Illustrated and find something better for dinner. And for those of you out there who are all about The Economist, maybe looking through a Cosmopolitan wouldn’t kill you.
Read your new pick skeptically. Treat it as the average democrat may treat an adventure through Nancy Grace on Fox News. Get out of that box just once. I’ll be on the elliptical reading National Geographic.