The other day Uncle B got offered a free magazine subscription as part of some internet/mobile/Big Mac combo deal he signed up for. When faced with a choice of “House and Garden”, “The Women’s Weekly” and “Cosmopolitan” for his lovely wife (and my good friend) KT, he chose “Cosmopolitan”.
When KT told me about it, I felt so proud of Uncle B and somewhat envious of their relationship. After two children, five years of marriage and four years languishing away in the suburbs together, he obviously still considers his wife to be a sassy’n'streetwise gal who needs to read articles like “How Do I Show That I’m Interested In Him And Not His Paycheck” (although, in a single-income family arrangement, that paycheck is pretty important…) and “25 Random Things You Don’t Want to Read About a Guy on Facebook” (as if those things could be anything but random). Anyway, it was one hell of a compliment.
Of course, before I knew it, I had admitted to KT that I would have definitely chosen “The Women’s Weekly” for myself and had even cited “the article and recipes” as my reasons, which left me with a peculiar taste of middle-aged frumpiness in my mouth for hours. Like the time my sister Belle pegged her itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny g-string next to my post-caesar “trampoline with leg holes” on the washing line. Or the first time I saw an outfit in the window of a Miller’s Fashion Club store and thought that it looked “quite nice” (and if you’re not acquainted with Miller’s Fashion Club, I think the inclusion of the words “Fashion Club” in the franchise name speaks volumes, as well as my reaction of “quite nice”).
To make myself feel better, I quickly emailed my husband with the question “If you had to choose me a magazine subscription out of “House and Garden”, “The Women’s Weekly” and “Cosmopolitan” which one would it be?”
His one line response: “Cosmo, surely, coz it has rude bits in it.”
Hmmm. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I suspect that was more a choice for himself than for me. Which was a timely reminder that the magazine’s real target audience is not women of the 18-25 year old age bracket but in fact Men. Of any age.
The next time I saw Uncle B, I presented him with this idea that “certain men” placed in the same situation might subscribe to Cosmo for their wives with their own selfish reasons in mind. But Uncle B proved himself to be a far nobler creature. Apparently, the very nice telephone salesman in Bombay (no doubt prompted by the script in front of him) had made a special point of mentioning that Cosmo no longer ran their sealed section before confirming the subscription. And Uncle B went ahead with it regardless. Because he thinks his wife is sassy’n'streetwise and not because he himself is Some Kind of Pervert.
“Certain men”, take note.