Friday, August 19, 2011

Cosmocking: September '11!

Red cover! Also a white cover and a... nother white cover! They are all of Dianna Agron in different outfits! One is "elegant sexy," one is "wild sexy," and one is "badass sexy"! You're supposed to pick your favorite! So that's exciting! "What Your Va-jay-jay is Dying to Tell You!" Why is it okay to say this and not "vagina"? I can understand not saying "pussy" or "cunt" on the cover, but I think "va-jay-jay" is actually ruder than vagina! And it is all the same damn body part anyway! "The Smile That Gets You What You Want!" I would prefer to be the person getting smiled at since that seems like the position with the real power if you think about it!

Talk Dirty To Him
But none of that generic "Oh, right there, that's it" stuff. Instead, describe in detail what you want him to do to you, using specific verbs and anatomy. Guys are action-oriented, so giving him an "assignment" ("Put your ____ in my ____"; "____ that ____ harder") guarantees that he'll stay mentally checked in.

Cosmo really can't get through the simple things without sweeping gender-wide generalizations, can they? I don't know what "action-oriented" even means, though. I guess different from "sensation-oriented"? Which is why dudes hate passive sensory stuff like receiving backrubs and blowjobs.

Also, is there really more than one way to fill in those blanks? I guess there's a few synonyms (and the always-available juvenile option of "Put your anteater in my Velveeta" etc.), but I don't think you can really do much with those beyond some variation on "put your wanger in my cooter" and "slam that ladyflower harder." Fingers, mouths, and asses? Probably not asses.

When I was a teenager, I thought "harder" was just a generic expression of enthusiasm, and didn't realize the guy would take it as an actual instruction to, you know, go harder. We had a few "Oh, harder, harder" and "for chrissakes, I'm going as hard as I can" exchanges before I figured that one out.

White Lies You Should Tell Your Guy
The White Lie: "Nope, I've never done that in bed before either."
The Truth: You totally did that with your ex... a lot.
Why It's Worth It: No guy wants to be reminded that he isn't your first.

But he's not. I get that most guys don't want to hear "my ex did XYZ in bed" all the time, but claiming that I've never done something seems beyond the pale. If I'm dating a guy whose reaction to "I love doing XYZ in bed!" isn't "ooh, let's do that" but "ugh, you slut, I don't want to imagine you having an independent existence before I came along"--I'm dating the wrong guy.

I'm using "XYZ" for flexibility, but I suspect Cosmo's using it because of a lack of imagination. Given the incredibly limited repertoire in this magazine, what could you possibly not have done unless you're a virgin?

Put your nipples on his testicles, I suppose.

[On dating a slacker] Just because a guy lacks a regular paycheck doesn't mean he lacks ambition. It just might not be immediately apparent--a guy who seems to be screwing around on his iPhone may be brainstorming killer apps of his own. A guy who plays Xbox all day might be working out an idea for a video game.
Oh please. I've dated unemployed guys before and not had a problem with it--if he's an interesting person and fun to be around, where he gets his money is his problem--but I didn't delude myself. I'd rather date a guy who said "yeah, I'm pretty much a big slacker right now" than one who said "honey, I'm hard at work researching trends in gaming." (For one thing, if that's the case, he should be doing more reading and writing about gaming than actual gaming.) The first guy is playing Xbox all day; the second guy is playing Xbox all day and he's full of shit.

I like it when my guy touches my clitoris during sex, but is it too much "work" for him?
Really? Oh, come on. To be fair, the A to this Q says pretty much the same thing, but the idea that someone (even a presumably fictional someone) was so self-effacing she didn't want to burden her partner with wiggling his finger a little is... kinda horrifying.

I'm not much of a clit person, but if getting me off during sex is too much "work," then having sex with you is, well, work, and I'd expect to be paid market rates.

Q: How many times a week do men like to have sex?
A: Live-in GF: four or five. GF we don't live with: five or six.


I guess there's some implication here that living with someone makes you not lust for each other anymore (because the only attractive partner is a mysterious sultry stranger who's also a virgin, and every deviation from that takes the sexometer down just a little more), but how does this make sense logistically? Seems like there's a lot more opportunities when you're sharing a bed every night.

Q: How do we know if you're having sex or making love?
A: If the guy is focusing a lot on your pleasure, it's probably more than "just" sex to him.

Then I never, ever want to have "just" sex. Sort of weird to hear that I made love with that dude off craigslist, though.

