Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cosmocking: September '10!

I'm baaaack! And Cosmo, well, Cosmo never left us! Blue cover! Jessica Alba! "Untamed Va-jay-jays" in very large font, I seriously can't believe they sell this thing at supermarkets! Also "GUY SEX," although technically they are only referring to guy-girl sex! Because Cosmo wants to be shocking and modern and stuff, but only for, you know, normal people!

A moment to talk about Spanx. Every issue of Cosmo mentions this stuff. In this one, they're taking the unbelievably depressing step of revealing that Jessica Alba wears Spanx, because just because you're Jessica Fucking Alba doesn't mean your body's good enough. What are Spanx? They're body shapers: hideous underwear designed to compress and conceal your problem areas. And Cosmo would like us to believe that we all should (actually, they usually talk with the assumption that we all do) wear Spanx at all times. Because we are all broken and we must all be fixed. Because sexy is something that you are, not something you do. Because wearing clothes that you can't fuck in--sometimes that you can't even go potty in--is necessary to be fuckable. Because you are sexiest when you look least like yourself. Because the idea that your raw glistening lusty humanity is the sexiest fucking thing about you would seriously endanger the hundred-dollar-hideous-underwear industry.

Even if you feel like you're not ready for marriage this minute, it's crucial at least to discuss the prospect of exchanging rings by the 18-month mark of a relationship [...] and then follow it up with a check-in every year to make sure that you both still see it happening.
Even if you don't want to get married, make sure he wants to get married. Because, really, you want to get married. Cosmo knows. Cosmo even has a timeline all planned out for you. Come on already and give Cosmo some grandchildren.

[on TV shows you should or shouldn't watch with him]
Man vs. Wild - Seeing the host gut a camel is badass, but hearing a girl whine about how disgusting it is ruins it.

It's not disgusting. It's fascinating, and ultimately this kind of carnage is where all meat comes from. I eat meat, so naturally I don't really mind... OH GOD WHERE DID MY VAGINA GO.

Oh you did not just tell me not to watch "Mythbusters." We aren't friends anymore, Cosmo. (Actually, last time Rowdy was over, we watched "Mythbusters." The conclusion we reached: Kari yes, Grant probably, Tori yes, Adam yes, Jamie no. Not because Jamie isn't sexy, but because he has such hardcore kinks that he can't even play with anyone who isn't super experienced and battle-hardened. He'd completely use me up in thirty seconds.)

A Stanford University study revealed that the area of the brain associated with reward and addiction is more active in men than in women when playing video games. Dud. But what's surprising is that games that involve defending a place, like Halo, had the most powerful effect. Since men are instinctively territorial, fending off invaders is like crack for their inner Neanderthal.
I'd go "people aren't descended from Neanderthals!", but apparently people of Eurasian descent kind of are, so never mind. (I'd go "people aren't currently Neanderthals!", but ugh, we could be here all day.) Instead I'll just point out that Halo isn't a "defending a place" game; it's mostly about advancing through enemy territory. Maybe they were playing Capture The Flag instead of campaign mode. Neanderthals do love Capture The Flag.

Oh never fucking mind, they didn't actually play Halo at all. Although the researchers did themselves declare that "It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who historically are the conquerors and tyrants of our species—they’re the males.", so, you know, that's the only logical conclusion from determining who likes to play little clicky Flash games more.

They didn't compare a non-territory-control game like a platform puzzle or whatever, and they don't mention controlling for how much previous gaming experience the subjects had, and they don't seem to consider that men might feel more rewarded because they're better at the game rather than vice versa. But hey, you don't have to be a genius to figure out that 22 subjects and one clicky Flash game proves that the reason men were historically dominant is that they naturally deserved it, case closed.

[A guy goes on a three-day "juice cleanse" fast to empathize with the way his girlfriend diets.]
That's really the worst part of the cleanse. It's not the absence of food--though that part is fucking terrible--it's the interruption it causes in every aspect of your life. Anytime someone said something to me, I found myself taking a long-ass time to process it and respond.
[...]I lost 8 pounds in three days. But as soon as I finished, I pigged out and gained it all back.
I won't be trying another detox but I am glad I did it. It's taught me to appreciate what my girlfriend goes through. And from now on, I won't just tell her she's pretty. I'll tell her she's damn hot, because she is, and the stuff she goes through to feel good and healthy is hard.

