May 21, 1999
I'm always fascinated by women's magazines.
You know the kind of women's magazine I'm talking about.
They're the ones with an impossibly thin model on the cover and
a story inside about why you should be content with your body
I'm married to a very modern woman, but every month she brings
home a half dozen women's magazine. She blames her upbringing.
Her uncle was a pharmacist and after hours she was allowed to
sit in the magazine rack at his store.
I'll often go through them to learn what secrets I can about
the other half of the world's population.
No such luck.
Like women themselves, women's magazines are a complete mystery
to men. To begin with, the stories seem to always be in some
kind of female code, like: "What To Do About THAT Problem",
or "New Hope For Down There." I've read the articles,
and I still can't figure out what they're about.
And every issue has a big headline on the cover about revealing
the sex secret guaranteed to turn men on and drive them wild.
When you finally find the half page article, it usually involves
lighting candles and pretending to be pirates and princesses.
Wrong. The way to turn a man on is to look at him and say:
"Oh, all right."
You see, men are very basic creatures, and our magazines reflect
that. We don't worry about our relationship with our mothers,
or whether our sons will grow up to like us or inherit an eating
We feel there are already more than enough kinds of salads
to choose from without using green beans, fennel and endive.
And there's nothing worth eating that can't be barbecued.
I can't help seeing the differences between women's and men's
magazines. Not the "men's magazines" like my barber
keeps behind the counter for his best customers, but magazines
geared to the admittedly few other interests men have.
First of all, you'll notice that men's magazines are mostly
about things. They're about cars, or cigars, or golf or wine.
Sometimes they're about fitness, but only if the muscle-bound
guy on the cover isn't too pretty, and we don't actually have
to do any of the exercises.
Women's magazines usually have a story about a mother's heroic
struggle against some rare disease. Men's magazines usually
have a story about a man's heroic struggle against a fish. Sometimes
a bear. Occasionally a carburetor.
And the men in these inspirational stories never seem to learn
from their experiences, except maybe to pack more ammo or beer
Something you won't find in men's magazines is self doubt.
Or even self improvement. We're perfect, so there's nothing
to doubt or improve.
Men also hate taking tests. We hated it at school, and sure
don't want to take them for fun. Or even worse, tests that are
supposed to reveal our innermost secrets. Men's biggest secret
is that we have no secrets. We are incapable of keeping secrets,
so we don't need any tests.
We will take pointless tests, like: "How Big A Dude Are
You?" or: "Ten Facts About Beer." But don't ask
us to rate our level of commitment, compatibility or cuddliness.
Checking off question boxes and adding up scores is too much
like doing your taxes.
Besides, you could be spending the time playing princesses