Friday, January 06, 2006

Domesticity Newsstand Roundup: Winter 05-06

One of the things I did differently on my winter vacation was to skip the usual offerings at the newsstand. And for good reason, because I was not impressed by any of the editorial content that was being offered by the usual suspects between Christmas and New Year's.

Take Allure, for example. Seriously, Linda Wells is descending into the same pit of despair as Anna Wintour. By now you've probably read the reviews of the January issue (the one with Gwyneth on the cover and Dr. Sunken Tits in the Fashion Stakeout section - the heck?) but I have to take umbrage at the December issue, which I purchased at the corner store while I was still going through the flu. What on earth did Teri Hatcher and her people do to Allure to deserve the pallid lip gloss and poor retouching (yes, worse than Gwyneth's) on the cover shot? And don't get me started on the articles, which have always bored me to death. For one thing, the hateful Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig (and yes, I insist on using her full name) actually drops a few tips on “Arriving with Style.” Shut up, Rosenzweig. Also, every time I read about celebrity dermatologists, I always remember what my sister says about Tyler Florence: “The only way he can be more useful to me is if he showed up in person in my kitchen, cooking the food himself. Why settle for the book and the pictures?”

And what's up with the featured celebrities in the other mags? There's Ashlee Simpson on Cosmopolitan, trying to convince us of two things she hasn't been lately: sexy and relevant. There's Paris Hilton on Shop, Etc., hereby convincing me that she will never be sexy or relevant in this lifetime. There's Anne Hathaway, who actually sported better hairdos in Brokeback Mountain than on the December cover of Lucky. (Mena Suvari, on the other hand, looked nice on the January cover.) And then there's Sheryl Crow on Shape, doing nothing to convince me that I really should work harder for my fitness goals this year.

Speaking of fitness goals, as soon as I got off the plane in Vegas my brother handed me a back issue of Men's Health. And, sure, there's a lot to snark on about Men's Health - it's like Esquire with a little less (political, booze-fueled) conversation and a little more (body-sculpting, whey-protein-drinking) action - but I personally couldn't put that back issue down. Maybe it's because I find the articles more helpful, since they emphasize muscle performance and definition rather than calorie counting and hiring a personal trainer. Maybe it's because they refuse to sugarcoat discussions of body image among genders and body types (none of that fake-sincere “you're beautiful the way you are!” crap that I usually find in Glamour; more like “Just ask any hot girl: abs = sexy, flab = meh, but big bodybuilder muscles = hell no”) Or maybe it really is all the pictures of shirtless guys showing off washboard abs, accompanied with articles on how to diet and exercise to achieve said washboard abs without throwing away tons of money or injuring one's self. Mmmm, abs. (Sorry, Michael Tsai.)

My other favorite parts of Men's Health are the fashion features, which are focused mainly on tailored sportswear - eg. jackets, slacks, and jeans - as opposed to the Lycra-and-slutwear that Shape usually features for women. Again, there's no sugar coating here - it's apparent that there's going to be a woman reading the magazine who's going to come up to her significant other (or brother, or in-law, or dad) saying, “Honey, you'd be so much sexier if you dressed like Orlando Bloom in this picture” - but I happen to be a fan of well-tailored clothing on anyone, so your mileage may vary. (If only Women's Health didn't look so dowdy by comparison; even with Mally Roncal dishing advice, the makeup and fashion sections lack the same sense of wit and flavor as the fitness and sex articles.)

This January, Men's Health has Eric Bana on the cover. And any opportunity for me to gaze upon the beautiful visage of Eric Bana (without having to suffer for two hours' worth of costume and dialogue - take it from someone who saw that Hulk movie on TV) is a good opportunity in itself. But more about that later.


In other news, I just browsed through a copy of the January issue of San Francisco magazine at B&N, and, well, let's just go ahead and say that Gavin Newsom is teh hottness. Okay, a little too workaholic and political for my taste, and it's not like I'm going to leave Oahu for the Bay Area any time soon, but - come on, I'm not blind!

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