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June 14, 2003

Magazines and Hip Fat

Friedrich --

A quarter of an hour at a crowded, chic local magazine store has left me pondering a few things.

1) Young women are still wearing hiphuggers and showing off their midriffs. It's been a couple of years since this style began, no? Which is longer than I'd have expected it to last. Do you, as I do, sometimes wonder about when and why and how some fads turn into standards? I was wondering about baseball caps worn backwards, for instance. A year ago it seemed to me that they were on the verge of becoming a standard, like khaki trousers. This summer, poof, they're gone. There are only a few baseball caps to be seen, and most of them are being used for forehead-shading purposes. Why? What happened?

As for hiphuggers, they may still be with us, but something about the style seems to have changed. A year ago, the fashion seemed to be all about being wild and daring -- about how-low-can-you-go -- and it seemed to me that the focus was on the millimeter above the pubic hairline. This season, my eyes seem to be drawn less to the crotch-diving V and more to the hips as seen from behind. To the hip fat, to be more exact -- the wiggly, tender stuff that rides the hipbone, the bulge right where it starts to turn into a waistline. Is that where you feel your eyes being steered? I think this is the first time I've ever felt my attention directed to that feature. Once again I marvel at the ingenuity of women (and the fashion industry), who manage to keep the female body looking fresh, different and alluring. Look here. No, there. Now I'm going to cover it up. But not before giving you a little glimpse.

Gasp, pant, collapse.

2) I spent a couple of minutes leafing through some of the more avant-garde glossy magazines. Is this anything you ever waste time on? Amazing creations: fabulousness everywhere you look -- in the design, the photography, the printing, the concepts. (The writing's just gray stuff between the images and graphics.) These magazines are all about dazzle, dude, and as displays of media fireworks they're hard to beat. I look through them feeling as though a slow-motion nuclear explosion is going off in my brain, incinerating the few IQ points I still have left and leaving the rest of me happily stupefied. I'm a blissed-out cinder going twinkle, twinkle, bzzzzt, crackle. Which isn't exactly what I'm looking for from a magazine. I tend to like something a little more reflective and thoughtful, something that leaves me wrestling with (dare I say it?) a thought or two. These things leave me feeling pumped, wowed, overthrilled, and empty. Basically, they make me feel like masturbating -- hey, I noticed a new magazine, very edgy, called SelfService -- or maybe (even better!) like going out and buying something. Which, come to think of it, is probably the point.



posted by Michael at June 14, 2003


A friend of mine pointed out last year that Wired magazine is a fashion magazine for geeks, thanks to the income spike of their demographic during the Internet Boom.

More upscale 'lifestyle' brands, fewer ads for tech toys, even MORE glitz than it had had at it's start.

I find these days I have to read trade magazines if I'm to actually read a magazine without feeling like my head is going to explode.

Posted by: David Mercer on June 14, 2003 7:49 PM

Oh, and from an evo-bio perspective, I think the return of hips and tummies is a retreat from the "I'm not fertile, which is good since we're overpopulating" look of the recent past few decades. We're NOT going to overpopulate in the 1st world anymore, as we were direly warned about from the 70's on, so it's ok to look fertile again (fertility bears a nearly linear relationship to body fat percentage in women).

Posted by: David Mercer on June 14, 2003 7:52 PM

Okay David, play fair and give me some sort of theory on how I can judge a man's sperm count.

Posted by: laurel on June 14, 2003 11:24 PM

Has a lot to do with a man's blogging style. Or so I hear.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 14, 2003 11:36 PM

Gads that is SO funny.

Hmm...yet I was hoping for something more visual. How can a woman size up a man she meets without a laptop handy?

But wouldn't that be funny? "Excuse me, you look very handsome. I have this laptop here. I was wondering if you'd mind writing your thoughts on a person of your choosing...say, Carl Rungius or Nikos Salingaros? I'd like to look at your writing style."

I think I'd be in for a very dry run on the dating scene. I know I'd fail that test! Oh yeah, but wait a minute, I only have to have a bit of body fat. Where's that Twinkie?

Posted by: laurel on June 15, 2003 8:18 AM

Body fat is in? Why does no one tell me these things?

Posted by: annette on June 15, 2003 10:28 AM

Heh, a man's sperm count is probably still best judgable by how athletic he is, and sperm motility seems to correlate to how symmetric his features are, so no adjustments to womens traditional notion of "a hot guy" are needed!

Posted by: David Mercer on June 15, 2003 2:03 PM

Gosh, I thought that whether the guy wore tightie whites or boxers had something to do with it.

Calm down, Annette, body fat is only in 1)if its in the right place and 2) in the right amount. Which I find rich since what laid down the body fat on my hips was having babies--And it's not in the right place or the right amount to signal my fertility to anyone except maybe my obstetrician. These guys are just blowing smoke with intellectual pish posh about why they like looking at girls.

Posted by: Deb on June 15, 2003 5:08 PM

Goodness---why do they think they need intellectual pish posh to justify looking at girls? What a neurotic bunch! When they were teenagers, did they every actually make out with anyone, or just talk about it?? For that matter...aren't these the same guys who say their wives would rather eat sweets than have sex? (That body fat thing again...) Maybe they need Mary Chapin Carpenter's advice: "Shut up and kiss her!"

Posted by: annette on June 15, 2003 5:29 PM

You might want to wear some hip huggers and a halter top yourself. That way you can gaze directly into your own navel in public as well as at home...and on your blog.

Posted by: flojin on June 16, 2003 10:58 AM

Michael - what happens to your brain after looking at Spanish-language fashion rags? Italian?

Posted by: j.c. on June 16, 2003 10:07 PM

Annette, Deb -- Now just wait a minute here! Why can't over-intellectualized pishposhing be one of the many ways in which we guys can enjoy looking at women? The more ways to enjoy women, the better, no? Sheesh. Although The Wife would certainly agree that there are a fair number of times when I should simply shut up...

Flojin, Nice meeting you too.

J.C.: Sizzle, pop, zzzzt. Tweet tweet. Rapture, followed by passing out. I love the Euro fashion mags, at least for 10 minute stretches. The deluxe qualities, the "sophistication," the greater emphasis on sensuality ... Sigh. How about you? Fun to compare the national styles too: the Brit mags, the Germans, the Italians, etc. Which are your faves?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 17, 2003 6:04 PM

Well, I have to admit, I have always said I'm married, not blind, especially when Robert Redford, Sean Connery or Paul Newman are concerned--good earners AND good looking. And old enough to be grateful, as Benjamin Franklin said about the merits of older women.

Posted by: Deb on June 17, 2003 9:57 PM

Heh, my fiancee is just fine with sex! And too thin, although not as much so as a year or 2 ago.

Posted by: David Mercer on June 18, 2003 10:07 AM

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