This Month In The Lady Mags: What’s The Deal With Having An Ideal?

Not sure if you want to spend $3.99 on this month’s Vogue? Don’t worry, we’ve got Wendy Felton, Editor of, here to tell you exactly what’s up on the sex, love, and relationships front in each month’s crop of lady mags.

Few of us grow up to become princesses and settle down with Prince Charming, so this month, the magazines examine our oft-abandoned ideals. They cover the ideal man (wealthy), the ideal sex life (open-minded and often), and the ideal way to behave when confronted with something less-than-ideal (write an essay for a women’s magazine).

  • Of course, everyone’s “ideal” is different. For instance, Vogue introduces a profile of tennis champ Chris Evert saying she’s “won eighteen Grand Slam titles. But her best is yet to come—as a bride-to-be at 53.” Wonder if Evert herself would agree with that?
  • But I think we can all concur on the goal of Glamour’s “better-orgasm exercise.” Do your Kegels, everyone! Not sure your fantasies are normal? Survey says…probably, if you’re one of the 72% of women who fantasize even when with a partner. There’s also an essay by a woman whose boyfriend’s ex is pregnant with his baby—awk-ward—and “16 Sneaky, Sexy Acts of Seduction.” Pro tip from this piece: big-screen whipped-cream bikinis are actually shaving cream.
  • Not into dairy products as a marital aid? Actor Kyle MacLachlan’s wife favors mustard. He tells Elle that she had a constant craving for the yellow stuff during her pregnancy, so “I had a tiny pot of yellow Heinz mustard that I always carried around, just in case.” Swoon! Otherwise, this issue spends a lot of ink deconstructing the ideal. The author of the book I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage, Susan Squire, says it’s tough to maintain that hazy, heady state of infatuation: “It’s delusional to think that sex will be as exciting the two-thousandth time with someone as it was the first time,” she says. There’s also considerable space given to money and relationships, including an essay called “In Defense of Gold-Digging.” The author ultimately decides rich guys are dull, an outcome that might be avoided by dating men for reasons other than their net worth. E. Jean Carroll’s column illustrates the worst-case scenario of mixing cash with courtship: a woman who paid her boyfriend’s debt to his ex found herself out tens of thousands of dollars when he died of an overdose.
  • It’s enough to make anyone want to stay single, and Marie Claire is there to help with that. “The Cool Girl’s Guide to Living Solo” declares that single dwellers are free to whittle naked (what?), but admonishes you to hide the cellulite cream and stuffed animals when “Mr. Big comes over.” There’s a list of the 101 sexiest things—including baffling proclamations of the sexiest building, collectible, and commute. (That honor, by the way, belongs to the Vèlib rental bikes in Paris. They’re probably engraving a plaque right now.) In an essay that starts “my boyfriend dyed his penis green for me”—well, that’s the whole story. Primping for a date with a new guy, one writer forgoes a Brazilian wax after learning that hair is there to trap pheromones, and a young woman moves to London to be with a less-than-thrilled boyfriend. Are long-distance relationships actually better?
  • Perhaps not, but Cosmopolitan announces that open relationships are currently being “buzzed about.” That’s the only thing being discussed, since most of this month’s advice details ways to delve into your mate’s psyche without actually speaking to him. There are “8 New Love Truths You Must Know,” none of which are actually new; “Why Guys Cheat in the Summer” (because it’s “cheat season,” obviously); and a revelation of “The Sex Secrets He’ll Never Tell You,” which includes a Mad Libs-style puzzle to suss out his bedroom needs. Sample line: “I take my [appendage] and slowly rub it around your [erogenous zone].” Hot? Men aren’t chatting either, after learning everything they need to know from “Predict the Sex She Wants.” When they do have something to say, they apparently communicate via pubic hair. Cosmo thoughtfully provides a guide to his manscaping messages.
  • That’s still way ahead of Self, whose readers aren’t even talking to themselves. This month, an article called “Decode Your Daydreams” says that drooling over a hot barista means you crave more sentimentality. Plus, the mag reveals “Sexy Secrets,” some of which are, well, not actually sexy. According to the article, it takes women more time than men to climax because women wait longer to direct their partners. So, still daydreaming about the ideal of satisfaction in the bedroom? It’s totally your fault!

Maybe you don’t live in Marie Claire’s sexiest city (Milwaukee), or maybe your fantasies are so out-there they didn’t even rank in Glamour’s survey. Still, all these articles are a start to sorting out our own goals and dreams—and making them happen. A word of caution, though: if you decide your man should color an appendage in your honor, you might want to keep that juicy tidbit to yourself.