Famous Bad Boys:
James Dean, Jack Nicholson, Steve McQueen, Mick Jagger, Han Solo, Matt Dillon, Johnny Depp

Uh... Cosmo? I don't know how to break this to you, but... Han Solo isn't a real person.

I know, I know, it broke my heart too when I found out.

You can thank--or blame--our cavewoman ancestors for [women's supposed attraction to "bad boys"]. They noticed that these types would do whatever it took to protect them from danger and put mammoth burgers on the table, even if it meant pissing off other cavemen.
I've actually been skipping over "cavemen" (and "neurotransmitters") in this issue because I feel like I've pounded those issues into the ground, but for fuck's sake.

First of all, pissing off other people in your tribe probably created way, way more danger than any external threat possibly could.

Secondly, "mammoth burgers" were probably a rarity in most climates compared to fruits and seeds and boring ol' root vegetables.

And thirdly, if he's doing these things at the expense of other people in your tribe, he's probably being not just bad but evil, and my longtime experience with "he's such a bad person, but he's a total sweetie to me" types is that they just haven't been evil to you yet. As soon as you displease them--and in any lasting relationship, you will--they'll treat you just like any other person who displeased them.

Are Some Guys Just Not Wired to Marry?
[...]Maybe not, according to a new study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute. Researchers discovered that there's a particular gene variant linked to men who resist marriage.

This is one of the rare cases where Cosmo gives enough detail to find the specific study they're talking about. And here it is! (Or at least here's a press release that's one fewer game of "Telephone" away from the actual study.)

Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans

"The team found that men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene allele 334 often behave differently in relationships than men who lack this gene variant.
The incidence of allele 334 was statistically linked to how strong a bond a man felt he had with his partner. Men who had two copies of allele 334 were also twice as likely to have had a marital or relational crisis in the past year than those who lacked the gene variant."

So while Cosmo's sort of in the ballparkish region of what the study actually said (and to be honest, I'm impressed), "ballparkish" hardly seems like justification for writing a full-page article on how some men just don't have the magic marriage gene.

Also, all this has me wondering if women, too, could have genes! Some day perhaps science will address this Medical Mystery. I guess it's just taken for granted that women all want to get married, because, you know, women.

A recent University of Michigan study found that whenever people washed their hands after making a decision, they were less likely to second-guess the choice they had already made than those who skipped sudsing up did.
Uh... wow. Fascinating idea for a study, Professor Pilate.

You want to.. make a tough decision
The trick: Hold a heavy object, like a paperweight.
You want to... figure out the next step in your career/love life/etc.
The trick: Lean your upper body forward.

Presented without commentary. Oh Cosmo.

The Habit: Leaving the lights on all the time
The Cost: $250/year
What You Could Have Bought: Seven digital cameras

I've already taken Cosmo to task for their "instead of spending money on something stupid, spend money on something stupid!" theory of household budgeting, so I'll just ask... who buys a $35 digital camera? Isn't that going to be worse than the one on your phone?

(In the incredibly unlikely event that a Cosmo reader doesn't already have a cameraphone, you can get one for $250. Or, you know, a decent camera.)

Your new guy wants to show you off to his posse at an upcoming house party. What do you wear?
A numbered pinny and judging clipboard?

A. A slinky bandage dress that lets you flaunt your sick bod
B. Skinny jeans, a tank top, and ankle boots
C. The sexy mini your man loves you in plus a trendy tee

The correct answer is C. If it's A you're clearly too slutty and if it's B you're clearly too prudish.

I'm really starting to wish this slut/prude stuff came with diagrams. If you want to slut-shame, fine*, but at least tell me what a slut is! If dressing like a slut is so terrible, can we establish some universal standard of what that even looks like? It's irrational enough to say "these are the good clothes and these are the naughty clothes," but when you extend that to "you mustn't wear naughty clothes and you should just know which those are," you completely break my brain.

I guess I'll go to the party wearing my usual party outfit: shorts or underpants and my own exceedingly comfortable skin. See, no "slutty" clothes at all!

...unless my shorts are a little too short, I guess, or my underpants are black or lacy or something. That could look sort of slutty.

*not actually fine


  1. ("Put your ____ in my ____"; "____ that ____ harder")

    Put your elbow in my ear; snuffle that booger harder.



  4. No, see, Cosmo's "hold heavy shit while leaning forward as you make decisions" idea is brilliant. Because when you can't make a decision you have something right there to bash yourself in the head with.

  5. Also, today I texted my casual sex partner setting up a date to fuck a week from Sunday. I was wearing blue jeans, no shoes and a baggy black T-shirt.

