This isn’t about the magazine Life. I haven’t read it. I feel like that’s one of those magazines that people used to buy for photos of the moon landing or royal weddings. The internet probably ruined them. I however did buy a magazine this week. It was Men’s Health. Remarkably, it’s a decent rag. I was stuck in a train station for an hour and after looking through every domestic and foreign magazine for forty-five minutes, I went with this because it seemed to have a lot of content and not too many ads or filler. The thing is that when I turned back the cover, I was immediately confronted by a black and white photograph of a very stylish young man and his two pale girl friends. They were pushing his motorcycle across a New York street and as my eyes moved downward they fell upon the letters DKNY. I instantly got a flashback to when I was 17 and I used to buy every issue of Rolling Stone and Premiere. I didn’t consciously realize it back then but I must have devoured those ads. For the force to be strong enough to flash me back more than a decade later? Yikes. God, I used to think those people in those ads were so damn cool. I clearly remember thinking some of those girls were so attractive and that I was not on the level of those guys. I actually remembered the ad campaign that stuck out at the time, it was that Tommy Hilfiger sh*t when they would show all these blonde girls on a beach in Nantucket with these white dudes with black curly hair (Simon Rex?) and there’d always be one token black dude (Tyrese?) SMILES FOR MILES, Holy hell, I wanted to be at that party.
I turned the page from DKNY to the next glossy ad and the one after and the one after. Perry Ellis, Aldo, Armani Exchange, each scene weirder than the last. If each of these two-page ads was a party, I’d walk right out on sight. They pay these models and photographers to make these layouts appealing and now I’ve gone from envying them to being completely disgusted by them without them changing the formula even a bit. I just don’t give a crap about their $285 scarves and weird make-up. When I was a kid, I thought that growing up meant becoming a part of that world. I thought if you didn’t, you were corny. Once again proof that you didn’t know Jack teenage Siddharth! I’ve grown up now motherf*ckers and I’ve got better jokes than any of you boring douchebags. I’m a better person. Well, yes, I am completely assuming they’re boring and shitty people but you can’t blame me when they all look so bored and nonplussed in their fancy duds. Come on, they’re hardly sympathetic figures.
So then I got to thinking about how much these magazine life images are projected on us when we’re kids. These car ads with their smooth jazz music and serene countryside backdrops. How everybody always has teeth like those marble slabs at Coldstone. So there’s magazine life and then there’s life. Life comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s teeth are sometimes yellow and frequently misshapen. It’s cars are usually in stasis in between thousands of other cars. In life, when a guy is pushing his bike across the street, it’s normally a piece of junk and he’s normally not dressed like the world’s richest beatnik. He’s probably dressed in beat up corduroys and a tattered old T-shirt and that guy’s much cooler than anybody you’ll ever see in a magazine ad. Magazine life is the pipe dream that keeps people on the hamster wheel. They’ve got to get that job to pay for that stuff, do what they don’t want to do just to get things they want but don’t need. Jonesing to keep up with the Joneses.
Personally, I can’t even imagine a scenario where I would even be able to have a conversation with these people, let alone be in this photo. I’m just going to skip the ads from now on, obviously my kind are not their target market.