Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Men and their Journal

My second unexplained issue of Men's Journal arrived in the mailbox today. With each new issue that arrives, I feel further efeminated. (I believe I just coined that term. Men get "emasculated," so now there's one for the fairer sex.) But instead of dumping into the trash with a huff as planned, I decided to do a little investigative reporting to learn what these strange creatures called men like to talk about. Now, I should preface this by pointing out that women get a lot of (well-deserved) heat over the fact that all women's mags deal primarily with: Sex (how to have it better), Beauty (and products), Fashion/Shopping, and Problems With My Boyfriend (accompanied by How to Trick an Unsuspecting Male into Being Your Mate). Throw in the obligatory "health" article about scratchy bumps in impolite places, and you pretty much have the whole stereotype of women prominently being exploited in our newsstands. What my anthropological survey revealed was the following: men aren't any better.

Primary topics of discussion?
Hot tubs (sex), mountain climbing (rugged, manly thing), Barry Bonds (sports), WAR (war), power tools (manly, unconscious symbolism with penis), and golf. And ugly, ugly shoes. Do not take Men's Journal's advice on shoes. Or you will never, I repeat, NEVER end up in a hot tub, waging WAR with your power tool.

So the male magazines are just as predictable as the female, I conclude after my exhaustive survey of one. I also scanned a couple articles and picked out a few choice observations:
--Breastmilk ice cream is a bad idea
--Burgers made from Kobe meat are "missing that cheap, almost slutty blast of grease that accompanies the best burgers." (While this description is endlessly evocative, I have to wonder about the state of this man's mind that such a metaphor should spring forth.)

Articles that interested me, a woman?
--Article on designer aftershave
--Article surveying camping gear, and introducing such nifty gadgets as a blender with a hand-crank for margaritas-in-the-rough, and dehydrated Thai noodles with fold-up chopsticks. As somebody who generally doesn't like being outside unless there is a margarita in my hand, I am comforted.
--Article on the 50 Best Cities to Live In.
Actually, this article bears discussion. The #1 city was Boulder, CO which sounds fine by me. But only one Texas city made the top 50! Can you guess? If you were to guess what ONE city on Texas would make a top 50 best cities list, what would you think? Especially if it came in at the prestigious #9 slot?

Whatever you're thinking, you are WRONG.

I know this, because I know that NONE of you, NONE of you would ever think: "College Station." I kid you not. It is on page 72. Austin does not make the top 50. And what, you may ask, does College Station have to recommend to anyone other than brainwashed ROTC grunts or straw-chewing yokels? Listen and learn, with annotations:
Texas A&M University brings more than just art, music, theater, [pardon me, I just choked up a lung in disbelief] and football to College Station. [yes, it brings date rape, religious zealotry, bigotry, and an unhealthy relationship with livestock.] The concentration of 45,000 students deep in the heart of sagebrush desert means an abundance of recessionproof jobs and a low cost of living. [correction: the utter undesirability of the property and the populace brings a low cost of living.] For $245,000, you can get a palatial four-bedroom on a half-acre plot. About $114,000 will buy a ranch house with three bedrooms. And less than $50,000 will guarantee your choice of cozy homes that can be driven off and replaced if you so desire. (There are 14 mobile-home parks) [that last big wasn't me. it's actually in the mag.]

So. If I may summarize: if you want to live dirt-cheap and in the middle of nowhere, you can probably do it in any rural location in the country. But College Station is good because, um, there is arts and music and culture football.


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