    Admittedly the shirt was from Fetish Ball, but STILL.

  6. Yeah, the video game one is hilariously bullshit. I mean, if somebody really does care about the sociological or economical or anthropological state and trends in gaming, what the fuck are they doing on an Xbox all day?

    Like you said, if they aren't full of shit, they'd be writing or programming something. I get sick of being associated with that guy playing Black Ops all day and saying he wants a job as a game tester. I'm a computer scientist, dammit!

    On topic: stupid Cosmo and your stupid crap.

  7. ("Put your ____ in my ____"; "____ that ____ harder")

    I've never even HEARD of a ____, and I got an A* in GCSE Biology. I don't think I have a ____, but it might just be abnormally small. My brother's a doctor, maybe I should ask him. How are we pronouncing it?

    A. A slinky bandage dress that lets you flaunt your sick bod

    If your bod is sick, maybe you should be at home in bed with some chicken soup, rather than going to house parties. And that's aside from the question of being shown off. You know, like a possession.

    Also, yay for evo psych! It's like numerology, in that you pick the conclusion you want (typically a behavior from Howard and Marion Cunningham's relationship) and work backwards to something that cavemen might possibly have done.

    I'm curious about how we could construct evo psych arguments to support the idea that people are genetically disposed to indiscriminately set fire to one another, and it's only our repressive culture that's holding back this basic need.

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  9. Put your head in my armpit; smell that deodorant harder/

  10. @Dolbia

    i'll admit, the innate desire to set fire to other people is a basic part of the human experience. after all, if God didn't want us ignite each other like kindling, he wouldn't have made us so combustible.

    but it's not that our repressive culture holds back our basic need to set each other on fire. it's that we've found ways to subvert that into less destructive outlets.

    why else do you think they call it "flaming"?

  11. @Dolbia & ShadowCell: that's also why we do BBQs or light on vodka shots. Symbolically, we put fire on food, that goes in people body, instead of putting them directly on fire.

    To go back to cavemen, they considered fire as a goldy things, because they first got it from thunder setting tree on fire. Putting someone on fire was the best sacrifice they could do at the time. Obviously, it was mainly virgin girls. We don't have a lot of evidence because, here come the obvious again, only ashes were left behind...
    I just found ashes in my backyard, that's proof!

    Btw, ashes, that was the second reason they put people on fire. Ashes, including human ones, were very good soaps. As the cavemen were tiny fragile animals compare to the mammoths and other big stuff that lived backed then and couldn't reproduce as fast as, say, bunnies, they needed to protect their health from bacteria. They probably were afraid of hiv.

  12. Oh, I just forgot the part were they did that to heat the cold caves.

  13. Yessss I saw this cosmo in the airport and I really wanted to know what a "bad boy index" was, but I couldn't bring myself to actually buy the thing. Little did I know I would discover that Han Solo is a real person!


  15. *headdesk* Way to go, Cosmo. (I love your Cosmocking posts, Holly.)

    Also, I know you're mocking the articles, but where are that model's RIBS? And internal organs? If *I* can spot the Photoshop, you know it has to be blatant.

  16. I have absolutely no idea whether that picture is "wild" "bad-ass" or "elegant" sexy. I just can't tell! It looks like "Thank God I don't have to look like a teenager today" sexy but that's all I've got.

  17. Dear gods if there is anything I hate more than those who go on about how women are "too slutty" it's those who go on about how women are "too prudish" but the group to hate more than both are those who think (subsets of) women are BOTH (either) and define some narrow "middle grounds" which is of course extremely flexible such that no two such people's "middle ground" need overlap at all. They make me want to show up in a thong (and no top) or a burkha; they really do.

  18. Even if we weight the maximum value possible for hunting- and in, say, northern Europe where gathered plant foods would have been a lot less available in winter, we would have had that scenario at least seasonally- cavemen did not have rifles and ATVs. Hunting big game is a frickin' team activity if you're a spear-throwing little hominid hoping to take down something big, Ice Age, and angry. Our big Manly Men Of The Cave And Naturalness could not possibly have afforded to COMPETE with each other while hunting and gain by screwing each other over; it would have gotten themselves shunned at best and killed at worst, and a hard enough shunning would have amounted to about the same thing...

  19. photoshop spotting anon, FOR REAL. What happened to her right arm?

    If you see her on Glee or the red carpet, she is thin but definitely has a ribcage shaped ribcage. Why did they bother doing a photoshoot with her if they were going to edit it so much that it looks like it would have been easier just to start with a completely different person's body?

