Long live gender tourism!

I love to read men’s magazines. Just as country music details an experience I’ve never had, so does Esquire. I’ve never been male, I’ll never be male, and all the time I spend around male friends will not give me the true insider experience. Neither will Esquire, but it provides a glimpse into the obsessions of its readers.

I’ve learned a lot from reading Esquire, Details, GQ and the like. There are so many advertisements for fancy watches that I felt almost inadequate without one. How must men feel, if they read these all the time? I started checking out men’s wrists after I noticed this, and lots of men do indeed wear lovely watches.

One memorable article discussed proper behavior in case of a bar fight. The article alerted men about proper thumb placement so that they would not break fingers if they slugged someone. It also suggested that you should pretend to try to halt the fight while you were hitting people so that you could limit your liability. The general tone of the piece indicated that a bar fight might be a pleasant diversion. I’ve never even seen a bar fight, and I’d run in the other direction if one started. This is definitely a different perspective.

Another piece told about bathroom etiquette for males at work. Apparently men should never use a restroom on their own floor, because things could get tricky if you met your boss at the urinal. Who knew? When I mentioned this to a male friend, he said he has a personal rule about this: “Use the stall, avoid all.” My only bathroom rule is to take any chance to use a ladies room when traveling because you never know when you’ll have the next opportunity. Ah, how we differ!

I’m sure my male friends might also be interested to study some female publications. Why are we women so interested in self-improvement? What man would spend all his time organizing, crafting ornate curtains or making a decadent fudge cake while also obsessing over his weight? Why do some women do these things? Darned if I know, but it raises some interesting questions. The magazines prompt me to think about these things and to discuss them with others. I learn a lot in this type of dialogue with the printed word. The dialogue continues into my friendships and my writing. Long may it continue!

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

148. Look at some magazines written for the opposite gender, and think about the magazines written for your own gender. Do you think your magazines accurately reflect your own interests? What questions do the opposite-gender publications raise? Raise the discussion with some friends.

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