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Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a little pedicure. Actually I’m treating my kickboxing partner, as unkempt feet can be more of a danger than a well-executed roundhouse. Part of the joy of pedicures is that there is always going to be a large stack of trashy magazines at the ready. Few things compare to the joy of having your paws pampered while reading about Jennifer Aniston’s love addiction. Really, Jen? A love addiction?

So I pick up one of the most popular (and by far the trashiest) women’s magazines (whose name I won’t mention in case I someday had the opportunity to write for them. That’s right. I vehemently object to 98% of the garbage they print but man! They pay a boatload of money to write those tacky exposes! Soul? What soul? I’ll buy a new one!) I’m flipping through the rag, passing over articles touting the “75 Dirtiest Bedroom Tricks” and “The 5 Reasons He’s Rejecting You in the Bedroom” (Which is weird seeing as though there are 75 ways you clearly could have prevented that) and “Cute Celebrity Pets!” Okay, I admit. I read that piece but only for the animal pictures.

Then I get the advice columns, which I love. I don’t doubt women are writing in to the editors of their favorite glamour magazine in hopes of securing answers to life’s most pressing dilemmas. I mean, why not? Got a problem? A burning question? Why not take the time to craft a letter, send it to a bunch of strangers, hope your letter makes the cut over all the other women with pressing issues, and then you wait. And wait. And oh joy! Your letter gets picked! And it, along with the answer you’ve been waiting for, will be printed in the March 2010 issue! This is a way more effective way to solve your problems than say…ask a friend?

So, the letter in the advice column went something like this:

Oh hi Popular Women’s Magazine, I just moved with my awesome, hot boyfriend to a new city and he’s totally not interested in meeting new friends. He’s never been THAT outgoing but he always had a small group of friends. Now it’s like he’s totally shutting down. I want to go out and have fun and meet new friends so I go without him. Then he guilt trips me. So what do I do? Go out clubbing and risk the guilt trip or stay home and sulk like him? He’s super great in every other way. Answer soon because there’s this great new club coming soon and I kind of want to be there for the grand opening! Love ya like a sister! Signed, Lonely Nights.”

Maybe I made up those last couple of sentences but come on! It’ s not like these letters aren’t finessed by editorial interns anyway. But that’s not the issue. Oh no. Not even close. My problem was with the answer. Hmm…maybe I should write into my favorite magazine and talk about it.

And here is the Popular Women’s Magazine’s response, in a nutshell:

Dear Lonely Nights,
Yeah we totally feel your pain. You are a social girl and want to go out and explore your new city and your boyfriend is antisocial and would rather stay home and let me guess ⎯play Dungeons and Dragons.

Oh realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly??? That’s your guess, Popular Women’s Magazine???? The guy doesn’t want to go out clubbing so he must be socially inept and therefore staying home alone to play D&D? Do some research, Popular Women’s Magazine! You can’t play D&D by yourself! Lonely Nights should maybe suggest D&D to her loner boyfriend because then he’d have to meet other people TO PLAY WITH! Did you or Lonely Nights think that maybe the things SHE wants to do are not fun for him? Did you think maybe he ENCOURAGES her to go out without him because he RELISHES HIS TIME ALONE? He is dating a girl that seeks relationship advice from a POPULAR WOMEN’S MAGAZINE! It’s totally feasible! And yes! I AM SHOUTING AT YOU, POPULAR WOMEN’S MAGAZINE! Back off!

I know D&D is riddled with unfair and fallacious stigmas. Sure. And it’s even funny sometimes to play those up for a laugh. I just saw the movie Role Models. Absolutely hysterical—I highly recommend it. There’s a giant nerd character (played by none other than Superbad’s McLovin’) who is obsessed with Live Action Roleplaying. Surprisingly there is only one D&D mention in the whole movie but there is LARPing a plenty. Oh yeah, it definitely makes the LARPers look foolish and socially challenged but it’s oddly charming. And it fit the context of the movie. This Popular Women’s Magazine was so freakin’ ignorant. Oh gee, your boyfriend likes to stay home. He doesn’t have many friends. Well, sorry honey, he clearly plays D&D. I could see if Lonely Nights mentioned her boyfriend’s large collection of dragon figurines or how his taste in decor leaned towards stone walls and wrought iron candelabras how one might jump on the D&D train. But even then, use it as a suggestion for something that might peak this guy’s interest in social activities.

I know this may come as a surprise to some of you but I don’t read this magazine. I read lots of popular women’s magazines—Lucky, Shape, In Style, Soap Opera Digest—err… nope. Not that one! Just kidding. But I do not read this Popular Women’s Magazine. I’m obviously not the target. If given the choice between clubbing or playing D&D, I’m always going to choose D&D. Unless by “clubbing” you mean finding the editor who wrote that advice column and roughing them up a bit. Then it might be a toss up.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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