And it wasn't all good.
Imagine a chubby, red-headed little precocious 7-year-old with a Dutch boy haircut finding out at an early age that she was supposed to be reed thin, have long blonde hair, know how to talk to boys and wear a girdle (it was the 50's).
As I matured it got even harder.
I learned from magazines that I was fat (though when I look at pictures of my young self, I now know I wasn't), not pretty, and socially inept as I flunked all of those Cosmo quizzes.
From the quizzes, I discovered I wasn't a good lover, couldn't handle money and was destined to never get married (well, one of those was true).
I couldn't stop trying to emulate the models in the magazines and live up to the images and articles being sold there. It never occurred to me that the models were air-brushed and photo shopped into those ideal pictures. And can you imagine anyone trying to be as skinny as "Twiggy?"
Magazines also fed my clothes addiction.
I would go to great lengths to find some of the outfits featured in the magazines, which in turn led to some hefty credit card bills that did not make for happy Dads and Hubbies.
But all of those clothes didn't necessarily help my self-esteem either, because once I found the outfit, I could never figure out why it didn't look as cute on me as it did on the model. Twiggy. Me. Me. Twiggy.
But on the plus side,
I had cute clothes, and all of that sleuthing to find the clothes from the magazines taught me to be very persistent and imaginative. Maybe that's why I was such a good reference librarian later in life. So there's a plus - magazines taught me ingenuity.
I also learned how to put on make-up (great for the aspiring actress that I was), iron my hair straight, how to create cute ensembles, and
I also learned how to model.
My first fashion show. Note my attention to detail as I hold the towel in a nonchalant way.
Later, the placement of the feet and the nonchalant expression were key.
However, in addition to fashion tips, growing up, I also learned some practical things from magazines such as the "spoon test."
If you can remember back to the 60's and 70's, many of us women eschewed bras. Some of us shouldn't have. So the magazines were very helpful in providing information that would tell you if you were a candidate to go braless.
The test involved your placing a spoon under one of your breasts and if you could hold it there and it didn't fall out, you probably should not go braless. If, on the other hand, you couldn't hold the spoon, then your breasts were small enough that your going braless would not cause a sensation. That's what the magazines said anyway.
However, looking back, I think the point was to actually cause a sensation.
But I was not well endowed, so I not only didn't pass the "spoon test," I couldn't find a place to put the spoon.
However, to get past "The Parent Test," I sometimes had to place some band aids strategically. That was another tip I got from the magazines.
But despite those few positive tips and tricks, I can't say that magazines helped my self-image much when I was younger.
I beat myself up a lot as many young women do as they try to meet the "ideals" portrayed in the fashion mags.
Now that I am a woman of a certain age, I don't need magazines to tell me I am old, overweight, a bad lover or anything else because when you get to a certain age, you don't have to prove anything to anyone and you don't care what anyone else thinks. Or you shouldn't.
You've paid your dues and can now rest on that big butt of yours and enjoy the rest of your life.
Oh, that reminds me of another thing I learned from magazines (and if you read my blog, I quote it often). French actress Catherine Deneuve said, at 30 you had to choose between your bottom or your face, meaning you can't have both a young and beautiful face and a small and beautiful butt. Want to save your face as you age? Then don't get too skinny. Want to have a plump unlined face? Let that big butt reign!
I am sitting on my big butt right now.
I still read magazines, though "Seventeen" and "Cosmo" have been replaced by "Cooking Light" and "Good Housekeeping." My desire to wear the latest fashions and look like the models has been replaced by my desire to keep my produce fresh and my wine cold.
So what I thought were practical tips in my younger years ("The Spoon Test") have been replaced by tips that relate to me now:
I learned that 65 is the new 45.
That's very encouraging.
So do your math to figure out your "real" age!
Also, you know how you are in the shower and you want to shave your legs but you forgot to bring the shaving cream into the shower with you? And you would have to leave the shower, dripping wet, to retrieve it and possibly slip and fall and break a hip?
Hair conditioner. Conditioner works great as a shaving cream.
Where did I learn that? From a magazine.
I have also learned the importance of decluttering, having emergency supplies on hand, not just at home but in my car as well (I heard THE BIG ONE IS COMING), and how to keep my kitchen clean by doing one small task every day (Day 1 - wipe down your appliances. I can do that. Day 2 - Mop the floor. Not so much).
Here are some other things I have learned:
- Add an apple to a potato bag to keep the potatoes from budding
- Freeze grapes to have a handy, quick way to chill a glass of white wine
- Egg cartons are a great place to store your Christmas tree ornaments
- If you want your ice cubes to be clear, freeze boiling water
- Remove pet hair from your couch by using a squeegee
- Hang a coat rack low on the wall to keep shoes off of the floor in your mudroom
- If you don't have a particular ingredient for a recipe, make something up (that tip actually came from me)!
For good or ill, magazines have played a large role in my life, and I have made no attempt to conceal my love of magazines and, though you may judge me about it, you can see that I have learned some practical things which I have now shared with you.
And that's because I always try to be educational and inspirational in my blog posts.
So, you are very welcome.
And hey, have some tips to share that YOU learned from magazines?
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."
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