Trashy Magazines, Trashy Women

writer x

When you spend a lot of time in airports, you tend to buy the craziest things. Things like five-dollar bottled water, whiskey shot glasses with Big 10 logos, the New York Times, heavy glass paperweights with embedded scorpions and trashy magazines—and by trashy I mean the kinds of magazines that you usually read at your doctor’s office or in grocery store checkout lines. You know what I mean.

Trashy mags are the kinds that offer insightful tidbits about celebrity marriages (and their inevitable divorces six months later), bizarro red-carpet fashions, Master Cleanse diets and Michelle Obama’s shoe preferences. When you’re done glancing at all of the glossy pictures of the deliriously happy people, the next step usually is to use the pages to line your cat’s litterbox or toss in the recycle bin. Preferably the latter. No need to scare your cat.

And last week on vacation, I was so there. Desperate for something to read, I couldn’t help but comb all the magazine racks at the airport kiosks. When you’re not a frequent reader of the tabloids and women’s magazines and you stumble upon the front covers, at first it feels like you’ve just parachuted in from another planet. As you stare at the pictures and the cheesy headlines, your brain starts to go numb right before you’d swear it turns the consistency of rice pudding, especially after the sixth headline about Pamela Anderson’s baby bump. Or her latest tattoo.

Except here’s what I discovered to be the latest, greatest, most mind-numbingly, earth-shattering bit of headline news across most of the magazines: Celebrities celebrating milestone birthdays—e.g. Valerie Bertinelli, Jennifer Anniston, Cindy Crawford, Faith Hill—all marking the momentous occasions by losing a bunch of weight and then posing half-naked on magazine covers. So, I’m thinking, what better way to ring in a milestone birthday, right?

Not so fast.

It used to be that when you celebrated a milestone, your best friends would throw you a surprise party with black balloons and gag gifts like adult diapers and walking canes. But then people grew bolder. Suddenly celebrating a milestone meant parachuting out of airplanes or bungee jumping. Everybody had to do it. And then, predictably, times changed again. Women, mostly, celebrated by getting one of those mall “glamour shots.” You know, the kinds of photos with the soft lightening and wind machines that would make even Helen Thomas look like a hot babe.

Seems times have changed again. Now instead of surprise parties and bungee jumping, the cool thing, especially for women, and especially for women celebrities, is to lose at least 50 pounds and then don a bikini or your boyfriend’s striped tie and pose. On a magazine cover.

Good times.

Now, I’m not saying that staying in shape and working out are bad things. If you’re a regular reader of The Most Annoying Things, you know where I stand on good health, even though there are plenty of annoying things found at most local gyms. All I’m saying is that if you’re getting ready to celebrate a milestone, why not aim a little higher? Would that be so bad?

It’s obvious that celebrities can’t aim past their nose jobs and botoxed lips but can’t the rest of the mere mortal population? I mean, how about celebrating 30 by writing a book? Or celebrating 40 by starting your own business? Or celebrating 50 by adopting a child—oops, wait. Madonna’s already got that covered. How about becoming a foster parent or going back to grad school? Isn’t there some better way to mark one of life’s special occasions than squeezing into the string bikini you wore when you were 20? From the way those magazines were flying off the racks, I have to wonder.

Anyway, just food for thought.

::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::

June 22, 2009 9:43 am

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