Girlie Mags

One thing that I have learned is that it is important for the modern girl of the ’90s to read women’s magazines with slight scepticism. Or, as Flavor Flav so succinctly put it, “don’t believe the hype”.*

So there I was reading the June 1997 edition of New Zealand Cleo magazine. The editorial was about their recently redesigned layout and about the typical Cleo reader. She is described as “young, intelligent and informed… she certainly doesn’t want to be taken as a fool.”

But there, in dark blue and white, as part of an article called “Shape Up” was this: “I have a friend, a personal trainer, she’s 50kg and doesn’t have a gram of fat on her”.

Excuse me! If that woman didn’t have a gram of fat on her, she’d be nearing death. I don’t know if that sentence was meant to be metaphorical, but it is sending out an extremely screwed up message. Not even those body builders who only eat egg whites have no body fat.

Then there was a page dedicated to helping the reader look like Gwyneth Paltrow. The best bit of that article was the recommended lipstick having “available August” in small print. That’s two whole months I will have to wait before I can perfect my Gwyneth look! This is terrible!

Another amusing article is one with ten “sure-fire seduction strategies”. My favourite is the one where you ring up the guy, talk about Friends then say “By the way I’m naked oh there’s my call waiting gotta go”. I’d like to think that if I tried that on anyone he would laugh his arse off.

And then there’s the fashion spread with the male model with the disturbingly large breasts…

So why do I buy it and read it? Because it’s highly entertaining.

* That sentence simultaneously irritates me and pleases me.


Part One: Masculine Conditioning

I was in the supermarket attempting to buy food, but after trying for over three months and not being particularly successful, I was looking in the aisle with non-edible goods, including shampoo.

I saw the Schwarzkopf range. All the bottles are grey, but have different coloured lids for the different types of shampoo. My attention was caught by a bottle with a black lid. Had Schwarzkopf decided to target the goth haircare market?

Looking at the label revealed that it was not goths, but men that were being targeted. The shampoo appeared to be a two-in-one because it had “masculine conditioning” on the label.

“Masculine conditioning”? Well, there are physical differences between men and woman, but when it comes down to the basics, men and women are practically identical. Like if you were to find a finger bone, you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was male or female.

The same goes for hair, hair is hair. Fine hair on women is the same as fine hair on men. Permed or coloured-treated hair is gender exclusive. So what the hell is “masculine conditioning”.

I am really tempted to to buy a bottle and see what it does to my hair. Would my hair suddenly look like guy’s hair? Would people think I was a guy? I must know!

Part Two: Dandruff

Skin is acidic, most detergents i.e. shampoos are alkalinic. What this means is the alkalinity of shampoo can irritate the skin and cause dandruff.

To stop this you can go to the extremes of using a special anti-dandruff shampoo or simply rinsing your hair with vinegar. But anyway, I noticed that my scalp had started to get irritated, so I did some research.

I found a brand of shampoo called KMS that claimed that all their shampoos were pH balanced. I thought that probably meant they just stuck some citric acid in. I checked the label, I was right. But after using the shampoo a few times my scalp calmed down. I probably could have made some sort of home-made cure, but I don’t want to mess around with stuff when I’m half asleep in the shower.


“If you have a busy lifestyle and sometimes work too hard, do not get enough sleep, drink or smoke more than you should, you may not be eating an adequate diet to provide all the Vitamin B and C your body may need.”

Berocca, pink tablets that when mixed with water form a bright orangey red effervescent drink, rich in vitamins B and C, is the beverage of choice for recovering from hard nights.

After reading the little description on my tube of Berocca (as quoted above), it occurred to me that it was almost a check-list for a good time.

So, there’s this person who has a “busy lifestyle” and who “work[s] too hard”. They go to work and work their arse off. One of those jobs that almost drives people insane like working at McDonald’s or a help-desk boy. At the end of the week it is time to let go of all the crap that happened at work and have a good time.

Off to a liquor outlet to get some booze then off to a friend’s place where everyone there “drink[s] or smoke[s] more than [they] should”. Lots of beer and spirits and don’t bogart that joint, my friend (ok, so the smoking the Berocca tube refers to is more likely to be tobacco).

Then it’s about 3.27 am and everyone gets hungry so they do a KFC mission. That takes care of “not be eating an adequate diet”.

The next morning or even afternoon, after getting about 5 hours sleep, the night before has caught up and it’s recovery time. So little pink tablets get plopped in glasses of water.

So the Berocca tube basically describes the lifestyle that happens to many young people every weekend. The only thing missing is something about having sex with someone whose name you can’t remember. They should add that to the description “…drink or smoke than you should, sleep with people whose names you can’t remember, you may not be eating an adequate diet…”

So come and rejoice in the Berocca lifestyle.