With Valentine's Day looming, it seems appropriate to tackle a relationship-oriented magazine.  Of course, I really ought to be writing about something Easter-oriented, since the stores are already filled with wicker baskets and plastic day-glo grass and chicks and pastel eggs and chocolate bunnies.  But I digress. And I'll save the Christian magazine for next time, if ever.

The tagline on the cover of Tango promises "smart talk about love," which gave me hope that this wouldn't be the standard "how to find a man" narrishkeit we women have become so accustomed to reading.

However, the copy inside didn't come close to living up to the promise (which may be one reason why the mag is going almost all-digital -- see below). Thankfully, there weren't any "how to find a man" articles, or even any "how to keep the man you found" follow-ups. But several of the articles elicited the "duh" reaction.

Like the piece on antidepressants affecting one's sex drive.  No, you don't say!  With 14% of the country downing them daily (so says the magazine, I've seen higher numbers), you'd think the government (or pharma companies), would just put Viagra in the water system. 

Or how about the piece about geeks making good partners.  Smart guys with good jobs and a booming 401-K who even have a sensitive side (they cry at any of the "Star Wars" movies, I'm told) make good partners?  Darn it, where was this info when all of us gals were marrying unemployed idiots who haven't cried since Pamela Anderson had her boob job reversed?  The "Field Guide to Geeks" info box accompanying the article is not even remotely clever and is a big waste of space in the magazine, right up there with the full page of horoscopes. Who reads horoscopes in magazines, if at all?  I made myself try to read my own: "Don't be in any hurry to accept leftovers in the beau department."  OK, then.  Since when do Leos settle for leftover anything?  Fire the writer, please.

Even the articles that had sexier topics, such as "Tales of a Reluctant Trophy Wife," didn't live up to the promise. How reluctant can you be when you're buying Prada raincoats that you don't need?  The writing in this piece as well as in several others is disappointingly clumsy and amateurish. There's definitely much room for improvement across the board in this area. The carelessness in the magazine's writing seems to be spilling over to the press release accompanying the issue. It had XXXX in one area that was missing words and in another spot directed journalists toward a Web site without giving the URL. Uh, PR folks, it's on the bottom of every page of the magazine.

On the bright side, the cover is absolutely brilliant.  Finally, someone did something worthwhile with PhotoShop.  Al Gore's head is plopped on a bare-chested, suede-vest-wearing beefcake who is clutching a vixen whose head has been subbed out with the planet Earth. The scale is a little off -- Gore's head doesn't rest very comfortably on his neck -- but the premise is pretty fun. 

It's to illustrate "The Couple of the Year" story, which offers small takeouts on Gore and Mother Earth, along with 19 other couples who the magazine deems "rock our world." The magazine did a decent job with this piece, giving each couple just enough space to keep you reading on without getting bored.  But what's with the disturbing blue and yellow overlapping circles behind each couple's name?  They look like the MasterCard symbol, and a not very attractive representation at that. I hope MasterCard paid big bucks for the (sort of) subliminal advertising.

While it's a great premise for a magazine (love is something we all care about, presumably) this title just doesn't cover any new ground.  Bring on the chocolate bunnies.


Published by: Tango Media

Frequency: Was quarterly, but after this issue the magazine announced plans to publish an annual Couple of the Year issue and possibly other specially-themed "feature publications" according to market demand, but to shift from print to a principally digital platform.

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