May reading (magazine reviews)

May is over and I didn't read a book. I didn't even start a book. Not sure why, just wasn't in the reading mode.

I did, however, buy a copy of Men's Health. I thought it would motivate me to get back into the gym. I then bought a copy of Best Life (from the same people as Men's Health) because it was a special fathers day issue and I wanted to see what they had to say about fatherhood. I then bought a copy of GQ, largely for the same reasons.

Havinng read all three, I thought I would do a service to the world and break them all down, just so you'd know which one to check out and which one to avoid. Here's the blow by blow:

Cover Photo
Men's Health: James Marsden
Best Life: Kyle Chandler (from Friday Night Lights)
GQ: Jessica Alba
Winner -- Hmmmm. . . let's go with the hot woman on this one. GQ

Cover Blurbs

Men's Health: promises "Red Hot Sex Safari", which is really an article about reading non-verbal signals from women. Disappontment!
Best Life: "45 New ideas that will change your life forever!" Funny, I don't feel that different.
GQ: None so egregious. We'll go with "Have you tried the new hallucinogen?" Why, no.
Winner -- GQ

Men's Health: Lots of tips and a poster. Do they really think people put these posters up somewhere? And the tips are basicly the same four over and over -- run intervals, do squats, use freeweights, set measurable goals
Best Life: Less tips and no poster
GQ: How to make a fit martini
Winner -- Men's Health

Men's Health: A useless recipe for jerk chicken kabobs ( essentially "buy some jerk sauce and pour it on chicken kabobs"), but a really handy feature on some cooking basics (like the three consituent components of any marinade)
Best Life: Gazpacho recipe
GQ: Interesting article on Jim Denevan, a travelling chef. Cool, but doesn't help me cook for my family.
Winner -- Men's Health

Let's face it, I don't have enough cash to benefit from any tips in any of these magazines. Except all mention 529 plans as the best way to save for a kid's college.

Music Mentions

Mens Health -- White Stripes
Best Life -- Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists) talks about his music pics
GQ -- One of the CD's they suggest fathers listen to with their kids is "Bob Dylan and the Band -- The Basement Tapes"
I am not remotely musically hip anymore, and if I wanted to get hip by finding out about new music, I wouldn't buy Best Life to do so.
Winner: GQ

Literary Cred
Men's Health: A quick 50 words on the new Rick Moody book.
Best Life: 50 words BY Rick Moody about Thomas Pynchon
GQ: An Ian MacEwan vs. Don Delillo "Tale of the Tape" complete with the author's heads photoshopped onto boxer's bodies. Pretty funny.
Winner: The GQ bit was funnier, but it really didn't make me want to read those guys, so we'll go with Best Life.

Random Celebrity in Fashion Shoot

Mens Health: Adam Levine from Maroon 5 wearing denim
Best Life: John Mellencamp and family in Calvin Klien
GQ: Justin Long (Mac ads, Dodgeball)
I would have gone with Mellancamp, hands down, until he totally sold out to Chevrolet. This may be our country, but you now suck. Winner -- GQ

Add that freaks me out
Well, they all basicly have the same adds. GQ has a few more of the higher end ones, including a Dolce and Gabbana add with some guy in zebra stripped shorts handing upside down and a shirtless guy in jeans standing up, hanging onto a barbell, while a scantily clad woman hangs from the barbell. What the hell is going on here? There's clearly some sort of homoerotic subtext that I just don't get. Maybe Fergie could hel me out, since she clearly is g-l-a-m-o-r-ous and/or flossie, flossie.

Crap I can't afford factor
Men's Health: features a $100 Coach keychain and the standard array of $250 jeans, $150 ties, and $1000 jackets. They do feature some less expensive shoes in their article on white canvas shoes for the summer.
Best Life: $2500 custom made pocket knives, $15,000 motorcycles, and the standard array. They have the shoes, too.
GQ: Come on, it's GQ. They talk about $30 tubes of toothpaste and $150 t-shirts. But it seems like they make an effort to be a bit more inclusive. They feature a $400 cotton suit and have a letter from someone calling them out about their expensive features, along with a response saying why they feature expensive stuff and how they try to include more affordable options.
Winner -- GQ

Number of subscription cards with magazine

Men's Health: 362 (but each one gets you a different extra book. One gets you 'How to score with women" for example, while another gets you "How to get six pack abs so you can score with women".
Best Life: 57
GQ: 4
The forests say GQ is the winner.

Level of Writing
Men's Health: College Freshman. Few articles above 500 words.
Best Life: College Senior. A few longer pieces.
GQ: Grad school. Long pieces on politics, film, and that nomadic chef guy
Winner: GQ

Men's Health: Aw, shucks.
Best Life: Who has time for humor when you are raising a family and making a move to be an executive?
GQ: Ironic, self referential, and often smarmy.
I don't really like smarmy, but they do have some funny stuff. Winner, GQ.

References to Hemmingway (note, not references to anything really literary about Hemmingway, just aspects of his "manliness")

Men's Health: 1
Best Life: 2
GQ: 0
Winner -- GQ (Look, I love Hemmingway, but I hate to seem him used this way. He cultivated it, sure, but it was also the reason he put a shotgun in his mouth).

So GQ wins unless you are looking for workout tips. And really, you only have to buy two months worth of Men's Health to get all the tips they offer.


  1. I'm impressed...your write up of the 3 probably has as many words as MH and BL combined. Kidding...although typically I hate that mags (of all sorts) are really a vehicle to sell me stuff, or at the very least, make me want stuff that prior to reading the mag, I never realized I wanted. :) On one thing though, you gotta explain - flossie, flossie??? What's that about?

  2. I cannot explain the wisdom of Fergie; it is sublime beyond my powers.


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