Lowest Common Denominator: Cosmopolitan, February
6: Minutes per day needed to “score a slammin’ bod,” according to the cover
Infinite: The disingenuousness of a Cover Girl ad suggesting readers “go for beauty on your own terms” by eschewing department-store cosmetics for the Cover Girl brand. Thanks, Cover Girl, for telling me what my own terms are! Apparently my terms involve buying slightly less expensive stuff I don’t need.
25: Cosmopolitan’s “magic age” for getting married, as cited on page 36
100: In “Beauty: His Picks,” number of men surveyed about whether nail decals are “fun and flirty” or “too over-the-top”
Apparently zero: Number of women surveyed for the same article about whether they care what 100 random men think of their fingernails
1950s: Decade whose gender stereotypes Cosmo rejects in “Are You Turning Your Boyfriend Into a Girlie Man?”—right before suggesting steak and football are inherently masculine and salad, Cat Power, and French movies are inextricably feminine.
101: Page of the aforementioned article that made my head explode. The culprit phrase? “Do more gender-neutral activities with your man (see our “Manly Date Ideas,” at right)…” Since when does “gender-neutral” default to “manly”?
1: Appallingly evocative reference to an erect penis as a “giant breakfast sausage” on page 105. Sorry, I couldn’t let that one pass!
9: Of the thirteen men Cosmo’s crowned its “Fun Fearless Males 2010,” the number who are actors (The other four are a musician, an athlete, a TV producer, and Dr. Oz.)
“Almost 200” and “up to 300”: The supposedly shocking calorie counts in bottled teas and wrap sandwiches, according to “These Healthy Foods Can Make You Fat”
Endless: Stories in this issue devoted to pleasing men sexually (“4 Traits Men Find Irresistible,” “99 Hot New Sex Tips...In 20 Words or Less,” “Tap In to Your Seductive Powers,” “The One Time He Always Wants You”)
4 apiece: Pages devoted to articles about fertility and inter-racial couples
3: Pages devoted to a story about the decline of the thong
2: Pages dedicated to police officer Ally Jacobs, whose investigative work led to the arrest of Jaycee Dugard's captor
Huge: My—and, I’m sure, your—relief at learning one needn’t get a job at Cosmopolitan to achieve the same success with men that its staffers enjoy, because the magazine found 13 of them to give us the inside scoop. Lessons offered by current and former magazine staffers in “Engaged at Cosmo!” include these gems: cook his favorite dishes, avoid discussing marriage, don’t freak out when he plays Guitar Hero (like someone would?), and always wear the latest nail polish.
Zip: Actual eroticism in this month’s edition of “Red Hot Reads,” as exemplified by this decidedly unsexy sentence: “It felt so good that coherent thought was behind her, but she did realize it had never been like this with any other man before.”