The Vagenda

Glamour Magazine Hates Magic and Surprises

Glamour magazine – sorry, GLAMOUR magazine, the only publication which insists on writing its own title in an appropriately offensive screech – has really got my goat this month. Maybe it’s the positioning on its front cover, which cosies up a lower-case quotation stating that ‘The Sandy Hook shooter killed our mum’ with the upper-case demand to ‘BRING ON THE HOTNESS’. Maybe it’s the confusing ‘We won’t tell anyone you bought this for MICHAEL BUBLE’, which I’ve only just worked out is implying that you bought the magazine for the MB interview, rather than advertising a feature where women line up to anonymously confess about presents they bought for him (‘*I* bought him a silver chalice.’ ‘Don’t worry, darling, we won’t tell anyone. And just to make sure everyone knows we’re not telling, we’ll put it on the front page.’)
But you know what? This entire issue should have been cause for celebration. Because the May edition of – scream it with me – GLAMOUR marks the final column in a UK women’s magazine from ‘celebrated’ ex-Tory politician Louise Mensch (or, as I like to call her, Sauron.) 
Now, nothing makes me happier than when Louise Mensch loses publicity, but she’s decided to go out with a bang rather than a whimper. In the article in question – the ominously titled ‘Goodbye… but I’ll always be a GLAMOUR girl’ – Louise whips out some solid gold advice. At first, she explains her rationale behind labelling herself a ‘GLAMOUR girl’ (as a teenager, she once saw an advert in GLAMOUR magazine which featured a model walking around a city with skyscrapers. Now she lives in Manhattan because of her husband’s job. See how the inspiration of GLAMOUR makes dreams come true?) Next: ‘Be ambitious. Intern. I did, and got a job in the record industry off the back of it.’ Well, jeez Louise (an ACTUAL TIME when I can use that phrase!), thanks for the tip. Besides the million and one financial and political problems inherent in the idea that all you need is raw carnivorous ambition to ‘intern’ and then become a millionaire, I’m right with you.
But it’s unfair to bully Louise Mensch for things that she does. She did that herself with Menschn.
On to more pressing issues. The next feature after Mensch’s final adieu is one called ‘DO YOU STILL FANCY 1D WITH NO HAIR?’, where Harry Styles et al have been digitally rendered bald (badly) by the frankly downright insane team at GLAMOUR, before members of their readership vote on whether they would still shag a teenager if he was a victim of male pattern baldness. Unsurprisingly, pretty much everyone says they wouldn’t, because not many twentysomethings in their target demographic presumably would respond positively to the question ‘Would you bone a hairless X Factor winner ten years your junior?’ With that problem solved, we move on to the infamous ‘Hey, It’s OK…’, which lists things it’s OK to do in case you needed GLAMOUR to tell you. This month, it’s officially OK to:


  • Eat cake that’s past its sell-by date (coz GLAMOUR girls break ALL the rules)
  • Not use chopsticks (see above)
  • Wear a dress when other people are wearing jeans
  • Clean your bedroom when your mum is coming over



So far, so worth £2.
Next ‘OMG, he talks to his PENIS’. GLAMOUR did a survey to find out whether men talk to their penises. In a twist of delicious irony, this is subtitled ‘We couldn’t make it up if we tried’, before the writer of the feature later admits that when asked if they spoke to their little man, 78% of men said no. So, like, it didn’t actually take that much trying to make it up and then truss it in a sensationalist headline. But there’s a large part of me that admires that sort of barefaced cheek.
Next, it’s ‘The ONE THING your boss wants you to do’. Now, I read this with my teenage sister looking over my shoulder, and she managed to scribble out the answers below with a biro and replace them with: ‘The job that they hired you for.’ This is the same teenage sister who has a tattoo across her thigh saying ‘LIVE LIFE’, as if she needs constant written reminders to breathe. It doesn’t take much. Needless to say, what follows is a load of space-filler text about how you pretty much do have to do the job you were hired for (Sis predicted right.) Then you get a well-deserved breather with seven hundred pages of adverts for nail polish and hairspray.
By the way, the horoscopes have moved to the front of the magazine. Mine actually says ‘You’re searching for new places to go, and with the influence of URANUS, the awakener, you could find yourself joining forces with a bigger group of friends.’ Am I the only one who read that as a veiled admonition to get into anal gang bangs? 
Next up, it’s the most boring interview ever conducted with Jessica Alba. The basic premise is that she now makes shit for babies and she wants everyone to buy it. ‘I was adamant from an early age that women’s voices mattered’ is the quote they’ve illustrated the page with, a soundbite so incredibly banal that people have actually cried from boredom on reaching the fourth word. Similar instances of the head-banging-against-a-wall mundane which have attempted to dress themselves up as new information include (in the column Let’s Talk Sexual Chemistry): ‘Cuddling and massage are excellent ways to increase your ability for arousal… This puts you in a sex-ready state’, ‘Sex isn’t just about physical pleasure – it’s also a way to bond on an emotional level’, and the ultimate piece of sex advice ever offered – ‘When you’re in bed with your guy, get naked.’ Jesus Christ.
The next feature, just so you know, is on brain training. The fact that it’s advertised in the contents as ‘Get Brainier’ tells you that these grammatical blasphemers have never had a serious interest in increasing your intellectual abilities.
Then there’s ‘Your friend’s sexual bragging – busted’, a helpful chart juxtaposed with a big advert for French slimming pills that ‘reveals’ we’re all secretly vanilla in bed. ‘What they say: He tied me to the bed and kissed every part of my body until I couldn’t take any more. I was flushed with desire. What they mean: Last night I read my gran’s large-print Barbara Taylor Bradford book while I was on the toilet.’ Oh no, GLAMOUR tried to be funny. Have you ever told your friends you were ‘flushed with desire’? Is that a cleverly concealed toilet-flushing pun? Does anybody care? Let’s move on.
Unfortunately, it would be dangerous for my mental health to read the rest of the ‘content’ in this magazine, so I’ve had to flick straight to the back: ’18 Popular Things That No One Actually Likes.’ These include magic (MAGIC?! Is this the most evil magazine in all existence? ‘No, none of us here at GLAMOUR actually do like unicorns, Lizzy, so please kindly take your wide-eyed idealism and joy for the world elsewhere’) and surprises (Direct quote: ‘Not to be a killjoy or anything, but we like to be prepared. And in the right outfit.’)
GLAMOUR loves Louise Mensch, and hates magic and surprises. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

6 thoughts on “Glamour Magazine Hates Magic and Surprises

  1. This really made me chuckle, such an astute and hilarious analysis!

    I do have to take issue, however, with the way the GLAMOUR team are described as ‘downright insane’. I know many ‘insane’ people, myself included, and none of us spend our days imagining how whether boy bands would be less shaggable if they were bald. Frankly, we have more pressing thoughts to contend with first. Perhaps ‘inexcusably ridiculous’ would be a more accurate (and less weighted) alternative?

    On a similar note, to say “it would be dangerous for my mental health to read the rest of the ‘content’” as a throwaway remark, makes light of psychological genuine suffering. I have to avoid magazines because, as somebody recovering from anorexia, it could literally be dangerous to my mental health. I’m sorry if I misunderstood your intent here.

    I’m sure you didn’t mean anything negative in your writing. I mean, it’s so ingrained in our language that even I have been challenged before. I thought it was worth bringing up though, for future reference. :) Keep up the great work!