Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Outsides: Glamour (and, later, Bespoke)

Glamour as in the magazine.

I'm just back from a short time away, and I had the opportunity to read two issues of Glamour on two airplanes. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't be so generous--I wouldn't leave the issue with the Lena Dunham cover(s) for another lucky passenger. Yep. I'd keep it. I'd hoard it. (Eventually I'd send it to recycle, and I know that, so that's more or less why I left it.)

My sister gave me the issues of the magazine; she'd received them as a promotional incentive for something-or-other. I wouldn't have bought them myself; it would never have occurred to me. I'm completely out of the habit of browsing magazine racks. But ye gods, what a serendipitous find they were!

See, Glamour and I go way back. It kept me company from my mid-high school years through my mid-30s or so. I loved it for SO many reasons:

* For giving me a glimpse into an idealized version of urban life, chock-full of freelancers, public relations specialists, nonprofit administrators, and financial managers.

* For smart essays--by which I mean "a reliably feminist voice," not an easy find in the middle of the country--on political issues of the day.

* For advice columns about working, including where, why, doing what, what you'd be wearing, and how to change your skills or your situation if you don't like it. How to ask for a raise. How to find out what other people in your job are making. That "professional organizations" even exist, and even why you should belong to them.

And other reasons: For profiles of women who are exceptional. For the information that some people consider $100 a reasonable price to pay for jeans. And, of course, for the Glamour Don't.

I outgrew it. In today-speak, it ceased to resonate with me. But time has passed. ("Children get older, and I'm gettin' older too....") The magazine today is different, of course--different features, different discussions, different price points on cosmetics. Still, the Glamour personality remains upbeat yet serious--smart and challenging and approachable. Leafing through its pages was like having a conversation with a young woman you used to babysit but haven't seen in years, and being delighted at her wit, poise, intelligence, and humor.

Oh Glamour, I missed you. You were a great seatmate on this trip. Thanks so much, and I'll be in touch: I have one more issue to read and I'm saving it for a time when I need to be reminded of my past and cheered up about the future.

Next time: Bespoke. Yes, as in fashion and tailoring.