Open Thread: Best Magazine Reads?

Magazone Logos by Jim Parkinson, originally uploaded from FontShopSo here’s something that I’m curious about and thought we’d discuss… what magazines do you guys read on a regular basis?  Do you feel like the Internet has changed the time you spend with a magazine — or is a hot bath or a long flight still not the same without your favorite pile of mags?  Does anyone use the iPad apps? Which magazines do you enjoy the most?

For my own $.02… you’re talking to someone whose major was magazine journalism, so I always have and always will love the medium.  One of my favorite scenes in Working Girl is when Tess describes how her reading two wildly different publications gave her a great idea related to business, and I’ve always tried to take that approach.  I remember in college, going to Barnes and Noble, getting a huge stack of magazines, and sitting down to pore over them.  In my early 20s, when I worked for Family Circle, the editor in chief had me read about 30 magazines a week and flag things of interest to her, either in terms of story ideas for the magazine or things she ought to know generally as the editor of a major magazine. When I left for law school that dwindled to personally reading about 15 a month… and now I’m down to about 5 a month, maybe. I hate recycling unread magazines, and I’m just not in a place anymore where I want to keep large unread piles of magazines anymore, so I keep unsubscribing. (Pictured: Magazine Logos by Jim Parkinson, originally uploaded from FontShop.)  I still subscribe to the following:

Entrepreneurial reads:  Inc.  Love the magazine — but they have a lot of content available online. I also get Fast Company; lots of great reads. I always recommend these magazines to women who think they might have an entrepreneurial bent — it’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to encourage yourself. I subscribed to Forbes for a while, but I ultimately felt like I preferred the servicey, how-to vibe from Inc. far better than the “profiles of titans of industry” feel to Forbes. Wired isn’t really an entrepreneurial read, but I loved that one because I always felt very inspired by all that talk of the tech world.  They have a lot of content online as well, though, so I unsubscribed.

Healthy Lifestyle Reads: Self. I prefer this one to Women’s Health, but with any eat-right-work-out-more magazine the stories are going to repeat, often… I signed up for Men’s Health for my husband, and found that is a really excellent magazine — I’m currently trying to figure out whether or not to keep my subscription.  I also get Weight Watchers Magazine (lots of good recipes).  For a while I got Cooking Light, as well as Taste of Home’s lower-calorie magazine (Light & Tasty, maybe?) — both are excellent, but I primarily use the Internet for my source of new recipes, now.  Oh!  And Nutrition Action Newsletter — I love this one, which contains lots of scientific-y looks at what the best cereal is, whether vitamins are really bad for you, etc.

Women’s Magazines:  I love Real Simple and O, The Oprah Magazine — I feel like both have reasonable fashion choices, solid self-help advice, and that both are beautiful to look at.

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Shopping/Fashion Magazines:  I still subscribe to Lucky, which I have always liked, even when it swung too far in the boho direction.  I also try to look through Elle, which I get sent every month because I’m part of the Elle/Style Coalition ad network, and I’m always amazed at the good reads in it.  I always think of Vanity Fair as the fashion magazine with the best reads — that’s my splurge at the airport newstand.  I love to look at Vogue but in all my years subscribing to it I found exactly one spread of clothes that I might want to wear, and unsubscribed after I realized that.  I liked Marie Claire for a while — that is supposedly the thinking woman’s fashion magazine — but I never found anything that was a “must read” and so I wound up unsubscribing to that one also.

Career Advice Magazines.  I get Working Mother, and highly recommend it to those of you with kids or thinking of having kids.  I signed up for this before I got pregnant, in part to keep an eye on it for this blog, and it is an excellent magazine.  At least at this point in my parenting journey, the advice is fresh and new, and they address a lot of great things about the juggle between motherhood and working.   I must say, I also like subscribing to the men’s magazines, if only to see the career and money advice that the guys are getting.  I loved, loved, loved Esquire, but I finally unsubscribed since I just never got to all the lengthy, beautifully written articles in it.  I got Pink magazine for a while also, but it just felt like it was geared for much older women.  Men’s Health (mentioned above) had a bunch of great advice columns, a few of which I’ve linked to here.

Local Magazines: We still get New York magazine, but at this point we’re just recycling them almost as soon as they come.  We started because we felt like Time Out New York was too “young” for us; New York feels too old for us.  I suppose it’s probably time that we subscribe to Time Out Kids or something like that.  Sigh.  I got The New Yorker for years and years and years and loved it, but always had huge piles of it whenever I moved… and I always felt like a pseudo-intellectual if I just read just the Shouts & Murmurs section and the comics and then recycled it.  I finally stopped getting it when I decided to get Business Week, which I had always loved — but the weeklies really kill you in terms of paper, so I could only keep one.  (I no longer get either!)

Others Magazines:  I no longer get any design magazines.  In the past I’ve gotten Elle Decor (love), Dwell (a wee bit highbrow for me), another highbrow one I’m totally blanking on, and Domino (may it rest in peace).  I end up watching a lot of property/redesign shows on television as background noise, though, so maybe I’m getting my fill of it there.  We also don’t get any entertainment magazines anymore.  I love Entertainment Weekly, Us Magazine, and Rolling Stone, but I just don’t have the time to read them! So I tend to be pretty woefully informed about what movie is coming out or what hot new show I should watch.  Oh, and I’m also liking my subscription to Parenting Early Years.

So there you have it — I’m kind of a magazine nerd.  How about you guys — what are your must-reads every month? How have your tastes changed over the years?


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  1. I subscribe to Elle, Women’s Health, and Real Simple. When I’m on a cross country or international flight, I always add Allure, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and People Style Watch (horribly addicting!) to the mix.

  2. Real Simple is hands down my favorite magazine. Period.

    I also will read Atlantic Monthly and the Economist for news, Sport’s Illustrated for sports, Cosmo and People for trash, and the Food Network Magazine for cooking. And really any other cooking related magazine (my husband calls it food p*rn).

    • I hope you’ve seen that South Park episode…

    • I love Real Simple, its my favorite travel indulgence. I keep refusing to subscribe because buying it at the airport/train station is my favorite part of my trip ;)

      • I feel the same way. Buying Real Simple while I wait for prescriptions to be filled at CVS is one of my favorite random treats for myself. :-)

    • I just realized the other day that out of all the magazines that I receive (a lot!), the only two that I actually look forward to are Real Simple and Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve started culling my subscriptions (Self, Allure, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Cook’s Country, and a bunch of news/political magazines) since then.

      • I feel like I’ve “got it” more as my twins get older. I’ve let my subscription to the parenting magazines go.Although at four, I think I need “What To Do When You Sometimes Don’t Like Your Kids” weekly.

    • Agreed. It’s the one magazine I am always going to read cover to cover every month. And then pull out whole articles, download recipes, bookmark clothing, etc. I don’t know how I lived my life without Real Simple guiding me. I happened to pick up the first issue and never stopped. I am pretty much planning on buying an iPad for the sole purpose of reading Real Simple and hoping I get other use out of it!

      I also love magazines, but I’ve been cutting down. I’ve let my subscription to the parenting magazines go. I feel like I’ve “got it” more as my twins get older. Although at four, I think I need “What To Do When You Sometimes Don’t Like Your Kids” weekly. We are in a major stage. I do get Self, and we get Cooking Light. My husband gets Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health, and a running magazine, and I sometimes peruse those. I had a subscription to Vogue, but like Kat realized that I am never going to wear anything in Vogue.

      Airplane reading for me is generally People Style Watch, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, and some Better Homes and Gardens type mag. I too mourn the loss of Domino, and I really liked Blueprint (the Martha Stewart spinoff?), but I don’t see it anymore. I had a subscription to Martha Stewart for years, but she made me hate myself, so I unsubscribed.

      Generally I believe that magazines are one of the great joys of life, but I don’t have nearly enough time to read all that I want.

  3. For feeling smart: The Economist (great b/c my hubby likes to read the physical magazine, but subscription comes with free access to the app for my iPad)

    For manicures: Us and its kin

    For lazing around on a beach somewhere: also a fan of Elle & VF; adding InStyle because sometimes you really just want to look at pictures of clothes and not feel like you need to be analyzing anything!

    • I love In Style — I think of all the fashion magazines, it’s the most practical for me. I love the outfits they put together for whatever that feature is called — they always manage to do something that I would never have thought to dobut that I would also actually wear.

      • Notalawyer :

        Me too! It’s fluff. But it is pretty, relaxing fluff that makes me happy.

  4. I know it’s a “men’s” magazine, but I am a loyal subscriber to Esquire. It’s my can’t-do-without monthly magazine because it’s got fabulous writing, both short- and long-form. Nothing in the “ladymag” segment even approaches the thoughtful political and societal commentary, and it’s got smart writing that’s not too clique or cutesy. This really troubles me: why can’t women’s/fashion magazines treat women like the smart, competent, worldly people we are? Esquire has a monthly stocks/investing column – something I’ve *never* seen in a “women’s magazine.”

    • Business, Not Law :

      I’m glad I’m not the only lover of Esquire! I really do think it’s my favorite magazine!

    • I’ve never been a huge magazine person, but I really like Esquire. Ladymags need to step to its level.

    • Another female reader of Esquire here. Although I read the drinks column more faithfully than the investment tips.

    • Isn’t it a shame that the so-called women’s magazines are plagued with cutesy language, endless makeup and hair tips (as if that is what women want to read about month after month), gynecological health advice, elementary financial advice, and inane subjects like how to pose when you are laying naked around your significant other so that you don’t look fat? I don’t subscribe to any women’s magazines. I am a lawyer, not a journalist, but have thought seriously about filling this gap in the market.

      • Always a NYer :

        How awesome would a Corporette magazine be?

        • Kat – this is a million dollar idea. Do IT!

        • Right – don’t tell me one more time that the best way to save money is to stop buying Starbucks every day. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a handle on that one. Let’s get a little deeper here.

        • Totes McGotes :

          I would subscribe the hell out of a Corporette magazine… but is it bad/sad/weird that in my mind’s eye, the magazine cover sported the prominent headline: “Are YOU a Wh*re?? The Corporette Quiz”?

          • Totes McGotes :

            I also saw “Bringing Frumpskank Back.”

          • Always a NYer :

            Would there be questions asking if one wore peep-toe heels and shirts with cut-outs on the sleeves?

          • Totes McGotes :

            I can’t decide between a Cosmo-style quiz with three categories you could fall into (“I Didn’t Know Nuns Read Corporette Magazine,” “Friendly McSl*tty,” and “Full-On Nasty Ass Pro!”), or just a red page with enormous white letters screaming PROBABLY!

          • Is it wrong that I would instantly buy a magazine with a feature on “Bringing Frumpskank Back”? Potentially because that would be a look I can see myself enjoying in my office wardrobe? *shame*

      • Totally came here just to say this. I love Esquire (although I was disappointed that they seem to have done away with the January “Best and Brightest” issue), and I keep hoping for a women’s magazine this awesome, but nothing quite works. Pest, maybe we should start a blog!

      • After reading this I will definitely look into Esquire. I thought I was the only one frustrated by the repetitive topics in women’s magazines!

    • Love esquire! It’s funny because I read esquire, GQ and sometimes men’s health only at the gym, for all to see. I subscribe to self, marie claire and glamour. I used to subscribe to elle and vogue (mainly bc once you subscribe to a few mags, they start offering you subscriptions for like $8 a year), so I’ve been culling my subscriptions.

      I also read the WSJ magazine when my parents give it to me. When I was younger I loved teen vogue, and before that I LOVED national geographic world (the kids version of NG).

      I probably should read more substantial mags, but when I’m not working I like brain candy. Also, I could never give up paper magazines. I love my kindle, but I don’t know if I could do magazines on an ipad. Not that I have an ipad lol

  5. Mid-30s Slump :

    I read the New Yorker during my commute. Other than that, I don’t subscribe to anything. My goal is to finish the New Yorker every week and then read a book on top of that, which is a stretch for me. All those other magazines are too much for me — either I feel bad that I can’t work in what they recommend, or I get into a fad (this exercise, this healthy food, etc.) until the next month’s edition arrives.

    • I feel the same way. I used to love, love, love magazines … until I realized just how unrealistic even the more down-to-earth ones are (like Real Simple).

      • I felt much better about my life once I cut out the Glamour/Vogue/Elle category of magazines. They just perpetually made me feel poor and inadequate.

        • Totes McGotes :

          I know, right? They say glossy mags make women feel fat, but I always just feel like some kind of indigent.

        • Especially with Vogue, the clothes are expensive and I can’t imagine walking out the door in most of their outfits.

        • They definitely make me feel fat (I’m 5’3″ and a size 4), but never poor. The only designer item I think I own is juicy couture sunglasses I got at marshalls for $40, most my clothes are kohls, express, marshalls, banana outlet, brooks brother outlet etc. But I love the fashion mags and the ads to see the new silhouettes, colors, styles and beauty products. I probably buy a few more things than I need to bc I read a lot of mags, but I don’t aspire for the big ticket designer items.

    • Although this may seem strange, I appreciate the exercise magazines for their exercise fads. Every once in a while I want to mix it up, and the magazines offer options on different ways to strengthen muscles, stretch, approach cardio, etc.

  6. *cliche. Sorry!

  7. Maddie Ross :

    Embarassingly, I subscribe to US Weekly and Lucky. And somehow ended up with a subscription to Redbook, which I like more than I expected. If you are looking for excellent writing though, I must suggest Garden & Gun. I love the essays and it gives great ideas for travel and entertaining.

    • Love, love, love Garden & Gun. It’s a southern thang…

      • I love Garden & Gun! (And I’m a vegetarian Midwesterner living in NYC. )

      • YES. I subscribe to it because I miss the south…

      • Garden & Gun is THE BEST. It’s like Southern Living and Elle Decor had a baby. LOVE it. Of course, there are dead animal “trophies” all over my house, so…yeah.

        • Geezerette :

          My sister sent me a subscription to Garden and Gun, and your description of it is spot on!

    • I’ll admit that I do have a subscription to US Weekly. It’s my travel p*rn but I realized that it cost me more to buy it at the airport whenever I flew than just subscribing.

    • I love Garden & Gun. Plus, their name is just the greatest.

