Like a bridal magazine, Glamour needs to continually reach the same -- yet different -- new audience over and over again. And if you analyze it in those terms, you realize that's certainly a much harder task than winning and keeping the same readers. Glamour's been around since 1939, after all, so that's some 70-year parade of new abs that have needed toning up.
But make no mistake: Glamour's current tone is quite 2009. For example, "Ask Us Anything About Men's Bodies" is what Glamour does so well, presenting data and opinion as the unveiling of "secrets," while punching it up with real quotes from real guys, such as Adonis from Jonesboro, Ark. (Don't believe it? Check out page 267, second column). The accompanying "Where to Touch a Naked Man" chart may spur quite a few readers into Googling the term frenulum (no, not the one underneath the tongue).
I wish I could weigh in on this year's Glammy Awards, and speak intelligently on the selection of BareMinerals SPF 15 as a "best foundation" pick, but I'll defer to the editors. Of course, it's hardly worth noting that much of the book -- especially the first 150 pages or so -- is heavy with fashion and make-up and oh so many advertisements. But then just when you're at about the mid-point you pass through to something else, like Dorothy stepping out of her tornado-blown house.
And that's when you realize there actually are two Glamour magazines packed into every issue. The carnival barking on the cover may scream at you about flat bellies and sexy looks and better orgasms, because no doubt such perennials interest countless subscribers and newsstand browsers. But there's journalism of another sort tucked inside, and much of it is quite good:
But for every original piece of content, there's something you've seen once or twice -- or 300 times. The fashion Dos and Don'ts on the back page undoubtedly will never get old. But it's hard to keep putting a fresh spin on "The Real Way to Romance a Guy" by Jake (the pseudonym used in a long-running column that gives "A Man's Opinion" on relationships).
A close friend of mine was Jake for a while, and I've always thought it would make for a great Annie Leibovitz photo, to line up all those opinionated men in a salon, the Tony Curtis-era Jake clutching a Gibson alongside the Seth Rogen-era Jake sporting a beer pong cup. Further proof that, like the quest for toned abs, all that's new is old. Especially when condensed into a cover blurb.
Published by: Condé Nast Publications
Web site: www.glamour.com