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Name Your Poison! ‘Mommy Magazines’

In Should I Even Be Talking About This? on June 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Ah, the Mommy magazine! The  cover cries out to motherly women in checkout lines everywhere: Lose Weight! (this, always- must be first….) After they’ve fat-shamed you, it’s time to Save Money! (on all of the overpriced  things they’re going to try to sell you) and- here’s some New Recipes, because for cryin’ out loud don’t you need to get in the kitchen and make someone a sandwich or something?!

These magazines are the mini-vans of the magazine community. To read any one of their covers is to wonder what ever happened to the good old days when your life was kick-ass and exciting! Sure, they try and reassure you that your life is still pretty rad (‘How To Get Your Hubby’s Attention!’)- but come on-when you’re reading ‘Secret Ways To Save On Your Car Insurance’ and taking notes, you understand it’s pretty much over for you. Being a mother is great, but the very act of giving birth demotes you from being the star of the show, to something more like the key-grip. From Queen Bee to worker bee. From Batman to Robin, and within a few years ,I’m guessing- Alfred.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: The Matron Saint of all mommy magazines, GH is very much like Buster Bluth in that it has very important ties with a seal. The products in  the magazine are anointed by the Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval. This is an honor- like the seat next to Johnny Carson for comedians. (It’s pretty impressive:  any product which earns the seal and becomes defective will be replaced by the magazine . I wonder how much money I’ve lost over the years by not ever remembering  this guarantee when something broke. Maybe some of that stuff had the seal! I never checked! Who thinks of it? )

...and the Good Housekeeping Seal!

…and the Good Housekeeping Seal!

In each of these ‘mommy’ mags, the editor has the not-so-easy job of writing the ‘greetings’ letter to all of the readers, while tying in the month, weather, fashion trends and products they are pushing… then back-handedly bragging about her own humble husband, kids, pets, and antidotes. (I imagine that being an editor is a bitch of a job-deadlines, deadlines, sales, sales  and these days throw in the death of print media, so I always imagine these women going ballistic all over everyone, except for that one second when they pose for the ‘l’m so together’ monthly editor photo, looking calm and collected,  as if they’re flying on the butterfly wings of Levitra…)

July 2013 editor, Rosemary Ellis  describes summer like this: “It’s as if a 3 -year-old has filled the world with colors from the Crayola six-pack!’ but  I sense that underneath the baby-blues, she might slice me if she were to read this, or maybe if she was just given the opportunity in general. You don’t get to be Editor-in-Chief of a National Magazine by being a pushover ( and besides, it’s an 8 pack of Crayola’s. Six-packs are for beer) Don’t hurt me!

Good Housekeeping features articles about Husbands (the care and feeding of) and Children (the care and feeding of) and the Mother/Wife in you (the care and Not Too Much Feeding of!) At least 16 pages are dedicated to diets and losing weight, while the advertisements tout  cake mixes, chips and soda. The magazine creates recipes for alfredo sauce and hot dogs with all the works-these must be for the husband and kids. Other popular mommy print ads: Mini-vans, laundry detergent, diapers and drugs for depression. Go figure.

The occasional non-controversial (and preferably ‘Country’) celebrity stops by to brag about their perfect parenting skills (which never include hiring a nanny) and perfect marriage, (and oftentimes, weeks later, announcing in People magazine a divorce or kid in rehab, or both)

Sometimes they quote celeb’s Twitter feeds.  Kevin Bacon says: “Chinese food with both my kids tonight. If I die in my sleep I die a happy man!’ You can hear a collective ‘awwwww’ from all of the mini-vans parked diagonally at Little League fields across the America. All the little people in their cookie-cutter houses, mortgaged to the gills thinking Mr. Big Star would gladly trade places with them on the bleachers if only he could! Oh, you silly, naive little rabbits! (Meanwhile, the greatest eulogy ever goes unread as Mr. Bacon wakes up the next day, and every day after that no worse for the wear! Which I’m happy for, but…’Had Chinese Food With Kids, Then Died’ would be some epitaph!)