  8. My only subscription is to National Geographic. They have the best photography and great articles on science, health, social and geo-political issues; I read it every month.

    I don’t subscribe to, but read fairly regularly (i.e., almost every month) Lucky and Real Simple. I tend to pick those two up on the weekends when I’m going to sit and do laundry or be on the bus for a long trip. Less regularly, (i.e. perhaps 2-4 times a year) I’ll pick up the New Yorker and/or Harpers.

    • I just subscribed to National Geographic this month, it’s my only subscription too. It has nothing to do with my job, but I still can’t wait to get my first magazine!

    • backtowork :

      I’ve been hooked on National Geographic since I was a kid. Love the photography, love the science articles, love the insight into exotic places. This is the one that has really had an impact on my life. I’ve been on several international trips to places I would never had known about, had it not been for my NG habit.

  9. As a 25 year old young professional with a love for fashion, I barely have time to read magazines however they are my guilty pleasure. A great magazine and a glass of wine in bed can cure any bad day.
    Cosmo- great for reading on the train but I don’t read all the articles.
    More-surprising a great read. It’s geared more to older women 40-50 range but I love the fashion editorials and inspirations stories about women in business.
    Vogue-I read cover to cover. LOVE it!

    I also download the following on my ipad. Many magazines give you free ipad verisons if you have a print subscription.
    CondeNast Traveler – great photos and interactive pages
    Travel and Leisure – beautiful photos as well with great articles

    • Doesn’t reading Cosmo on the train make you blush? Their articles are so risque!

      • Always a NYer :

        After everything I’ve witnessed while riding the train, reading Cosmo doesn’t give me a second thought at this point.

    • I’m 26 and love more too! i can’t stand cosmo though. agree wine and mag is a luxury evening!

  10. Jacqueline :

    I have so many (strong) opinions on magazines! Like Cat, I’m a magazine nerd. I love holding them, paging through them, savoring them, and for me, nothing compares to the thrill of a new issue in the mail. Even though I read plenty of content online, I’ll never give up on print mags.

    Over the years, I’ve subscribed to or read:

    Lucky: I subscribed for almost nine years, but I *hate* what the new editor has done to it. I loved the down-to-earth vibe that Kim France and Andrea Linett had. Now the copy reads like any other women’s mag, all man-pleasing and shallower, somehow. Also, the models look like they’re twelve. I don’t like feeling old when I read a magazine, but I’m starting to feel too old for Lucky,

    Elle: I always flip to E. Jean first — love her take-no-prisoners advice column! I can always count on Elle for a few thinking-woman’s alarmist pieces about family, sex, relationships, etc., and the fashion articles are usually good.

    Marie Claire: So uneven. I feel like it doesn’t know who it wants to be.

    The Atlantic: Hands-down, my favorite news/culture/ideas magazine. I look forward to it every month.

    The New Yorker: I like but don’t love The New Yorker, but I feel like that’s practically blasphemy in my social circle, so I keep this thought to myself. The longer features always draw me in, but I usually can’t get into the fiction, and the overall pretentiousness can be a turnoff.

    The Economist: Finally, a place to find world news I felt I couldn’t find anywhere else with a point of view that didn’t feel sensationalist. I had a six-month subscription and LOVED it, but I could never keep up, and it’s really expensive to subscribe. I try to read it online, though.

    Domino/Blueprint: Loved both of these, and I still haven’t found a more accessible, fun home decor magazine. Everything else feels way too high-end for me.

    Real Simple: Like a breath of fresh air when it comes in the mail. Great recipes, calming layouts.

    Oprah: I’m probably way younger than the target audience, but I unabashedly steal my mom’s copies and usually read them cover to cover. Love Martha Beck, Suze Orman, and even Dr. Phil. And there are some inspiring articles about creativity and pursuing your passions.

    Self and Glamour are starting to remind me of each other — overly enthusiastic, chatty copy, bright colors, “you-go-girl” mentality. I always pick them up at the gym, but they’re treadmill magazines for me, not ones I’d subscribe to. Did anyone read that article in the NYT last week about Glamour’s big image change? They’re changing up the cover and the approach — looks like they’re aiming for a younger demographic.

    Phew — I had a lot to say. Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s thoughts!

    • Jacqueline :

      And how could I forget Travel & Leisure/ Conde Nast Traveler? CN covers a more diverse range of locations, but T&L feels a little more accessible to me. CN is SO high-end — I always feel poor after I read it!

      Great writing in both, though. I love Guy Trebay and Gary Shteyngart’s travel essays.

    • Yay the Atlantic. Its so good.

      • MissJackson :

        I also love Atlantic. I got the Economist with a Groupon about a year ago — I like it, but I won’t be resubscribing because I cannot keep up and the unread Economists all over my (tiny) house make me feel terrible on multiple levels. The Atlantic Monthly, though — now that I can keep up with!

        I also subscribe to Runner’s World, which I find motivating. I joke that I like to read about running more than I like to actually run.

        I used to subscribe to some knitting magazines, too. Interweave Knits, and Vogue Knitting. I might go back to Interweave — only downside is that I cannot bring myself to throw them away, ever (I might want to make one of those patterns eventually)!

        Annnnd based on all of these recommendations, I need to get Real Simple, stat.

        • Just so you know, there’s a thriving market for old interweave issues on ravelry. So if you don’t want to throw them away, it’s pretty easy to pass them on to a good home.

          • MissJackson :

            Oh, I know it. But the thing is that it’s not just that I don’t want to throw them away. I think of them just like pattern books (really, really economical pattern books) — and I keep them for forever, turn back to them for occasional inspriation, and sometimes I even do eventually go back and knit something.

            The reason that I stopped subscribing in the first place is that although I liked a lot of the patterns, I rarely actually knit them. With so many patterns on the internet, and so little time, it felt wasteful. But now I’m kind of missing it (I’ve been unsubscribed for a little more than a year)!

          • Oh, MissJackson, I am exactly the same way. I have an entire shelf of Interweave Knits but can’t bear to ever throw them out.

            On the other hand, I get rid of old copies of Real Simple all the time.

          • I have a shelf of Interweaves/Vogues/Knitscenes/Verenas too! I only subscribe to Interweave at this point; I really ought to go ahead and add the others, since I find myself buying every issue anyhow.

    • E. Jean Carroll is my hero. She’s the main reason I subscribed to Elle for as long as I did.

    • New Yorker fiction is often terribly boring. The fiction section is regarded more for what it used to mean that for the work featured inside of it these days.

    • I also read ‘O’ I always learn something new reading it and I find some of the advice practical. The ‘inspiration’ pieces are great. I pick Glamour up at the local library, it’s an easy read but sometimes it’s got too much “fluff” for my taste.

  11. I love Real Simple. It’s the best.

    I am also still a loyal People fan- it is short enough for a distraction- but not just the picture-blitz of Us.

    I also read Cooking Light, Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. And I completely agree about Esquire. While I don’t subscribe I always pick it up at the airport.

  12. stack overflow is back for me Kat

    • Can you email me a screencap of the problem? kat at corporette dot com. Thanks! Oh, also your operating system (WinXP or whatnot)? Thanks…

    • I’m getting the stack overflow too. It was gone this morning, and now it’s back.

  13. I have systematically cut out subscriptions to everything except the New Yorker, which I love and read faithfully. And I read fiction vociferously. I buy Martha Stewart Living, O, and Real Simple from time to time. I always read free copies of Us. I used to love Cooking Light, Entertainment Weekly, and lots of other magazines — but the whole combination of working full-time in big-law plus having a two-year-old has forced me to cut out enormous amounts of clutter in my life, from paper-clutter like magazines to time-clutter like movies and TV. And while I still cook, cooking has definitely degenerated into the “grilled chicken and broccoli” category, not cooking from recipes. I pulled together a resume recently and looked at my “Interests” section and got really depressed because the only thing left on there that I still do is read.

    • Do you mean that you read fiction voraciously? Or are you particularly noisy when you read?

  14. I feel way too guilty about the wasted paper! Plus, I don’t like having magazines around the house, not just because I think the magazines themselves look messy, but also because those little paper postcards asking you to subscribe always fall out everywhere.

    * I sound really OCD.

    • One of my favorite Onion articles of all time is something like “Fourth Subscription Card To Fall Out of Magazine Convinces Man to Subscribe.”

      • SV in House :

        It was the 8th card!,10717/

        Real Simple, Runner’s World, DH’s GQ and Nat Geo here

    • All cards must be trashed within 5 minutes of the magazine coming through the door. No exceptions. DH does not understand how crazy it makes me to have those things flying around.

      • Yes, the first thing I do is shake out the magazine and pitch the cards right into the recycling basket.

    • The tactile sensation of one of those cards sliding out and hitting the back of my hand drives me absolutely bonkers.

    • DC Association :

      Factoid: those paper postcard inserts are called “blow-ins”. I know you were dying to know!

    • Elizabeth :

      They usually don’t even make it inside the house; I sometimes pull them out while waiting at the checkstand. My husband sat next to a woman on an airplane who “pulled all the cards out of her magazine, just like you.” Apparently he thought I was the only one!

      • I use those things as bookmarks in the magazine because yes, I am also a bit OCD, and I read magazines page by page, cover to cover. So if I have to stop midway, I need a placeholder and lord knows I’m not folding the page over (though if forced, I am way more likely to do that for a magazine than a book … ).

        Anyway, just wanted to say I’m surprised there’s not more love for Vanity Fair! I love that magazine.

        Also, I totally only read Shouts & Murmurs and the cartoons in the New Yorker, it’s probably time to let it go.

        • Oh, also, my mom got me hooked on a British magazine called Red. Anyone know it? It’s pretty great, like Marie Claire used to be and/or tries to be, in terms of being a thinking woman’s magazine …

          • I love Red. When I fly (which is about the only time I buy any sort of magazine, as it is the only time I have to read them) I get Red, Marie Claire, the Economist, a cooking magazine and a work-out magazine. Red always gets read first.

        • Elizabeth :

          Here’s another vote for Vanity Fair – one of my subscriptions in addition to Sunset, National Geographic, Newsweek (came with the NPR contribution), and a myriad of woodworking magazines my husband gets. My favorite is “This Old House” magazine – great DIY projects!

    • I just don’t get the cards. I have already subscribed – why waste your preaching on this choir?

  15. Anon in the Midwest :

    Can I give a shout out to my teenage favorite? Sassy, I loved you so much. Would probably still be reading it, were it around.

    • I agree! After I wrote that piece on XOJane the other week Jane Pratt herself mentioned me on Twitter and I was totally starstruck. Tried to strike up a conversation, but I’m far too lackadaisical with my Twitter usage to actually do that successfully. Sigh.

    • punk rock tax attorney :

      If you loved Sassy, you might dig Bust. It’s sort of like a grown-up version of Sassy. Really great!

      • Anon in the Midwest :

        I will check that out! And Kat – I must have missed you on XOJane. Did you post about it here?

    • Me too! Sassy was the best

  16. I love InStyle

  17. Domino fans: it’s coming back but in an abbreviated form (I think 1-2 big issues with a mix of new and recycled content). I just read that someplace, so look out for it this year.

    Martha Stewart Living is my guilty pleasure. I like the New Yorker, and I’m really liking Bloomberg Business Week. Vogue is awesome but I can only handle it a few times a year.

    • more info about the domino re-issue

  18. Like Kat, I read Nutrition Action Newsletter and Real Simple.

    I also subscribe to Psychology Today, Yoga Journal, and ABA Journal.

    Most of The Economist is available online for free so I don’t subscribe because of the high price point.

  19. Kat-
    I just got the stack overflow message again. IE 8

  20. Oh, Kat, I love your writing and you normally are spot on . . . but it’s “pore over,” not “pour over.” Unless you are watering your magazines.

    • Tired Squared :

      Or a wills/trusts scenario. My Wills professor used to illustrate the idea of “pour-over” trusts with an actual watering can…

  21. I get an embarrassing number of magazines because I like to imagine I have the kind of life where I can sit down with a magazine for a couple of hours on a regular basis. I don’t. But I save them up for vacations.

    I am subscribed to
    O, Oprah
    More (this one is really great)
    Vanity Fair
    BrainChild (highly recommend for thinking moms)
    Cooking Light
    Food and Wine
    Interweave Knits
    Vogue Knitting

    • Oh, and Sunset. My husband gave me a subscription for Christmas (because clearly I needed more magazines?)

      My husband himself subscribes to
      Entertainment Weekly
      Star (a Mercedes magazine)

      My kids get
      Girl’s Life
      Boy’s Life
      Lego Club
      National Geographic Jr.

    • PS I know this is a lot of paper. I occasionally bring a stack to the lunchroom at work, where they disappear into other hands within a day.

    • I was wondering if there was another interweave fan on here!

      The only magazine I’m subscribed to is Interweave Crochet (Xmas gift, not at a place right now to afford subscriptions to anything)

      When we were living with my in-laws, I loved reading Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Economist, EW, and Nat’l Geographic.

      I recently started reading The Atlantic online and its becoming a huge favorite.

      I buy The Economist for long plane rides, having determined after much experimentation that it has the best price to content ratio.

      I’ll buy girly/celebrity mags when I’m having a bad day or during that time of the month at the supermarket checkout line with chocolate, but don’t have a favorite. I usually just choose based on which cover looks most interesting.

      • Yay, someone else who likes Interweave!

        The only magazine subscriptions I have are to Interweave Knits and Spin-Off.

        However, I regularly buy Real Simple and Piece Work (I really should subscribe), and on a less regular basis I read Vanity Fair, The Economist and InStyle.

        But I really love (though don’t subscribe because I know I would never have time to read every issue) the Far Eastern Economic Review. My fave.

        • MissJackson :

          I just mentioned Interweave Knits above, too, before I read here! *knitting high five*

        • A fellow spinner? I used to have a Spin-Off subscription, but eventually canceled because I wasn’t serious enough about spinning to make it worth it. I spin for stress relief, and I just didn’t have the desire to get into the nitty-gritty technical details. Such a pretty magazine, though!

          • Oh, I love spinning but I don’t spin enough either. Doesn’t stop me from getting Spin-Off though. I am generally fibre-obsessed. I keep telling myself not to start dyeing, or all will be lost.