You won't tell her, hey, don't go on diets so extreme you can't think normally, because that shit clearly isn't good for your health? "Oh honey, I found out that your behavior is really hurting you, and that makes me appreciate it so much more!"

(Hey! Cosmo printed "fuck"! Usually they're squeamish about that one.)

Now comes the fashion section, which I generally skim, but I couldn't help noticing that they're pushing $28 pantyhose. Am I the only one who finds pantyhose to be basically a single-use item? I get $5 hose because I just destroy it. I dunno, maybe the $28 variety is more durable, but I'd be really annoyed if I paid that and then it ripped in five minutes like they always do.

Aw man, the first sex article is just reprints from one of their sex-position books given different names. The same positions that they also repeated unaltered for their iPhone app. Cosmo's gotten a whole lotta mileage out of "The Stairway Sizzler."

When he's angry and you need to defuse a fight: place your hand on top of his shoulder, keeping your elbow straight.
Maybe this is paranoia, and I know they're talking about people who are intimate and who are just having a regular argument, but I wouldn't touch someone who was revving up to a fight. Laying hands on is an excellent way to set off a brewing explosion, or to escalate someone from verbal to physical. (Hopefully not abusively physical, but at least shoving your hand away and taking on a threatening stance while making the argument much more intense and emotional.) It's condescending to touch someone who's reasonably upset, and it's dangerous to touch someone who's unreasonably upset.

"It may make things hotter for her when she breaks out a bunch of devices or other sex toys, but if a girl does it too often, it makes me look down and think there's something wrong with my own equipment."
I'm sorry, honey, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings by implying that your penis doesn't vibrate. There, there. And I definitely didn't mean to put my sexual pleasure over your delicate, nay, diaphanous little ego.

Q: I've never been that turned on by breast stimulation. How can I get more pleasure?
Touch the places that do turn you on. (Needless to say, Cosmo just goes through a bunch of different ways she could stimulate her breasts, because accepting your body as it is--that way lies madness.)

[pickup line for women] "My bracelet fell off. Can you clasp it for me?"
"Why sure... hey... how exactly did you put this on at home?"

Make eye contact with a hot guy--it activates the brain's reward center. [...] Gazing at a photo of your significant other activates the part of your brain associated with intense reward.
Anything that feels good "activates the brain's reward center." In fact, activation of the brain's reward center is the experience of feeling good. It's a complete truism. I ate some chicken soup today and activated my brain's reward center, then scratched an itch and activated my brain's reward center, then watched this video (NWS) and activated my brain's reward center.

Your pain threshold is at its highest from 3 to 5 p.m., so it's an ideal time for an overdue pedicure.
A) Are pedicures supposed to hurt? I've never had one, but I thought they just prettied up your toenails and stuff. I didn't realize they required pain tolerance.

B) Whoever made that determination clearly didn't take 3 AM into account.

[On fixes for minor medical problems] Your heels hurt from wearing flats.
Whoa. I never even considered this possibility. I guess the Cosmo Girl is supposed to be so acclimated to heels that her tendons have actually shortened and she can no longer comfortably walk like a normal person? Whoa. That certainly brings harsh new meaning to the phrase "living Barbie."

Our walk tends to be stiffest when we ovulate. Fisher theorizes that our predecessors wanted to avoid continual pregnancy, so they would intuitively rein in their hips in an attempt to discourage advances.
Yeah, we wouldn't experience a dip in actual sex drive that would cause us to decide not to have sex, we just would make ourselves very subtly less sexy. Because, see above digression on Spanx, sex isn't a thing women do, it's a thing women look like. You wiggle your hips or not and the rest is all out of your hands.

Anyway, "continual" pregnancy is avoided mostly through lactational amenorrhea in societies without birth control.

I never planned to marry my stepbrother. Who does? But I couldn't imagine wanting anyone but Sam.
Oh no, Cosmo... oh no no no no.

Also, the "I couldn't imagine wanting anyone but you," rhetoric, while possibly true here because she doesn't have any other siblings, strikes me as sort of creepy. I'd say something more like "I want you a whole lot," because even if I were monogamous, I can still imagine being monogamous with someone else. I mean, there's a lot of dudes out there and some of them are really awesome, you know? Doesn't mean I'd necessarily cheat, just that I'm... realistic.

A Softer World is realistic too, and on some level I find that more romantic, not less.


  1. Oh no. No they fucking didn't. I've been hearing from the evo-psych Just-So factory for years that every fucking thing I do when I ovulate is related to having sex with high-status promiscuous alpha males, and now I hear that something I supposedly do when I ovulate is supposed to be about me subtly AVOIDING sex?

