Welcome to ShortList's fortnightly reconnaissance mission into the glossy, glamorous and frequently hair-raising world of women's magazines. You're about to enter a parallel universe that, at first, will seem strange and unfamiliar to you. But by covertly eavesdropping on the conversations being had by British women right now, we get to learn their deepest hopes, fears, desires, and above all, what the hell they think of us.
THIS TIME AROUND:
- Bedroom ribaldry
- The maturest premature ejaculation ever
- Going Dutch (not a euphemism)
- Taking the bins out (possibly a euphemism)
- In remembrance: The sassy receptionists of racist Nineties sitcoms
Avert your blushing gaze, prudes, because the October issue of Glamour is horny like it's hungover. There's a triptych of thigh-rubbin', drool-wipin' features on lantern-jawed dreamboats – David Gandy, Patrick Dempsey and the 'Poldark man' – and not one but two pieces on boudoir dirty-talk.
The two pieces – entirely unrelated and 25 pages apart – offer contrasting takes on how women should approach the tricky subject of spicy chitchat. First up, anonymous sex-blogger Girl On The Net advises readers to “stick to a non-fictional approach, describing what happens as it happens.” Seems legit, although you do risk helplessly spiralling into meta-ness: “I'm touching your bum. I'm describing what's happening. I'm now narrating the narration. You like it post-modern, you dirty boy? Now I'm analysing the very nature of my narration of the narration. And now I'm... I'm... Ack, help meee!”
US stand-up Nikki Glaser, meanwhile, encourages women to “talk like a porn star” for an “immediate response”. (Her reasoning? The sweeping generalisation that, “Guys watch porn. They all do.”) I can't repeat any of her dirty-dialogue examples here but rest assured, it's weapons-grade stuff that'd perm the very hair on your head.
The takeaway here is this: If your ladyfriend is a Glamour reader we'd advise you to place a swear jar on the bedside table, because she's likely to be pottymouthing like a rum-clattered sailor throughout your next intimate congress.
On its October issue cover, Marie Claire promises to reveal “What's He's Not Saying About Sex”. Built around interviews with several guys-around-town, the feature explains that Modern Man is cool with Modern Woman taking the initiative when it comes to sex; that Modern Man is a little weirded-out by the extreme kinks some women are apparently into these days; that Modern Man is relieved that Tinder and dating profiles usually gives him a heads-up on said kinks beforehand; and that Modern Man occasionally feels a bit overwhelmed by the competitiveness of 21st century sex, and the expectations – or should that be sexpectations (cheers!) – placed upon him.
“I'm seeing more men with libido issues because of increased pressures,” psychosexual therapist Sarah Alpert tells Marie Claire. “One patient saw me for premature ejaculation because he couldn't last more than 45 minutes. It was his female partner who told him he had a problem.” Yikes. Although... Did this dude not doubt his partner's comically harsh assessment of the situation, for even a second? Feels like the whole mess could've been instantly cleared up with a quick Google search.
Now over to Grazia, which also has a brand-new columnist: Laura Jane Williams, described in the editor's letter as “general all-round-speaker-of-what is-in-our-heads when it comes to relationships, sex and dating”.
Laura Jane's introductory column – titled What's So Wrong With Wanting a Boyfriend? – focuses on the conflicts inherent in being an ultra-modern single gal with olde-tymey urges: “I'm a badass #girlboss with the world at her feet, who also has an endless starry-eyed desire to find somebody to share it with.” And which somebody, specifically? “A best mate I can't keep my hands off – who also takes the bins out. Is that too much to ask?”
Seems entirely fair enough. Unless... Unless “take the bins out” is a women's-mag euphemism for some unspeakable sexual practice? An obscene Germanic fetish that Fifty Shades popularised, maybe? I daren't Google it lest unleash an irreversible torrent of filth onto my laptop. Fair warning: If taking the bins out is indeed code for ghastly erotic deviancy, and your ladyfriend reads both Glamour and Grazia, she's likely to be lustily demanding that you “take the f---ing bins out you filthy man!” during your next cuddle sesh. Brace yourself.
ANYWAY. Laura Jane seems like she's going to be good value in terms of providing insights into what makes Modern Woman tick – and we've got high hopes for with regards to straight-talkin' sassiness. We're hoping for Samantha-off-Sex-And-The-City-after-three-mimosas levels of sass. You know, in subtly racist 'Nineties American sitcoms, when a character would visit a hospital, and the receptionist would invariably be a large, 50-something African American lady with a withering, intimidating tone? And she'd say “Nuh-uh!” to the protagonist while raising a finger and waggling her head? Well that right there is about the level of sass that we're hoping for here.
Finally, down at the, shall we saaay, less la-dee-dah end of the women's mags market, Love It! has a new weekly columnist: award-winning blogger Naomi Lewis, a “20-something city girl” with “hilarious and sometimes frank opinions”.
This week Naomi turns her attention to the perennially awkward matter of whether or not couples should 'go Dutch' on a first date, or whether the man should offer to foot the bill. “Finally!” I hear you cry, your voice cracking with emotion. “For the love of Baby Jesus let's clear up this painful, cringy matter once and for all!”
Sorry - not today, mate. After weighing up the pros and cons of splitting/not splitting the bill, Naomi concludes, “My advice? Do what feels right for you,” before cementing her flagrant unwillingness to commit with, “But that's just me, what do you think?”
Yeah, that's not a massive help Naomi, to be honest. What happened to being “hilarious” and “frank”? Tell us what to do! We really don't care either way! Please just instruct us.
New Word of the Fortnight: “Frow”
French window? Frumpy widow? Friesian cow? Turns out it's ladymag speak for 'front row'.
Heads-Up for the Fortnight: Seriously, Buy Her a Massive Puffa Jacket
Want/need to earn some GBP (Good Boy Points)? Buy your ladyfriend a puffa jacket – the more vast and abstractly cut, the better. These things are all over the swankier women's mags right now, and getting in early on the trend will make you look like some kind of supernaturally female-attuned fashion oracle. GBP all day long.
New Word of the Fortnight II: “Dadding”
Nah. “Dadding”. Shall we not? Let's not, eh.