          • Don’t know if you’re still reading this, but I just started dyeing (with food dyes) this year, and it’s a really easy, low key hobby. You basically just dump dye, water, and fiber in a pot and leave it for a couple of hours. Super easy.

    • SaltyDawg :

      I adore your use of the term, “Thinking Moms”. That’s all really, it may have made my lunch hour!

  22. The Economist is the perfect commuting magazine — it’s thin but dense, so it lasts most of a week.

    Smithsonian is a long-time favorite of mine, because the articles are about nothing I would ever encounter in real life.

    Wired has some really good articles, but is very uneven. Some months I’m done with it in 5 minutes, and some months I read almost every page.

    I used to subscribe to many magazines, but gave them up because it was depressing not to be able to keep up.

    • Oh the Smithsonian magazine is so so great, I miss it from when my parent’s had a subscription.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I totally forgot about the Smithsonian magazine until just now! I got it in college but dropped it for some reason. I’m signing up again now!

    • Wired was/is one of my favorite mags, but I HATE the redesign!

  23. I love magazines, but I hate paying for them (I know that it’s not much) and the clutter (I hate to throw things away, and you’ll probably see me on that Horders show someday). The only magazine I subscribe to now is Bon Appetite, which I love, and I keep every issue, recipes tabbed and well-used. I’ve also had Cook’s Illustrated in the past, and also love that, but, well, see above.

    Weirdly, a few months ago, we suddenly started receiving Cosmo in my husband’s name. We have no idea why (it came to our old address, so I can’t even suspect that he did subscribe for some strange reason and just doesn’t want to tell me). This is not the first time that he has mysteriously started receiving random magazines that he would never subscribe to, so it’s a thing. Anyway, though, I must admit that I have loved reading through them, both for the trash factor and for the fact that they are a lot more fun and interesting than I thought (I’m impressed with the sourcing for the recommendations they give.) Also, the sex tips are frequently hilarious.

    • I recently started receiving Allure for unknown reason. Really? Of all the magazines?

      • Vogue just started appearing on my mother’s doorstep, with my name on it. We are both equally baffled.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Maybe one of his friends is playing a joke on him?

    • This happened to us when a subscription of Maxim appeared out of the blue. My husband swears that he didn’t subscribe and I certainly didn’t. So strange!

      • Middle Coast :

        Sometimes when a magazine ceases to exist, the publisher will switch your subscription to a different magazine.

      • My 72 year old mother started receiving Maxim out of the blue a few years ago. She was completely flummoxed, both by the mystery subscription and the content of the magazine:)

    • Same thing happened to my younger brother… he now receives Redbook at my parent’s address.

      • Magazines do this when they want to up “subscribers” in a certain demographic and zipcode for their advertising profile.

  24. I love short fiction and longer-form journalism, so I my go-to magazines are Harpers and The New Yorker. I agree with what others have said about The New Yorker being overwhelming, and sometimes I’m not interested in any of the main articles, but I love the fiction and Shouts & Murmers, and sometimes their journalism is just fantastic.

    My other very favorite magazine is Found. It’s compiled from notes and letters and photographs that people find in various places. It’s not on sale very many locations, but they also have an awesome website at foundmazagine dot com.

    I may be in the minority here, but I absolutely loathe Real Simple. The redesign that the magazine went under a few years ago skewed its focus to a much older more high-income demographic (much more akin to O). If I was in that demographic, I would probably like it a lot more but, as someone in their late 20s, there’s not much there for me.

    Finally, I totally agree with michelle’s comment about lady mags. I feel as if they “talk down” to women in a way by including articles mainly about a) health & beauty; b) “fitness” (90% of the time based on how to lose weight); and c) relationships. While some of this stuff is well-written and fun to read, it’s boring as eating vanilla ice cream every day. Where are the articles about cars, or investing, or going on adventures? Or, for that matter, how to get strong without talking about losing weight? As misogynistic as Maxim is, I really like it sometimes because it seems….unselfconscious, maybe….in a way that few publications for women are.

    • You are not alone in your distaste for Real Simple!

    • Real Simple makes me feel bad about myself for not having a simplified lifestyle. I don’t need a magazine for that.

      I feel better about the New Yorker when I remind myself that I’m not obliged to read it cover-to-cover. If an article doesn’t grab me by page 2, I skip it. But the weight makes it great for business travel (short story = bedtime reading!). Plus no senior coworker can judge you for reading it as they might if you read, say, US Weekly. Although if I had a coworker reading US Weekly I would probably think more highly of them for having diverse interests.

    • One of my friends calls it “Real Expensive.”

    • Geezerette :

      Now, see, I have the opposite view of Real Simple — it’s geared to a younger audience, with articles such as “how to iron a shirt” or “new uses for a shoe box.” I unsubscribed after getting a trial one at the Container Store.

  25. Subscriptions:
    Sunset – “the magazine of the West”! Good recipes, good travel/long weekend ideas, lets me fantasize about the vacation home we will probably never be able afford. ;)

    The New Yorker – usually one of the longer features gets me interested, but I recently gave myself permission not to finish it each week if I am done reading what interests me.

    Vanity Fair – I love it, I get a little gossip and usually at least one intelligent, well-researched feature.

    Dwell – I just like to look even though my style isn’t nearly this modern.

    Ended subscriptions:
    -Self/Shape/Runner’s World/Women’s Health – I feel like you only need to subscribe for a year and then just keep that year’s worth for the rest of your active life.

    -Bon Appetit – not the same since the re-do.

    -Everyday Food – too repetitive, and really getting too Rachael Ray-esque for my taste – though I have loads of recipes from the earlier years that are regulars for me.

    -Lucky – meh.

    -US Weekly – only because it is just too expensive for what it is. I always, always, always buy it in an airport, though.

    • Totally agree on Self / Shape etc. I subscribed to Shape and Fitness for a year or two and learned everything I needed to know. They get so repetitive. But they’re great if you’re just starting out with exercise and/or don’t have a personal trainer and need to stay motivated.

  26. AnonInfinity :

    My favorites are Vogue and Sports Illustrated. I also pick up the odd New Yorker a time or two per month. I always read People at my hair appointments (every 3 weeks, so almost as often as the New Yorker).

    I feel like a bit of a blasphemer saying this, but I hate Real Simple. Like, a lot.

    • EGAD….I’m not sure we can even use the same website anymore. I will drive you off with sticks and stones and banish you to the unspoken territories where only the worst people go.


      • AnonInfinity :

        But we have Sports Illustrated in common!

        • Well, fine, we can discuss the Sox while I have you stoned.

          • *are stoned. God, I can’t even ironically trash talk without typos. No wonder I can’t find a job. :-P

          • Wait…the first one was correct. Now I’m just loopy.

          • AnonInfinity :


            I will take your stick and bat one of those stones back toward your perfectly arranged, cozy but kind-of-stark living room.

          • Kiss and make up Anoninfinity? xoxo

            And I’ll have you know…my living room is awesome. So you better back off. ;-)

          • AnonInfinity :

            If you are a Real Simple devotee, I have no doubt that it is much better than mine.

            Truce accepted!


          • If we both resubscribe to the Smithsonian magazine, we’ll be like SISTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • AnonInfinity :

            Awwww yeah! We will have many things to talk about at our Corporette family gatherings.

      • Just curious TCFKAG – did you ever read the personal essay that the editor of Real Simple submitted to the book ‘The B*tch in the House?” – blew me away when I realized that the mom talking about how she couldn’t get her act together at home was the editor of Real Simple!

        • I haven’t (though maybe I’ll look it up.) But — I have to say, I always just assumed that Real Simple was aspirational. I didn’t think anyone actually LIVED that way…I certainly don’t. I got a ticket the other day because my inspection sticker on my car was FOUR months out of date and I just hadn’t noticed…I’m a mess. :-P Plus I like the recipes.

        • That book has some great essays! (“The B*tch in the House”) I’ll have to go back and look for which one was the RS editor’s.

    • Ditto.

    • I also hate Real Simple, and all magazines like it. Total snorefest.

      • YES!! it is a HOUSEKEEPING magazine

      • And really, if you want a Real Simple life, quit buying magazines that clutter your home. Oh, and how many times can they publish the same articles about cleaning and organizing! I just don’t get it.

  27. So I get two magazines, and one, I am shocked (shocked!) that no one else has mentioned..

    I get ESPN the Magazine, because I want to read every article ESPN might ever think about writing about Kentucky basketball. To do so requires Insider Access, and the magazine comes free.

    The second is Mental Floss. It’s amazing and so incredibly interesting. Most of the articles are super short, but I always learn something new. (Did you know the Kansas state quarter had some issues in minting, and you can find ones that say “In God We Rust”? Or that American Gothic basically ruined Grant Wood’s life?)

    • And I desperately miss Domino, too. It was my favorite.

    • Yes! I forgot about ESPN! Contrary to my expectations, it’s actually a really funny magazine.

    • I had a Mental Floss subscription and liked it a lot.
      The T-shirts and gifts in their store are awesome.

    • Mental Floss is my dh’s absolute most favorite magazine ever. He’s a daily reader of their website, too.

    • I am a fan of ESPN too! I only read that, BHG and some of the random magazines the ABA loads my mailbox with.

  28. Last year at this time, I had subscriptions to Boston, InStyle and VanityFair. Now I have VanityFair and I just started getting Cooking Light. I’ve had my VanityFair subscription since college, which was about 20 years ago.

    I’m getting too busy to read magazines so I stopped the others, but I just can’t quit VF, even though I still haven’t read the last issue. I haven’t even opened the plastic on it.

  29. Diana Barry :

    I love magazines. I feel like I should start getting some cooking ones!

    I currently subscribe to:
    Lucky (totally agree about the new editor. donotlike!)
    Downeast (Maine magazine)

    I used to get:
    Women’s Health (now too repetitive and too cardio-queeny)
    Self (same)
    Real Simple (found it too repetitive and not enough content)
    Domino (miss it!)

    My husband used to get the Economist. I like it and would get it, but it feels like it’s too expensive for what you get.

    • Diana Barry :

      Oh, and I would also like to get Martha Stewart Living, but my husband hates Martha bc of the insider trading, so I can’t.

      • My cousin’s wedding was actually featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. The crew were onsite taking pictures for something else and then were charmed by the details so they asked for permission to shoot the wedding.

  30. I mostly read cooking and fitness/lifestyle magazines. I subscribe to Fitness, Shape and Women’s Health. Yes, they are formulaic, but I enjoy reading other people’s success stories. I used to subscribe to Cooking Light, but then I realized that my job leaves me with zero motivation to cook, so I just didn’t renew it.

  31. Real Simple is the only magazine I read regularly. I kind of like reading it better on my iPad than the hard copy. I subscribe to the New Yorker aspirationally but rarely actually read it. I also enjoy occasionally reading men’s magazines like Esquire or GQ.

    In less fun times, I totally forgot as I was getting dressed this morning that I have a second date after work tonight. I’m wearing a frumpy gray J.Crew pant suit. Oh well. :/

    • God…if only you had one of those million magazine articles about how to take a day outfit to night. Balderdash.

      • Hahaha yeah maybe I’ll just run out for some strappy shoes and dangly earrings and be set.

        • I just realized that in this comment thread I’ve used the word “egad” and “balderdash”. I swear I’m not secretly an 80 year old woman reading Corporette. But I do sort of talk like one. :-)

  32. Jacqueline :

    Totally agree about some women’s magazines making you feel bad about yourself. Allure is one of the worst offenders. I got a free copy recently and they had a feature about things men hate that women wear. Bright lipstick and ankle boots were on the list… and I happened to be wearing both that day. Even though I intellectually KNOW this content is stupid and written to make me feel inadequate, it still made me second-guess my appearance! The media is a powerful thing.

  33. Business, Not Law :

    I love magazines too and my tastes seem to be very similar to Kat’s. Right now between DH and myself we get the following:
    –Real Simple (so good in so many ways)
    –Esquire (I think I enjoy it more than my DH even though it’s his subscription)
    –ESPN the magazine (“free” with DH website subscription. Often ends up being recycled before read just b/c there is SO much content and it comes so frequently)
    –Fortune (this one for my DH, I really usually only read the “Stanley Bing” column)

    Recently unsubscribed to Marie Claire and Everyday with Rachael Ray.

    Thinking about subscribing to but afraid of more paper hanging around: People (guilty pleasure), Fast Company and a fitness-based read (likely something like Runner’s World)

  34. I subscribe to:

    The New Yorker
    National Geographic
    National Geographic Traveler
    Better Homes and Gardens
    ESPN Magazine

    I used to get Food and Wine, which I loved and really miss. They’re offering 24 issues for $24 right now, so I will probably be resubscribing soon! I read The New Yorker, Nat Geo Traveler, and Vogue most faithfully. ESPN pretty much gets tossed immediately when it isn’t football season. The New Yorker and Nat Geo both have good ipad apps that I like and use. Nat Geo Traveler has an ipad app, but the print subscription doesn’t include a digital subscription, which I find really annoying.

    • Also, had two years worth of free subscriptions to Martha Stewart Living and I loooove Martha and miss it, but they’re charging $30/yr for renewals right now, and I just can’t justify it. That’s more than Nat Geo, and Nat Geo is way better. However, I just went to the Martha website and saw the February cover, and now I’m feeling weak. Everything in Martha world is just so dang pretty.

  35. Vogue, Lucky, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Bon Apettit

    I picked up Lucky to replace Domino, which I would go back to in a heartbeat if it came back. In the last year I dropped Time because somehow, serious news is only palatable to me when read online and usually to procrastinate, and Runners World because it is entirely repetitive. I may try out Running Times though to replace it – I flipped through one at B&N once and that one issue was singularly more helpful than 3 years worth of Runners World.

    • IMHO, Runners World is geared more towards people who are just starting out, and need lots of feel-good fluffiness; Running Times is exponentially more useful for anyone above that beginner level.

      With that said, I scan the Runners World website regularly, as I like feel-good fluffiness about runners saving kittens as much as the next person. If I need help with something, or ideas for workouts, though, I go to Running Times.

      • Good to know it wasn’t just a one time great issue. Perhaps I will have to add this to the rotation.

