Wednesday is write-the-blog day and so Tuesday is look-for-something-to-write-about day. Sometimes there are ideas sitting around for months or even years just waiting to be exploited, and other times, like Curly, I try to think but nothing happens.
And once in a while, you get a gift from the universe while standing in line at Rite Aid. You might receive this gift even if you, like yours truly, spend your time in line at Rite Aid cursing under your breath at the idiots in front of you paying in coins, or at the ineptitude of the intellectually challenged cash register person.
It’s there on the left, partially obscured, “Your 2019 Sex & Dating Strategy.”
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, your 2019 New York Knickerbockers!”
I used to joke that men should read Cosmopolitan because it’s like having the other team’s playbook, but the real reason was that I found it to be unintentionally hilarious.
Clearly, this still holds true.
That said, there is something to the idea that Cosmo, a high-circulation magazine for the “contemporary woman,” is a window into what women in these United States are thinking about men, sex, fashion, dating, culture, fitness, and whatever. If so many women read this magazine (16 million, print only according to their Media Kit), does that mean most women are like the women writing in Cosmopolitan about women, men, and what women are thinking about?
Based on my personal experience, no. It might be generational or sub-cultural, but for whatever reason I’ve known very few women who regularly read Cosmopolitan, or think Cosmo thinks the way they and their friends think. That doesn’t mean that a person wouldn’t pick up the occasional issue because a particular cover piques her interest, or because he might anticipate that the story, and especially the writing, will be hilarious, particularly the occasionally graphic sex tips.
But now we are faced, finally, with the reality that we’re all on the same team. #metoo is real and will set the tone for now and the future. Toxic masculinity is over. That doesn’t mean a man can’t be manly, but it can’t be a toxic kind of manly. And no, “toxic” doesn’t include bad underarm odor, though this may be a sign.
It will take some time before we figure out exactly what all of this means or how all humans are supposed to act in the wake of change. Women like a manly man. Men like a manly man. In the bedroom. On the field. On dates. But not at work. Or in public.
Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, or at least acknowledged that change is upon us and we need to talk A LOT about what this all means, how we are supposed to be, and where this will end up, one must admit that the idea of a sex and dating strategy is fascinating. Mostly because it’s hard to imagine exactly what that might be. For example, a good sex strategy might be, say, to not get hurt, not hurt anyone else, and not catch something permanent. But who needs to write an article in Cosmo about that?
Let’s start with the dating strategy. This makes some sense. There are so many ways to get dates these days (at least that’s what they tell me), with web sites and smart phone apps, etc., a young woman (Cosmo’s target audience is women 18-49) needs a strategy. For example: Where to look for a date. How to look for a date. How to dress for a first date. Who pays for the first date. How soon to have sex after a first date. How to find the right mate on a date. How to find out if a guy is toxically masculine, or for that matter, if he has a lousy FICO score.
All of this makes one realize that the mere idea of a “dating strategy” serves as a stark reminder to those in committed, long-term relationships (like the author) to STAY IN THOSE COMMITTED LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS! Don’t we all have enough going on without obsessing that our dating strategy, whatever the hell that is, is wanting?
And for those of us who need help with our strategy, what is there to do? Sure, women have Cosmopolitan, but let’s face it, all men’s magazines are toxically masculine, and because there’s not exactly some Bill Belichick of dating to coach the clueless men among us, that leaves most men with only friends, and beer. And that never works out well because, as we know, men + beer = toxic masculinity.
But a sex strategy is another thing altogether. Who needs this? How can you know, because what the hell is it anyway? Sure, you’re probably thinking, “why don’t you just read the friggin’ article and find out what a sex strategy is so you can tell me and save me 4 dollars?” But that’s no fun and would probably end in disappointment for both of us, and besides, I’m not going to stand in the middle of Rite Aid and read Cosmo, nor will I purchase said periodical and lose said $4-or-so that would be better spent on beer or something even more useful, 1/7 of a bottle of excellent bourbon, for instance.
Maybe one could strategize on how to achieve the number of desired sexual liaisons in a given week, month or even year? Or perhaps how to broaden one’s horizons into new uncharted sexual territories (use your imagination; if you want ideas like this, try a magazine, not this blog)? Maybe you could use a plan to achieve your sexual goals. But be realistic! Don’t set your goals too high because you might end up disappointed, or even worse, explaining to the handsome young emergency room physician how that got in there.
To sum up, after some consideration, it is completely understandable that Cosmopolitan Magazine, with a target readership of women 18-49 (and presumably a few of their gay male friends with whom they can comfortably discuss sex and dating strategies), would publish this article. It is doubtful that anyone outside this demographic needs or would even spend 20 minutes considering a sex and dating strategy, but am I to judge? At my age, the best sex strategy might be “use it or lose it.” Maybe at any age.
Smoking In Bed: dreams of love, sex and terrorism, offers absolutely no strategies, especially for sex and dating. It’s not about sex, or dating. Or terrorism, really. Maybe love. And dreams. And New York City. People ask me what it’s about. I tell them it’s about 420 pages, give or take. If that sounds like a lot of pages, well, sorry. I just started at page one and kept writing until it was done. It reads like 194 pages, or so I’m told.