A closer look at ‘Men’s Health’
“Punning is a talent which no man affects to despise, but he that is without it.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“It’s surreal!” That’s a popular catch-phrase which in my mind vastly over-used today. It’s kind of like yesterday’s “My bad!” or “It is what it is”. I still get sick of hearing both of those.
The Merriman-Webster definition of surreal is- “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; unbelievable, fantastic”
Those last two alternatives are more recognizable to me but less romantic to the user of the term.
Everyone knows that “It’s surreal” is actually a response by the Italian jeweler when a customer asked him if the diamond was a fake.
Anyway, I was going through our newspaper rack trying to reduce it’s height to three feet or less. Several past issues of my “Men’s Health” magazines were taking up a lot of space.
I am usually good about taking care of our newspapers. We get three dailies and of course one weekly which happens to be the one you are reading now. I only subscribe to the latter one because of the pictures. On a daily basis I put all newspapers in the recycle box. We ultimately use them for weed control in our gardens since we don’t have a canary.
But magazines are a different story. I can’t seem to find enough time to read all the articles in many of them so I set them aside for “future reading time.”
So there I was the other day sorting through the pile.
In looking at each issue I was amazed to see how this particular magazine has changed so much since I first subscribed to it. That was back about seven or eight years ago when we were visiting my younger brother, Tom, who lives in Illinois. I noticed a copy of this magazine on his coffee table and thumbed through it.
Now, being of sound body and mind (somewhat sound on both counts although more on the first) I thought this would be a perfect magazine to help me to stay fit. So I have been reading it ever since whenever I had the time. Lately, it seems I haven’t had the time
Each cover of the magazine includes the subtitle: “Tons of useful stuff.” And I have found that some of these articles are very real as opposed to surreal!
I can’t really remember when or whether the magazine changed its format. But recently I have noticed far too many large photos of men and women in various stages of undress. I know the old saying: “Sex sells” but knowing that Maria periodically reads my articles I can truthfully say that I am not in the market to buy it.
Believe it or not, I subscribe to this magazine for the articles.
The earliest ones I found in my rack dated back to November 2010. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s an article entitled “How to Remember Anything.”
I had to fight through all of the undersized pages of ads that have no page numbers to get to page 96. And when I finally did I was disappointed to see that the article was on how to remember a phone number.
It listed six steps with a sentence or two explaining each step. It was hardly what I would consider an in depth article. I guess it caters more to the men with short attention spans.
I myself have developed a one-step approach. Maria is great at remembering phone numbers. So I usually ask her if I need one.
Some other articles in this issue were, “Nurse Your Nose- sniffing out sinus problems with tips from the snot docs,” and “Mending Your Broken Heart – she left- take two of these and don’t call her in the morning.”
(It’s not what you think- it’s just Tylenol.)
The one that really caught my eye was “Your Complete 15 Minute Mind/Body Plan.” But I couldn’t find it in the index of article titles. That would have meant that I would have to thumb through each page just to find it.
I have a theory that if it takes longer to find the article than the actual plan, I won’t waste my time looking for it, despite the seductive pictures between articles.
One thing that I noticed when examining the magazine’s contents was that it is divided into five main sections; Fitness, Nutrition, Guy Knowledge, Health and “Sex & Relationships”. In case the eyes of some of you men out there perked up with that last category- feast those eyes on these select articles, “The Bare Truth,” “Ask The Girl Next Door” and “Look Great On Any Date.” I’ll leave it up to you to guess the content of those articles. I for one didn’t even bat an eyelash at any of them, especially the first one.
So I placed that issue on my pile of recyclables.
The next issue had a picture of actor Mark Wahlberg. He’s become quite a star in some recent blockbuster movies, all the titles of which escape my memory. I do remember him when he was first breaking into the motion picture scene. He starred along with Burt Reynolds in a film called “Boogey Nights”. This “skin flick” was a truly graphic depiction as well as a satirical look at the pornographic movie industry. I have to tell you that it was disgusting and repulsive- every time that I watched it. And I am certain that any of you men who watched it numerous times would agree.
Anyway Wahlberg appeared on the cover of the December, 2010 issue with the following quite under his picture- “I want to build something that can last forever.”
Once again, after thumbing through seven pages of glamorous advertisements I got to the initial index of articles. Included on this list were “The Sinister Slice”- about cheap pizza, “Trigger Her Sex Drive- but first, how is your hard drive?”, “Six Pack Abs –a regular featured article it seems, and, finally- “Strip Away Stress”- Wahlberg’s Theory of Evolution. It was much more boring than Boogie Nights I might add.
Some other articles included “A Nutty Idea- crack down on your cholesterol,” ”Big Arms, Mighty Chest: a dumbbell-only plan to maximize muscle gain” and “Keep Lust Alive.” Boogie Nights rearing its ugly head again I suspect.
Another issue added to the pile.
Five subsequent issues contained the same healthy and sultry articles. You know- “Gym Free Abs- carving a strong core,” “Are You a Lousy Kisser- unleash her passions with these lip-locking lessons” and “How To Carve A Pumpkin.” I didn’t even waste my time looking for that one.
One issue had a commonly used attention-grabber which included two covers, one on the front and one on the back, each upside down. The articles in each section are also upside down until they meet in the middle.
I find that so annoying. If I am going to sit down and read a magazine, albeit for it article contents alone, I don’t want to have to turn it upside down when I get to the middle.
By the way I am told there is one magazine you may want to turn sideways when you get to the middle but that has nothing to do with men’s health, I think.
All of these issues were referred to the recycle pile.
The final one included many of the mandatory “Lose Your Gut” articles. One that really caught my eye was the “Supermarket Survival Guide” that includes 10 rules of shopping.
The one that we try to follow is to shop the rainbow. As a result of a study of the nutritional values of food versus cost, the author of the article recommends that we buy purple cabbage, black dry beans, orange butternut squash, green spinach and yellow bananas. These are all good foods from our perspective as well.
So I finally succeeded in thinning out our newspaper (magazine) rack at least for a couple of months or so. That will keep Maria happy and the cleaning lady as well. They both won’t have to pick up the pile every time it falls over.
By the way, I didn’t even know that Merriman and Webster were a couple, did you?
Lou Lombardo is a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist, nationally certified and certified in orthopedic massage. He is an approved provider for continuing education courses through the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. For questions, comments or more information you can contact him at (585) 734-2200 or at email@example.com)