I read lots of magazines, and got to thinking about them recently. It was all after my friend Ruby*, a former model that is now conquering the world of international finance, went off.
She told me one day that she could no longer date a classy, handsome man that she generally liked because of some of his magazine subscriptions. It wasn’t like he had copies Hustler laying around, but it became clear to me (I was listening that day) that women pay attention to the small things.
After some deliberation and input from the women of our city, I’ve put together a short guide about what your mag says about you.
You are not shy about what you like and think that the bikini is the greatest invention since the wheel. Your style and heterosexuality are both a bit on the brash side and you constitute much of the magazine world’s greatest target: the American male consumer. Video games, iPods, junk food, health food, fast food, fashion eyewear, blue jeans…you’re into it all.
When it comes to women –talking to them, approaching them with style and finesse—well, that may be a different story altogether. But that’s nothing you can’t work on.
However, you may not be aware of this, but it’s probably time to break it to you that women kinda hate Maxim. It doesn’t take a hardened feminist to realize that Maxim, although not a nudie magazine, is what it is: T&A for the 21st Century.
That’s not to say that there’s no substance there. Unlike similarly spirited magazines that women read (People, US, OK!) Maxim covers the latest in technology, pop culture, film, and even books. Regarding sports, Maxim does lean toward MMA and action sports and this has a lot to do with its popularity and connection with a huge crowd of readers. This might also exlplain its abundance of Mountain Dew and Axe Bodyspray ads, which, rightfully, are pretty damn entertaining on their own.
Chances are though, as a Maxim reader, you don’t own a magazine rack. Which is fair. Many men don’t own a magazine rack. But the jury is out about the other rumors about you. Maxim readers, they say, buy the cheapest brand of toilet paper, assuming you actually own a roll.
If the woman of your dreams is coming over, and she’s not a pro wrestler, tuck it to the bottom of your magazine pile.
Well, you’ve got a sense of fashion and that’s a start. With pages of actors and rock stars donning everything from pricey tees to skinny ties and $500 shoes, the mag has definitely carved out its place. Details supplies good, if short, writing on culture, sports, politics, and covers film almost as well as Variety.
Details sprung as a successful 1990s up-from-the-bootstrap experiment. Its editors asserted that men need not a trust fund or age to make “style” a thing of their own, giving the nod to individual whimsy. Moreover, Details reassured us that a suit is a necessary men’s item amidst the flannel and torn jeans of the grunge age.
Whether stated or not, it’s quintessential magazine for the American 24 year old; one that more than likely has a job and has moved from mom’s house permanently. But if you are 30+ now and have a stack of Details lying around your place, you might want to consider an upgrade. That is, unless dating 24 year old women really is your thing.
Your woman would likely don you a gold star for effort and execution. Not a bad selection.
You love women. Not in the sense that every straight male does. I mean you really love women, and probably go to great lengths to present yourself well, charm them and also make sure you don’t come off too strong.
As a GQ reader you are open to a lot of different things, different crowds and your taste in style as well as the women that interest you varies. You can do casual and dress up, and if you are the vain sort then your closet is divided between “business” and “casual” attire with cufflinks on both sides.
On a positive note, you're just as comfortable at a Jimmy Buffet show as you are at a roller derby bout or a screening of a Tyler Perry movie on the South Side. And you dress for each occasion.
Style and taste are no issue for you, and women recognize this right away. Proceed to socialize, and don’t stay out too late.
Esquire used to be --oh about a decade and a half ago-- derided by some as a magazine targeted at men in an early midlife crisis. Its writing style and features circa 1995 spoke with cynicism and unease at a time when when the guy in the Brooks Brothers slacks wasn’t the best dressed man at the party. But over the years, the grungy American Gen-Xer has grown up, learned to cook and dress their evolutionary part. Plus today’s man has more going on, and has ditched aching 1100-page novels like Infinite Jest for the quick, substantive read.
As such, Esquire has found its natural audience again with its wit and quality. Smart-alecky geniuses like Stephen Marche and top comics like Lewis CK feature regularly, bringing back Esquire’s old sarcasm in brighter tones.
As an Esquirer, you probably have it altogether or are at least trying to, and that’s half the noble fight. Women take you as sensible, funny, an intriguing good chap.
Still Esquire reads between men’s lines. All men can be assholes. All men objectify women at some point in their minds every day. Esquire doesn’t skirt issue of who we are. It drags everything that we are from our smoke-laden mancaves for all to see, and brings out our character and outlandishness all in one.
Esquire is the ultimate read for the multidimensional gentleman; one that enjoys tackle football with out-of-shape adult friends as much as a glass of scotch. Keep up the good work. Renew your subscription.
"Hun, I'm just reading the piece about Ozzie Guillen." Right.
I have to hand it to Playboy on two things. Their marketing, on a worldwide scale, is pretty impressive and positions the Playboy Enterprise as a full strength business machine in the way that Maxim aspires to be. Secondly, Playboy is has good writing. Sure, it’s oriented toward the male reader, but the quality of Playboy’s articles rival those in Vanity Fair. Over the years I've read interviews in Playboy of Tim Robbins, Henry Kissinger and many acclaimed authors of good literature.
That said, if you are single man displaying Playboy in clear view in your apartment this isn’t ideal. While you might think that this lit might point toward your sexuality, taste for finer things or palate for the wild side, think again. Women will take a Playboy on your coffee table as “I need to get laid”. Worst yet, stacking a few in the bathroom seems to say that you spend too much time there, and she’s not interested in that TMI.
Still, if you’re in it for the pics so be it; some men are. But read some of the content and make sure you have a night stand with a drawer for its storage.
Men’s Journal is written for the mature male, and your woman wouldn’t likely find bar-style beer lights in your home. Here by “mature” we’re talking habits and behavior, not biological age.
If you're Men’s Journal reader, you probably enjoy the outdoors, have decent job and are dependable. Moreover, it signifies that you value information on where to shop for lines as well as where to canoe. In short, you’re a “good catch” and that’s the upside.
The downside, to some women, is that you come off as a bit predictable or conservative, but chances are that you are not particularly interested in high maintenance women or rock star girls anyhow. You’re probably pretty comfortable with yourself and like to read too.
Men’s Journal is one magazine that’s chock full of substance with fitness-related content, but does so in an interesting and varied manner. It’s probably because MJ’s editors realize that men who fish, as well as those who play badminton or darts, need their health as much as a yogi or a marathon runner.
It’s also my guess that that most readers of Men’s Journal here have a girlfriend and are the one-woman type through and through. Hell, if you're happily married, you probably read this magazine. And it’s likely that you’ve skipped the other parts of this article.
Pallenberg observes the men of Chicago and the world with painstaking (and sometimes headshaking) fascination. You can follow him on Twitter at @WomanizerThinkr.
*Name changed for obvious reasons.