charmed life

Most women don't see the likes of `Cosmopolitan' and `Marie Claire' as the bibles of modern living, they're more the Yellow Pages of female survival. But these promise-all articles say nothing new - they state the obvious. The thing is, you have to check anyway, just in case.

The "Qualitative Survey of Images in Women's Magazines" published on Monday revealed that if glossies are the mirror of the modern woman's soul, well - she doesn't have one. Apparently we are shower of selfish, shallow bitches because all we think about is fashion, sex and going to the gym.

Well, come on critics, if you're single what else is there to think about? Knitting, gardening and baking Christmas cakes? I think not. Anyway most women don't see the likes of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire as the Bibles of modern living, they're more the Yellow Pages of female survival. Need a little black dress? Marie Claire features 120 party dresses for under pounds 100 - very handy. Health tips - how to combat that morning-after-the- night-before look. Then there's the curiosity factor. How can you resist a peek at "Girl to Woman - Sex moves that show you've arrived"; "Dress 10lb slimmer"; "Cheat your way to natural beauty" or "50 sex tips revealed! What he wants you to do!" These promise-all articles say nothing new - they state the obvious. The thing is, you have to check anyway, just in case. Let's face it, young women are not going to be moved by the "acceptable" glossies: "Quick Fixes for Tired Kitchens!"; "Topiary vs nettles - winners in the window box wars", or "Steam irons on test" just don't cry out from the shelves. OK, some magazines are like the Sunday Sport with glossy covers and perfume samples. Take "Would you recognise your lover's most intimate parts?" Now that is a gross article: hanging in a gallery, in heavy gold frames, are blown up black and white photographs of eight rather battle-weary willies, and the girlfriends have to identify them. In fact not only are the women unsure of whose is whose, so are the men. Quote of the article? "They look like a darkened room full of mushrooms," says Trudy, "but I wouldn't fancy that one fried in butter."

And while we are on the subject of men, why haven't they come under the cosh? If glossy girls are bimbos from hell then what about glossy guys? All they think about are cars, sport and beer (and sex). Recent conversations with men have generally been punctuated with certain key words and phrases: "fast"; "motorbike"; "convertible"; "rugby"; "rugby"; "make mine a pint" and "what's your phone number?" Loaded says of its cover girl: "Christina Estrada - sounds like a car, looks like a woman", but XL on the subject of leather car seats, really sums it up: "Leather suggests bondage, bikers (hubba hubba) and an easy-wipe surface to bonk on." So what is everyone complaining about? Loaded Man and Cosmo Woman are made for each other.

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