Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cosmocking: May '11! Part One!

The new Cosmo is here! Blue cover! Hayley Williams! She looks vaguely "alternative-y" and against my better judgement I'm kind of charmed! But what's with the blatantly Photoshopped-on titties, seriously, this is being sold to straight women anyway, can't women ever just have a chest! "Call Him or Text: The New Rules!" There are no "rules" but the ones between the two of you; there isn't some Central Relationship Administration issuing these things! "This Sex Position Increases Female Orgasm by 56%!" I want to see the margin of error and p-value if you're gonna be that specific, Cosmo! "Look Sexy! Makeup That Flirts For You!" No thanks, I prefer to do my own flirting, because sometimes I don't wanna flirt with some people and the makeup wouldn't seem to allow for that!

Next, dust cheeks with pale pink blush and swipe a rosy gloss onto lips; blot to take down the shine (a semimatte finish is less girlie-girl).
I usually don't do the makeup and fashion sections, for the same reason that I don't review sailing magazines--I have no idea whatsoever about the subject matter. But this jumped out at me. Because if you really don't want to be "girlie-girl," couldn't you just, I dunno, use your skin? My skin is semimatte! And it even comes with pink cheeks! (I guess they're a little blotchy? Any guy who can't handle very slightly blotchy cheeks won't be able to handle a lot of things about me.)

A new survey found 74 percent of people search for their exes online. Here's why you do it...
65%: "I'm just curious."
16%: "Oh, I only look him up to confirm that letting me slip through his fingers ruined his life."
11%: "I want to make sure he's not dating someone hotter than me."
8%: "I need visual confirmation that he's fat and bald right now."

What's with the normalization of ex-hatred? I understand it if you broke up because he cheated or abused you or otherwise acted like an asshole (although then my preference is to never hear of him again, not to dig for schadenfruede), but what about breakups where you were in the wrong or it was just a "this isn't working" deal? It seems like Cosmo expects you to bitterly hate him then too. I don't want most of my exes to be bald or have ruined lives or be dating someone ugly (unless he, like, likes her)--I want them to be going on with their lives.

And it seems like ~65% of women feel the same way, but the survey wasn't set up to expect that. Apparently everyone doesn't hate their exes, but Cosmo really wants us to. It's some weird combination of "love doesn't count unless he's The One and it's for Forever" fairy-tale thinking and plain old "I am the center of the world" thinking. And it's being projected onto us despite actually not being a majority opinion.

"I'd made plans to go out with two guys one weekend and, in a ballsy move, decided to meet them the same time at the same restaurant to save time. I met one at 7:00 for drinks, and he headed out at 8:40 as I pretended to go to the bathroom before leaving. Then at 9:00, the second guy came to meet me for dinner. While we waited for our table at the bar, I felt like a badass... until, to my horror, the first guy returned to get the credit card he'd accidentally left there. He saw me with the other dude, stormed over, and told him everything. They both left in a huff.
That's not a True Confession. That's a scene from "Mrs. Doubtfire."

But really, this sounds like they were both first dates, and who expects to be exclusive before the first date? It's probably sort of gauche to let them actually run into each other (I wouldn't know; I live in a world so far from this bullshit that it's considered polite to introduce the people you're fucking to each other) but it's not some kind of terrible betrayal. Does love have to be Forever with The One before you've even had drinks?

"I Exposed a Boyfriend Stealer"
Okay, this is a really disturbing story. Cliff's Notes: the author is friends with a girl named Ali who comes to her sorority parties, gets sloppy drunk, and has drunk party sex with tons of guys, including other girls' boyfriends. But then the sorority sisters realize that Ali isn't really drinking that much, but is playing drunk to "excuse" having sex. So they serve her a cup of O'Doul's, and when she starts acting drunk, call her out, and, as people do in Cosmo stories, instead of going "what the fuck is wrong with you people," she slinks away in defeat and is never heard from again.
Ali wasn't drunk; she was just a skank.
Apparently it's okay to have sex drunk, but if you're sober, you're a filthy slut. Or it's even okay to sleep with other people's boyfriends drunk, but if you're sober, that makes it worse because... I guess because you were in control of your actions. So the idea of a woman having sex while not in control of her actions doesn't bother them? Or is it just the general idea that casual sex is never okay if you do it on purpose?

