My salad dressing days

To the recesses of my navel and back
November 6, 2005, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It promised much (“the first women´s magazine that is about what we are really like, not just what we look like”).

It seemed to have a proven formula (its French equivalent sells hundreds of thousands of copies each month).

Pulses were racing. Hopes were high.

So, in keeping with the (sometimes) public service nature of this blog, I have waded through all three editions of ‘Psychologies’ on your behalf…

Edition #1 [October 2005]:
I’ve felt the fear and beaten it (p.31). I’ve plotted myself on the extrovert/introvert scale (p.64). I’ve learnt five tools to control negative thoughts (p.75) and acknowledged ten different styles of negative thinking and the ways in which to beat them (p.77). I’ve not only established my own boundaries (p.87), I’ve also figured out how strong my boundaries are (p.89). I’ve figured out my dreams and listed the things that might be standing in the way of me achieving them (p.104). I’ve named my core values (p.108 ) and learnt how to ‘honour’ them (p.111). I’ve also worked out whether or not I am happy with my work/life balance (p.110). I’ve been advised what to do in the event that I discover that I don’t like the ‘me’ I’ve discovered (p.111). I’ve carried out exercises designed to help me take the first steps towards change and self-discovery (p.114). And I’ve established how my birth order has affected my personality (p.115). I’ve taken a test to discover ‘the real me’ (p.126), discovered how to find inner peace (p.156) and established five ways to say ‘no’ (p.178).

I was left thinking ‘what else is there to learn about ME ME ME?’. More, much more, apparently…

Edition #2 [November 2005]:
I’ve taken a colour test which is the key to understanding my needs and desires (p.31). I’ve decoded men (p.49). I’ve talked about sex and been advised of the new rules for sex and dating (p.65). I’ve set my goals (p.66) and established how to achieve them (p.69). I’ve figured out how to avoid emulating my parents’ relationship (p.72). I know now how to bear a burden (p.81) and how to engender an all-round healthy attitude when faced with the opinions of others (p.87). I’ve been given some cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to reprogramme my reactions (p.88). I’ve also learnt some clinical hypnosis techniques to overcome fears, neutralise sadness and rehearse skills (p.89). I’ve got to grips with change (p.97), realised my potential (p.98 ) and worked out whether I might view any impending mid-life crisis as a crisis or as a turning point (p.112). I’ve established the wisdom of ageing (p.113) and my attitude to change (p.118). I’ve been explained the sleep rules (p.143).

But there’s no time for a little shut-eye right now, because the good people at ‘Psychologies’ have other plans…

Edition #3 [December 2005]:
I’ve learnt how to cope with too much choice (p.44) and established how exactly I make choices (p.45). I’ve been told how to avoid infidelity (p.49) and what to do about my own social anxiety (p.54). Someone who should know has shared their secrets on how to talk to anyone (p.55). I’ve discovered how to raise confident children (p.62) and to how to handle a self-esteem surfeit in others (p.62). I now have a good idea of where my core strengths and passions lie (p.69) and how to play to those strengths (p.71). I’ve taken on board tips for connecting with my real emotions (p.82) and tips to recover from emotional labour (p.83). I’ve learnt how to talk to my children at the different stages of childhood (p.85) and how to talk to children if I am not a parent (p.87). I’m finding out what is making me blame my parents (p.94) and how I can find new ways of relating to my parents (p.95). I’m now trying not to get stuck in one role (p.100) and working out how my partner fits into the family drama (p.101). I’m brimming with tips for managing Christmas (p.105) and maintaining happy stepfamilies (p.106). I’ve established my role at Christmas (p.116) and I now have a Christmas vitality plan (p.123) which includes: quick energy boosters, five foods to pep me up, three instant relaxation techniques and how to minimise the morning-after feeling and stoke up for the day. I’ve memorised fast-working boosts for instant results when it comes to problems with dull skin, pasty complexion, broken nails, flat hair, low energy levels, neglected feet and fuzzy brows. And finally, I’ve worked out what to do when I can’t help getting involved in other people’s business (p.170), although given the extensive navel-gazing exercise I’m engaged in right now, I’m not sure I will ever again have time for anyone else but ME ME ME.