  36. For years I subscribed to Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harpers, Dwell, The New Republic, Entertainment Weekly and Newsweek. Even when I was flat broke in my 20s, there was always money for magazines. I would also randomly pick up other magazines from the newsstand. Now, I only subscribe to Entertainment Weekly (so much for intellectual curiosity) and only buy from the newsstand in airports. I read the Economist online occasionally but slowly stopped subscribing to hard copy magazines. I think it was the result of thinking “Oh, Shaw, you’re too busy to read X magazine” when the renewal notice came, because I still love magazines. And now that we are discussing it, I realized I miss them.

    I also agree with what everyone else has said about the subscription cards. They are an index card of torture.

  37. Research, Not Law :

    I have been feeling like the only person *not* in love with Real Simple, so I’m relieved to hear some other dissenters. I got it for a few years (my mom would give me her free 2nd subscription). I am definitely in their demographic. I very rarely found anything of substance or interest in it. It wasn’t creative enough to be crafty, not quite stylish enough to be fashion, and too fluffy to be information. It felt unfocused and shallow. Besides, I felt like the majority of their articles were “buy this thing!” and I’m not a fan of that.

    The Economist, Science, and Martha Stewart Living are my favorites. I’ve been strongly considering a subscription to Ottobre, which is a European sewing/pattern publication.

    We primarily get magazines through a trading loop. We subscribe to American Scientific and receive from others: Popular Science, Popular Mechanic, National Geographic, Sunset, Wired, Time, and the occasional oddball. They are a bit dated by the time we get them, but still a good read. It’s fun (and easier on the environment and pocketbook) to exchange!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I also enjoy the local magazines, although we’ve transitioned from the lifestyle (dining, shopping, etc) and home design to parenting/kids. They are a great way to get ideas of things to do. There used to be an amazing neighborhood news publication that unfortunately closed shop about a year ago. We’re still missing it.

    • Oh, FINALLY. I was about to say, does NOBODY read Popular Science or Popular Mechanic???????

      • I grew up stealing my dad’s and reading them the day they came in the mail. Still an avid devotee decades later!!!

    • Anonsensical :

      Every time I think about picking up a copy of Real Simple on the newsstand, I remind myself that not adding more random stuff like magazine impulse buys to my house is how I keep my life simple.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Yes! Someone else subscribes to Science. Although, once you start getting to the full articles, they are much harder to understand than the perspectives section.

      I also get Vogue, read the Atlantic online (*love*), and I actually don’t really like the Economist, but maybe that will change.

  38. For those of you who subscribe to a large number of magazines – you should do it through the link at ebates pays you cash back – it is standard 26% on, but often it is the daily double. I bought my sister’s People magazine Christmas gift for about $112 and then got $59 dollars back from ebates.

    Coastal Living is my favorite.

    • That’s exactly what I do too! I just got my “big fat check” – $90! I’m thinking about what I should buy myself – it’s like free money…

  39. I subscribe to the New Yorker on my Kindle, but I’m, oh, a month and a half behind on reading (I tend to catch up when I have a long flight). I tried subscribing to the Atlantic, but I don’t have the time to read it. I also get the alumni mags from my alma maters, and I read the “class updates” to see who got married. That’s about it.

  40. ReverseSnob :

    I adore “Oprah” magazine. I am no fan of the show itself, but the magazine is second to none. I will never cancel my subscription!

    Threadjack – I would appreciate input on a dilemma. I am a white-collar professional whose values have changed in recent years, in that I no longer feel comfortable when, in a social setting, someone immediately asks me what I do for a living. The whys and wherefores of why I feel this way are unimportant – but basically, I now consider that question invasive when it is asked in a blatant attempt to peg my social standing. I am happy to discuss my work, but only when I make the decision to do so. Similarly, because I am very other-directed, I love hearing and asking questions about other people’s lives, including their work, but would never ask the question directly.

    How does one respond to the question “What do you do?” when it is nearly the first thing out of someone’s mouth without sounding rude, defensive, or dodgy? The only way I seem able to avoid the question is when I am in working class circles (where I do move, very comfortably and happily these days), but unfortunately I have some “high brow cultural interests” (art, concert music, literature, museums) that necessitate my being in the presence of people who want to know three, and only three things, about me: what I “do”, where (what neighborhood) I live in, and where I went to school (prestigious or not). I have a lecture booked for an evening next week and I know this will come up. I went to one last week where instead of attempting to mix, I sipped wine by myself in the corner until the break was over in order to avoid the question. I am so vexed here. Please help me.

    • Are you sure that people are asking you these questions to determine your social standing? When I’m meeting someone for the first time I typically ask them what they do and where they live as an effort to make conversation, not because I want to evaluate whether they have the “right” pedigree.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I agree with this. I ask that as one the first things trying to get to know someone. People who work 40 hours per week do spend 1/3 of their week days (at least!) at their jobs, so it’s a big part of a person’s life. For me, it’s just an attempt to get to know someone.

        I’m sure there are people out there who are just trying to determine your social standing, but why not give people the benefit of the doubt? You could always say politely, “I work in [whatever], but I love [hobby] in my free time. What kinds of hobbies do you have? [Isn’t this weather crazy? What did you think of the talk before mine? Have you tried the shrimp pastry? Etc.]”

      • Anonymous :

        I am not “scientifically certain” but I am 99% certain. Very occasionally, the question is asked sincerely in an effort to make conversation and not evaluate – I can discern the difference.

        The typical scenario is I am seated at a table with strangers and we start to talk, about the art exhibit or whatever….I ask a lot of questions, “Do you like Henry Moore/Wittgenstein/Verdi blah blah” asking how they became interested in the subject….and they will talk about themselves, I will ask more polite questions, they will talk more about themselves….people love to talk about themselves. Then finally they will stop and ask one single question: “What do you do?” Not “How did YOU become interested in art?” or “What did YOU think of the lecture” but always, always, always, “What do you do?” Then, once they have satisfied themselves that you are of no importance, their eyes literally start to wander to someone more appealing in the room (there was an even an article in the Daily Mail recently about how the upper middle classes are extremely rude in conversation). I have had this happen–with variations on the same theme–so many times that it is like I am in a Kingsley Amis novel.

        I am in Europe and this kind of social probing is normal for the upper middle-classes. The truly rich (think multimillionaires or billionaires) don’t bother with it, as they have nothing to prove. But the UMC’s do it nearly to a man. I am American, and the question is asked in a much more benign way over there. Americans are, as a rule, more friendly and genuinely interested in people than upper-class Europeans are. In fact, if I were in the U.S. I probably wouldnt have this anxiety, and might even revert to my old ways where this question did not bother me and I happily discussed my job. In sum, it’s a cultural problem and as an American who hates social snobbery I cannot find a way to deal with it.

        • ReverseSnob :

          Sorry – the above anonymous post was a reply from ReverseSnob

        • Yeesh. If you feel this strongly about it, I think your options are to
          1) Move back to the US
          2) Laugh it off
          3) Lie!! ‘I’m independently wealthy and don’t have to do anything, so I attend art exhibits.”

          • ReverseSnoe :

            Lie!! ‘I’m independently wealthy and don’t have to do anything, so I attend art exhibits.”

            Hahah! That’s exactly what my best friend says to say.

        • Are you in the UK by any chance? I found this sort of ‘casual snobbery’ much more prevalent in England than when I’m in other European countries on business. You’re right – I was asked about what school I went to more in 2 weeks in London in business than in 10 years of working in the states.
          If you can’t dismiss the attitude, I’d lie to amuse myself ;) – ie, in response to where did you go to school? Oh, just a small school in (insert state here – extra points for states where Ivy league schools are based so you can watch the ask-er try to puzzle it out).

          • ReverseSnob :

            Spot on, Anne-on. Yes, I am speaking of the UK. Thank you for understanding!!!

            You have to experience this first hand to believe it, don’t you? The people who ask these questions always went to Yale or Oxtail, with children with advanced degrees from Imperial or the Sorbonne, blah blah blah. It has to be experienced to be believed.

            I can deal with the “school question” and do, exactly in the way you suggested. I also deal with the “where do you live” (I live, quite proudly and happily, in a “deprived area” where these people would not venture in an armored tank) by saying vaguely “outside the city” (wave of hand) or “you wouldnt really know the area.” (They like to tell me they live in Wandsworth and have a “small house” in Cambridge they inherited from mum, and oh, there is “the house in Brittany” (yada yada).

            But the “What do you DO?” (another variation is “what’s your line?”) has me stumped.

            Bring back the guilliotine!

          • Ah the UK. My husband is originally from there and he’s lived here for about 10 years. Last time we visited we were shocked at the snobby, holier than thou attitude we experienced everywhere. I nearly got run over by 10 different carts in Tesco’s by people not even looking where they were going. It wasn’t like that 10 years ago.

            Sad to say it might be in part because you are an American. The Brits tend to have an idea that Americans don’t know anything about the rest of the world and are self centered (at least this is my husband’s family’s view anyway). It frustrates the hell out of me and I don’t even live there. Try to find a way to have fun with it by making up fun lies like everyone else suggests. Good luck!

          • Agree with TK1! I’m in a masters program with lots of international students and I feel I often get labelled just as you sai, when people simply don’t take the time to get to know. I recently got a comment when I mentioned to a fellow student (international) that I lived in London for awhile, “oh, so you’re not like TYPICAL Americans!” Endlessly frustrating.

      • Agree with CW. I generally ask this question pretty soon after meeting someone to make conversation/see what we might have in common. The idea never crossed my mind that some people might not appreciate this question (except people who are unemployed/under-employed/between jobs, which I understand).

        I would be interested to see if other women also have this reaction/response to the “what do you do?” question.

        • Totes McGotes :

          It kind of gives me hives only because I really, really, really don’t want to talk about my job; but I know they’re not being rude. It’s just a sore spot I have.

          • ReverseSnob :

            Wrong. In the UK, they ARE being rude (see above). LOL.

          • Totes McGotes :

            Well, that’s not where I am, so they’re not. The comment was in response to SunnyD’s question.

      • I agree. I think in American culture, asking about your work is a way of making conversation – not necessarily a social standing question. I think this b/c, when I have lived abroad fewer people ask about my work. Though in some cultures, I think this is because it is assumed a woman doesn’t work or doesn’t identify by her position.

        That said, I am a professor and sometimes find myself in social situations (athletic mostly) where I know most of my peers have not gone to college, let alone have a PhD. When they ask what I do, I usually say “I work at XX university”, but do not say what I do there. People rarely follow up on that question, instead, they use my response to start a conversation about that part of town, or the university, or the sports teams there or whatever. They are not really asking about my social/education level, but trying to make conversation.

        Of course, if they really want to know about me and what I do, they will follow up and ask “what do you do there” to which I can say “I teach” or “I am a professor” – depending on the situation.

        Why not answer the question with a broad stroke like “I work for a company”, “I am a consultant”, “I work on the south side” or something else that is nondescript.

        • ReverseSnob :

          That said, I am a professor and sometimes find myself in social situations (athletic mostly) where I know most of my peers have not gone to college, let alone have a PhD. When they ask what I do, I usually say “I work at XX university”, but do not say what I do there. People rarely follow up on that question, instead, they use my response to start a conversation about that part of town, or the university, or the sports teams there or whatever. They are not really asking about my social/education level, but trying to make conversation.


          You sound like such a lovely and down-t0-earth person. It shows enormous consideration for the feelings and circumstances of others that you do not “toot your own horn” about your education and professional accomplishments. There are people who, as you say, ask the question out of genuine curiousity and a way to stimulate dialogue, and this can often be sensed by the context in which it is asked and the tone of voice, and most certainly by the follow-up questions, which are friendly and genuine.

          I will bet that were we to meet we would start chatting, and I would probably volunteer my profession without you even asking. People like you are a breath of fresh air.

    • I don’t think the “what do you do?” question is always or even usually asked in a snobby context. IME it’s typically just a way to make conversation with someone when you meet them, much like “so how you do know Fred?” or “Is this your first time here?” etc. On certain occasions it may have a judgmental quality, but not all or most of the time.

      That all said, you can answer it in any way that you want. Why don’t you answer in a way that focuses on what you’d rather talk about? “I have a day job but my real passion is XYZ” or “I have a day job but I’d much rather talk about this lecture, what did you think about the speaker’s reference to Israel?” etc.

      I don’t think most people are so intent on learning your occupation, just on making conversation.

    • soulfusion :

      I think it is a conversation starter question that most people deem as safe but can be misread depending on your situation – if you are unemployed, underemployed or a stay at home parent it can feel judgmental of your situation or choice. We all have sensitivities and need to recognize them in ourselves before we judge whether someone is ask to figure out our social status or asking in a way to find common ground or an interesting topic of discussion. I think the suggestions to gloss over your day job and steer the conversation towards a favored hobby or interest is good. I know when I’ve met people who were really vague about what they do it leaves me more curious than someone who gives a satisfactory answer (even just “I work at a law firm” rather than “I’m a lawyer”) and further engages (ask questions of the other person, or toss out another topic of conversation).

      • ReverseSnob :

        Thank you soulfusion – how do you specifically “gloss over” the question? Here are a few things I have tried recently:

        1. Oh, I wouldn’t dream of boring you with that! (wave of the hand)

        2. As a rule, I never mix business and pleasure (mischevious smile)

        3. Oh, a little bit of this and a little bit of that (wave of the hand and slight roll of eyes)

        I am a very warm, open, and honest person by nature and I do not like to be evasive nor am I good at it, but I simply do not wish to succumb to the demands of these snobs to hand over information that feeds into their arrogance. My best friend, who is from the working class (and now a professor of sociology) and also detests social snobbery, says I should just say “I don’t need to work. I am independently wealthy” which is exactly what she would say in such a circumstance, because she has so much “moxie” But I am not a player.

        I am considering just pretending I didn’t hear the question and moving my eyes around the room and changing the subject. I am also considering spending the next event in the corner again with a glass of wine. I just wish someone had a comeback that would allow me to not have to answer the question but allow the social encounter to flow seamlessly, and not have me raging the entire night saying to myself “bring back the guillotine.”

        • How did it go when you used these three responses? I like them all and that’s what I probably would suggest. I am also curious to know about the value change you described in the OP. This is an interesting problem and it seems like there is some context here that I might be missing.

