Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cosmo Girl

When I was 13 I begged my mother for a subscription to Cosmo magazine. The campaign lasted days. Even though it's all ads for liquor and reproductions of 1960's Playboy layouts my Mormon mother caved provided I paid half.

I was a prodigious babysitter back in the day, so I readily handed over the $16 (four hours worth of snot-wiping, I'll have you know!) and filled out the little fall away card with my information.

It took FOREVER before the first magazine arrived and I eagerly devoured every page. Was I a Bad Girl? how well did I know him (him who? are you kidding me? Boys = cooties) should I buy the Calvin Klein or the Ann Taylor? Which better suited my lifestyle a chic urban condo or a sweet little cottage? Suddenly the world was more than ZumZum dresses and Brass Plum shoes. I cut up the pages and made huge collages of things that I would have in the great someday of the future. A vacation house! A BMW! A walk in closet full of shoes! An array of men with delicious accents!

Yeah. So. I live in a cookie cutter house in the suburbs, drive a 15 year old Ford Bronco (the OJ Simpson model) and have been married since I was 21.


Some things have stuck with me in the intervening twenty years. Things that I didn't realize until just the other night as I stood in front of my (non-walk-in, overly crowded, messy) closet deciding what to wear. My choices include a collection of jeans and black shirts. Literally dozens of each.

Then, it hit me.


In 1992 numerology was the Big. Thing. and Cosmo did a whole ten page spread about it. My number is a seven. Which is kind of awesome since my birthday is also the seventh (probably the only reason I remember it) and I've always considered that a profound number in my life. Not a lucky number, exactly, but certainly a portent of good luck. My happiest years have been lived in homes with a seven in the address. Some of my best years have had a seven in them. It's silly, but whatever. Anyway, this numerology article had things like "your best color" (navy), your best career (something creative (I'm an accountant...HAHA)), your best mate (bookworm), and so on. At some point the article said "people remember you for your unfailing ability to dress in a black teeshirt and perfectly fitted jeans every day and still look smashing" or something along that line.

I remember pawing through my drawers, tossing pastel after pastel into the pile for Goodwill that afternoon. Trying on all my jeans, pinning and hemming until they looked custom made (hello, we was poo' folks.) and counting out my wads of one dollar bills. From that day on I've always chosen black when faced with which shirt to buy. I've gone through dozens of cuts and brands of jeans.

It's funny what sticks with you. The little one-off things that wiggle into your life and shape you.

I bet my mom is glad I chose that one and not the Why It's Okay To Be a Slut! article instead.

(ps. here's a link to a "100 things to do before you die" list similar to the one I tore out of Cosmo and carried around until that one time when I got really drunk, spilled Wild Turkey on myself, stripped to my skivvies in the communal laundry room and threw everything else including my wallet, keys (the washer locked during the cycle so I spent 30 minutes hiding behind a door while everyone else went to class), and six Jolly Rancher "fire" candies into the washing machine. The list never recovered, but I still ate the candy.

8 little kittens say Meow:

Kr√ęg said...

In college, I once forgot to take my bag of weed out of my jeans before I washed them. Unlike candy, wet pot is NOT salvageable. Not that I didn't try.

mepsipax said...

Wow Kreg. That never works. Lol. Great post thystle. I can't identify with cosmo though. Playboy yes, cosmo... not so much. :D

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I was more influenced by "Mad" and "Cracked" than Cosmo, although my mom gladly bought me all three, not realizing what an education I was getting! LOL.

Doc said...

and I bet you still look smashing in that black tee shirt and jeans.

Lorrie Veasey said...

Kreg: once it's wet the only thing you can do is throw it in the brownie mix.

Not that I ever washed pot. But I did put a note I forged for missing school in a back pocket and forgot about it, back in the day when my mom still checked to see if someone had forgotten some change or a pack of gum. I was grounded for like, two years for that one.

I read COSMO like a Bible, Thystle. Which is why I have always been able to DRIVE MEN ABSOLUTELY BONKERS IN THE BOUDOIR and DO TEN THINGS TO MAKE YOUR MAN CRAZY and knew WHAT NOT TO SAY IN THE MIDDLE OF SEX. Everything I needed to know, I learned from Helen Gurley Brown.

Just had drinks with Sheila. We both miss you. When are you coming to visit?

ZDub said...

I am the exact same way. Jeans and black tshirts. But I mix it up with white as well.

Kreg, you know by college you mean "last week".

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you're stupid and it makes me sad said...

Ha ha, at that age I was still reading Mad Magazine, but I can totally relate to what you wrote as I got a bit older.