Around my thirtieth birthday, I decided it was time to kick this filthy little habit I had of reading gossip magazines. I’m not even sure when I started being interested in celebrity culture. I don’t remember buying US Weekly in high school but then I had a boyfriend with a Jeep, so I had better stuff to do.
However upon leaving my twenties, I felt I could no longer justify supporting, not only the outrageous amount of attention and importance we place on movie stars but also the insanely invasive tactics the paparazzi employ in order to capture them on camera. All of it seemed somewhat sickening to me and I felt that someone of my maturity level should now, at the very least, be picking up a Time Magazine or a Newsweek. Which I did by the way and was promptly bored out of my mind. Turns out as much as I’d like to be the kind of person who is well versed in global politics and the economy, I’m just not cultivated enough to be interested above and beyond what I learn on The Daily Show. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped me from having violently strong opinions about all of those things, but I digress.
Regardless of my inability to keep up with international affairs, I had to put down the domestic ones like the role Scientology played in Tom and Katie’s divorce or how Brad and Angelina’s daughter was most likely a transexual. Like any other gossip, the majority of it was probably inaccurate at best, if not completely fabricated and drinking it in every week wasn’t doing me any good. So after a somewhat rocky break-up, I ultimately quit my unhealthy obsession and switched to reading The Post on the train. Even better.
But if there’s one place on the planet that tests my resolve when it comes to avoiding gossipy garbage every time, it’s the airport. Just passing through security, I begin to feel its kryptonite-like effects as my mouth goes dry and my knees feel weak due to the magnetic pull I get off of what are the most comprehensive newsstands existing on the planet today. Unlike my local Rite Aid which only carries two or three of the basic rags, the airport newsstand has EVERYTHING from In Touch to People to OK to glossy special editions of “Celebrities when they were younger!”, “The Royal Family Year Book!”, “Stars who lost weight in 2013!”. It’s never ending and I’m about to get on a plane to a place where I’ll be mainlining Piña Coladas and eating nothing but queso and spinach dip for a week. If ever there were a time for guilty pleasures, this would be it. So I buy all of them and dive in.
If I’m being honest, the ones I enjoy the most usually reek of some horrible ordeal that someone is going through at the moment. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I feel like we see these people acting like idiots and living in such excess on a regular basis, that when they falter, it’s fun to watch. I’m not saying all famous people are assholes but when you have reality shows that highlight some of the worst qualities a human being is capable of possessing, it’s hard not to indulge in a little schadenfreude from time to time when one of them gets cheated on or develops a pill problem. Awful, I know. Reasonable? Unfortunately.
The worst part is when these magazines make me feel better about myself, if only for a brief moment. There’s no better time to pick up a “Best and Worst Beach Bodies” issue of Star Magazine than right before I’m headed to the shore. Knowing that Naomi Watts suffers from cellulite, makes it that much easier to deal with mine when it’s on display.
Outside of that, so much of it is pure eye candy. I don’t even know who the hell I’m reading about in the side bars half the time because I’m too old to watch stuff like Gossip Girl or the Twilight series, yet I can’t help but agree when 76% of people polled say that someone named Karina Smirnoff “Wore It Best”.
And while I have no idea who the Swedish DJ Avicci is, I find myself compelled to discover even more things I was unaware of about him like that his “girlfriend is a brunette.” This was so fascinating I’m now considering doing a “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” post on my blog where I mention that my cat has fur.
Luckily I’m not alone in my obsession. I’ve always had one tried and true partner in crime and if ever you catch us traveling together, you can usually find us nose deep in this trash.
No matter if we’re camping,
or closing in on lights out.
Vanna and I are the go-to girls for gossip when we’re anywhere near one another. Or not, for that matter. Now that she lives in Minnesota, we rely on Skype or rapid fire, Morse Code style text messages to alert one another of major shifts in the celebrity realm but the efficiency with which we establish a stream of scandalous stories when we’re on vacation is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. After nearly thirty years of being best friends we’ve developed a twin like ESP where I always know that she’ll always buy magazinea opposite from what I have and we’ll trade on the beach. Right now we’re in Puerto Rico and between us, this is what we showed up with. Not one overlap.
Even Jeff has gotten in on the action.
However he’s slightly more clandestine about it, choosing to hide the copy about Tori and Dean’s divorce behind an issue of Psychology Today. Clever boy.
Just like anything else that’s bad for me though, there does come a point where I begin to feel slightly ill from it all. Hours spent reading about the trials and tribulations of a Justin Beiber arrest or the latest Kanye catastrophe begin to wear on me like too much beer and sun. I feel drained at the end of my binge and disgusted with the bulge of bullshit in my brain. Which is why like all of those other guilty pleasures I save for vacation, it’s best to forfeit them when I get home.
In the meantime, I survive on the headlines alone. I scan what’s on the covers while I wait in line to buy tooth paste and toilet paper or get my fix from The Soup once a week in a quick half hour recap of celebrity slip-ups. For my well being and the world’s however, I stick to the notion that avoiding a system which glorifies gossip and promotes obscene invasions of privacy is best for everyone involved.
Until the next time I’m at the airport that is. Where all bets are off.
Disclaimer: Or if Jennifer and Justin break up! That poor girl’s been through the ringer and I’m not going to pretend I don’t need to know about it.