Today I shall turn my hand to this week’s Grazia. Also known as Schadenfreude Weekly, this intellectual aberration of a rag will more often than not lead with a story cataloguing its editorial team’s thinly concealed glee at some poor Hollywood starlet’s impending mental collapse. And this week is no exception. True to form, this week’s cover stories are “Haunted Victoria: Real Reason She Looks So Gaunt” and “The night Angelina lost her cool: Horror at being ‘total laughing stock.’
If, like me, you are able to momentarily suppress the “give a fuck” part of your brain to pick away beneath the faux concern to get to the real nitty gritty of nefarious publication, you’ll see, well, just a whole lot of bitching, really. Grazia is basically the glossy equivalent of one of your colleagues giving you the false sympathetic “you look tired” wide-eyed smile. “Talk in Hollywood points to the fact that she has been exhausted and jet-lagged due to the extreme pressures of the global press junket” for her new film, blabs Grazia, of poor Ang. “…booze, plus body insecurities could also be to blame.”
To blame for what, pray tell? This should be good. After all, we’re talking about someone who once snogged her brother and wore a vial of her husband’s blood around her neck. So what is this new “strange behaviour” of which Grazia speaks? Surely it must be something triply weird, like bringing out a new line of sex toys made from the calf bones of antelopes or becoming a Scientologist?
Well, no, actually. It’s about that whole leg thing at the Oscars. You know, where she sort of stuck her leg out of her dress at a weird angle? Don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking about it, because that was a WEEK AND A HALF AGO NOW, Twitter is totally over it, and all the humour that can be feltched from than infinitesimal piece of non-news has already made its way up the anus straw and down our digestive tracts. THIS, my friends, IS WHY THE PRINT MEDIA IS DYING. Get with the programme, Grazia. No one cares. Anymore.
Later on we have some more A* bitchery with favourite Grazi target Victoria Beckham, who is, amongst other things, “disturbingly gaunt”, “haunted”, “dark and sunken” and “in a very delicate place.” So, on the verge of a nervous breakdown then, or perhaps suffering from the ‘exhaustion epidemic’ that Grazia so helpfully flagged us up to a couple of weeks ago. Either way, there’s something unsavoury about their gloating tone.
Every magazine has a voice, and, while the London Review of Books will sounds erudite with a hint of snipe, and the Spectator sounds like, well…Boris Johnson, Grazia’s is the high-pitched, nonsensical gabbling of the stupidest person you know. Take this ‘sentence’ from their Chart of Lust (a feature blatantly pilfered from the much funnier and now-defunct Observer’s Women’s Magazine): “Yes, we prefer him in a tux. But we’ll take him like this, too. Just in case he’s, you know, reading this…or something.”
Flicking through the rest of miscellanea of insignificance will bring you ‘Polly Vernon: Don’t Get Her Started’ (Don’t worry, I won’t) and a seemingly endless stream of Oscar coverage (have you ever watched the Oscars? It’s like bashing your frontal lobe repeatedly with a glittery hammer).
Eventually you’ll get to page 91, in which Grazia does what all women’s magazines do, all the time. Which is:
1.) Create a fictitious taboo
2.) ‘Break’ the taboo
This week’s taboo, according to Carrie Lloyd, the ‘writer’ responsible for “I want a man…so what?” is admitting that you would quite like a boyfriend.
Pause for collective shrug
Apparently, in Grazia land, it’s not cool to admit you want a boyfriend. But then, what’s cool in Grazia land is not the sort of stuff most women every worry about, mainly because they are in a catatonic state brought about by being exposed to too many squeals of “LOOK! SHOES!”
I can’t believe that I am having to spell this out, but here goes. If you are happy being single, good for you. If you are gagging for a shag and miss the weight of a man’s body on you, then good for you too. If you are mental enough to miss being awakened by the reverberations of a man’s fart against your thigh and myriad tedious daily “what shall we have for dinner?” email exchanges, then fucking good for you. This is not a taboo, it’s just BORING. Yes, it is quite nice to have a boyfriend and saying you want one is fine too. That’s how I got mine. YOU ARE THIRTY ONE YEARS OLD, WOMAN. GET A GRIP AND GO AND GET A BOYFRIEND.
In all seriousness, though, Ms. Lloyd looks like a nice woman who probably just needs some new friends. I’d wager she has a perfectly good chance of getting a boyfriend, provided she stays away from the lacy espadrilles on page 106, or the flowery pyjama suits on pages 108-109. Which leads me to conclude that the main philosophies underpinning Grazism are:
a.) Pointing out how tired you’re looking, then:
b.) Recommending that you go out in a pair of floral pyjamas
In other words, Grazia is a bad friend who secretly wants you to have a nervous breakdown.
Suits to get you sectioned