    I must find my blowtorch and my axe, for the only cure for this madness is a riot.

  2. LabRat - I actually like that they acknowledged that having maximal sex and maximal babies doesn't always lead to maximal fitness, but this is... going a little too far.

    Also, I'm confused by the way male preference in this paradigm always seems to swing wildly between "anything that's sort of hole-shaped" and "she's wiggling her hips 5% less, forget her." Do you want to spread your seed or not, fellas? Sheesh.

  3. I vaguely wonder whether Cosmo would approve my and my boyfriend's standing Wednesday MST3K/RiffTrax watching. Should I leave him alone with his Manly Watching Of Man Bad Sci-Fi Movies of Manliness, or am I allowed to watch them, assuming I go get a pedicure and wear heels afterward to reassert my woman status?

  4. Yeah, it's less the idea in general that not being pregnant all the time could be an advantage as the absolutely blatant and lazy making-shit-up-that-maybe-fits. Which is of course also exactly what they were doing all along.

    Also, one paragraph into the video game link and I want to expand my riot. Thanks for the blogfodder, by the way.

  5. I read this magazine on the elliptical trainer at the gym, but I somehow missed the phrase "like crack for their inner Neanderthal." What a notion! It's like Chicken Soup for the Soul... on crack (?).

    That fasting article was maddening! It's like, if your girlfriend is actually going on starvation diets, why don't you suggest that she stop?

  6. It's hilarious how often we're told: "Girls don't like Mythbusters! Or Sci-Fi! Or watching people gut camels!" yet, when I watch these shows (which is often), most of the ads are for mascara and tampons. Honestly, if I had to listen to Drew Barrymore say "lashblast length" one more time during the Doctor Who season finale this year...

    But of course, most of the women fuelling that ad-space purchase must be doing it because Cosmo told them it would make their boyfriends love them more. /sarcasm

  7. "Cotton double gusset for convenience"
    That's how you go potty! I have to cop to having worn this, but I couldn't bring myself to pee through a hole - had to take the whole damn thing off.

  8. I like the part where you don't watch a show because nobody wants to hear you whine about it.

    What if I just didn't whine?

    (I mean, clearly that doesn't really apply to me, because I have a penis and gut animals on a regular basis. But what if a person of womanist persuasion didn't whine?)

  9. I hate Spanx. But what I hate even more than normal Spanx are Mama Spanx. Because pregnant women need not just support (support is reasonably important) but shaping, too. Because God forbid you look big while pregnant.

    Also, as someone who has worn both, I think Spanx are less comfortable than an actual steel-boned corset.

  10. Chi - Ah hah. I was not wise to what "double gusset" meant.

  11. D:

    No fucking way.

    I just...I...what is this I don't even

  12. Holly Pervocracy, have I mentioned that you are one of my favorite people?

  13. It's condescending to touch someone who's reasonably upset, and it's dangerous to touch someone who's unreasonably upset.

    Seriously. Hands off, and talk to them like they're a grownup. If you feel that talking to them like they're a grownup might end in violence, get the hell out of there.

  14. You win for referencing A Softer World.

  15. I've had a few pedicures, and they involved jabbing at my cuticles with sharp things to... reshape them? I'm not sure. It's very much like what dentists do to your gums when they're trying to clean lower down on the teeth. Except I'm okay with dentists.

    Touching during fights: I've found with several partners that some kinds of tense (angry, resentful) conversations go a whole hell of a lot better if we're in physical contact while we have them. But I suspect it's key that both people agree being less upset would be better, and consider problem-solving a collaborative effort, blah blah blah. I wouldn't do it with someone who thought the point of a fight was for me to make them feel better.

  16. Where I live, they do sell Cosmo in supermarkets - but cover up most of the front with a black plastic thing. The same type of thing that they use to cover up softcore porn titles in mainstream video stores. Apparently Cosmo is porn for women.

    Meanwhile bookstores around here don't do this to it, or cover up Playboys or similar titles.

  17. I've been waiting for this Cosmocking to find out if the Untamed Va-jay-jays article was or was not about big, hairy bushes being back in style.

    Don't leave me hanging.

  18. Wow, my first thoughts is that spanx charges 2 or three times what the place that makes my binders (underworks) does.

