Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hey Mr. Postman...

There are very few things in this world that I get truly excited about. Perhaps I’ve become jaded in my old age. Maybe it’s because my subconscious is trying to limit me from spending all my money. In any case, I get very excited about precious few things. I get excited for baseball games. I get excited for new coffee drinks at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. I go completely batshit crazy for finales of reality shows. But one of the really great surprises in my month is when I come home from a long day of squinting at words on a page and find a giant, stinking tome known as Cosmopolitan magazine sitting in my mailbox.

Yes, I know my Serious Writer Cred goes right out the window when I admit this. My application to be a card-carrying Hipster (should such an application exist, which it DOES NOT) is tossed immediately. But I love it. I love the garish colors on the cover. I love the perfume samples that form an unappealing odor to permeate my annoying neighbor’s mailbox. I love seeing Mandy Moore’s face next to the headline “Orgasms Unlimited.” I like how the same pose is repeated on the cover every month, but with a different face. It’s a good indication of the content. Every month, it’s the same thing, said differently. You should try masturbating if you have trouble coming. You should try sex toys with your partner. Touch his balls! How to deal with a bitch at work. How to deal with a bitchy friend.

I always worry about myself when I get so excited to curl up in my pajamas, get under the covers and read the Cosmo from cover-to-cover in one night. What do I get out of this magazine? As a feminist, it should bother me. Yes, Cosmo gives lip service to strong, fearless women. But on the next page, there’s a bone-thin model implying you’re not hot unless you’ve got the Prada bag she’s struggling to hold up with her bony wrist. Cosmo feels they put women ahead by objectifying men the way that Maxim does to women. Treating men like sex objects doesn’t solve inequities in women’s salaries or the disadvantage women with kids face when they try to get hired.

I think that I take comfort in this exact philosophy. It is impossible for me to be dead serious about every Issue in the world all the time. It’s tiring. The world is full of disadvantages for women. There are many complicated issues that we all need to deal with, and these issues don’t have any easy answers. But all Cosmo is is a monthly question and answer session. Are you unsure if your man loves you? If he holds your hand a certain way, you can tell. Are you a bitch? Take a ten-question quiz and see how you could possibly benefit from a change. All these questions are answered so quickly. It’s a surface fix. Your man may hold your hand in a protective way, but he could still cheat. You can easily lie to yourself and pick the less bitchy answers on the quiz and still think you’re not a nasty girl. But it’s nice to have everything black and white, even if only for once a month.

All this is to say that I am unreasonably upset that this month’s Cosmo has yet to appear at my apartment. I fear my mailman, or a vindictive asshole neighbor, has stolen it. I am unreasonably upset by this development. Stephanie flipped through and there are sexual positions for use in summer situations, such as on pool stairs and on an inner tube. THIS IS INFORMATION I NEED, POSTMAN/NEIGHBORS. Who knows when I’ll have a beach ball and a man to have sex with in one place at the same time to use in concert? (No lie.) Also, I need the information on how to get the positions printed out as a waterproof guide (also no lie). Come on, guys. I don’t want to spring for a copy at full newsstand price. Deliver it. Now.

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