Trying to relate to women’s magazines

By Barbara Grider
Posted 7/4/07

When I’m sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, I usually take along a paperback book to read. There are plenty of magazines in the racks and on the tables, but I find that I just can’t relate to many of them.

Eliminating …

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Trying to relate to women’s magazines


When I’m sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, I usually take along a paperback book to read. There are plenty of magazines in the racks and on the tables, but I find that I just can’t relate to many of them.

Eliminating golfing, sailing and investment magazines (I have never golfed, no longer sail and haven’t enough money to invest) and entertainment magazines (I read those when I go have my hair done), I am faced with “women’s” magazines.

It’s fun for a while to look at the advertisements and the features of the latest fashions (Yikes! Why would anyone want to wear something like that?) but when I start looking for articles that I can relate to, I’m pretty much out of luck.

I’m not interested in how to attract, keep or please a man, nor do I care to read about any man’s “secret sexual fantasy” or “what he really wants” no matter the context. I pretty much know the 10 signs that indicate a husband has strayed (been there and have the emotional scars to prove it) and I don’t want to be reminded of HOW I know those 10 signs.

Diets and exercise are subjects that I find entirely too redundant and boring. No matter what the experts say, or how they present the information, I know by now that if I eat less or exercise more, I will probably lose weight.

Many magazines devote space to children and childrearing and of course, we now have entire magazines devoted to parenting.

I don’t need to know how to detect if a child has Attention Deficit Disorder (we called it hyperactivity and usually blamed it on not enough parental control or too much sugar) or how to talk to my child's teacher or anything else that pertains to rearing children. I had four and somehow, I managed to raise them to adulthood by using the same parenting methods my own mother used. All four graduated from college and are gainfully employed and none had ever been on the wrong side of the law, so I think I did a pretty good job of it.

Those wonderful regional magazines, with all the lovely pictures, are often depressing to me. They make me feel a little inadequate because I don’t have a beautiful house on the beach or the bayou ( I did have a lovely Victorian, but gave it up along with the straying husband). I no longer care about entertaining beside the pool (done that too) and I’m done with redecorating anything!

Culling out all of those popular subjects just leaves me flipping through the AARP magazine, where I find more articles that I can’t relate to, but for different reasons altogether. Yes, it’s the magazine that fits my age, but it doesn’t fit my lifestyle.

My grandmother subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, McCalls, Life and the Saturday Evening Post. When the postal worker (mailman back then) deposited any of those magazines in the little rack under our mailbox, I knew that inside, there would be wonderful articles, funny cartoons, beautiful photographs, thought-provoking columns and excellent fiction. Sometimes, there would be entire popular books condensed within the magazine.

The Upper Room, Guideposts and the Reader’s Digest could be counted upon to offer spiritually inspired and uplifting stories. The Reader’s Digest vocabulary test was a favorite at our house and we tried to beat each other with our scores.

My husband and I love when our Texas Highways magazine arrives because the articles are interesting and the photography is outstanding. I like Oprah’s magazine and the Smithsonian magazine. We both buy magazines at the book stores, where we can peruse them to be sure they are what we want. So, it’s not as though we don’t read magazines at all. We just don’t read many mainstream publications.

Someone once said that when we start finding fault with everything of today and thinking everything “back when” was better, we have truly grown old.

There is some truth to that observation, but I also think that many mainstream magazines, along with much network television programing, is designed for our youth-obsessed culture with no thought to any other segment of the market.

I guess I’ll just have to keep tucking a paperback book into my purse when I head off to the doctor’s office.

Barbara Grider is staff writer for The Independent. Contact her at