  19. I just can't get over my curiosity: why doesn't cosmo want us to watch Mythbusters?)

  20. C'mon, anonymous, you know "untamed" in that context means, at best 1/8" of hair in a defined pattern on the mons, not natural pubic hair! That's insane!

    In all seriousness, I would like Holly's take on this, considering that an ER doc made a crack about my untrimmed-ness, which freaked me out. Even doctors, ER doctors who regularly see bones protruding from flesh, are disgusted by vajayfro? Really?

  21. Ah, Cosmo, why do you even... why?

    I think I can shed some light on the "feet hurting from wearing flats" thing, though. A lot of cheaper flats (the kind you get when you can't afford the shoes advertised in Cosmo) are shaped in such a way that you need to curl your feet a little in order to hold them on, especially ballet-shoe style flats. They also often have little to no arch support, and an essentially flat sole made of something quite hard. It's a recipe for aching feets.

  22. It may make things hotter for her when she breaks out a bunch of devices or other sex toys, but if a girl does it too often, it makes me look down and think there's something wrong with my own equipment.

    Thank god, thank god, thank god my bf doesn't feel this way (he noticed his penis doesn't vibrate. :D). He gets sore hand and wrist joints (burgeoning arthritis?) and before he bought me my trusty Lelo Lily it was difficult - or impossible - for him to get me off.

    And it's always so much more intense when an orgasm comes from my partner instead of myself. RAWR.

  23. Whenever I see the word "detox", it activates my brain's facepalm center, and my inner neanderthal stains his low-sloping forehead with camel blood.

  24. For a realistic take on counterfactual love lives, it's hard to beat Tim Minchin:

  25. But you haven't told us: Whatinhell is an "Untamed Vajayjay?" Does it have teeth and run around attacking the villagers? Or simply pee on the floor and eat the houseplants?

    C'mon, 'fess up....

  26. I can't help you on the pantyhose question, the only use I have for them is dyeing Easter eggs.

    But mostly I'm commenting because even if you don't read XKCD you should at least look at this one.

  27. I think they're using the word "fight" to refer only to the kind of angry, tense conversations someone here referenced. I doubt they even contemplated a "fight" as a violent altercation or an encounter that might likely turn into one.

  28. Graphite, good point on the shoes. Also, shoes (of almost all kinds) have a tiny heel on them (for example, almost all flats have rigid soles, etc), and the way they cause you to hold your feet forces a heel strike, which is not the way your foot was designed to bear your weight. I find I have heel pain when I wear shoes of any kind, especially flats and boots, since a forced-heel strike is incredibly stressful on your feet, knees, hips and back. Barefoot is better...

    Oh, untamed vajayjay. What the fuck? Cosmo...grow the fucking hell UP. I might have an untamed vajayjay; it bites people...

  29. Oh, love me this saucy blog too much!

    Ponder Svutlana question of how in many places Cosmo get brazen product placement at cash register where everybody can see untame vajayjay. Only possible reason be that everybody think of Cosmo as small child who make inappropriate comments from time for time, but is for be expect because this be what Cosmo do.

    It be no surprises that Cosmo spanx its readers over and over. You have for be little bit masochist for read this magazine.

  30. SVUTLANA! Ohmigosh I love your blog ohmigosh I read it for just hours and then I start talking like you without even meaning to! Ohmigosh!

  31. "Only possible reason be that everybody think of Cosmo as small child who make inappropriate comments from time for time, but is for be expect because this be what Cosmo do."

    Hahahaha, Svutlana, so much win. Thank you for that.

    My vajayjay says: BARK BARK WOOF BARK GRR

  32. ZombieCheeze:
    There is one brand of shoes that doesn't have a raised heel. They actually have negative heels: Earth Shoes. Yes, the ones from the 70s. They're still around. I <3 them. But the y are so totally not high-fashion Cosmo material...just wonderful shoes you can walk for 10 miles in without pain.

  33. Apologies for the ridiculously after-the-fact commenting (which is a result of finding myself, having been pointed to the cosmocking, having to read through all the back posts 'cause of how awesome it is) - not even interesting commenting, just more on the feet stuff:

    Having had it myself, I assumed the 'your heels hurt from wearing flats' was about plantar fasciitis (, for which one of the causes can be wearing very flat shoes - nothing to do with deforming your feet wearing heels (not that I was at all indignant at the suggestion that that was what I'd been doing...). Although I don't know why I think giving yourself foot pain wearing flats is any better.

    Foot pain pedantry aside, thanks for talking so much sense, it's very refreshing!