Long live print magazines

I jogged to HEB last night, a long way for me. Hadn’t run much since the baby was born. I jogged home, too, and today I’m wishing I’d trimmed my toenails before heading out – sore toenails. But while I was there in HEB, I dipped in to take a sip of water from the fountain and, of course, browse some magazines.

Hanging out in the magazines was a favorite pastime of mine, back before children and GivingCity became constant demands. I loved glaring at the covers to figure out which ones popped the most (big faces, bold colors always seem to do it), and then picking them up and flipping though the pages to evaluate which ones I would take back with me to the table where I could browse until I ran out of coffee. I tried to get a mix of fashion, city, men’s, essay, travel, and surfing – I just love surfing photos. (Though I’m terrified of surfing. It’s one of my big goals in life to overcome that fear someday, preferably in the company of Laird Hamilton.)

Southwestern University, where I went to school, had a fantastic magazine library. Damn that library and its hundreds of titles in the latest editions. Think of the grades I could have made had my head been in some economics book instead of W.

W is a weakness. It means nothing. It contains nothing of value… except that it looks so damn good. It’s huge, it’s provocative, it’s outrageously bold. I would sit in this very nice, tiny library at SU, in this very nice, tiny town of Georgetown, thousands of miles from anything remotely as gorgeous as W, and fantasize about blowing that taco stand and moving to New York City asap. (Which I did. Whole ‘nother story.)

So there I was in HEB, some-odd years later, paging through W. There was an old lady over my shoulder browsing knitting magazines or slow-cooker magazines or something. And I’m staring at Madonna in bed with a naked Brazilian man. Yow.

Madonna is 50, as you know, and these Brazilian men were about 30 years younger than she is, and she’s wearing these amazing corsetted dresses, big, blonde Marilyn hair, giant sunglasses, and a cigarette. Then, the next spread shot by Steven Meisel of amazingly chic girls behind those cards they shoot you with when you’re arrested. These were cliches of fashion magazine provocation, and yet… they still got me. These were just totally useless contributions to society, and yet … they re-energized me.

I jogged home pumped. Looking at W (and, in fact, the latest issue of Austin Monthly, which looks great, too) made me remember what I love about magazines. Long live print magazines.


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