          • ReverseSnob :

            Hi Sadie,

            They tend to bristle very slightly with hostility that you aren’t giving them the answers they feel they are owed (a “privilege” owed to the upper middle classes perhaps? Oh dear me, I didn’t know. Ahem.)

            Here is what happened:

            1. Oh, I wouldn’t dream of boring you with that! (wave of the hand)
            To 75-year old lady during a lunch – said nothing but clearly displeased with my petulance. Follows up with “but is it INTERESTING, what you do?” My answer: Well, it’s interesting enough. She ignores me for the rest of the lunch, even though I had been very polite and chatty to her throughout prior to the dénouement, asking about herself, her family, etc.

            2. As a rule, I never mix business and pleasure (mischevious smile)
            This one worked okay. The gentleman smiled and backed off. I lack the savoir fair to pull this one off with the confidence I need, however.

            3. Oh, a little bit of this and a little bit of that (wave of the hand and slight roll of eyes)
            Lady (PhD Art Historian) backed off and changed the subject but I could see she was displeased.

            As regards the value change — my husband’s death at age 48. I learned many things. The end result is that I now look only at one thing in a person and it has nothing to do with age/race/religion/profession/status: whether they are kind.

        • I am a bit of a reverse snob myself (sorry, I can’t help but roll my eyes if you send your kids to a private prep school, unless you live in a truly unsafe/crappy inner city school district- I realize this is unfair, that’s why I’m admitting my bias here. ). That said, I don’t see the big deal. Answer honestly and proudly. The worst thing to do is act as if you have an inferiority complex and be super vague or apologetic about everything. Who cares? And I think many people do ask as a conversation starter, more than anything else. But I live in a very affluent area and there are certainly people who are doing the social status evaluation thing and that’s just how they roll. Best thing is to answer in a pleasant and disinterested manner, and don’t get drawn into any kind of competitive one-upping talk.

          Interestingly, I find that in working class circles, people ask this question in a different way, i.e. “Where do you work?” rather than “What do you do?” Just a random observation.

          • Just want to add- I think people who go from lower/avg middle class to upper middle class/wealthy social circles tend to feel class differences much more intensely than people who spent their entire lives in more or less the same circle. My point is, sometimes I project my own discomfort (or judgeyness) onto otherwise innocuous conversational topics or questions. It really helps to recognize that sometimes this is you, not them, and that you are not endorsing elitism or betraying your values by socializing pleasantly with upper class folks. I have gotten much much better at this over the past few years.

          • ReverseSnob :

            Hi KK,

            I think I framed my initial threadjack question wrong, in that I am not asking whether I should answer it, but merely how to avoid answering it. I am 100% comfortable with my decision to NOT answer this rude question from English snobs, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with being ashamed or feeling in any way “inferior” to them. I have nothing to prove to them. I just dont want to be manipulated into giving them information that I consider private.

            The “Where do you work” vs. “what do you do” is interesting. I find these cultural and class differences to be fascinating (that is, when they are not vexing me, as they are now!)

      • What about saying ‘oh I’m tired of talking about work, was there all day- tell me about you, what do you do?’
        I love the technique of throwing it right back at them. I use this with audiences sometimes if I don’t want to answer a question.

        It occurs to me: in the past when I wasn’t thrilled about my jobs, I cringed at answering because I wasn’t so into them or proud. Now, that I do a fascinating global high-level job, I cringe at answering because I get asked so often, and so many questions- it’s just too tiring. And most people don’t have much to add, they just want to badger me. So I ask them questions right back. Over and over when they keep asking me again. Or, I simply move on and talk to someone else.

        • ReverseSnob :

          Hi Ruby,

          Thank you for you this. I have finally gotten some sleep and able to come back to this thread (which probably wont be read anymore as the world has moved on, but what the heck!) This is an amazing answer. This is one I am going to try next week. This is what I was hoping for from the many smart ladies on this thread. Thank you so much!

          I am glad that you mentioned the word “technique” in relation to your experience and my dilemma. What I feel most by the people I describe above is that I am being manipulated for information. When I was younger and much more naiive I did not see the manipulation and would therefore “click my heels and salute” (i.e. answer their question automatically). Now that I can clearly see the manipulation, I do not wish to be manipulated anymore. Manipulation is a technique, and so is the ability to see it and counter it.

          Congratulations on your wonderful job. Were I to find myself promoted into the higher ranks (unlikely to happen but you never know), I know that my views on this issue would not change one bit. Moreover I think it would give me the confidence boost to counter the manipulation more easily with counter-manipulation of my own.

          • glad it’s helpful! you might enjoy a media training- my communications guy taught me several tricks for not answering stuff when a reporter has got you cornered. you are both using each other in that context, but they are the ones who will ‘get you’ with whatever you say, so you have to carefully control the messaging.
            can’t think of them all but a few–
            ‘oh i’m not the right person to answer that. but let me know you about…’
            ‘i’m not in the business of speculation, so won’t give a number or make a prediction. what i do think is key to understand here is…’
            ‘[pause]- let my communications handler jump in..’
            ‘so sorry but i’ve got to go, late for next meeting. thanks, cheers.’
            ‘i’m not in a position to answer that at this time. what are you hearing out in the field?’
            ‘there are lots of unknowns about where this will go. what we do know is…’
            fun huh?! i used 2 of them earlier this week with a reporter via phone interview, asked me something about obama’s speech and if he said anything helpful to my cause signaling direction (didn’t watch it, hehe)

            in fact Kat- a post on women and media performance could be really fun for this group! bet with your former mag work you have wisdom to share.

          • meant let me ‘tell’ you about, not know (just woke up)

          • also- i wouldn’t lie. i’m a 35 year old professional with a law background. that might be cute in a really random situation, but people in my worlds cross paths in ways you may not predict. if uncovered, would be seen as tacky, unprofessional, and untrustworthy. even if you don’t like them, it’s your reputation. did some of that for kicks when younger, but wouldn’t consider it now.

    • This seems to be more of an American phenomenon. Friends I’ve had in/from other countries always seemed to find it odd that it would come up almost immediately in conversation. I just give a vague answer about where I work, not about what I actually do there. I don’t really think it’s relevant if I’m sitting next to someone on an airplane or otherwise talking to them for a very short period of time.

      • ReverseSnob :

        A few cultural observations:

        1. In American society, this is a normal question that crosses all socioeconomic divides. It is almost always ask with genuine friendliness, and will be followed by other questions about family, hobbies, etc.

        2. In Europe, the working classes will never ask this. You will be accepted on your personality.

        3. In Europe, the uber-rich (multi-millionaires/billionaires) will never ask this. They are in the main very polite and pleasant conversationalists.

        4. In Europe, the upper-middle classes will ALWAYS ask this, and often ONLY this, once they have evaluated that your ANSWER to this confirms what they suspected, that you are their social inferior. I have no idea what they “talk about” with those they consider to be their “social equal” (perhaps they take turns bragging about their career/social accomplishments?)

        • These people do not sound like people you would want to cultivate a friendship with, so why worry about their reaction to what you do? They ask, you tell, if they look down on you for it, oh well. If you didn’t tell and got to know them a little better, wouldn’t they just “drop” you anyway once they found out what you did?

          I have to say, the whole idea of judging someone friendship- or social acquaitance-worthy based on their job is kind of strange. I don’t doubt you, but I think I would find it so bizarre that it wouldn’t occur to me to really be hurt by it. I’m a federal employee and I’m sure there are many people in the US who would look on me as some sort of tax-dollar-sucking-parasite, but that’s their problem.

          • ReverseSnob :

            Hi Polly,

            I completely agree with you when you say: “These people do not sound like people you would want to cultivate a friendship with, so why worry about their reaction to what you do? They ask, you tell, if they look down on you for it, oh well. ”

            I probably wasnt clear in my post above. They aren’t friends or people I want to be friends with – they are people I rub shoulders with if I want to do anything related to culture that involves something other than watching a DVD from “The Teaching Company.” I don’t care what they think – I just don’t want to answer their personal questions relating to social rank. I am happy to converse about nonsense with them so long as they don’t go down that road, but I do not want to answer this question. Also, I feel no need to go into therapy to explore “why” I feel this way about this question — I just want a solution for how I can get what I want, which is a snappy answer that will change the subject!!

          • Well you’ve been given that answer Reverse Snob. If you want a snappy comeback to shut them down, go with the independently wealthy line. Or channel secret agents with “i’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” I’ll take your word on it that European middle class are snobby and seeking to root you out and expose you for not being one of them but honestly you seem like the one obsessed with this. I can’t imagine using the question what do you as a way to be rude but I guess I will count my blessings for not running in rude circles then. Another option is to simply not make small talk with the other patrons.

        • As someone in Europe – you seem to generalize a lot about it. It’s a pretty standard question in my neck of the woods, regardless of where you’re at in the earning bracket. It’s an easy way to determine more topics to talk about beyond what you’re there to do.

          And I’ve been asked “What do you do?” from both royalty to farmers, so it seems to be a bit of everything.

          • I would also add that perhaps — just perhaps –the OP’s discomfort/distaste for the subject matter is the reason the conversation turns sour after the topic comes up. Maybe it’s not that these horrid UMCs have discerned that you’re of no use to them, maybe some of them just see your response turn sour and wish to end the conversation as a result.

          • ReverseSnob :

            N & AIMS,

            You are entitled to your views about me and my “problem.” :-)

        • The more you describe these people, ReverseSnob, the more I think you should be flippant with them. People have no idea what I do, even if I explain it. I usually wind up telling them I’m a superhero, cuz I am. I stop people from trying to kill themselves. Which is part of my job as an engineer. Just roll with it while looking absolutely fabulous.

          • ReverseSnob :

            The “looking absolutely fabulous” does help. They may be rich, but I could win the Lotto and would then be both rich AND pretty, but they would still be rude and still unable to finish let alone understand “Ulysses.”

            Thanks :-)

        • Surprised :

          I am surprised by these observations. I am British and have lived elsewhere in Europe, amongst an international social circle. To me it is a perfectly normal question and a way of making conversation. Plus, as AnonInfinity says, it is a large part of most people’s lives so the question is a natural part of getting to know them.

          For people who are stay-at-home parents, currently unemployed, etc. this can be awkward but conversation can flow naturally to asking about hobbies, pastimes, family, previous careers or future plans – whatever seems relevant to the situation.

          In the UK, job is not necessarily directly connected to social class. I don’t know to what extent this is the case elsewhere in Europe.

          • I always want to ask it just because curious and helps understand what they spend most of time doing, but do think it a fairly rude/direct question. So I ask it in vaguer ways- ‘what are you up to lately? what keeps you busy?’ or things like that to allow for answers that aren’t right on point or traditional career.

            I think here in Seattle it’s less common than the east coast cities I’ve lived in. I thought Europeans generally thought it was kind of rude how we are so direct about these kind of things, so interesting to me you are hearing it so much there. Many of them are about credentials etc that I work with, but don’t usually ask so directly about my details.

          • ReverseSnob :

            How you perceive the question may very well have to do with your own upbringing and social circumstance. For instance, I made the mistake of mentioning the “English class system” once to someone, who looked at me blankly: “There is a class system in England?”

            Anyway, I think I am not wanted at this blog anymore so I am scurrying out. I had a feeling this would be seen as “my problem” by most people here.

        • Oh my, I am so offended by this, I don’t even know where to start. I think I fall in the category of people that you perceive as snobbish and obsessed with social standing. I grew up with enough to get me a good life and education (although the latter part is mostly free in the EU), but not enough to never work again (I’d be bored too, to be honest if I wouldn’t work). I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone a question about what they do for a living to figure out if they would be beneath me…I am a mainland European, but I’ve lived in the UK as well and never encountered this.

          Maybe, just maybe you are being a little overly sensitive about this. Maybe people ask what you do for a living, because they can hear you’re American and are just curious how you got to the EU? Maybe they appreciate your art knowledge and wonder what you do for a living that gets you so knowledgeable about art?

          I know there are huge cultural differences between the US and Europe. I am currently in the US and it was the biggest culture shock ever when I moved here, but if you can’t adept (or don’t want to) then I’d say, maybe you’d be happier back home. Also, I don’t know where you live in the US, but I’ve lived in SF and LA and I can tell you – snobbery is everywhere. I think there’s one big difference though, the US on a whole is more about appearances and outwardly visible status symbols – so people don’t really have to ask to peg your social standing – they just look at the car you drive or the bag you carry. In Europe education and career are more important. I know this is a huge generalization – but I just wanted to illustrate that what you perceive as a European trademark is pretty much omnipresent.

          • ReverseSnob :

            I love Europe and love most Europeans. It’s the English Upper Middle Classes that I have come to not be able to stand. I also worked hard to get where I am both educationally and professionally and I begrudge no one who has done the same or better than me anything that they have achieved.

            Maybe you are the one who is being oversensitive in response to my post. Just a thought?

            Okay, really out of here this time. Thank you all for your thoughts. There is no easy answer on this social dilemma I am now convinced.

        • Y’know, if it’s really bugging you this much (and I totally understand, I am exactly the same way) why don’t you just lie? Just make something up. I mean, if this is really small talk and you aren’t worried about them finding out. Or if they did find out, do you care? You can even make up fun ones, like: I’m with the British Museum…. or like someone else said, If I told you I’d have to kill you… That would be the only way I would be able to stop being p*ssed about it and turn it into something that made me laugh inside and enjoy just being a crazy, making stuff up person….

          But whatever it is, I hope you figure out something that makes you feel better. This sounds like it really s*cks.

          • ReverseSnob :

            Thanks for your reply, Zora. I wish I had the savoir-faire to tell a white lie, but I am a terrible liar. It’s a personality type. I mentioned my best friend earlier on the thread – she is a “player” – a hard as nails negotiator who counters this kind of thing easily with fibs and/or witty and cutting remarks. I have a very different personality which makes this not an option for me.

            People like me who are shy must master the fine art of saying nothing in order to compensate. This I have done especially in recent years, but it does not work adequately in the setting that is the subject of my threadjack.

            I think when any issue like this is discussed (whether social or at work) it is vital to keep in mind that people have different personality types, and that there sometimes is not “one right answer” and what is a good option for one may not be for another.

