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April 20, 2010

while I was missing from the internet for the past infinity it seems I did a whole lotta reading. Every once in a while I meet people like my mother, people who love books, adore reading and consume stories on a weekly basis, sometimes two or more at a time. These people often consider the literature I read; an abundance of biographies, collections of essays and magazines both local and international as subpar to their choices of fiction and other such literary styles. What i don’t get is how each and every time these people completely overlook the fact that I don’t want to be a writer or a librarian or own a book shop, i want to write and do creative direction for fashion magazines….why else would i read so many?

There is however one magazine that I never buy, i never pick up while waiting in line at the grocery store, i won’t even look at it at the dentist’s office. I only read it if I’m at my dear friend Mimi’s house, and even then, she rarely gets it. Out of all the mainstream magazines geared towards women this one generally takes the cake for the most suggestive story lines splattered across the cover in bold fonts and bright girly colors :

“Have stronger, longer lasting ORGASMS”

“Give him the BEST head of his LIFE”

“How to never look FAT again”

often referred to as the Bible by southern sorority sisters, nothing says “lady” like…

Cosmopolitan magazine..

first off.. how incredible is that swimsuit? and secondly…doesn’t that guy totally look like Tony Danza? I’m almost upset it’s not him because it would have made this whole piece so much better.

But the reason why i’m even writing about Cosmo is because I’ve never been interested in it or it’s contents until i read an essay by Nora Ephron about this tiny former mouseburger…

what, you might ask is a mouseburger, and who might this lovely little lady be?

This is Helen Gurley Brown, the misunderstood little woman who essentially singlehandedly brought Cosmopolitan magazine out of the failure that it could have been and revolutionized the world of women’s lifestyle magazines back when she first approached Hearst in 1965.

What interested me most about Helen Gurley Brown is the fact that her controversial magazine is sort of a Playboy style publication for women – it’s racy, provocative and often jaw dropping to many a repressed WASP –  but while the Playboy reader has no problems, the Cosmo girl has thousands; she has cramps, frizzy hair, a tight budget, a mean boss, she can’t walk in heels and the list goes on and on….and no one seemed to understand when Helen Gurley Brown first came around that all she wanted to do was help.

We look at Cosmopolitan these days and we picture a certain type of girl that carries the magazine around in her Juicy Couture purse slung on her wrist; she likes sticky lip gloss, long hair, bedazzled pockets on jeans, fake & bake paired with gel nails and perhaps a little dog. This Kardashian prototype female is often opinionated, outspoken and at times obnoxious (just like the magazine) but she is not at all the girl that Helen Gurley Brown had in mind in 1965. This female she wanted to help, this sexually repressed mouseburger (a humorous term for a timid or unexceptional woman) college girl still exists somewhere, still needs help landing that date with the class president, flirting her way to an A+ paper, faking her bust and waxing her mustache – and Cosmo is here for her.

I may not like the magazine, I don’t find it of use to my life and thus I do not read it, but I’m thankful for it and the heart of Helen Gurley Brown because rarely do people just want to help anymore and rarely did people from her time want to talk about the things she insisted on writing about. When I think about how ahead of her time she was I get this sense of calm about some of my opinions and ideas on life, how maybe some day the views I have on life and careers and relationships won’t seem so outlandish.

It’s a daunting fact realizing as a woman or, even just as a person, that maybe you can’t have it all. You can’t have the successful career, the wildly romantic married life, the 3 obedient children, your health and all your loved ones in one spot but at least there are still people who care too much, who do little things some would never even think of doing and say and treat people in ways some can’t wrap their brains around ….because some people really do just want to help.


what always breaks my heart the most about Marilyn is how human she really was.

i don’t think very many people even remember how to be human anymore.

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure.
I make mistakes, I’m out of control and at times hard to handle.
But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”






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