I think men and women should read each other's magazines.
We need to understand what the opposite gender is thinking. Get a handle on their needs. Their dreams. Their desires. Only then will we stop fighting and co-exist in blissful silence.
Having recently bought a copy of Men’s Health, I thought it only right that I give Women’s Health a go. Standing in the queue, people glanced at the magazine in my basket. I could see in their eyes what they were thinking. Pervert. Weirdo. Probably one of them intersex freaks.
It didn’t help that the cover shrieked, “Badass mood-boosting workout!” and offered tips on
restocking my vanity bag. I saw a man side-eyeing my bum and shot him a look that under normal circumstances would have been a death stare, but now came across as a coquettish come-on. My feminine side was getting in touch with me and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
The magazine was wrapped in plastic and weighed a ton. It contained loads of free stuff including a bottle of shampoo, a sachet of granola and two packets of sanity pads that you put on your head when you’re feeling a bit mad. No, wait. Sanitary pads.
Back home, I got into a scented foam bath and set about abusing the freebies. I used almost the entire bottle of shampoo with less than pleasing results. Once my vision returned to normal, I discovered that it was a flavoured energy drink. My head is now constantly covered in bees tripping heavily on glucose.
The cover, which features your bog-standard glamorous American actress bursting with health and goodness, promises to tell me about “The muscle we all forgot”. That’s a teaser you won’t find on a men’s magazine. Assuming the willy is even a muscle at all. It’s a complete mystery. It has a mind of its own and often behaves badly, unlike other body parts which know their place and don’t try to show off. Or, for that matter, malfunction. The epiglottis doesn’t, for instance, say that it can’t work under these conditions and allow your beer to proceed directly into your lungs.
I will also discover “Six moves for your best abs ever.” I have never slept with a woman with spectacular abs. Sharing a mutual aversion to gyms, none of those who rampaged through my life worked out. Nor did any of my relationships, for that matter.
Another teaser says, “What revving your metabolism really means.” I expect it means you can damage your piston. Should be interesting. Men have no idea how the female piston works.
I will learn how to glow for 24/7, presumably without having to spend time on Fukushima beach, and I am told that “Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy.” Hopefully next month there will be a teaser that says, “Just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I have to tell you about it every ten minutes.”
Apparently The Economist declared 2019 to be The Year of the Vegan. I’m not sure why anyone should listen to them, but people do seem to be getting out of the habit of eating animals. Vegans are extremists who covertly recruit from the ranks of the more moderate vegetarian groups. Radicalised, they then infiltrate dinner parties and slowly bore the carnivores to death.
Veganism has now infiltrated the beauty world. It is no longer acceptable to use a face cream made from the spleens of baby marmosets. Instead, women are being encouraged to lather themselves with natural products containing pre-loved mung beans that expired gently from natural causes.
There’s also a 10-step beauty regime that will teach me “how to get the luminous skin Korean women are famous for”. Essence of lotus leaf will protect me from free radicals. There are no free radicals in North Korea. They have all been rounded up and sent to prison camps. Kim Jong-un’s enemies abroad occasionally find themselves getting free VX treatments at airports. It’s the ultimate anti-ageing solution.
Oh, look. There’s a bright pink mud mask designed to fit your entire face. Remove after twenty minutes, apply a moisturiser and retrieve your husband from the garage where he will be cowering beneath the work bench.
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is made from the goo secreted by snails. A cheaper method is to put actual snails on your face. There is also a snail repair cream, presumably in case the snails turn rogue and eat bits of your face.
There’s a feature explaining why public displays of affection are a good thing, in the event that you believe couples who kiss in the street deserve to be tied up and beheaded. There are even suggestions on how to do a PDA, possible for the benefit of people who were raised by wolves. South African men aren’t world champions in the self-control department. My advice is not to encourage them.
Fitness seems to be important for both genders. I understand the need for men to be fit because we’re forever chasing women and on the rare occasion that we catch one, we have to do all the heavy lifting. I don’t know why women need to maintain their fitness levels. They don’t even have to climb very far up the corporate ladder before hitting a glass ceiling and going home early with a headache.
There was also something about metabolism. I don’t really understand the concept. Apparently it’s better to have a fast one than a slow one. Mine is slower than a two-legged alpaca. I’m told that six small meals a day is better than three big ones. I polished off a Woolies veggie bake thing the other night and discovered afterwards that it serves six. Six what? Mice? In future I shall have six meals at a time. I expect my body will want to thank me in new and unusual ways.
Then, page upon page of products. Wrinkles? Try this serum freshly squeezed from the pineal gland of a Kihansi spray toad. Dead skin? Use a peel made from algae scraped off the belly of a Vietnamese coughing crab. Stinky? Daub a little essence of fruit bat on your wrists. Dry hair? Rub in a cupful of oil secreted by an albino killer whale. Too white for the night? Spread on a 24-hour bronzer made from the foreskins of a remote Ethiopian tribe. Too dark for the park? Take a long, luxurious bath filled with bleach.
I feel like I have learnt a lot. I’m just not sure what it is.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.