Whatever. I don't believe in multicultural or pansexual editorial mandates, but why wouldn't a magazine that bills itself as a go-to relationship guide at least peripherally touch upon nontraditional ones? My objection here isn't on inclusionary/exclusionary grounds; it's on common-sensical ones. By tailoring a title strictly to young-ish white women either searching for a guy or adapting to life with one (the September/October issue features exactly two images of non-white people), Tango paints itself into a corner.
There exist only so many topics such a publication can cover, and the issue rehashes any number of stories that have been written 32,000 times elsewhere. Hell, you can almost make a list: Oral sex and intimacy, check. New child draining relationship of romance, check. Potential attraction to "bad boys," check. As for the item on "Sexy Stay-at-Home Dates" (five-word summary: bathe, nap, read a book), they missed my personal favorite: Guy sits on Barcalounger with bowl of ice cream precariously balanced on his advancing gut, gal does... well, that's kind of irrelevant, isn't it? I keeed, I keeed.
Tango's topical banality even extends into cyberspace. Pam Widener's numbingly straight-faced chronicle of a year's worth of online dating prompted me to seek out an industry-wide restraining order on all similar stories. Then there's yet another to-Google-or-not-to-Google inquest, which predictably reaches yet another Googling-can-only-tell-you-so-much-about-a-person conclusion. Frankly, I hope my dates Google the living crap out of me: I'm a lot more engaging in print than in person, plus I tend to provoke amazingly entertaining negative responses. The spelling is D-O-B-R-O-W. Do with it what you will.
Then there's the headlines, section headers and the like-- "trying too hard" doesn't begin to describe it. Would you read a story prefaced by the hed/subhed pairing of "Get Some Action! Calling all beach potatoes: The heart is a muscle. Kick-start yours with a thrill-filled getaway"? Me neither.
It's unfortunate that so many of Tango's potential story ideas have already been exhausted, as the mag does more than a few things quite well. On the image front, Tango offers more than the usual adorable-couple-in-the-throes-of-adorability shots, sprinkling in a host of clever illustrations along the way (a couple rolling the dice -- literally -- on their future, another being sent through the proverbial grinder). The way-front-of-book "Tango Conversation" rehashes a dippy idea -- lyrics 'bout luv -- but presents it alluringly, with multiple colors and fonts, plus a sleek illustration of a couple dancing.
Additionally, Tango has the good sense to bring in some serious muscle on the nouns-and-verbs side of the ball. A mag can't subsist on columns alone, but Tango's writers almost make sorting through the rest of the junk worthwhile. Don't hold dating coach Rachel Greenwald's profession against her -- she can write, as witnessed by her "Social Science" take on when women "just know" they've found their man. Carolyn See chimes in with a lyrical account of her reconnection with a past husband, while Martha Baer's "Dollar Signs" examination of money issues that spring up within relationships eschews the usual platitudes ("be honest!!!!!") in favor of workable advice.
As for "radiant actress" Angie and "celebrated athlete" Jason, well, Tango concludes that "this dynamic duo is in lockstep." And truly, I couldn't be happier for them and their dynamic linen shirtwear. Ultimately, though, the magazine covers relationships about as well as Sehorn covered Terrell Owens in the 2002 playoffs (look it up). Until Tango finds a few new stories to tell, it will lack anything that female readers -- white, black, green or blue -- can't find in more entertaining fashion elsewhere.