Rebecca Armstrong: The joy of age-inappropriate magazine reading

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The Independent Online

Recently I've been thinking about the things that make you realise you're getting older. My signifiers of age? The constant presence of dental floss and Gaviscon in my handbag. And the fact that my magazine consumption has changed. Confession time: this week I caught myself saying “Ooh! That looks interesting” when I saw a copy of Saga Magazine.

I know that it's aimed at the over 50s, so a thirtysomething such as me shouldn't be wasting valuable time that could be spent flossing on this August organ, but seriously, have you seen it recently? It's got sexy matt paper. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's on the cover in a suit made of veg. There's a feature about stylish men and their dogs. A piece on fairtrade wine that will help when I'm next dining with worthy friends. It looks great.

Similarly, the lure of The Lady has never been greater. Despite (or perhaps because) the fact that the ripsnorting Rachel Johnson era has ended, I have been toying with the idea of becoming a regular reader. It's partly thanks to the mag's enthusiastic tweeting (@TheLadyMagazine), not least about new appointments on its jobs page ("Full-time assistant gardener/handyperson required for private garden in Cotswolds." "Free accommodation and keep in French Alps for lady ski/travelling companion." ). Sod the handbags that cost two grand in Grazia – my new object of lust is three months in Chamonix accompanying a lady of a certain age down blue runs. This upward shift in my reading age shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, though.

As a 13-year-old, it was all about reading Just Seventeen. At 15, Cosmopolitan. At 22, I used a marker pen to cross out at an article in Easy Living about colour coding your books. Now I buy it every month without fail.

I notice that there's now a magazine called J-14. It deals with topics such as which attractive young gentlemen are preferable to eye-pleasing young chaps (I'm Team Harry Styles all the way), Chris Brown's domestic violence and whether the body shape of Disney starlets is changing. If my history of reading magazines beyond my years is anything to go by, it's probably being read by girls when they're fresh from the womb. Concerned parents of magazine-reading younglings take heart: if the relentless march of age-inappropriate reading is anything to go by, these teens will have moved on to The People's Friend by the end of the week.

Now there's a magazine. Puzzles. Animal pictures. Short stories. I might have to check out a copy on the way home...

 

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