jeudi, décembre 09, 2004

Men's Magazines

I have finally figured out (or maybe just accepted) that I prefer men's magazines to women's magazines. The tone and intensity of the writing in men's publications is more direct and there's a lot less fluff. Now granted, I really do like the damn things "for the articles". And, okay, of course, the fashion direction is going to be off mark for me. And I am unmoved by pictures of actresses/ singers/ socialites tugging on their underwear, but other than for those three discrepencies, I prefer the men's stuff.

The viewpoint in men's publications is just so uncomplicated. Women's magazines have such torturous stuff in them: like your body? We can ruin that for you. Just bought something you feel pretty in? We'll teach you that it's now all wrong and hopelessly outdated. Content with your life? Allow us to fuck that up. Feel free to be/ look like anything you want? Step this way, because, sister, you are not allowed to feel/ look anything like free. You're too old/ fat/ intimidated for "free".

I read women's magazines and I want to kick somebody in the shins. (All except for the fashion, of course, but when it's too careful it's boring and when it's too freaky it's all concept and practically speaking, useless.) Women's magazines ruin my good mood.

I have found exceptions, of course. Years ago, I used to read Mirabella. Of course this particular glossy was aimed at women who were 45 or so and I was, what?, 14 or so? Old soul. And then it was no longer published. All good things must come to an end, huh?

I had a subscription to MODE magazine the first two years it was on stands. My inner feminist was so frickin' pleased that a women's beauty/ lifestyle publication actually was attempting to encourage woment to feel content, beautiful, etc. To this day, MODE is the only women's magazine that I have ever read that actually made me feel lovely. The rest are out to make you feel shitty so that you'll buy product. After two years of this kind of MODE-inspired happiness, I failed to renew my subscription. I'd finally faced the facts: I don't wear any of the clothes they were showing in MODE because I'm too thin. (If I take care of myself, I look like the girls in every other fashion magazine out there. But no other fashion magazine out there has ever made feel as good as MODE did. I miss MODE. I'm having a moment of silence for MODE.


Moving right along- as far as those other fashion magazines are concerned, Elle stands the test of time. Sort of. They're irreverent, which is helpful, but they still wander into insecure/ constant craving territory often enough. Plus their fashion layouts tend to give one the impression that their fashion editor is constantly on a tropical vacation. (What's up with that? And then also- what's wrong with that?) Other then having the overwhelming desire to make over E. Jean (whose attitude I adore, but whose advice I outgrew a while back), I liketh this mainstream one.

Then there's V. V makes me happy. Seriously happy. This is because V's writers are always asking people to explain their creative lives, processes, collaborations, inspirations, etc. I crave creative community- in fact it's one of my top three cravings- and V is the next best thing to being there. Plus V has a serious committment to always finding the new and the next. There's no creative glass ceiling to it and connections are NOT the only way to show up on their pages. Every once in a while I get a letter or e-mail from them regarding some contest or other they are having for cool new designs in glass or what have you and I am terribly, terribly jealous of whoever it is that could actually participate. (What do I know about glass making?) V probably sparks more stuff for me creatively than any other magazine I read. (Well, fashionwise, anyway.)

Surface isn't bad, either. It's kind of V trying too hard and without the cool creative process stuff. Surface feels kind of like Wallpaper or Veranda or some other such pretentious metro-muckity-muck mag. (Surface is still better than Wallpaper or Veranda, in my none too humble opinion.)

Nylon rates a mention, but they tend to get a hard on for a particular indie designer and get kind of stuck. Plus their "letters to the editor" are so sugary and grovelling that I feel kind of ill if I read them. Still, they did introduce me to Inner City Raiders vs. Deth Killers of Bushwick (fake motorcyle gangs whose names make me laugh and also remind me of Charles Dickens for some reason.) Click on April 2003 Nylon p. 116 to view this particular t-shirt of theirs which is lodged in my brain. (It doesn't hurt, if you were wondering. Unless I think about the fact that I should have bought it from them when they were still selling through their site. Now if I want it I'll have to track it down in North Carolina or some such ridiculous thing.)

I suppose Jane deserves an honorable mention, too. Jane probably comes closest to the tone of mens mags, however, they then proceed to step right on over the line, and brave woman that I am, I just cannot hang. However, they did pioneer the phrase "feeling a touch crimson" if anybody out there has a use for it, and also, I guess I'll be forever grateful to them for letting me in on the fact that Pamela Anderson has a real brain in her head, no augmentation required. Who knew? V.I.P. was goofy enough that I decided to like her anyway, but her Jane articles clinched it. She's nowhere near perfect, mind you, but I don't like perfect. Perfect makes me itch and want to do very bad things.