Good Housekeeping has lots of photos of happy families having picnics, and socializing up a storm with brand new products! July is jam-packed with suggestions for mass-media beach reads (I guess Mom’s going to the beach alone if she’s able to read and not stand sentry) and the magazine is obsessed with all things weather!  Whatever season it is- they’re goin’ in, and they’re goin’ in BIG! 

It’s summer now in magazine land- so bust out the flip-flops and ice cream scoops and throw a Frisbee (see where to buy, page 77) or Hike the Local Woods (see parks guide, pg 82) with your new hiking shoes (see where-to-buy, pg. 77) The summer is full of all kinds of fun: blow some dandelion spores (Zyrtec commercial on facing page)

Other summer activities: Go to the Farmers Market on a Saturday morning! Pick Your own Strawberries! Everyone is suddenly giggly and cheery (regardless of natural demeanor) and all into the festive summer scene, like it’s the law!  No one is grasping for babysitters- what with the kids out of school- or frantically trying to keep the toddlers away from the surf at the beach so they won’t drown, or eating soggy sandwiches (tip: to keep your sandwiches dry, buy this $15. set of Tupperware molded to look just like plastic bags!) No one is  covered in wet sand, getting bit by horse-flies or changing foul diapers ( Pampers! Luvs!) on personalized beach towels (see where to buy, pg. 77). No, no- it’s all sunshine and sparklers and kids with smiles pasted on their faces according to GH!  

Speaking of sparklers- Good Housekeeping is very, very Patriotic, so make sure you pick up your stars-and-stripes paper plates, cups and napkins at Party City (for which they may offer a discount code if you spend $30 -which you will if you buy this stuff) and get ready for parades, flag waving and more corn on the cob than you can wave a novelty flag at. (Extra points if you show up at a small town parade with a Rhubarb Pie and a Golden Retriever who’s wearing an American flag bandana) If Good Housekeeping had a motto it would be ‘Always try and be something Norman Rockwell would like to paint’

REDBOOK:

Redbook’s claim to fame is admitting that yes, indeed-married women do have sex (often, that’s how they get the kids) They love to print racy articles about sex within the marriage. Redbook feels married sex is all about re-igniting passion and overcoming boredom. They automatically assume you are knee-deep in the doldrums because evidently that’s where they are.

They gather up naughty little hints and create lists designed to save your relationship from tedium. They kind of whisper it, too- like they’re copping all of this info from a back-alley dealer and cleaning it up for print. They have an endless supply of suggestions for ‘spicing up your marriage’ – and bless their hearts- maybe they are effective for newlyweds or couples who met on ‘Christian Mingle’or ‘For Farmer’s Only’ but I’m not sure they’re for those in long-standing marriages of say- over ten years or more. Behold some recent suggestions:

1. ‘Drink Together’. I’m thinking this one could go either way, depending on many factors. Who’s drinking what, and how much for instance. But of course, it does remind us of how we got together in the first place, so that’s good. And  at least they issue a Redbook warning: ‘Do not become a Tennessee Williams play’ ( Or any of the characters from ‘Cats’)

2. ‘Recreate Your First Date’  Oh, great! Now I have to go try and get Guns’N’Roses back together, (and we all know better people have tried and failed!)  Plus- I have to rebuild the New Haven Coliseum which they razed several years ago! So I’d better get started. Anyone have Axl’s number?)

3. ‘Take Your Hubby To Dog Yoga’ First off, we’re cat people. (Can’t you tell?  Snarky, Aloof,  Ability to Sleep 16 hour days?) Secondly: Dog Yoga? Is there no point where embarrassment forces one to look at oneself? And is it called a Double Downward Dog when the canine come? And what in the world does this have to do with married sex- or let me rephrase that with: never mind!

