Sometimes I cheer for the wrong team because I stop paying attention, and I like when people are happy.
I was a sports reporter for a hot second so it’s not like I don’t understand the mechanics of sporting events. I did also, separately, read the entire NBA rules manual for fun, so it’s not like I need things to be all that exciting all the time either.
It’s just that it’s a weird thing to look up at a screen to see smiling faces, or listen around you to hear exultations, and feel disappointed, angry, or anything other than associatively glad.
I wanted to write for magazines. This was early-aughts, when rom-com protagonists were literally, one-hundred percent, all magazine writers, but I had better reasons, like glossy pages make your words look fancy.
Cosmo has always been the Stepford Wife of women’s magazines, and hypnotically put-together as such. It was there today and I was bored and out of the worst kind of curiosity, and love for Miranda Lambert, I opened it.
“Dressing for Your Zodiac Sign” was not as bad as it sounds, even though Aries was a picture of a White Janelle Monae, which, why can’t you have a picture of just, actual, Janelle Monae? And no less than four references to blue lipstick later, I wondered if the editors ever played practical jokes when they, inevitably, get bored. Cosmo also generally gives me a tangible hold on my greatest fear in writing - that someday, maybe in the next 30 seconds, I will have zero ideas left to write about and instead will have to take something I’ve already covered, dress it in sequins, call it “Gemini.”
At some point, I found myself reading an article about how you can lose weight by using real silverware instead of plastic. That, by giving yourself the satisfaction of a weighted spoon, it feels like indulgence and treating your food like it matters, and therefore you will care more about how you’re eating. And if you set aside that this also seems like quite a stretch, the whole thing disturbed me for two reasons:
1.) I remembered the last time I read Cosmo, and an article that said if you use a lot of spoons when you eat, you are probably fat. In not so many words, of course, but the gist was that “foods you eat with a spoon” are usually not as good for you. Which is a lie, because I eat my vegetables, and everything else, with a spoon because I JUST REALLY LIKE SPOONS, you guys. But the point is that they contradicted themselves, while still somehow hammering home the idea that you need to eat less.
2.) I had been nodding along with this article until it mentioned spoons, at which point I woke myself up and shook the magazine shut. But the photo was of a delicious looking egg, and a smiling girl and the thought of taking your time to eat something because it means something to you seemed like a lovely thought.
Cheering for the wrong team again. You sneaky, glossy pages.