But if I have to read about politics, science, technology, cooking, wine, cigars?, travel, culture, etc., I think I'd just rather sit with the menfolk and read what they're reading. Maybe this is because in a lot of instances I think and communicate in a very strong, direct way (which is classically kind of masculine. At least the editor-in-chief types seem to think so.)

So, I like men's magazines. What does that mean? (That boy needs therapy. He's crazy in the coconut.) Who cares? Uck, this is a slow news day here. Does it show? Seriously, folks, I got nothing.

samedi, décembre 04, 2004

Happy Girl

I went out tonight smelling like Stella McCartney's mother's roses. (You heard me.) Around my neck was a bit of silk cord and austrian crystals in the form of one hard, brilliant butterfly. Adonis Rose headed up a quintet that played to celebrate my resurrection from the dead. I danced four dances- one wrong. (I hereby do solemnly swear that I will damn well learn the electric slide once and for all. Still- watch me work. I do wrong right.) I made three new friends who promise to get me into trouble. Drank two vodka tonics and two men held my elbow and pulled me close. To kiss my cheek and watch my sparkling eyes while I tried to talk in my soft girl's voice over the easy authority of trumpet, trombone and bass. I don't think it mattered what I said.

I have three new friends who promise to get me into trouble. I am gorgeous when I smile.

had the strangest dream...

Last night- or was it this morning?- I dreamed that I had a very light weight lawnmower. I was at somebody or other's house. They had one of those overgrown, supremely-useless acre-of-dumb-grass front yards surrounded by a chain link fence. Not pretty. Whatever.

The point of the dream was that I used that lawnmower (brand new, thought you'd like to know) and in no time at all made that yard look pretty damn decent. And as I cut through weeds and knotted grass, I felt satisfied.

So satisfied.

vendredi, décembre 03, 2004

No, I Understood You Just Fine

I worried about her, out painting in the cold like that. I'd hired her to paint the front door to match the neighbors' door which she'd painted last year. Pretty colors, too, just not ones I'd choose. But, I thought, the colors would be here after I'd moved away, so I decided the doors should match on this uptown double. Much more visually pleasing that way.

She arrived early in the morning and got to work, sanding first, then priming and sanding again. I ignored her but couldn't ignore my feelings of guilt about her in the cold hour after hour. Finally, I peeked out of the door and asked if she'd like some tea, some cocoa, something to warm her up. She thanked me and asked also if I had any tissues. The cold was making her nose run.

I brought a box of kleenex and a mug of hot cocoa with those too tiny to last marshmallows in it. I stood and talked politely with her for a few minutes and went back inside. When she'd finished one coat, she left it to dry overnight.

The next morning, I met her at the door again and talked longer this time. Always eager to treat a fellow human being like a human being whether they are providing a paid for service or not, I got to know her a little bit. I heard about her husband, her son in California, her cats.

She was the kind of woman I envy: suntanned, badly but comfortably dressed, wrinkled, messy and above all- at ease. I never give myself permission to look this way- to live this way. The life I am used to feels like a corset drawn too tight whenever I am around a woman who lives life this other, easy way.

She finished the door on the third day and invited me back to her house to see the antique interior colors she'd used in her own home (interiors were what she usually painted.) Right up the street was a home which, like many in this city, had a deceptively weathered exterior. Inside were three cats and beauty. The walls were a soft matte mustard/ old gold color. A picture frame in a grayed blue rested, perfectly at home against that color, at the base of the stairs.

After talking me through every room, every color, every cat (all of whom were perfectly content to welcome a stranger), we climbed her twisted stairs. The entire length of the second floor had been opened up into a master bedroom suite with sitting room and bathroom. One cat followed us in. She talked color and I looked out at the tiny balcony holding two defeated wicker armchairs covered in cushions which were not meant for rain or sun.

She sighed. I looked over at her. And eyes on my face, she sat on the bed and legs apart, leaned back onto her elbows. Still talking, still watching me, she leaned back all the way and raised her arms over her head. I talked back. And stayed where I was.

After a few minutes, she gave up and took me back downstairs.

Two days later I wrote her a thank you note for the work on the front door.