The Vagenda

Why Don’t You…?

Oh, Harper’s Bazaar. Oh dear, sweet Harper’s Bazaar. Oh dear, sweet, shitty Harper’s Bazaar. I want to like you, I really do. I want share your stories with my friends. I want to laugh at your jokes. I even kind of want follow the trends that you set. But I can’t. Why? Because I just don’t trust you. Because every month you insist on offering me loads of really terrible advice which I am less likely to follow than Taylor Swift is likely to get back together with any of her ex-boyfriends (until she needs new album material, that is).
I write, of course, about Harper’s Bazaar’s monthly “Why Don’t You…?” column, a page dedicated to the idiotic thoughts of some poor intern tasked with entering the mindset of Diana Vreeland, Harper’s Bazaar’s answer to the question: who should you name-drop if you want to sound like you know about fashion but suspect that Anna Wintour may just be a little bit too mainstream?
Well, Harper’s Bazaar, I won’t do any of the things you suggest. Why? LET ME TELL YOU.
Disclaimer: Every single one of these suggestions has been lifted – word for word – from Harper’s Bazaar’s website. Gen.
“Why don’t you… drop a Smartie into your champagne and watch it change colour to match your outfit?” you asked me.
Because that would be mental. Because Smarties don’t always match the colours of my clothes. Hang on. Because Smarties NEVER match the colours of my clothes. I don’t wear turquoise or lilac or fuchsia pink BECAUSE I AM NOT A SEVEN YEAR OLD CHILD (or a rainbow catcher). Because I cannot envisage a situation in which I would be gobbling Smarties and quaffing champagne at the same time, and if that situation ever arose, I would enjoy it and relish it and live in the moment. I would be so excited by the fact that I was gobbling Smarties and quaffing champagne at the same time that I would spend my time marvelling, marvelling at the fusion event that I was attending, and not spitting, spitting food into my glass.
“Why don’t you… buy your children exquisitely illustrated pop-up books, for three-dimensional thinking in a digital world?” you asked.
Because I do not have children. Because if I did have children, they would read normal books. And if my children, who read normal books, expressed a desire to do some three dimensional thinking in a digital world, I would disown them.
“Why don’t you… install a gypsy caravan in your garden as a place to escape, ponder or play?” you went on.
What the genuine fuck? This article is starting to write itself. Why? Why would I do that? Why would I install a gypsy caravan in my garden? Why would I want to escape, ponder and play in a gypsy caravan? You know how most people haven’t installed a gypsy caravan in their back garden? They’re on to something.
“Why don’t you… get your family crest embroidered onto bespoke slippers by Penelope Chilvers?” you gushed back.
Because I already own slippers. They are from Accessorize. They have little mouse faces on the ends of them, and each have two pompoms on them that look teeny tiny mouse ears. They cost £12. Penelope Chilvers slippers, a) don’t look like rodents, b) cost £348 and c) require me to have a family crest. I obviously do not have that.
“Why don’t you… channel Yoko Ono and invite guests to start a wish tree in your garden?” you insisted.
Because wish trees don’t exist. And even if writing down your wishes on a piece of paper and hanging them these bits of paper from a tree in a bid to make them come true wasn’t weird and creepy, the whole point of wishes is that you are supposed to keep them secret. Writing shit down and hanging it to a tree is not what ‘keeping a secret’ is. It’s what ‘making a public declaration’ is. And also, weather exists. Wind and rain will ruin your secrets and then all you’ll be is a person who wrote some wishes on pieces of paper that were blown away and ended up polluting the environment and probably being swallowed and choked on by small mammals. And no one likes a small-mammal-killer.
“Why don’t you… go old school and join your local netball club?” you suggested.
1.      It is winter.
2.      I have a job.
3.      In the winter (see point 1, feat. the winter) when I am not at my job (see point 2, feat. my job), it is dark.
4.      You cannot play netball in the dark.
5.      Netball is boring. That’s who no one plays it after the P.E. bell rings.
“Why don’t you… admire the works of Salvador Dali at the Centre Pompidou, then dine upstairs at Le Georges for sublime views of Paris and great steak tartare when in Paris?” you quipped back.
Wait. What? Why is this so specific? I have a sneaky feeling this wasn’t written by the intern but by an editor who did indeed go to Paris, admire the works of Salvador Dali at the Centre Pompidou, then dined upstairs at Le Georges for sublime views of Paris and great steak tartare FOR FREE. Because a PR offered her the trip in exchange for this perky little write-up. Were I paying, I certainly would not do those things because they would be very, very expensive.
“Why don’t you… be inspired by Sally Bowles’ divine decadence and paint your nails green?” you replied.
Because that makes no sense. Because green is not traditionally a decadent colour. There are very few colours that are traditionally an anything colour, and yet you have chosen one that is traditionally a something colour and then you’ve gone and got it wrong. Green is traditionally a colour that expresses ENVY. Not DECADANCE. And those two things are different. Plus, I don’t want to look like a witch, thnkz v much bbz.
Soz, Harper’s, but I just wouldn’t want to do any of those things. Why don’t you start suggesting something that doesn’t make me want to swallow my own fist?

14 thoughts on “Why Don’t You…?

  1. Not only are we seeing an increase in the rich/poor divide but insane behaviour and thoughts from these people and their institutions. While us ‘normals’ are facing the harsh realities of life we observe this bizarre show completely puzzled with no way of comprehending or relating to these freaks. The world is going to hell and they are suggesting we dissolve smarties in our champagne???? I know these magazines exist in their own surreal world but it reads like a big fuck you to anyone that more likely lives in a caravan rather than considering getting one installed in their garden.

  2. Peacocks are pretty decadent.
    Also, surely a smartie will just turn your champers murky and make it taste bad. No?

  3. I won’t judge you for wearing mouse faced slippers if you don’t judge me for dressing like I bathed in melted Smarties, pinkie deal? Anyhoo, rich people seem to wear diamond encrusted blinders. I’d rather live humbly within my means and not get a lick of this ridiculous decadence than live with my head firmly inserted in my colon, oblivious to peasants’ problems.

  4. Easy target, this sort of tosh. All the “women’s” magazines are full of this sort of drivel, all the time, with slight variations for the target demographic. Why does anyone buy them, read them? How I wish there was a sensible general magazine, like say BBC Woman’s Hour, which does focus on issues of interest to women but doesn’t assume they are all complete airheads.

  5. Is it terrible I like the idea of the gypsy caravan in my garden? Not for any particular reason, other than I think it would be amusing, and whilst I am not a 7 year old girl (add another 20 years on there) I do like behaving like one sometimes. Now I just need a house that a) I own and b) has a big enough garden to fit a caravan in!

  6. I wear turquoise, lilac and fuscia pink, sometimes all at the same time. Doesn’t mean I want my drink to match my clothes, though. If it did then I’d just be downing a pint of snakebite or a WKD.

  7. On the whole I enjoyed this greatly but … I remember watching Cabaret when I was younger, and loving Sally Bowles so much that I bought green nail varnish so I could be just like her and make people think I lived a similarly decadent lifestyle. As a shy, supremely-uncool 13-year-old schoolgirl. It was never going to work, but I see where they’re coming from on the green / decadence thing.