  20. Hershele OstropolerAugust 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    If my girlfriend were to pretend to have never been in a relationship before it would make the kid rather difficult to explain.

  21. More seriously, the "don't tell him you've already done crazy sex stuff!" thing has been in the back of my mind for an hour. I introduced my bf to anal penetration (of me; he has a shy butt) and let me tell you, the fact that I had had experience and wasn't shy about talking about it, was pretty important to the whole thing. Otherwise he would've been laboring under the delusion that anal is something I do "for" him, and possibly too nervous to try it due to fear of hurting me.

    Dammit, it is just ridiculous to tell women we have no right to our prior sexual experiences. Here's to saying, "Yes I have had buttsex and it was great, would you like to also join the exclusive club of men whose dicks have been up my butt?"

  22. I read bAndage dress as bOndage dress. I was a little surprised at this kink level from cosmo.

  23. I love cosmocking....

  24. I always read it as co-smocking and have to mentally adjust.

  25. One of the most annoying things about pop evo-psych to me is that they seem to have gotten all their information about hunter-gatherers from the Flintstones.

    1) YOUR IMAGE OF CAVEMAN IS NOTHING LIKE ACTUAL EARLY HOMO SAPIENS. The pop image of "cavemen" as a big white guy is silly. Try subbing in your pop image of the Zulu and you're a little closer, at least superficially.

    2) "CAVEMEN" DID NOT HUNT MAMMOTHS, at least not with any regularity. Would you send a group of level one nubs into the boss dungeon? Then why do you think a bunch of super-low-tech hunter-gatherers could hunt a mammoth? They're hunting much lower level game! Like rabbits. And occasionally ganging up on something deer-size.

    3) HUNTER-GATHERERS CANNOT BE GREEDY. They just can't. They try, they die. In almost all modern hunter-gatherer groups, the hunter does not own the meat he (or, since this is mostly game too small for the strength difference to matter, she) kills; you get food, you share it with the whole tribe. Trying to keep it for yourself is as bad as stealing it, because you never owned it in the first place.

    It's a little like a modern corporation; you can write the greatest program in the world, but you don't own it, because you did it for your (modern, legal) tribe. If you try to say, "that's MY data, I need it to gain a competitive advantage for my family!" they look at you like you're crazy.

  26. BlackHumor - There is evidence that early humans and even hominids killed mammoths. However, it presumably was a rare and difficult thing (and DEFINITELY a group effort), not a source of everyday food.

  27. A: If the guy is focusing a lot on your pleasure, it's probably more than "just" sex to him.

    The casual misandry in that statement is staggering.

    So "just sex" is when I'm masturbating by myself?

  28. I am so over the idea of my partner and I pretending we have no sexual history.

    My bf and I had a few awkward moments at the beginning of our relationship because, after doing some activity together, he'd proudly ask "Have you ever done that with someone before?" and I was like "Um, well....."

    Luckily, he's not especially jealous or possessive, so these really were just "awkward" moments, not "I'm saving up this information so I can slut-shame you every time I feel insecure" moments. And now he only asks those kinds of questions when he's genuinely curious, not as some obscure form of compliment-fishing.

  29. I have to say, I'm getting a bit bored by the Cosmockings. They're so freakin' repetitive.

    Not because your humour and insight isn't as enjoyable as ever. Just because the content itself is so limited!

    I don't know how people read this magazine un-satirically on a regular basis!!!!!!!

  30. I cannot fucking believe that I used to subscribe to this magazine.

    I'd like to meet 23-year-old me sometime. It'd be interesting to see what she was like...

  31. Anon - I know what you mean, unfortunately. I actually left out all the "neurotransmitter" stuff in this one just because I've made those jokes 500 times. The "true stories that blatantly aren't true," too.

    I'm going to have to start mixing up the Cosmocking somehow, because I'm just not getting much to work with these days.

  32. That whole bit about telling your guy to put his whatever in your whatever else is confusing. I thought having conversations about sexual desire was forbidden in Cosmoland!

  33. Holly: Every time I read your Cosmockings, I am tempted to write in to Cosmo.

    Hel, the "it's not just sex if he cares about your pleasure" thing means I've NEVER had "just sex," even with that one guy whom I was just using for sex.

    Oh, wait, women aren't allowed to have sexual desire, are we, Cosmo?

  34. Re: "using a guy for sex"

    It was a dark time in my life. I am not proud of it, I will never use someone in that way EVER again, but I'm not about to deny it happened. Denial of having ever committed a sexual transgression, to me, is just as bad as having done it in the first place.