        • ReverseSnob :

          NB: The above was meant as pure hyperbole–I should have identified it as such. My sincere apologies to all whom I boxed in, especially the Brits.

          • ReverseSnob :

            NB: The below post which I wrote yesterday was meant as pure hyperbole–I should have identified it as such. My sincere apologies to all whom I boxed in, especially the Brits.

            A few cultural observations:

            1. In American society, this is a normal question that crosses all socioeconomic divides. It is almost always ask with genuine friendliness, and will be followed by other questions about family, hobbies, etc.

            2. In Europe, the working classes will never ask this. You will be accepted on your personality.

            3. In Europe, the uber-rich (multi-millionaires/billionaires) will never ask this. They are in the main very polite and pleasant conversationalists.

            4. In Europe, the upper-middle classes will ALWAYS ask this, and often ONLY this, once they have evaluated that your ANSWER to this confirms what they suspected, that you are their social inferior. I have no idea what they “talk about” with those they consider to be their “social equal” (perhaps they take turns bragging about their career/social accomplishments?)

    • I had a professor at my top law school who, when asked this question, responded that she was a teacher. She noted that people’s reactions were way, way different when they discovered that she was a teacher who happened to be a fully tenured professor at Fancypants Law than when they just assumed she was some sort of glorified nanny and dismissed her.

      Anyway. I usually don’t mind if people know my profession, I just don’t want to talk about my specific work. And few people ask a follow up question to “I’m a lawyer”, especially when I follow it with a subject change. Perhaps you could answer with your industry? “Oh, I work in finance. Did you see the Superbowl? I thought Madonna looked amazing.”

      • ReverseSnob :

        Thank you so much, Bluejay.

        You have described EXACTLY the situation I am experiencing. Your professor friend knows that this kind of snobbery exists as an objective reality. It is not in our imagination nor are we being “overly sensitive” and imagining it where it is not.

    • Seattleite :

      Can you describe the work in as broad terms as possible, and avoid naming your profession? So, accountant = “stare at spreadsheets all day,” attorney = “research and writing,” etc. ; or

      “I’m in PLASHTICKS,” but they probably wouldn’t get the reference; or

      “Why do you ask?” [pause] “What do you suppose is the mystery ingredient in these shrimp puffs?”; or

      Just ignore the question, and answer the question you wish they’d asked. “What an entertaining lecture. I can’t wait to plan my next trip to Moravia.”

      • Seattleite :

        Thank you Seattleite — very good suggestions. These I will try in addition to the suggestion from Ruby above.

        I love “Why do you ask”? and according to Miss Manners it is an entirely appropriate response to a boorish person’s question. I fear I lack the savoir-faire to pull that one off but maybe I need to steel myself and, as they say, just do it.

    • I can’t respond in the “conversation” above so I’ll just stick it here in case you ever read this thread again.

      First, I’m sorry for your loss. I wholly agree with you that kindness is what matters.

      Second, I think you should keep working your answers below — I especially like the “business and pleasure” one. It gives you an air of mystery, plus it successfully conveys that you’re enjoying the current conversation (which is not about work). Perhaps you could follow up on it with an immediate conversational twist — either a question back at the person, or a “I’d much rather talk about X artist or Y concert which is coming up.”

      Third, I’ve never lived in the UK so can’t comment about comparisons. But I do know that you can tell when people are asking about you to suss out your status, and when people are asking about you because they’re genuinely curious. In New York, where I live now, I think it’s more the latter. In DC, where I lived just after law school, it was definitely the former. Oh, the ridiculousness of 23-year-olds bragging about their fancy jobs when at the end of the day, we were all doing the same scutwork.

      • ReverseSnob :


        Thanks for your reply and your kind words. This point of yours is very important:

        Perhaps you could follow up on it with an immediate conversational twist — either a question back at the person, or a “I’d much rather talk about X artist or Y concert which is coming up.”

        This is a technique I need to hone, as I mention above to Ruby, it is a form of counter-manipulation which does not come naturally to me, but perhaps it is time to start standing up for myself more directly in such situations.

        Another one I refuse to answer (and which still shocks me) is “How much money do you make” “How much did you pay for your house” and “How much is your mortgage is month?” The UMCs I am vexed with on this thread would never dream of asking such direct things, but I get this from time to time especially from foreign contractors (Indian). My stock answers: “Too much!!” (about the house payment) and “Nothing!!! Not nearly enough! I work for peanuts!!” (about the salary). I turn it into a joke.

        • I’m British, working class born and you sound over sensitive and a bit unstable. I live in the US now and one thing I’ve noticed is how terrible Americans generally are at catching the social nuances of other cultures, especially if they speak English. I was born working class, went to “Oxtail” (so rude btw) and live in the US. I find so many things Americans do rude but I’ve come to terms with it that my perceptions are off. I’m culturally conditioned to expect certain things and when there is a disconnect, I react.

          I’m sorry for your loss but this has to do with you, it has nothing to do with England. Btw, just because working class people probably are behind your back responding to you the same way. I wouldn’t canonize or demonize anyone.

          • ReverseSnob :

            UK anon,

            I’m British, working class born and you sound over sensitive and a bit unstable.

            Thanks for your insights. You sound to me to be overly impressed with your own perceptions, emotionally detached from others with different perceptions, and quite judgemental.

            I suspect but cannot confirm that this has everything to do with your personality and nothing to do with your social background or nationality.

          • I’m judgmental but you are not despite rudely dismissing an entire group of people? You sound immature (for your declared age), arrogant and defensive. I’m in my mid-20s and I have plenty left to learn. I’m happy to admit it. But I would hate to be in my 50s and apparently have come through varied life experiences and to still be this thin skinned.

            “I suspect but cannot confirm that this has everything to do with your personality and nothing to do with your social background or nationality.”

            See, this is what I mean. You want to openly insult my personality. You feel that somehow couching it indirectly is more polite. I’m guessing from your answers that you think it’s quite witty and clever. Honestly, I think it reads as rude and a bit silly. You seem defensive and hostile in all of your answers and your experiences do not chime in any way with mine (a working class person who has to traverse the UMCs and faced plenty of class discrimination).

            I spent a lot of time being offended and annoyed and when I grew up I realized that people are people. Rude people are rude, no matter what their class. Respectful people are respectful, no matter what their class. From the outside, it is easy for stereotypes to assert themselves. UMCs are snobs, working class people are “honest”. None of them hold much weight in individual interactions.

          • You’re incredibly out of line, UK anon, and disrespectful. You say ReverseSnob is “a bit unstable” but you appear to be suffering from cognitive dissonance yourself, frankly. I don’t know how someone angry about “dismissing an entire group of people,” as you said, can reconcile that with “how terrible Americans generally are at catching the social nuances of other cultures.” Reverse Snob’s response to you was quite spot-on – you do seem overly impressed with your own perceptions.

          • “See, this is what I mean. You want to openly insult my personality.”

            Um, you called her “a bit unstable.” How exactly do you want her to reply? With a thank you?

          • ReverseSnob :


            I posted this to you at the bottom of this thread, but it looks like the blog WILL allow me to nest at the same post (still getting the hang of how this works) – apologies for the duplication.

            You’re incredibly out of line, UK anon, and disrespectful. You say ReverseSnob is “a bit unstable” but you appear to be suffering from cognitive dissonance yourself, frankly. I don’t know how someone angry about “dismissing an entire group of people,” as you said, can reconcile that with “how terrible Americans generally are at catching the social nuances of other cultures.” Reverse Snob’s response to you was quite spot-on – you do seem overly impressed with your own perceptions.

            The comments won’t nest below your comment to me, but I just wanted to say “thank you.” I truly appreciate your support, which took time and effort for you to write when you have nothing to gain from it.

            I have been doing a lot of soul searching today asking myself whether the Oxford graduate from the UK was being reasonable (and that I might indeed be in the wrong) when her use of the horrible term “unstable,” along with the contradictions in her post which I too spotted but chose to ignore, were big red flags waving about the nature of her character.

            Maya Angelou has a saying: “When people show you who they are, believe them.

            You have lifted me up from what has been a trying day (separate and apart from this thread).

            With gratitude and Blessings.

          • ReverseSnob :

            UK Anon (Oxonian),

            I also posted a reply to you last night, but because I did not understanding how the nesting of comments works here at Corporette, it is at the bottom of this thread. You can find my reply if you perform a word search on the term “Oxonian.”

            Apologies for the duplicate posts. The pointy-clicky stuff is not my forte, unfortunately.

          • ReverseSnob, you made me tear up. You’re very kind, and I am humbled. Please, please disregard Oxford Anon’s comments – she just sounds very young (even younger than her stated mid-twenties) and very, very reactive. Being this reactive clouds our judgment and cognition sometimes (at least it does to me) and it seems that’s what happened with her.
            I was motivated to write not only because I was angry at Oxford Anon’s comments, but because I was moved by yours. And also, deeply impressed with your measured response to the attacks against you. Best of luck to you – you sound like a very kind lady.

  41. soulfusion :

    Am I really the only person who doesn’t subscribe to magazines? I get Runner’s World but I never actually subscribed to it and although I agree it is very repetitive I still like flipping through it for a little inspiration and just seeing it in my stack of mail motivates me a bit to get moving. I enjoy some of the magazines mentioned but not enough to seek them out on a regular basis so I think I am just not really a magazine person. I will also say – and I don’t mean this in any kind of derogatory way – I just don’t get the obsession people have with gossip magazines like People and Us Weekly. I realize everyone has their guilty pleasures but this one just baffles me since I can’t relate at all. But since it feels like nearly everyone I know loves them I start to wonder if I’m the only one who just doesn’t care.. . . am I alone here?

    • People and Us Weekly are like celeb-reality shows. You either love ’em or hate ’em.

      I don’t subscribe but I love reading them on airplanes, trains, the beach … etc.

    • US Weekly is my brain candy. I used to come home from law school on a Friday afternoon and lay on my couch and read it. Total therapy. But I know some people don’t get it. And DH hates it with a passion.

    • I don’t subscribe to anything either, I’m much more used to reading articles online anyway. I always think that eventually (when I magically have more free time and money, fat chance) I will subscribe to some news magazines that I like to read online like the Economist or the Atlantic, but that may or may not happen. I’ve never even considered subscribing to a fashion or celebrity magazine. I’m with you – I find them pretty uninteresting. Every once in awhile I’ll pick one up in a waiting room or something and try to like it, but it’s just not something I can bring myself to focus on at all because I really just don’t care about the content.

      • i don’t subscribe to any. rather against the women’s ones for handful of reasons noted by other commenters. that said, i look at them in the doctor’s office etc. used to love travel mags for flying, but now pregnant, they just feel like taunts. used to like news ones, don’t have the energy for those. we got Inc and Money this year for free and 90% went into recycling- just didn’t get to them- when did, read a few interesting things. i read a lot of mags i get professionally, but more in a skimming way.

        husband likes NG, so i flip through that at home.

        seattle lawyers- anyone else detest the bar mag as much as my spouse and i? really wish we could get back the money they spend on that piece o’sh*t.

  42. Submitting an Article to a Magazine :

    I have a related question — I recently wrote a 4-page article about a medical issue, women’s health-related, based on my own personal experience. I would love to get it published in a widely read women’s magazine, but I only subscribe to Vogue and Real Simple, and don’t feel like it fits in either of those. I think many readers would find it very interesting.

    For those of you who read many more magazines than I do, can you suggest magazines where I might submit my article? I would really appreciate any thoughts.


    • Marie Claire often has articles like that.

    • Good Housekeeping and Red Book often cover health issues. Someone leaves them at the gym and I love reading them while working out.

    • Self. Maybe even Glamour if the article/issue skews young – I remember a while ago they did a series on a young woman with leukemia who was among the first people to be treated with Gleevec. I think there’s a magazine called Health or maybe Women’s Health. If it’s sufficiently maudlin and navel-gazing (hope I don’t offend you), it could go to Real Simple.

      And I say that as someone who just subscribed to and rather enjoys Real Simple.

  43. I have a subscription to the Economist. My husband likes the print version, and I like the iPad app. It’s become a regular Christmas gift from my in-laws (father-in-law and I are both economists). Otherwise, I read People sometimes when I see it in waiting rooms, etc. I have been thinking about subscribing to Fitness/Shape/Self or something for some post-baby exercise motivation. Otherwise, when I do have time to read, I guess I just prefer a good book! Put my Kindle in the waterproof case, and I can even take it in the bathtub!

  44. We subscribe to Entertainment Weekly (my pick) and the Economist (my husband’s pick). I read EW cover to cover every week, and yet somehow I just never seem to find the time to even open the Economist… Funny how that happens, right?

  45. Merabella :

    I read on Apartment Therapy that Domino is coming out with a special edition… Here’s hoping it possibly becomes a quarterly thing.

  46. I forgot to mention my newest addiction — You can find all sorts of really good writing there, from a nice variety of sources. I’m using Readability to save the articles off to my Kindle.

  47. I subscribe to:
    The Economist – I use their dedicated iPad app
    Wired – I use their dedicated iPad app
    Lucky – There is no iPad app, but I just decided to subscribe because I buy it like twice a year and I saw a 3 year subscription for 15 dollars.

    I also use the Zinio magazine app, and I have a bunch of magazines that I subscribe to through it, including:
    Living Etc.- a british modern design mag
    Oxygen – women’s weight-lifting mag
    Esse – kind of a Japanese Real Simple that I use to practice reading in Japanese

  48. SF Bay Associate :

    Cooks Illustrated, Newsweek (free with NPR pledge), San Francisco magazine (once free with NPR pledge and now the renwal rate is super cheap), and we used to take the Economist on one of those $1 an issue deals sometimes in the banner ads on the NYT website. I freaking love Cooks Illustrated. I also inconsistently read my mom’s recent Sunset magazines after she’s done with them.

    I took Real Simple for years, but cancelled the subscription after I noticed that they were basically repeating articles I had seen in the magazine a few years before. I also increasingly felt like I was not the target demographic for Real Simple.

