Thursday, November 4, 2010

Suspend That Disbelief!

I consider myself fortunate to have had to endure only minimal exposure to women's magazines, usually when a girl I know is reading them. But one thing that always struck me as hilarious and absurd was the stories submitted by readers. For instance, let's look at Cosmo's 'Sex Tips from Guys'. Here's a couple chosen at random:

Jamie, 23, informs us that "I can't be the only one who loves when a woman licks that soft patch of skin in front of my ears."

Donnie, 34, wants to share with us his insight that "when I lean in to kiss you, hold the back of my head gently in your hand. It's tender, yet sexy."

Now, dear reader, let's leave aside for the moment the implausibility of some of this advice. Let's also ignore the tenor of the writing, and whether the expression 'It's tender, yet sexy' seems more likely to have originated in a male or a female speaker.

No, what I find amazing is this. Cosmo never seems to invite its readers to actually send in anything! Apparently they're just inundated with readers just sending in unsolicited stories about sex tips, their hair, exercise secrets and all sorts of other junk. This is doubly curious for all the tips coming in from men, given they're not actually reading the magazine. Pity the poor mailmen who, week in, week out, must deliver endless sacks of missives from readers who (curiously), never include their surname, but are extraordinarily punctilious in always including their age. Apparently this is how people sign off all their correspondence.

My question is this: sure at some point, readers would at least wonder about whether all this junk is actually just made up by some intern earning eight bucks an hour, not actually readers? Apparently not.

I know that I am clearly preaching to the choir on this one, as illustrious readers of this periodical are more likely to be perusing National Review, National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Economist or Monocle. But still, it's amazing how much the inclusion of a first name and an age is sufficient to get people to not question what would otherwise be an overwhelmingly obvious fraud.

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