Recently, and with seemingly no impetus, the apartment in which I reside has begun to receive Allure magazine. Neither myself nor my two roommates have any interest in the world of fashion or beauty which Allure examines month to month. The quandary was real. To receive this magazine, this product of so many writers, photographers, and editors, and have no use for it seemed wrong, somehow disrespectful.
I made a decision to utilize this unexpected bounty for writing material. I decided to read the first issue we received, the May 2017 issue, cover to cover and provide a review from the perspective of somebody with no knowledge of the subjects discussed. As bad an idea as this appears on the surface, I can assure you that the deeper I dug the heavier my heart grew with awareness of my folly. What follows is my recap / review of the flashes of this experience which I can recall without too much undue stress.
The first sign of danger came in the form of purple feathers. The cover features a woman referred to simply as Sienna. She is wearing purple feathers on her eyes. I do not understand this, and it scares me. I press on.
Confusion soon abounds, as I cannot find any real prose until the 18th page of what is supposedly a magazine. This is when I first become aware of what will become a recurring issue; the articles often merge journalism with advertisement. To tell what is informational and what is just trying to sell me something (I buy many creams and elixirs on my journey) is virtually impossible.
Page 20 brings me to a discussion of the photo shoot which produced the purple feathers photo on the cover. The photographer chooses here to reveal that he likes photographing the model with her face showing because she has a good looking face. That tip is so hot, handle with care.
Soon after the photo shoot discussion, Allure elects to eschew traditional page numbering, making the charting of my journey into confusion even more difficult. On what one could only assume is page 46, I stumble upon a discussion of fashion trends discovered in Seoul, South Korea. The creativity of the title, “Seoul Searching”, is simply breathtaking. This article discusses trendy new “hybrid” products, such as a mask that moisturized AND exfoliates. One can only wonder if they’ve heard of Starburst, the candy which is both solid AND juicy.
Free samples of Garnier Fructis, my first paid article.
At this point I lose track of page numbers altogether. A “Favorite Things” headline catches my eye. Below the enticing title it reads simply, “Jewelry: My Catcher in the Rye necklace”. The true meaning of this sentence is forever lost to the sands of time.
THE PAGE NUMBERS RETURN! HUZZAH! It’s now page 92. The blackouts are becoming more frequent. I read a Burt’s Bees ad repeatedly for twenty minutes, trying to discern the viewpoint, before realizing it’s an ad, and Burt has once more duped me. Then a miracle, an actual article…
In this article, a world before unknown to me is revealed. A slice of society apparently uses sample make-up in stores to prepare for outing, in lieu of using their own cosmetic supplies. This is genius on the level on making full meals of Costco samples. I read on with a renewed vigor.
Amazing names fly fast and furious: Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer, Milk Holographic Stick, and Nars Jungle Red to name a few. I learn that a woman who had considered herself a person who didn’t wear a lot of make-up realized that she in fact used at least 16 products to achiever her look. This is staggering, and my respect for the art of cosmetics is awakened. I must continue, reluctantly.
The energy gained from the article of page 92 quickly evaporates as I plunge ever deeper into the glossy hell that is Allure. A page blares, “INDIVIDUALITY”, and speaks of how those at the magazine do not subscribe to the Platonic ideals of beauty which society collectively selects. This confuses me, as all the models, and people at large, in this magazine look essentially the same. As this is not my world, I make no judgments, I am here simply to observe.
An entire article about how sunscreen should be used whenever there is sun. Surely this is an early Pulitzer favorite.
At this point I break into a frenzied sweat. I look like an ice cube thrown into the desert, such is my flop sweat. I throw the magazine down, knowing my only chance is to run. And so I run, and I keep running.
As of this posting I have not ceased to flee that which confused and scared me so. If anybody sees this, please warn my roommates. Don’t let them hurt anyone else.