    The fashion magazines drive me crazy, with completely useless fashion ideas, overpriced clothing that will be out of style in a hot minute, and so many freaking ads. The “fitness” ones are worse – lose weight this way! nine evil foods that are preventing you from a perfect ___! inspirational story of a woman who used to be “fat” and/or “lazy” and now she’s perfectly fit and thin! And I won’t touch a lady mag like Cosmo with a ten foot pole.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I love Cooks Illustrated too. It appeals to my inner geek. I just got a groupon deal for San Francisco magazine as well, since I end up buying it quite often.

    • SF Bay Associate: I get giddy when my Cook’s Illustrated arrives each month! I read it cover to cover, even if I don’t think I’ll like the recipes, because I love the method and science behind each article.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Ah, so THAT’S how I started getting Newsweek in the mail! My DH and I couldn’t figure it out because we never subscribed to it. I really like the magazine, although their blatant left wing agenda can get a little old (and I’m pretty progressive).

  49. Currently subscribe: New Yorker, New York Mag, US Weekly

    Unsubscribed: Vanity Fair, Elle, Vogue, Allure (mostly because no time to read and too heavy to haul around)

    DH: London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, and Harpers

  50. New Yorker/Atlantic/Esquire/Economist and the like fans, you really need to check out Longform posts the best new and classic non-fiction long form articles from all kinds of magazines. It is the greatest thing ever. EVER!

    • OMG . . . this may be lifechanging. Bad to discover when I’m slow at work . . .

      • Similarly — there is a free app called Zite that compiles various great reads targeted to your specific interests. It’s fantastic, esp. on the ipad (though the iphone version is also easy to navigate).

  51. My favorite magazine is Better Homes & Gardens – it’s beautiful and it just puts me in a great mood every time I sit down to read it. It makes having a beautiful, organized life seem doable for a mere mortal like me :)

    Other than that, I just read the gazillion magazines my boyfriend gets – I can’t stand to add one more subscription to the towering stack that’s always here. My favorites among those are Esquire and Wired, and the last page of Entertainment Weekly.

    If my beloved Domino comes back, I will subscribe immediately.

  52. I am a bit of a magazine wh)re, have been since the days of Seventeen and Mademoiselle.
    Subsribe to

    Real Simple
    Fast Company
    Travel and Leisure
    Bon Apetit
    Marie Claire
    Elle Decor

    I always manage to luck out on those get a year’s subscription for five dollars offers and participate in an on line marketing program that gives you points, which I redeem for mag subscriptions. I usually wait until of my mags have arrived for the current month and spend a Sunday afternoon and browse through them all while drinking a glass or two of wine. Once I’m done with them I gather them up and drop them off at a local hospital.

    I really miss Domino, Blueprint and Budget Living.

  53. Actually, I’m in the market for a good car magazine. Anybody have any recs?

    • I love Car and Driver – it appeals to my inner snarky teenage boy attitude.

  54. If you have a kid in middle school, they sell magazine subscriptions (at least here in GA). So at one point, I think we got about 15 magazines/month! Now, that the kid is in high school, I’ve decided to simplify. Plus I read a lot of articles online now.

    Currently Subcribe:
    Garden & Gun: if you have never seen/heard of this magazine, go find a copy! Supposedly the new generation Southern Living. It is beautiful and has wonderful stories, even if you aren’t from the South. and no, it is not all about gardens & guns (but sometimes is).

    Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House: I can flip through these easily and get good ideas, even though I rarely follow through on them. This Old House is better than “BH&G” in some respects if you really do have an old house because they recognize NOTHING in your house is standard.

    Atlanta Magazine: good local info

    Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine – mainly for hubs, but I read about teams/people I like.
    Cooking Light – again mainly for hubs (I don’t cook, but he likes it — still miss Gourmet though, and Bon Appetit wasn’t even remotely the same).

    Used to subscribe to Marie Claire (never would wear the clothes; too repetitive on other topics; plus had a weird dating column that I was afraid for my daughter to find!); Runners World (too repetitive, but glad to see info above on Running Times); Entertainment Weekly (loved, but couldn’t keep up w/ a weekly); Time (same); Rolling Stone (good stories, but couldn’t read fast enough).

    I don’t have an iPad, but might switch some of these to internet subscriptions if I did (iPhone screen too small for that). But I do like the feel of magazines in general. and would LOVE a Corporette magazine.

  55. Metropolis! Metropolis is the only affordable, non-pretentious architecture magazine I’ve found. They also cover design & urban planning topics. It’s a great magazine, and I’m sad I rarely have time to read it now.

  56. The only monthly subscriptions I currently have are comic books (I read exclusively DC Comics, my husband reads Marvel & DC). I read probably 10 or so a month, sometimes more, and they’re a serious addiction for me.

    It’s not the most mature hobby, I guess, but I also have a Batman lunchbox, so maturity can suck it. I figure I make up for it in doing my job with great efficiency.

    I do want to start reading some more grown-up stuff (I’m 24, so even though I’ve been working in corporate support for 4 years, I’m only just getting into business for real), but I stick to online sources. I have so much junk mail… ugh. I read TheJaneDough and TheMarySue online, as well as TheSuperficial, Geekologie and IWatchStuff, but they’re all daily.

    I like brief articles with lots of facts, and I love fashion and stuff that involves social issues in business. Blurbs and articles under 2 pages are my thing. I kind of get into some of the stuff Cosmo writes, but I get inundated with how busy the magazine is. Any suggestions for something approachable for a 20-something, but not too highbrow?

    • OH CAN WE BE FRIENDS? I want to start reading comic books but I’m too intimidated by how many choices are out there. Can you recommend something witty/hilarious?

      • Witty/hilarious is a tough call – most of DC is all doooom dooom. I know pretty much anything with Deadpool (Marvel) is hilarious – he’s got his own comic, I believe, and there’s also a graphic novel out there called Deadpool Team-Ups or something of the like, and it’s excellently funny (includes a vampire cow).

        As far as *good*ness, I find that the Batwoman comic has the most beautiful art of any comic currently running, and the story is fantastic. I also really am enjoying the current Batman, Batgirl, Teen Titans, Batman: Detective Comics, Nightwing, Action Comics, and The Flash. I’m also reading Superboy and Birds of Prey, which are not quite as brilliant as the others, but are enjoyable (and Superboy ties in to Teen Titans).

        My husband is currently reading Magneto: Not a Hero and Uncanny X-Force. The latter he says is quite brilliant and had good art up until the most recent issue, which was really unfortunate.

        That’s probably a lot more than you wanted to hear, haha. I’m a DC fangirl and I stick to mainstream work, so there are probably more places to get your info. I know Bleeding Cool and The Mary Sue talk about comics a lot, so there’s a place to start! :D

        • Oh, this is great! Thanks for responding, I’m definitely gonna check out some of your recs.

        • I have also been wanting to start regularly reading comics (mid-20s lawyer here – no apologies :)) and appreciate the suggestions!

  57. For some reason, I want to say “Horse and Hound” (Notting Hill, anyone?)

    When I get home from work, I don’t want to read anything “smart”, so it is usually People or O – my husband subscribes to “This Old House” magazine, and I like that one, too!

  58. Anonymous :

    Are we getting a coffee break today, or is this it?

  59. I subscribe to British food magazines BBC Good Food and Delicious. Then I pick up a couple of magazines for when I travel – this will typically include Red and Marie Claire, plus anything else that looks interesting in the store when I pick them up. I’ve got magazines on everything such as history, news, technological stuff, health, writing and travel.

    I used to subscribe to a couple of celebrity magazines in Danish and French, but as they were weeklies, I had no time to read them.

    Two-three magazines a month is about what I have time to look through, as long as I want to do other things after work…

  60. House Beautiful is my favorite. We used to take Architectural Digest, but the prose was getting a little too wacky (reading like a Mad Lib where your only adjective choices were pretentious) and the design and decor beyond reach (kind of like how previous commenters have discussed fashion mags making them feel poor/fat/etc – AD was making me feel like I lived in a hovel and always would live in a hovel and couldn’t do anything to make my hovel pretty). House Beautiful is still aspirational, but more on my level, and it’s instructional.

    Cuisine At Home. Best. Cooking. Magazine. Ever. No ads, the recipes run from half hour family favorites to full five-course gourmet meals, great practical tips, fully illustrated, and nothing too difficult or esoteric.

    Bon Appetit. This was a gift. I don’t care for it – unlike Cuisine at Home, the recipes run between multiple pages (meaning I can’t rip a page out and have it contain an entire recipe) and 9 out of 10 recipes either call for some crazy ingredient only found in the Himalayas or the Amazon (and don’t provide a substitute) or call for like 8 hours of hands on prep time. I mostly now just look at the pictures.

    Our local city mag. Love it for the political backstories, the new restaurant reviews, and the history.

    When I travel I buy Vanity Fair.

    • eastbaybanker :

      House Beautiful should not be so overlooked! It’s such a perfect magazine if you love decor and are in your early 30s. I have kind of outgrown Apartment Therapy and the overly cheap DIY aesthetic (although I still take spray paint to the occasional planter or picture frame). And I will never own a Tuscan Villa as a second home, which is all Architectural Digest is good for. Elle Decor is also fun, but a little fluffier, and more trendy.

  61. A Ninny Mouse :

    The magazines I love to read:

    Interweave Knits
    Mental Floss
    Muscle & Fitness Hers

  62. Monocle is so privileged and pompous, and sometimes seems like it tries to go out of its way not to come across as colonialist, but I love it so.

    • ooo, that’s even more elitist than New Yorker. I might have to get it.

    • Jacqueline :

      I agree on all counts! If only it weren’t so expensive. I used to linger at Borders with the new issues — love the infographics.

  63. im a total elitest: i subscribe to the New Yorker, even tho I live in California. yeah, that’s me. But also, I have used extra airline miles to get free subscriptions to other magazines, and that’s fun. I like Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Decor and travel magazines: Conde Nast Traveler and Afar. I have been thinking about the Smithsonian, but haven’t subscribed yet.

    I used to subscribe to B*tch and Bust, but haven’t for a while.

  64. National Geographic (since age 8), Harper’s Bazaar and Mother Jones.

    • Glad to know I’m not the only Mother Jones fan here :) I also get Vanity Fair as a Christmas gift from my grandma, and I’m a big fan of them both.

  65. I usually only subscribe to magazines when I need to keep my airline points in check or I earn funny money off of e-rewards. Here’s my list right now:
    Martha Stewart Living – also free on iPad
    Everyday Food (Martha Stewart) – free on iPad
    Everyday with Rachael Ray
    Food and Wine on the iPad (sharing my sister in law’s subscription – she gets the magazine, I have the iPad version)

    I’m shocked more people haven’t caught onto the iPad subscriptions. They really are cool, to see demonstrations. And you don’t have to worry about the card inserts or the perfume samples (yuck).

  66. I like Real Simple, In Style, and BurdaStyle – a German sewing pattern magazine that is shot like a fashion mag, but with the patterns & instructions on how to make the garments included. It’s expensive ($9/issue to subscribe) but if I make an average of 2 items from each magazine (which I don’t quite do), it’s worth it, and I love having a library of patterns to choose from when I want to sew.

  67. MaggieLizer :

    Advice/encouragement on how to maintain a healthy(ish) lifestyle on a business trip? We’re pulling 14 hour plus days so I barely have time to sleep, but most of the group still wants to go out and have drinks all across the city after work some days. I’m trying my best to continue to work out, so grabbing even one drink means that I either lose the sleep or lose my workout time. It’s also difficult to resist the bad food that seems to be ever-present and the peer pressure to eat it. I really don’t want to let this week derail my efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle, but I also don’t want to seem like a prude. TIA!

    • Drink water/diet pop with lime.

    • sadly no- it is really, really hard especially abroad! domestic, i pack or pick up healthy things at whole foods etc. it is tough to turn down those sugary treats provided at coffee breaks etc. why can’t they put out healthy food?? somehow, we all have to start demanding that.

      sometimes I skip the least important session or whatever to pop up to a gym, or just before the transition to dinner/drinks from work meetings- helps if business is in same hotel you are staying at. not a morning person and as you say, don’t get enough sleep as is on those schedules + jetlag. also i try to walk outside, and get others to walk with me to dinner/meetings etc. i stretch on the plane every few hours. i do yoga stretches in my room, and even dance to ipod music a bit at times. 15 minutes can help a lot. kimpton chain hotels will bring you a fitness kit and some others.
      sometimes i skip the evening events. just need down time/sleep (or to catch up on emails).

      overall though- it is so hard to maintain a healthy sleep, eat and exercise schedule on busy business travel!!

      • also another thing i do: get mini fridges in the hotel room. even if they aren’t in there they can usually bring one- if they resist tell them it’s for a medical reason. if there, i always have to empty it out. but this is key for storing healthy leftovers or stuff picked up from a grocery store. then if i go to a dinner etc where the food is crap i have a backup.

    • Back in my 80 percent travel consulting days, I would drink a wide variety of beverages all day long: black coffee, coffee w skim milk, hot tea, water, vitamin water, sparkling water, diet pepsi, anything that struck my fancy. This helped keep me hydrated and mildly caffeinated while staving off hunger. Carrying granola bars and almonds was also helpful, making it easier to pass on junk food. I would also sometimes skip the post-work social stuff, drive myself to a grocery store to get a more normal meal or order a room service salad w protein. I won’t lie and say I exercised. Best case scenario was working on the laptop in the hotel room in various stretching/yoga-like positions and taking the stairs or longer routes around client offices.

  68. Might be too late to be interesting, but my two subscriptions are the New Yorker and MS Everyday Food.

    I’m surprised no one else has mentioned Everyday Food — it’s fantastic. I’ve gotten many other food magazines before (I have an aunt that gifts me a subscription to MS Living, Food Network Mag, etc., every holiday season) and this is the only one I from which I consistently actually cook. I also love that it’s small and I can shove it into my purse easily. And the fact that it uses simple real ingredients. Nothing is too unhealthy, there are various healthful recipes throughout but nothing calls for me to use fat free cheese or other synthetic crap (unlike most of the “healthy” cooking mags).

    The New Yorker is sometimes too much to get through but b/c the subscriptions gets you access to the archives on the iPad, I don’t feel bad tossing the issues quickly and just catch up on trips or at the beach.

