The moment I find myself before a magazine stand in an Amsterdam bookstore I feel like a kid in a candy store. The colourful covers from magazines and glossy’s stare at me invitingly screaming: BUY ME. Or at least that is what I think they’re saying. At the height of this optical sugar high the cover of Glamour catches my eye.
Gracing the cover of this glossy is the intensely beautiful Negin Mirsalehi a.k.a.’Instagram queen’, with a heading that reads: Beauty, brains & power. Powerful terms that remind me of the ideal version of myself, which instantly makes me want to buy it. As a true treasure hunter I look further. But it doesn’t take long before the next gem catches my eye. I find myself gazing at the cover of Vogue. Armed with a copy of Vogue you look instantly fashionable and this impulse buy is therefore stylishly justifiable.
My thoughts begin to wander and I feel a third sugar rush coming on, but then I get a reality check and decide to spend my remaining money on a healthy salad for my dinner.
Once I’m home I throw my jacket on the bed and flop down on the couch. Minutes later I find myself getting up again because I have to make at least one mandatory pit stop in the kitchen, which is where the much needed snacks are kept. Happy with my collection of snacks I throw myself on the couch again where my wonderful Glossyland dreams can start.
Perfect Instagram queen
My first half hour is easily spent checking out American actors. Or better yet, celebrities with fancy clothes and a scarily striking resemblance to their family members, and sometimes even to each other. Take for example Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel and 50 Shades of Grey-actress Dakota Johnson. They look strikingly similar. After some inspiration for my new spring outfits, I start reading the interview with Negin Mirsalehi.
The woman that single handedly pushed perfection to a new level, which she showcases with the answers to the interview questions. After reading this interview I am none the wiser as to how she became so succesful, what it has cost her, at what point in her life things weren’t going her way, and other problematic issues. Oh well, I stare deeply at the perfect symmetrical face of Negin one last time and almost instantly believe in unicorns again.
Never do something that you don’t like doing.
Cheerfully I turn to the other pages of my glossies, skimming over my imaginary yoga-outfit I stop at an article named: ‘#sorrynotsorry A workshop course in saying NO in five easy steps.’ Chuckling out loud I say: “I normally only use one.” Truly this is what Glossy reading does to me. Still I feel the need to read the introduction of the article. I cite: “Never do things which you don’t feel like doing or don’t have enough time for, Only spend energy/money on the things you like and the things you love. Really you could have a life like this as well. Almost instantly a gummy bear gets stuck between my teeth. I immediately get on my high horse and think to myself: “ok, you little princess-never-enough, explain this to me please. Journalist Liesbeth Rasker bases her theory on a handbook by writer Sara Knight, who explains you should figure out the things you don’t give a fuck about, and secondly how to actually not give a fuck – without apologising for your behaviour. Examples like, if you don’t want to go to your friend’s baby shower because you hate babies with a passion and you don’t like girly stuff either, just don’t go. This will save you time and money. It doesn’t get any easier than that, does it? It doesn’t get lonelier than that either, I would say, because this way you won’t maintain any kind of friendship or family ties, but those are just small details.” I feed myself another gummy bear and turn to the next page.
After reading a good article on gender fluidity I end up in the grown up section of a confessionals article about sex. This is always the juicy stuff. With an attentive mind I read the tips of (s)expert Blanca van den Brand. According to her, after a relationship of five years you should annually have a TAS-conversation with your partner. And with TAS, I mean Talk About Sex, so as to be annually updated on your sex life. This was you’ll instantly know where your relationship stands. In my current single, babyless, carefree existence this sounds a little bleak. But maybe I should first try harder to reach that five year anniversary before I start judging their methods.
After a few hours of Glamour entertainment, my telephone starts to buzz manically and I slowly ease back in to reality. But just before I leave Glossyland, I get touched by a small column by Yuri about his first love: Toemis. In high school she was the reason he went to school at all, which was of indescribable value because he wished he could be anywhere but there. The way Yuri writes about Toemis is endearing and for a second the green-eyed monster pops um, until he writes about the fact that Toemis isn’t doing too well these days. He runs into her by chance and notices that she is using coke. He wonders out loud what has happened to the girl he fell in love with. I immediately think: he gives a fuck, which is something more people should have done.
My Macbook starts to demand my attention as well, so I put away my copy of Glamour. Out of the corner of my eye I see the copy of Vogue still lying on the table. But I decide to save that one for later, for another dream. I open my mailbox and force myself to get back to reality.
This article first appeared in Dutch, translation by Jinwen Omar.