My verdict:
Well, if this is what Madonna meant by an examined life, I’m not sure I want it. I feel rather exhausted. If unabashed introspection is the only alternative to shameless superficiality, bring back the handbags, the shoes, the stick thin models and the cute shiny accessories.

Vogue, Tatler, Marie Claire: all is forgiven!

Re-skim-read the October edition and caught sight of the Readers’ Survey (p.172). Herein might lie the rub…

Q10 On our covers we want to represent modern, interesting women. From the following list, select the three women who most appeal to you:

* Teri Hatcher
* Nigella Lawson
* Victoria Beckham
* Angelina Jolie
* Catherine Zeta-Jones
* Sharon Stone
* Linda Evangelista
* Madonna
* Renee Zellweger
* Winona Ryder

So, six Hollywood actresses, two pop stars, one supermodel and one celebrity chef. Erm, try ‘none of the above’ (although this isn’t given as an option). Where are the Susan Greenfields, the Lisa Jardines, the Cherie Blairs? Hey ho. Perhaps we just differ on our definition of ‘modern’ and ‘interesting’ (where theirs is ‘attractive’ and ‘youthful’ and mine is ‘modern’ and ‘interesting’). Hmmm.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

gse here. It’s the advert that bothers me, the one that says, “If you met you, would you like you?” Talk about an epiphany. Christ no, was the answer, all you do is whinge.

nvqxodoc – homework for that useful professional qualification in how to crumble artificial flavourings into perfectly innocent food

Comment by shoppersaurus rex

ooh, that feels better

Comment by GreatSheElephant

[Forgiving the sermon-like nature of this post, though it is a Sunday…] The trouble with our age is its narcissism – as you say, the ME, ME, ME.

So, when Madonna says examine your life she means turn inwards, put yourself at the centre of the universe, and try, struggle, hope to love yourself. But oh what a burden carrying oneself is! (The existential equivalent getting sorted with self-help mags.)

When the Greeks went to Delphi and saw ‘Know Thyself’ written above the doorway to the temple, it meant quite the opposite: ‘Know that you are not a god’ – you are most certainly not the centre of the universe. Phew, what a relief!

As Nietzsche has it: ‘What we know about ourselves is not so decisive for our happiness as people suppose’.

Comment by Mark

But the important thing is, that after all that, how does your hair look?

Comment by Kellycat

“The first women´s magazine that is about what we are really like, not just what we look like.”

Ah, yes, I look forward to the edition that features someone more plain than, shall we say, Meg Ryan et al. I’m sure comparing yourself to some of the stick-thin cover-stars they’re bound to feature is going to breed insecurities, anxieties and negative-thoughts. It does for me and I’m not even a woman! Where’s Lizzie Bardsley when you need her?

Comment by Wyndham

smoking rothmans while popping out another sprog and defrauding the benefit system, no doubt.

as for that magazine – if i can’t gasp in horrified glee at britney spears’ cellulite and catch up on the skinniest-orangest-dullest celeb competition i’m just not going to buy it, am i?

Comment by surly girl

Did anyone feel like self-immolation after reading that post?


That’s not self-examination. That’s paranoid self importance.

You mean, I’m NOT the center of the universe? REALLY?!!! F*ck, I’m getting the bazookas out now.

Comment by SBB

Alright, you’ve sold it to me. I’m going to give up things like interests, which, after all, are displacement activities that distract from the business of going within myself and seeing the horrible void of nothingness there.

And I am also going to start admiring strong, beautiful, brave wimmin such as Brittany Murphy, Terri Hatcher, Jessica Simpson and anyone else called Jessica, even though I don’t know what any of them do because I don’t read wimmin’s magazines.

Comment by Betty

The more things change the more womens glossies stay the same. It’s nice to know that not only is the same old stuff hidden behind those splendid icon ladies but now you can get glutted on your favourite bits using only one mag at a time.

Comment by mig bardsley

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