Confession: I love magazines. The trashier the better. No “Newsweek” “Time” or “The New Yorker” for me. Oh, no…the lower the quality of the reporting, the happier I am. I have a particular affinity for attention grabbing headlines such as “Caught Without Makeup!” and “Plastic Surgery Gone Very Very Bad”, but, truthfully, I am fairly indiscriminate when it comes to which ones I am willing to plunk down a few bucks to own. I never regret the purchase and always enjoy the experience of reading every word of every issue. True.
This is an oft maligned habit of mine, yet it is not lost on me that more often than not, when someone is visiting my house they invariably notice one of said magazines on display (I’m not ashamed) and start to thumb through it, acting all blasé and disinterested when I know, if we are being honest here, that they are quite interested and will take whatever they read as fact. I’ve even witnessed said guests later quoting as gospel that which they have learned from the abundance of reading material in my home. Everyone digs it. I am just willing to admit it.
I’ve actually put a fair amount of thought to why I am so enamored of these rags, er, mags. I have concluded that it is for the same reason that I love “The Real Housewives”, “Mob Wives” and “Extreme Makeover” (the people one, not the houses one), biographies (particularly the ones written by the off-kilter: think Jenny Lawson, David Sedaris, Tina Fey) and am happy to people-watch for hours on end: it puts everything into perspective. No matter how wild the ride might become at my house, it doesn’t hold a candle to Jenny’s or David’s. The “real” (and I use the term loosely) housewives make me feel so much more grounded than I might otherwise, the “Mob Wives” are in such an entirely different stratosphere of a shitstorm that I almost feel good watching and those re-done-from-head-to-toe on “Extreme Makeover”…yep, I feel that much better about how I look. There, I said it.
But don’t think for one moment that these publications do not also educate: how else would I know, for instance, that were it not for the excellent on-call make-up artist in her employ, the world would know that Cameron Diaz has terrible skin. Adorable little Sarah Hyland (of Modern Family fame)…cellulite. Angelina: anorexic. J.Lo: incapable of being without a man in her life (and, apparently, her bedroom). And all those Teen Moms: still having unprotected sex. I can avow, with complete certainty, that I do not have bad skin or cellulite, nor am I anorexic, a serial marrying kind or well, a teen. See…I feel better already.
Just today while checking out at the supermarket (can you say “impulse purchase”?) I was barraged by all the newest magazines just begging to be taken home. From the slew of covers I was enticed to take a front row seat in the “private world of William and Kate”, garner the inside scoop on Matthew McConaughey’s wedding, learn first-hand the news of someone I do not recognize who is pregnant, or about someone else whom I also don’t recognize who is, apparently, doomed to die in prison. But the one that captures my eye (and my $3.99) was…are you ready?: A report card on the Best and Worst Moms! And, as if that isn’t enough to give me the shakes, I can, by purchasing this piece of literature, also read about Jessica’s struggle over losing even one of the fifty pounds she gained while pregnant (don’t judge…I did the same thing…twice.)(oh, and correction: I just dug a little deeper…turns out she gained seventy, yes, seventy pounds…ouch!) not to mention Katherine McPhee’s injured vocal chords which force her husband to lovingly speak on her behalf while she is shopping! In a nutshell: Died. And. Went. To. Heaven.
Here is why: I know I am not going be voted as a worst mom, I don’t have 50 (or 70 as the case may be) pounds to lose and I’ve not lost the use of my vocal chords. I know that it is horribly voyeuristic and pedestrian and idiotic and moronic and, quite possibly the information I pass off as fact is, in all likelihood, 98% untrue but the stories are just that: other people’s stories which, in theory, anyway, mirror their problems. More than that, though (and again, don’t judge) they aren’t my problems. As the cover of my latest acquisition screams; J.Lo’s daughter prefers the nanny to J herself. (There is a problem I will never have…as I don’t have a nanny!) Angelina has the audacity to provide a steady diet of junk food. (My junk food supply is not constant but decidedly inconsistent. Points for me.) And Christina seems unable to lift her child without causing bodily harm. (Well, I haven’t been able to lift either of my kids for years so fear of harming them in so doing ain’t on my short list of concerns.) Based solely on the cover it seems I would rate very high on the Star Magazine report card for moms. Who doesn’t want to be scoring an “A” here and there?
Perhaps better than the fact that none of these stories is my problem is the fact that it reminds me that everyone has problems, no matter who they are, how much they earn or how famous they may be. Their challenges are different from mine (so far none of them, other than Cher, has gone wide with a transgender identifying child yet) but challenges, nonetheless. Call it what it is: pure, unadulterated escapism. And who couldn’t use that every now and again?
So off I go to indulge in the June 25 issue of Star Magazine. If you are really nice to me, I will consider sharing my copy when I am done, but not before.