Also, the whole concept of guys being sentient beings who have some goddamn control over who they sleep with doesn't get a look in. A boyfriend who can be "stolen" by any girl who acts drunk and flirty wasn't exactly firmly committed to monogamy in the first place. And a boyfriend who's most interested by a girl who acts like she's so drunk she's not in control of herself is... kind of a rapist. Wouldn't want to lose that catch!

Q: What's the It nail shape right now?
A: The squoval

Oh Cosmo. Sometimes I think you're glossing over the widespread acceptance of campus rape, and sometimes... I just want to ruffle your hair and buy you a lollipop.

HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS MY WORK IS IN COSMO. HOLY SHIT I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. There's a still of Cory Monteith in a movie I worked on, and he's working on a painting that I FUCKING PAINTED! Holy shit, y'all. That makes me famous now, right?

(Yes, I know this makes my real identity fairly easy to suss out. Do me a favor and don't be weird about it? I'm not Clark Kent here, I'm just trying to not show up on the first page of a casual Googling of my real name.)

75 Sex Moves His Ex Didn't Do
This title is incomplete. The full title should read, "75 Sex Moves His Ex Didn't Do And He Didn't Ask For." They're all things like:
"She didn't play with my nipples. They're sensitive, and I like it when a woman flicks them with her tongue."
In the entire length of the relationship, did he mention this? In most of the cases, it sounds like he didn't. Which is:

A) Just weird to me, because after a few months I know my partners' sexual preferences the way I know what they do at work and what kind of beer they drink--it's just something that comes up in a relationship.

B) Part of Cosmo's eternal Romance of Silence thing. Apparently if you ask for a sex act, then it doesn't "count" or something, because it's only sex if it just magically happens? That's the closest I can get to making sense of this.

Also, there's this. You're eighteen, Esteban. The photo kinda hammers home that you're still a boy. Chill the fuck out and learn to enjoy the sex you're having. Or come up with your own goddamn positions! What's with this "I resent her for not doing things I couldn't even think of" bullshit? That's the sort of thing that's awesome when a partner does it, but it's not their job, and particularly not when said partner is a high-schooler, for fuck's sake.

It's really creepy to think that there's this kind of pressure on high school girls, not just to put out (putting out is awesome when you do it because you're horny and you want to, but that's not the kind of pressure I'm talking about here), but to put out like porno superstars when they've barely lost their baby teeth. Not only is it plain old creepy, but it gives them no room to develop their own sexuality--if you're being pushed to always be a Mega Hottie Porn-Star-Experience Fuck, you don't have a lot of freedom to find out how you actually like to fuck.

That's all I can take right now. But I always stick it out to the bitter end (and accompanying weird phone-psychic and herbal-breast-enlargement ads), don't I? More later.


  1. Oh my God. The thing with Esteban really is disturbing as all hell, in fact there's a lot that is creeping me out about this issue, Jesus.

    And my mind was blown by the fact that you've got work in Cosmo, it's like you're a spy who's infiltrated the enemy base! In the future, can you plant some subversive, hidden messages in your work just in case it gets into Cosmo? Messages that will really shake the entire foundations upon which Cosmo is built... messages like: "Guys are people too." or "Wanna get what you want? Ask!".

    Also, I'm really curious about your painting now. I'd totally go have a look if I lived in the states.

  2. I don't think that I disagree with you on the question of describing positions, just your phrasing of it: "Or come up with your own goddamn positions!" I am glad that in the books that I read that one of them mentioned putting a pillow under the female partner's butt to help with the alignment of penis and vagina when in the missionary position. I was 23 when I first had sex and when I first tried to have sex with her my penis kept slipping out, and using the pillow under the butt trick prevented that.

    On the other hand, even on the rare occasions that they don't get it wrong, Cosmo keeps presenting Sex 101/102 as the most recent advanced techniques rather than basic sex instruction; of course, if they admitted that it was basic/remedial sex instruction, they couldn't sell nearly as many magazines.