    We used to also get the Economist (which I love) and Real Simple but now I just buy an Economist when I have the time to read it since a lot of it doesn’t seem timely after a while (unlike the New Yorker). RS just got on my nerves after a while. I don’t hate it but I think I like skimming it at my mother’s more than I like having it come to my door once a month. I just can’t relate to too much of it.

    My “treat” magazine, when I travel, is In Style. I will also read tabloids like US Weekly only at the nail salon or on line at the supermarket. I have no idea why but I just cannot bring myself to actually pay money for them.

  69. I’m surprised I haven’t seen McSweeney’s mentioned on this thread! It’s the quirkiest award-winning magazine out there and every issue is designed completely differently. It’s been on my wishlist forever, but since I move so frequently, I’ve been delaying getting a subscription.

    • OH get it!!! I have been a subscriber for years (and the Believer, and I’m considering adding Lucky Peach). It’s so fun. I love when they do “alternate” formats (One several years ago was designed to look like a sheaf of junk mail).

  70. MeliaraofTlanth :

    The only subscription I actually pay for is National Geographic, my long-time love.

    I steal my boyfriend’s GQ and Esquire. I subscribe to Conde Naste traveler using frequent flier miles. I will occasionally buy the Economist. When I go home to visit my parents, I steal the old issues of: Mental Floss (which is just fun), InStyle, and Garden & Gun.

  71. Only Runners World. Although I’ve been reading for two years and it is starting to get to that repetitive point… I may switch to Running Times when my subscription is up.

  72. Seventh Sister :

    We get The Economist, The New Yorker, Vogue, W, Dwell, and the local city magazine.

    Vogue, W, and Dwell are my subscriptions. The rest are my husband’s, but I read them.

    I used to get Real Simple, but it felt like a chore after a while. Will give Working Mother a try.

    When I travel, I often buy a copy of Town and Country and/or Vanity Fair. Makes me feel like an incredibly erudite snob. :o)

  73. Anonymous :

    The Week
    New Republic
    Atlantic Monthly
    Real Simple
    Vanity Fair
    . . . and I buy individual issues of cooking magazines (Cooking Light; Donna Hay; Bon Appetit; Everyday Food) regularly, but don’t subscribe to any.

  74. Oh, I forgot to mention that I still often pick up Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.
    I enjoy them quite a bit, actually, mostly because concept vehicles and tech blow my mind. :D

    Does anyone else read any crazy tech mags? I often feel alone as a girl reading them.

  75. National Geographic Traveler, industry mags, and local mags (although I hardly ever have time to read these). I used to subscribe to The Week, which I liked because it helped keep me current on what was going on in the world when I got too busy to pay attention (when I had time to read it!) and Runners World. Maybe I need to try Running Times!

    There are also probably 30 issues of Corporate Counsel, various bar association magazines, and the ACC Docket from the last 4 years in my inbox at work. Sigh.

  76. I subscribe to Harper’s Index, The Believer, and several literary journals (McSweeney’s, Tin House, and ZYZZYVA). I have an online subscription to Cook’s Illustrated/ and the New Yorker so I can still access content but not have stacks and stacks of unread magazines accumulate in my house. I really like The Economist, but can’t read it faithfully enough to justify a subscription.

  77. Atlantic Monthly and Runner’s World (someday I will be a runner, I swear!)

  78. I love magazines. I feel like subscriptions are a very cheap indulgence — plus it’s a way to get regular “real mail”! Well, sort of real. Current subscriptions:
    O, The Oprah Magazine (The one I most look forward to getting, and read cover to cover.)
    Real Simple (I agree that it’s often shilling very $$ products in the name of “simplifying.”)
    Whole Living (MS)
    Yoga Journal
    Shape (Getting this free, and letting it run out b/c it bugs me that it’s now close to Cosmo.)
    In Style (Stopped for a while, and it because my every-time airport purchase, so re-upped.)
    House Beautiful
    Elle Decor
    Budget Travel (Great magazine!)
    Travel & Leisure
    Entertainment Weekly (Oh, I also read most of this one each week.)
    Money (Letting this one go when my current subscription is up. Not much new in any issue.)

    DH subscribes to:
    Bon Appetit (I read most of these)
    Saveur (Ditto.)
    Wine Spectator
    Wine Enthusiast
    Bloomberg BusinessWeek
    National Review
    American Spectator (We are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.)
    ESPN the Magazine

    In the past year or two, I’ve dropped Afar (new travel magazine), National Geographic Traveler, and Self. I’ll buy the occasional Pink, Marie Claire, Vogue or Elle for the plane (though I always regret the Elle, oddly). I loved Red when I got to buy it in London — wish they’d offer an iPad subscription!

  79. ReverseSnob :

    TK1 February 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Ah the UK. My husband is originally from there and he’s lived here for about 10 years. Last time we visited we were shocked at the snobby, holier than thou attitude we experienced everywhere. I nearly got run over by 10 different carts in Tesco’s by people not even looking where they were going. It wasn’t like that 10 years ago.

    Sad to say it might be in part because you are an American. The Brits tend to have an idea that Americans don’t know anything about the rest of the world and are self centered (at least this is my husband’s family’s view anyway). It frustrates the hell out of me and I don’t even live there. Try to find a way to have fun with it by making up fun lies like everyone else suggests. Good luck!

    I cannot answer you above so am hoping you will find this reply here below. Yes, there is prejudice against Americans from many Brits (although often veiled in that understated English way) and I have sometimes wondered if this drives some of what I experience.

    If you read the Daily Mail online you will see how so many in “Middle Britain” are fed up with the rudeness, self-centeredness, and boorishness that characterizes so much of contemporary Britisih society. I find myself nodding in agreement with so many of the comments made there. There is still a great deal of kindness in many Brits, but it is not so easy to find such people. When I do have a very pleasant encounter with a Brit who treats me with compassion and respect (for example, in a customer service setting) I will nearly always take the time to write a letter of praise to their company thanking them for their courtesy. I believe that good manners should be rewarded because they are so hard to find.

    My late husband was a Brit from the working class who came up through the ranks in academia (the hard sciences). He had no time for any of this nonsense either, but it did not bother him in the way it bothers me, perhaps because as a working class person he had lived it all his life and thought these people arrogant fools and not worth his time. He also knew how to read the social cues in a way that as an American I never will.

    • ReverseSnob :

      I cannot find the article from the Daily Mail about the social psychologists who had studied the communication patterns and found that the affluent were much more rude in conversation than the less-affluent, but I did find this, and it is an interesting read:

      It is always dangerous to paint with a broad brush and to generalize about any group of people instead of seeing people for what they are – individuals. With that said, one does, thorugh experience, collect data, and over time can come to certain generalizations based on those experiences.

      There are exceptions. For example, one of the kindest, most compassionate, and most self-effacing men I know is the son of two Medical Doctors and himself a graduate of a fancypants college. He treats everyone he meets with equal respect and dignity, regardless of who they are. But he is an outlier.

  80. Canuck here.
    I love Chatelaine. It has a bit of everything but I love it for the recipes. Canadian Living is another one that has quick, easy and healthy recipes.
    I also subscribe to National Geographic but honestly I like it for the photography.
    Although I don’t subscribe to it, my guilty pleasure is Cosmo.

  81. I am big on magazines: New Yorker, Vanity Fair, W, Vogue, Elle, Harpar’s Bazaar, Interview and InStyle all come to my house. I read the Economist and NYmag online. I often fall behind so it gives me an excuse to stay in on a Saturday, flip through some glossies and veg.

  82. ReverseSnob :


    I’m judgmental but you are not despite rudely dismissing an entire group of people? You sound immature (for your declared age), arrogant and defensive. I’m in my mid-20s and I have plenty left to learn. I’m happy to admit it. But I would hate to be in my 50s and apparently have come through varied life experiences and to still be this thin skinned.

    “I suspect but cannot confirm that this has everything to do with your personality and nothing to do with your social background or nationality.”

    See, this is what I mean. You want to openly insult my personality.

    For someone who claims she has a lot to learn you certainly don’t act like it.

    You use extremely pejorative and inflammatory language to insult me in your opening shot, who has not even addressed you directly, and then you bristle and insult my personality again by referring to me as “arrogant” when I call you on it. As they say here what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    You feel that somehow couching it indirectly is more polite. I’m guessing from your answers that you think it’s quite witty and clever. Honestly, I think it reads as rude and a bit silly. You seem defensive and hostile in all of your answers and your experiences do not chime in any way with mine (a working class person who has to traverse the UMCs and faced plenty of class discrimination).

    That’s why they are my experiences – I never claimed they were yours. Yet you want to generalize your social interactions and your interpretations of them as somehow more relevant than mine simply because they are different. Are you able to recognize at your age that people can have difference experiences and interpret them in different ways, without one marginalizing the other? Perhaps you feel your Oxbridge education gives you the authority of final and superior interpretation? If not, from where do you derive this authority?

    As to witty and clever – that’s largely a subjective thing. For example, “Oxtail” is Joycean and funny (and meant affectionately – I happen to love the place), but to you its “rude.” As an old Ivy-league educated boyfriend of mine used to say, “Harvard Schmarvard.” He had the ability to be self-effacing about these things.

    I spent a lot of time being offended and annoyed and when I grew up I realized that people are people. Rude people are rude, no matter what their class. Respectful people are respectful, no matter what their class. From the outside, it is easy for stereotypes to assert themselves. UMCs are snobs, working class people are “honest”. None of them hold much weight in individual interactions.

    I must say I am in full agreement with 100% of what you write in the above paragraph, so perhaps we are not as far apart on the central point as we appear to be.

    My original point was that I have through experience concluded that UMC’s in England are disproportionately rude. I may miss many of the “social cues” but I do not miss nor do I misinterpret their rudeness. That’s my experience and I own it as such- it is not yours nor have I claimed that it should be. And I can accept that fact without pathologizing you as having some sort of personality disorder.

    As regards generalizations, lawyers are, as a group, disproportionately arrogant and rude. Conversely, Engineers tend to be more self-effacing. Americans tend to be very individualistic. These are generalizations. I base these observations on data I have collected and analyzed. Exceptions will always apply, and character must always be allowed to have the final say when evaluating anyone.

    If you ever find yourself extremely physically sick and/or on very hard times, you may, like me, find that the working classes are, on balance, more sympathetic to your plight and more loving, caring, and generous toward you than the UMC’s who use big words, speak Italian, and read the Guardian. But I do not wish painful life experiences on you or on anyone.

    Finally if you think that being “thick skinned” = mature and/or is one of the most important virtues one can develop with age you have a great deal to learn indeed.

    When all is said and done, Peace.

    • ReverseSnob :


      In the interests of integrity I have gone back and re-read my posts on this topic. Yes, the following post that begins as follows was definitely out of line:

      A few cultural observations:

      1. In American society, this is a normal question that crosses all socioeconomic divides. It is almost always ask with genuine friendliness, and will be followed by other questions about family, hobbies, etc.

      2. In Europe, the working classes will never ask this. You will be accepted on your personality.

      This was a bit of hyperbole addressed to the Americans and I should have either tempered my language or identified it as exactly that. Your annoyance is justified from that particular post – if I could rewrite it I would replace the hyperbolic language with “usually,” “most often,” etc.

      I have met some very nice UMC people in the UK who are not totally up themselves but in truth the ratio seems to run about 20:1.

  83. Love this thread! I had unsubscribed to ALL magazines for awhile because I couldn’t keep up and hated the clutter. My last paid subscription was for the WEEK, which is great in its approach of consolidating all the world and national news from various sources in one publication, but I am sensing a theme with the comments here that weekly magazines are just too much to deal with. It was one of those kinds of things where if you don’t read it THAT week it’s useless. Now I just get their bi-weekly emails.

    I did get a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living (a “gift with purchase” from Sur La Table), which I used to subscribe to many moons ago but discontinued because the articles started repeating themselves after a year or two. It’s probably been 10 years since I’ve read it though, so I’m enjoying these issues for now.

    I too am getting Elle sent to me for some unknown reason. Fun to flip through but I have no qualms about recycling it after a day or 2 if I don’t get to it.

    My daughter is getting some cool magazines though – they have so many more for kids now than they did when I was growing up (Highlights anyone?). She gets NatGeo Kids (Loves it), American Girl (spot on for the tween girl set), and ChopChop (a cooking/food magazine especially for kids).

  84. I love More.

  85. ReverseSnob :

    You’re incredibly out of line, UK anon, and disrespectful. You say ReverseSnob is “a bit unstable” but you appear to be suffering from cognitive dissonance yourself, frankly. I don’t know how someone angry about “dismissing an entire group of people,” as you said, can reconcile that with “how terrible Americans generally are at catching the social nuances of other cultures.” Reverse Snob’s response to you was quite spot-on – you do seem overly impressed with your own perceptions.

    The comments won’t nest below your comment to me, but I just wanted to say “thank you.” I truly appreciate your support, which took time and effort for you to write when you have nothing to gain from it.

    I have been doing a lot of soul searching today asking myself whether the Oxford graduate from the UK was being reasonable (and that I might indeed be in the wrong) when her use of the horrible term “unstable,” along with the contradictions in her post which I too spotted but chose to ignore, were big red flags waving about the nature of her character.

    Maya Angelou has a saying: “When people show you who they are, believe them.

    You have lifted me up from what has been a trying day (separate and apart from this thread).

    With gratitude and Blessings.

  86. I love magazines, I just never have the time to read them all!

    Currently (on purpose) subscribe to:
    Bon Appetit
    Wine Spectator
    Real Simple
    Food and Wine
    Vanity Fair (Nook)

    Well meaning parents got me:
    Horse Illustrated (which never ever gets read)
    Glamour (I browse casually)

    I like Mental Floss, and pick it up occasionally, and used to subscribe to Everyday Food.

    I can’t wait to try out some of the websites/apps people have posted here!!

  87. I subscribe to Runners World. Nothing like a little inspiration to keep you running!

  88. Bob is a beer lover and friend whose beer reviews you can read right here on The Brew Club! His own site is all about ‘Demystifying Britishness’ and is worth checking out!

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  94. I used to subscribe to a ton of magazines, but had to pare down when they started to pile up. Now I only get three, but read them cover to cover: Real Simple, Southern Living, and Outside. They round out all my interests.

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