March 1, 2010

Cherished; Or Why I Stopped Reading Popular Women's Magazines

Valentine's Day slipped by a few weeks ago, but this thought has remained with me into this new month of March.

I have stopped reading most popular, so-called "women's magazines." Being a true romantic, I realized much of what was written in these magazines and addressed to women on the topic of how to find and keep love was, largely, what we used to call "poppycock."

A recent issue of Essence magazine (no, I am not providing the link), ran an article on how to effectively practice the "art" of sexting. Oprah's magazine runs regular features by Dr. Phil on how to have a conversation with a life partner, including suggestions for specific phrases and word arrangements. Never mind that Dr. Phil knows neither of the parties.

While standing in the line at the grocery store, I have the option of reading magazine covers with titles like: "Find love in 30 days", "Keep him coming back for more", or "How not to sabotage your love life."

What I now believe is this: these magazines appeal to our desires to love and be loved. We know real love doesn't come on a formula, yet we seek one because we have become so accustomed to believing anything can be achieved if it is wanted and planned. Not so. Many of the truly miraculous things in life have arrived when I neither sought nor expected them. Through the daily process of being myself and living my life, I have found the best and deepest loves.

I wonder why we are so willing to believe in an "outside expert's" ability to guide us in one of the most personal and intimate areas of life. General principles can be good guidelines, but how can I really believe in a magazine writer's ability to show me something I am unwilling to see in myself?

Besides, if all of those magazine writers knew their stuff, they'd be out of business! Everyone desiring it would be happily married, totally and irrevocably secure in that relationship, and no longer in need of distant advice on "What not do say or do on that first date."

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