by Simon Hunt
For the past three years, I have been receiving, against my will, three different men’s magazines—Razor, Stuff and Maxim. There is nothing I can do to shake them off; in fact, it started as a single magazine, but grew to three when I called to cancel the first. I managed to elude one when I moved at the beginning of the summer, but the other two somehow managed to find my new address. The strange thing is that the magazine companies have never tried to charge me. They’ll send a renewal letter every year, but won’t bother to stop sending new issues when I don’t renew.
After a while, I began to read them. They provided a sickly glimpse into the world of the mainstream man-consumer. Each issue was packed to the gills with ads. If it wasn’t a paid ad for body spray, watery beer or jock-boy clothes, it would be an article outlining the best car, HDTV or CDs to buy. I would come away from the cologne stink of those pages with a deep existential nausea, and a sense of what it would be like to be in a frat house.
Apart from the relentless commercialism embodied by these magazines, there is a message regarding conduct: how to be a man. To be a man you must be crude and unapologetic, knowingly unstylish yet slavishly styled to a narrow ideal of department store brand names. But almost as much as knowing how to buy things, you must know how to deal with women.
What follows is a collection of quotes, beginning with the wisdom of an unasked-for magazine and sampling from a variety of official-sounding sources.
November 2005, “100 Things You Need To Know About Women,” p. 134-137
“Girls enjoy always having something kind of wrong, like a headache or cramping or something.”
“If women have an excuse to take a pill,
they’ll take it.”
“Never trust the woman who gives you the best blow job you’ve ever had.”
“The most painless way to end an argument:
Let her win.”
“Let her beat you at something once in a while—poker, chess, Ping-Pong—and she’ll be more likely to give you what you want, like some peace and quiet.”
“The more piercings she has, the more places she’ll let you put it.”
September 2005, “How To Score In Church,” p. 54
“Macking in a holy place is easier than almost anywhere else—the good girls never see it coming.”
October 2005, “Mission: Possible!,” p. 98-102
“Tell her how the intoxicating sight of freshly shaved pubes makes you want to go down on her. Once she realizes she’ll get more oral action (and get your motor humming), she’ll mow the lawn more often than John Deere.”
NERD’S GUIDE TO SEX
by Marc Perkel
“The first thing to understand about women is that they want sex. They want good hot sex. They want to have orgasms. They want you to fuck their brains out. They want you to make them climb the walls. They want to feel your penis pumping hot cum into their waiting vaginas. All you have to do is be there to give them what they want.
“In American culture you are taught, ‘Nice girls don’t do that!’ The hell they don’t! You may look at some woman as a sweet little thing, Little House on the Prairie type woman. But inside that sweet little woman is a porn star who wants to be fucked silly. We are, after all, the descendants of three billion years of fucking. Women are hardly going to give up that kind of tradition. Just like you when you get so hot that you’ll fuck anything that moves, women get that way too. They’re just looking for a nice guy who can keep his mouth shut to do it with. And that someone might as well be you.”
“Hiring a sex worker may well be the best teacher available to you.”
August 2005, “How To Be A Pickup Artist”
“To spot one, look for a matching-spandex-wearing, lip-gloss-slathered woman who isn’t exercising strenuously or sweating her balls off. Never approach a girl when she’s at a machine, though—wait till she’s between sets or at the juice bar to make your move. Another option is to attend a yoga class, where the women are plentiful—and bendy!”
June 2005, “Bediquette” by Laura Leu
“DON’T speak porno-ese. There are certain phrases (i.e., ‘Give it to Daddy,’ ‘You are a skanky slut-whore-bitch,’ ‘I’m going to [bleep] your [bleeping] [bleep] until [bleeps] come out of your [bleep],’ for example) that are just peachy in porns, but might frighten the fuck out of your lady. Literally.”
“DON’T ask about scars. Why? Here’s why: ‘How did you get this scar on your tummy?’ ‘Oh, I had a C-section when I gave birth to the baby I gave up for adoption when I was 16.’ In other words: ‘May your boner rest in peace.’”