  3. Fagricipni - Please read the post. It's not about positions. It's about an eighteen-year-old boy throwing a hissy because his partners aren't spontaneously introducing him to wild new positions.

  4. What even counts as a wild new position? There are really only so many ways even a flexible person can bend. It's not like you're going to spontaneously invent a position that nobody's ever tried before.

    Also, trying to fuck like a porn star totally ruined my sex life for years. I'm better now.

  5. Sneak: I didn't know you painted, Holly! :D What sort of things do you like to paint? Is there a medium you prefer?

    Rogan: Regarding that Esteban guy... I think he needs to learn to differentiate porn from reality, stat.

  6. Sneak - I don't really paint. I was working as propmaster on the film, so my boss actually printed out a paint-y Photoshop of a photograph of the actor, and I painted over it to make it look authentic. (Then painted more when they last-minute recast the part and I had to make it look like a different dude!) Sadly, my original painting skills aren't much. :(

  7. I have decided I would like to run for election on the Central Relationship Administration. My proposed initial rules are as follows:

    Zeroth rule: Consent is mandatory
    First rule: Have you tried asking them?
    Second rule: Have you tried explaining to them what it is you want?
    Third rule: Bring me ice cream
    Fourth rule: Please stop blaming porn for ruining your relationship
    Fifth rule: Consent is mandatory

    Rules six through eighteen are all going into elaborate detail as to what I mean by "ice cream".

    So yeah. Vote for Sorcy! *flashes the Nixon peace sign salute and runs off*


  8. Sorcy - I'll vote for you as long as rules 6-18 specify fudgy bits, waffle cone, and no gross artificial fruit flavors.

    Also, while I don't think porn itself can ruin a relationship, believing that porn is a documentary or an instructional resource sure can.

  9. Yeah, that little pearl of wisdom from Esteban was a bit too much from me. My initial reaction was basically "UHM, you're a high school kid, your sex life is just beginning", but something else occurred to me. This "advice" sums up everything that is wrong with the sex articles in Cosmo: most of the things they suggest are based off of some porn star fantasy, and it is always implied that these amazingly creative sex moves should just *happen*, with no communication from either partner. The whole article was chock-full of condescension regarding the ex-girlfriend's lack of telepathic abilities, and it really pissed me off.

  10. @Holly. Excellent. I presume one of my rules may specify non-gross natural fruit flavours?

    Re: porn, good point (although I will argue that good porn can serve as an education supplement in terms of "have you considered trying this thing" --it probably shouldn't be used for 101 stuff though). I'm mostly just bitter from another run-in with the "porn is inherently anti-feminist and directly causes rape" crowd.

    Which, while I'll admit there are some legitimate objections (such that porn tends to dehumanize women and therefore teach people that it's okay to treat women as objects) I definitely don't think _all_ porn is bad. Like all media, people need to be willing to think and talk about what they're consuming and the societal implications.

    Or something like that. Apologies if this is coming out more muddled than I intend.


  11. ...And yet if one of Esteban's girlfriends had introduced him to "brand new sexual positions", I bet he would've been thrilled for like fifteen seconds and then started obsessively wondering where she learned that stuff. Then he would've broken up with her for being a slut.

    Tangent: the way this kid talks about "cool new positions" makes him seem SO FREAKING YOUNG and also n00b. Only kids talk about sexual positions like they're not just "fun" but actually magical - like if you bend your partner's leg 3 more degrees you'll end up in Narnia or some shit.

    Truth be told that's one aspect of being a cougar that I never liked: a lot of young'uns have such huge expectations of sex that probably anything I do will be slightly disappointing. I mean, I'm fairly knowledgeable about sex, and also creative and intuitive, but I can't transport a dude to Narnia BECAUSE THERE'S NO SUCH PLACE.


  12. ...Although actually, we don't know who Esteban's exes were. Maybe he exclusively dates women in their which case it's not quite as presumptuous of him to want to learn things from them.


  13. Re: Holly

    Sneak: Aw, but that's still cool! I didn't know folks did things like that. I think it's so neat you got to make movie paintings!