  35. Does anyone have this urge to feed the broad on the cover a sandwich? Even if it wasn't photoshopped to all hell, I would want to *just* because of the collar bones. Collar bones are nice, but WTF?

    Is the Skeletor look in this year?

  36. Rebecca Chadburn-Pecnik - Let's not do reverse body-policing. While I don't like that the skinny look is the only one held up as attractive in most media, some people do naturally look that way. If a person is happy and healthy with the number of sandwiches they eat, "not very many'" is a valid option.

  37. Not to mention, some of us are going to be skinny no matter how many sandwiches we eat.

  38. Is it just me, or does Dianna Agron look disconnected at the waist? Her torso and hips don't seem to line up, IMO. Bad Photoshop job, or just me not looking at her properly?

    Isn't making love a subjective thing? I mean, from what I've heard from other people, the general consensus seems to be that making love is "slow and tender" sex, but I think there's an emotional component that draws the line between making love and a nice slow fuck. (And can I just say I hate the term making love? I don't know why, but it just skeeves me out. *shudder*)

  39. Thesaneminority - Try to trace where her spine must be on that cover. I double-dog-dare ya. While I usually don't like "real women are X" language, I think this is one case in which real women literally do not look like that.

    Cosmo seems to really love the "head pointing a different way than her neck" pose, too, which I have great difficulty replicating in a mirror.
    I think there's an emotional component that draws the line between making love and a nice slow fuck.
    And there's a physical one that can make two people who love each other tremendously still have more fun when they're humping like bunnies.

    (And can I just say I hate the term making love? I don't know why, but it just skeeves me out. *shudder*)
    It skeeves me out too, because sex can be an expression of love, but it shouldn't be "making" it.

  40. regarding the cover photo, if nothing else: it's taken me about four years to figure out that poses by models etc. in magazines and so on are usually odd or painful-looking to most people... because i have both scoliosis and hyperlordosis, so the "my spine is a pipecleaner" way of standing looks natural to me when i don't pay attention.

    her arms and neck and... torso length... remain the kind of thing that would make me walk up to my art teacher and ask him to slap me if i drew it and thought it was anywhere near anatomical though.

    (i am not even touching the actual content.)

  41. That's a pretty heinous photoshopping job. In addition to the weird head angle and the lack of a ribcage, they about quadrupled the size of her breasts. I can't say I'm a fan of the styling, either. I can only imagine that this kind of picture comes from people who've gotten so used to the warped anatomies of photoshopped women that they can't even see how weird it looks anymore.

  42. Ahhh Cosmo you haven't changed! IT is still victim blaming, tips on how to please your man and making sure he doesn't leave you, and clothing you won't be able to afford! The same thing every month....

    The sad thing is that my mother in law gave me some fo her old Cosmos and they had much more intelligent articles in the 70s and its all fluff and crap

  43. Further note on truly appalling Photoshop job: what on earth have they done to this poor woman's hands?!

  44. please Tam, if you meet 23 year old Tam....

    ...Be Gentle!

    She's going to be so shocked!

  45. Brilliant idea debbie! Maybe Holly can get hold of some archived cosmo's and mock them, to break from the monotony?

    Holly, as usual your remarks make me laugh and shake my head at popular media at the same time. Hopefully cosmo helps you out with source material soon.

  46. Hey Holly Hey.
    You came along (I found your blog through a friend) at exactly the right time in my life. So thanks. For helping me see the last guy I dated (for four years) was terrible to me. Was abusive. Was not "forever material" (whatever I convinced myself that meant). Thanks for presenting a really healthy attitude towards sex, and having it, and having it how you want and with whom you please, and not apologizing for what you want, what you like, or how often or with however many partners or how much you have and/or want. Thanks for your critique on Cosmo's "pretend you're a virgin" spiel. Horrible Ex used shit like this against me daily; it's an eyeopener to read this and be like "COME ON SARA, WHAT THE FUCK. PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND STAND UP FOR YOURSELF."


    Why can't I be dating *you*?


    You're hilarious, you're adventurous in bed, you've got a head on your shoulders, you're open minded, you care about equality...


    Well imma just read all of your cosmocking because it makes me laugh so hard I pee my pants.

    ... that's sexy, right? ;-)

  48. I've been thinking that stuff for years! I can't believe I used to read that shit. A friend told me about your blog. Love it! I'm a beginner blogger ( ) and your blog has inspired me thanks!