How to be a woman
by Marisa Plumb
Even though I do not, as our editor Simon, have the strange fortune of receiving free issues of lifestyle magazines with advice and advertising geared instead towards a female audience, I was curious to see if I could find material that would simultaneously enlighten me on how to be a woman. I stumbled across a very wide-ranging (or, rather, large and repetitive) website that serves that purpose. Called www.iVillage.com, this pink-salmon site offers visitors many topics to peruse whether they are looking for beauty tips, diet plans, sex advice, food ideas, parenting insights, or paths to improved health. Needless to say, the available material is somewhat weighted towards domestic upkeep, with a special emphasis on food choices, but I decided to delve into the content anyway.
I found the site’s short articles required that I inaugurate myself into a self-contained jargon I would only have otherwise been prepared for if A Clockwork Orange had taken place in a lingerie department or sorority bathroom.
iVillage.com also provides links to specific magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Redbook. These publications offered many extra adventures in my woman training, mostly through the advice of colorful experts such as the “Carnal Counselor” and “The Love Council.”
Forcing myself not to question their validity, I read accounts of what the female experience should be like in the bedroom, in the gym, and on tragically short lunch breaks.
By the end I was able to restrain from critiquing the writing style, and even found myself clicking on articles based on more authentic curiosity (“Oh wow, can they really tell me how to give a blow job comfortably?”).
But all the while, I couldn’t get over the sensation that these articles are designed to skim the surface of real issues—with only slight variance every month—and do so by assuming that women readers feel tense, inadequate, and subservient when it comes to their relationships, bodies, and professional lives. “Shit,” I have now learned to say, “I’ve got this career but now I don’t have time to make my man delicious dinners when he’s had a mega-stressful week! What can I do? Or, How can I get him to commit?” Answer: say, “I’m going out with my guy friend,” and see if I can make him jealous, all the while weary that this tactic could backfire because he might not care.
If you don’t care about the following quotes, I understand. But if you want to absorb the notion that green tea will speed up your metabolism in four different ways, from four different health articles, or find out why the “77” now rivals the “69”, read on.
“What’s a hot woman like you doing without a steady man in your life?” —Sherry Amatenstein
“Because face it: You can’t spell the words “hot”… or “love”… or “ohmigod” without lots and lots of O’s… Close your eyes and visualize the moment when you and he met, or the first time you made love… Finally, as you’re building to the finish, rattle off a few affirmations such as ‘I’m losing control’ or ‘You’re going to give me the best orgasm ever!’ By saying it, you’re making it so…” —Julie Taylor
“These days, we can’t seem to escape the notion that men in Hollywood just can’t stay faithful to one woman. Jude Law’s recent infidelity and the speculation that Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston are the focus of the media’s fascination.” —“The Love Council”
“Marriage is a sacrifice. It’s a commitment people make to each other that says, I got your back for all time. It’s you and no one else forever. Oh, and please pay the cable bill.”
—“The Love Council”
“You say he was diagnosed as a sexual addict, but by whom?” —Dr. Ruth Westheimer
“One of them—a new position called “77”— is destined to be as mind-blowing as that other naughty number. Plus, four more crazes so H-O-T, you may need an oven mitt to read this article.” —Alonna Friedman, “Hot Sex Trends Worth Trying”
“Explore a new part of town or go to a samba club to break a rut.” —Hazel Dixon-Cooper
“A teddy bear, a music box that plays ‘your song,’ a framed ticket stub from your first movie date—he shouldn’t have, he really shouldn’t have! … Unfortunately, when faced with the daunting task of shopping for the perfect present, men often defer to the stereotype of what they think a woman wants—something overly romantic or sentimental … Bottom line: Give him zero points for creativity but major points for trying. And drop a few more hints next year.”
—“Unwrap the Meaning Behind His Gift”
On finding the right time to have “the talk”:
“The best time to catch him is when he’s kicking back. ‘Guys are approachable when they’re doing mundane activities,’ says Barron, ‘But make sure it’s an activity that lets him focus on what you’re saying.’ Cleaning up after a good meal or sitting in front of the tube (not when the game’s on) are good options.” —Esther Crain, “How to Have ‘The Talk’ with Him”
20 No-Brainer Ways to Make Him Feel Special
“Mastery of power tools is a deep wellspring of male pride. Ask frequently to have things mounted, fixed, planed, hung, adjusted, what have you, and be flabbergasted at how quickly and professionally he gets the job done.”
“Lavish him with compliments that are obviously unique to him. Little things, like he has sexy ears, or you love the way he slices an onion.”
“Compliment his driving. Use words like masterful and in control. (Please note: Do not do this in tandem with a request for him to do all the driving on a particular trip.)”