  14. Sorcy - Oh, absolutely. Natural strawberry ice cream is a blessing on this Earth. Fake "it's flavored RED!" strawberry ice cream can go melt in Hell.

    My issue with porn is two-fold:

    -Some porn shows stuff that really no one should do ever--humiliation and painful/dangerous sex without clear consent and with the implication that this is normal or awesome.

    -Some porn shows stuff that is fine, but requires the context of "yes, this is possible, but it ain't your average Saturday night." I think it's fine to get ideas from this porn, but those ideas shouldn't become minimum expectations.

  15. I haven't seen the painting because I don't wish to buy a copy of Cosmo, but tell me again why it is that your are bragging about getting into Cosmo Magazine when you usually hate it with a passion?

  16. Because I am not a robot, and am capable of amusement and irony. It's not exactly bragging anyway, since it's not like I'm credited or like anyone but me is looking at the painting. It's just kind of a funny and surprising thing to have my handiwork appear in something I criticize so much, however trivially.

  17. "It's about an eighteen-year-old boy throwing a hissy because his partners aren't spontaneously introducing him to wild new positions." I did get that part, but I also have to admit to having a tendency for taking things too literally.

    I am sorry I didn't say this earlier: I have read a whole lot of your blog and think you have a wonderful blog, I just happened on some tiny thing in this recent post that struck me the wrong way.

  18. I just creepily sussed out your real name. Sorry! I bet everyone tells you about that writer you share it with, right?

    Also, the "boyfriend stealer" story is based in such bizarre moon logic that I didn't even follow it at first, but then I did and I recoiled in horror. Why would anyone behave like Ali, and why would her acquaintances respond like that? Jesus.

  19. I . . . kinda really want to watch this movie now. I've a soft spot for amusingly bad horror films, and a friend who makes props and makeup who'd get a kick out of this. And the fact that the titular character is a dude, well, is it safe to say "lol"?

    More to the point, your Cosmockings are always sheer comedy gold with a side of unfortunate implications revealed, and they are awesome. "Squoval" is my new favorite portmanteau. I demand that waffles be made available in this shape!

  20. Dear Agony Aunt Holly,

    I have tried to communicate with my boyfriend but every time I do (while picking berries, of course), he runs off to go kill an antelope. Do you have any suggestions for me?


    P.S. I don't know what you're talking about, but I totally want my make-up to speak for me! When I wear lots of it, it means I am asking for it! Duhhhhh.

    (Ugh, no, okay, I can't believe Cosmo put that line on the FRONT COVER. How long have we fought to try to get people to understand that CLOTHES AND MAKEUP do not equal consent! And Cosmo goes and puts on their fucking front cover, "How to consent to sex via how you dress :D :D :D")

  21. I think the worst part of the 'Esteban' thing is that, filtered through my "middle age lenses", he's 18, and looks 12 to me.

    But yes, when I was 18, it was sufficient that women were having sex with me at all, in any position. WTF, man?

  22. Would it be silly to ask at this juncture what "squoval" is?

  23. minuteye, I don't think that's a silly question; I didn't get it until BoredLizzie said that it was her "new favorite portmanteau". That is that "squoval" is a "contraction" of "square oval".

  24. Damn, I am stupid: I should have clicked on the link about Esteban; I assumed that he was the one complaining about the lack of nipple attention; my first comment was really dumb in the context of what he actually said.

    I'm sorry.

  25. I don't think the identity thing will make any difference since a lot of us think you should go public and *ahem* write-a-book-please. :)

  26. >Yes, I know this makes my real identity
    >fairly easy to suss out.

    Eish, we figured it out way back at the asylum in Washington State already. Still havn't seen the movie tho.

  27. I'm really curious to know what this groundbreaking, female-orgasm-increasing sex position is.

    It should be "with the woman's hand stimulating her clitoris*" but it'll probably end up being "woman on top" or something else equally hit-or-miss.

    *Yeah, I know some chicks get off just from g-spot action...but IIRC, something like 70% of us don't, so...

  28. Hershele OstropolerApril 14, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    (Yes, I know this makes my real identity fairly easy to suss out. Do me a favor and don't be weird about it? I'm not Clark Kent here, I'm just trying to not show up on the first page of a casual Googling of my real name.)