4. ‘Underwear Swim’  Here’s how: Go to a public lake or beach, strip down to your undies and…..Cannonball!  Never mind that you’ll soon be starring in Cosmo’s catty little ‘What Were They Thinking’ section, wherein people take secret cell photos of unsuspecting bystanders, then ridicule them in a national magazine, but honestly: What have these Lake Goers ever done to you that they must now be subjected to your granny panties and his  tighty-whiteys, not to mention your body of not-steel?  Although, maybe  it’s worth it.   Explains a loyal Redbook reader: “It feels sort of like breaking the rules, but we won’t get charged with indecent exposure’  Thrill seekers and Goodie-goodies take note.

'Oh no! It's the Underwear Couple! For the love of god, run!

‘Oh no! It’s the Underwear Couple! For the love of god, run!’

5. Baristas play a big part in Redbook’s ‘Re-Charge Your Sex Life’ campaigns for some reason. (I think a lot of these articles are written on laptops in Starbucks) To use them to ramp up your own sex-life: ‘Flirt with that shaggy haired Barista-even if he let a Ryan Lochte like ‘jeah’ slip when you asked him if skim milk was a available’ (you are drinking skim, aren’t you?) Not only will’ Barista Flirting’ make you feel flattered, but you’ll make his day as well. (Really?! Are hot teenagers lusting for ladies twice their age and bragging about it on Tumblr? Who knew?)   Another tip from Redbook: When he asks your name tell him something empowering like ‘Beyonce’ or ‘Sasha Fierce’ which he’ll scroll across your cup. That won’t be awkward.

Lucille 4

6. Try ‘down there’ hair colors, or apply Swarovski Crystal Tattoos to your nether-regions. I can give you three observations here: a) It brings new meaning to the term ‘shocking’ pink,  b) Neosporin (enough for the both of you) and c) try to avoid combining with Underwear Swimming. For the public’s sake. 

7. ‘Be A Sexy Surprise’ – This one’s been around forever, and is an homage to a simpler time.Wrap yourself in Saran Wrap and open the door (you, too can look like last month’s defrosted chicken breast! Tip:  Buy the plastic wrap at Costco- coz you’re gonna need more than you think!) There’s also the ‘Naked Under The Trenchcoat’ trick, but I’m afraid if I tried this, the first place my husband’s mind would go to is: Early Onset Alzheimers. (Along with: Oh God! Is that bling on her thing?’)

8. ‘Moan In The Shower’- yes, moan like that classic Herbal Essence commercial. Again, my husband is more likely to call the authorities, and sign off on an ‘evaluation’. Or think I’ve fallen and rush in with the first aid kit. (Which I’m sure Redbook could suggest sleazy uses for! ‘Place two band-aids over your…’)

"Good To Know"

“Good To Know”

9. No Bedroom TV! If you can’t take the tv out of your bedroom completely, according to Redbook, then hang scarves over it to indicate it’s time for sex. (I bet Steven Tyler is really good at this) Redbook assures me the scarves will remind him of sex and that he’ll forget all about the game! But I won’t- especially when the Giants/Cowboys are tied with two minutes to go. If you don’t move those scarves I may just have to strangle you with them.

10. Take Off Your Bra. Yup. That’s the tip, plain and simple. Just unhook those babies and let’em fly. Just be careful not to get careless, less that sucker catches the wind and snaps that hot guy you’re married to right in the kisser!  What ‘generously cleavaged’ women  refer to as the ‘Slingshot Effect’ It’s taken out more eyes than the Red Ryder BB Gun.

And there you have it: ten out of ten thousand ‘sensible’ Redbook approved sex tips for your (their) boring marriage.

A subject as important to Redbook as Sex is ‘Anti-Aging’. Theses two words appear on practically every page. I mean, if you’re going to be anti-anything, it may as well be anti-aging. But over the years I’ve figured out that there’s only one true thing that works to anti-age. And it’s called Death. It may not be a preferred method, but you can’t argue with it’s effectiveness.

Redbook is now on a huge celebrity kick. The covers feature sexy-mom/wife types like Jada Pinkett Smith and Ivanka Trump – because no one has better tips for raising kids than a person with 17 assistants, and 3 Nannies…and of course- no one has better down to earth home decor tips than a billion-heiress. Nice Move, Redbook. Makes sense. Looks like my sex life will be the only thing I’m renewing this year!

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