Monday, January 03, 2011

Why I love glamour magazines: Or, how to revel in your own masochism

I love glamour mags.

No really. I honestly do.

I love them so much I tried – harder than teenage boy – to take up a job in fashion. I figured I had all the necessary qualifications. I'm female, and I like fashion. Surely that is all that's required.

Needless to say, I found the work vacuous and dull. Despite my passion for fashion, I found the constant talk about shades of pink (what IS the difference between lipstick and muskstick pink – analyse) and the general size denial of customers irritating. And my job was in accounting.

It became clear, after three gruelling years, that I was not cut out for fashion, nor it cut out for me.


When I was in fashion, I could write off Vogue as an expense.

I found (after I left) that it is almost impossible to purchase Vogue when it is not a tax deduction. For starters, they tested my IQ at the counter and found was too bright, so I had to force it down to double digits before I was allowed to leave the store with the product. This I achieved by telling them the latest article on Queen Noor of Jordan was the most cutting edge examination of a politician I had ever read.

(Incidentally, the IQ drop turned out to be useful because I did need the temporary double digit status to fully appreciate the mag when I got home; even if it did mean I stopped off on the way to buy gourmet lettuce, a bag of truffles and tomatoes that looked remarkably like bells and cost me a significant chunk of my mortgage payment.)

It is a remarkable thing, that as your bank balance and IQ reduce you experience a rise in status.

However, none of this accounts for the fact that I do, indeed, love these magazines. Vogue is the best, but I have all the flexibility of a plasticine gymnast when it comes to these objet d'art. Be it Marie Claire or Elle, I love their glossy pages and the fact that most of what I paid for is advertising. I love the airbrushed images I aspire to be like and the tiny trinkets that cost my annual wage. I worship the Anna Wintours' and the Jackie Franks'. I see myself in these pretty pages; if only if only if only.

It is here that I feed my inner masochist. I fatten her up on the rich chocolate of image and the tantalising cheese of good taste. It is here I feed dreams of things that can never be and revel in the belief that if I just had a bath and ran a mani-pedi-home facial, I too can look like Julianne Moore on the best hair day of her life after being dressed by Tom Ford.

This form of masochism is worse than the sweetest romance; a bigger let down than your husband after the hens night stripper showed you his junk. Here the clothes never soil, children are shrouded in angelic light and shot through a Doris Day lens, and the men lean against chairs in a way that will make you swoon. The reality of make-up stained neck lines, oceans of childish tears, and every hot guy being gay are miles away.

I know its not real. I know it is not good for my IQ. I know inevitably I will have to drag my pruney self out of my bath with nothing to show for the hour and half of hard work except for squared nails and fewer blackheads – both of which my job will ruin tomorrow.

But for a little while there, my inner masochist let me believe it. She took me over and seduced me into thinking fashion meant something and that I was better for it.

And she'll do it again next month. And that's the female life.

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