American woman, gonna mess your mind …

ImageThe photo above was actually taken in Budapest. “Hungarian woman, mama let me be …”

In my search through the annals of 1992 I found an issue of Cosmopolitan — no idea why I saved this particular one – from February. This was three months before I’d graduate from college. The cover features a massive-haired Claudia Schiffer, photographed by Francesco Scavullo, wearing a neon color-block lycra and sequined minidress. The back page is an ad for Virginia Slims, one of several cigarette ads in the magazine. And as with the letters I found yesterday, some of the writing in this issue deftly captures how the times they have a-changed:

  • From a male POV essay called, “Men’s Jobs – Women’s Jobs”: I heard a woman complain the other day that her boyfriend never helps her with the laundry and that he’d rather buy new dishes than wash dirty ones … I was really thinking, Hey, wait a second! … some things are simply your job … some are simply mine. When was the last time you took a whitewall-tire brush to the grill? Or changed the oil in the car? 
  • From “Ohmigod! My Blind Date Is Drop-dead Handsome!” (in which the author’s brother sets her up with a friend): I started discussing with my roommate the possibilities of my non-blind date’s appearance. He was too cool, Brian had said. That probably meant prep school, Polo Country, Docksiders with no socks. “Maybe one of those annoying little hoop earrings,” my roommate offered … I then retired to the bedroom to commit to an outfit. The sweater was good; the few sequins on it made it “New York” … I opened the door to Billy Baldwin’s even better looking clone. 
  • From “The (Surprising) Secrets of the Stud”: I hadn’t thought of Larry as a sexy man. late thirties, reasonably attractive. But he’s a little thick in the middle, and has thinning blond hair and a scraggly beard and mustache … When I finally hung up the phone, I was stunned. I’d just had phone sex for the first time in my life — and with Larry.
  • From “Boobs, Boys, and High Heels, or What You Should Know About Meeting Great Guys”: I am about to reveal to you guaranteed great guy (GG)-meeting methods. … Prop Till You Drop: Clothing accessories: long gloves, long chiffon scarves, sunglasses, ornate lipstick cases … Tootsie Pops (keep three in your purse at all times) … Walkman … Any small ethnic or antique objects (such as Greek worry beads, a priceless Faberge egg, a Day-Glo zodiac key ring). … Fake nails … Electronic gadgets that do something high-tech and useless. … Foreign magazine (French is best). 
  • Red Hot Right Now: Anthony LaPaglia
  • Breakfast: Jumbo Yumbo Bran Muffin

It must have been awfully difficult to wield those Faberge eggs without compromising one’s fake nails, but I’m sure it was worth it.

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