    That's exactly how I feel about Hershele Ostropoler.

    My other handle I hope I'm much more careful about.

    B) Part of Cosmo's eternal Romance of Silence thing. Apparently if you ask for a sex act, then it doesn't "count" or something, because it's only sex if it just magically happens? That's the closest I can get to making sense of this.
    OMG I TOTALLY DATED SOMEONE LIKE THAT! She actually made me a little uncomfortable with anal sex because she basically wanted me to just ... stick it in there.

  29. So, the creepy story of the "boyfriend stealer" is even more fucking stupid because studies have been done that show that actually *yes* when people are told that they are drinking an alcoholic drink, and they believe it, they start to have physiological effects of drinking. It's almost like there's this really interesting phenomena where your brain is a part of your body and is actually basically IN CHARGE of your body, and so therefore what it thinks and believes actually AFFECTS your body. Bizzarre, I know.

  30. Their description of what a "squoval" is is so mind-bogglingly confusing. If I didn't know what one was from reading nail polish blogs, I would never have figured it out from that paragraph. Rather than describing it (accurately) as a rectangle with rounded corners, they claim it's "an oval with squared-off corners." What the fuck is that... an oval with corners is no oval at all... & since it is in the nature of a corner to be squared off, that descriptor is no help at all.

    Also, they claimed a squoval nail is inherently less prone to breakage than either an oval or a square one (????????). I can only assume the person who wrote that paragraph is a physicist/engineer specializing in the properties of three-dimensional objects?

  31. I would assume that the nails that are least prone to breaking are the ones that are cut at a resonance length. Although I heard that those fake nails that people glue on their hands are actually stringer than your natural finger nails so I wouldn't know. If I ever decide to get fake nails I will get the oval with squared off corners, because If I'm going to go around wearing fake nails I'm going to want to get some that look wacky and far out rather than looking fairly similar to everyone else's nails.

  32. I must be really weird on that ex-Googling thing. One I looked up because he tried to rape me and I wanted to see if he still lived in my state (he doesn't, and I find that a giant relief); one I looked up because I missed him and wanted to try to get in touch again.

    Meanwhile my immediate mental response to "what's the it nail shape" while some part of my brain was trying to make sense of 'squoval' was to go, "... pointy at one end, flat on the other so you can hit it with a hammer, right? There are *fads* for this?"

  33. So, I'm actually dying to know what movie that was because I seem to shamelessly adore Cory Monteith. Please don't say Killer Bash, although he was mostly naked in that movie a lot.

  34. "And it seems like ~65% of women feel the same way, but the survey wasn't set up to expect that."


    Actually by the survey 74.1% of women aren't looking up their exes for nerfarious purposes, not 65%. Because 26% of women aren't looking up their exes at all and 48.1% are looking up their exes because they're just curious.

    " A boyfriend who can be "stolen" by any girl who acts drunk and flirty wasn't exactly firmly committed to monogamy in the first place. And a boyfriend who's most interested by a girl who acts like she's so drunk she's not in control of herself is... kind of a rapist. Wouldn't want to lose that catch!"

    What if *he's* really drunk too? I find this leap of judgment a little odd coming from you. Why is it that MEN have to be completely in control of their actions with alcohol, but women get a free pass? Why do *I* have to be responsible for what I do when I'm drunk, but women don't?

    I just don't understand. By your definition of "wanting to have sex with someone who's drunk" you seem to assume that a) the guys are sober at a party with a huge amount of booze (um... let me just say that's really fucking unlikely considering the social pressure guys have to "prove" they can outdrink each other) and b) the reason they're having sex with her is *because she's drunk* rather than *because she's being really flirty and making them horny.*

    If anything, the men in this story aren't the rapists or assholes. The WOMAN is raping the MEN by LYING TO THEM in order to HAVE SEX WITH THEM. She is pretending to be really drunk and using that as leverage to be really flirty and overly pressuring to HAVE SEX WITH DRUNK MEN, many of whom are in committed relationships.

    Yeah. Someone sounds really rapey here, and I promise you it's not the guys.