Cosmopolitan: Flirting Advice Gone Horribly Wrong

The editors at Cosmopolitan have a tough job. No, really. Constantly thinking up new and different ways to “please your man” every month is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, these difficulties are reflected in their articles because it seems like every time you turn around, they have come up with increasingly bizarre techniques to impress the opposite sex, from their raunchy flirting advice to their surefire ways to spice things up in the sack.

Let me start off by saying that while I do love Cosmo for its sheer entertainment value, I think that the vocabulary used throughout the magazine is utterly ridiculous. For instance, they employ an extensive number of euphemisms for penis: “his manhood,” “merchandise,” “junk,” “rocket ship”—the list goes on. The most popular is definitely “his member,” which is, sadly, one of the least sexy terms ever used.

This month’s issue, which includes must-reads such as “How to Touch a Naked Man” and “Why I Slept With My Boss,” features a special section on flirting. Leave it to the sexperts at Cosmo to outdo themselves once again with “50 Ways to Become a Legendary Flirt.” My favorite, by far, is No. 17: “Get the indie music guy hanging near the jukebox to help you pick out a song.” Wait, indie music guy? Jukebox? Do those even exist anymore? Wow.

The tips often rely on fictional archetypes who—I’m almost certain—you will never come across in real life, like the “delicious UPS guy” or the “sexy, tech genius Best Buy salesman.” One pointer includes instructions on how to properly execute a “come hither” motion so that you can score that free vodka tonic in no time. Another advises you to “fake trip” and fall into a man’s chest and say, “Damn, your pecs are so hard, I felt like I was falling into a wall.”

Bryce Coefield PZ ’11 found this one particularly ludicrous, responding, “If you fell onto my pecs, I would be like, ‘You are a ridiculous human being.’ End of story.”

But Cosmo manages to take it even further. For instance, “Ask him to lift that bulky box off the top shelf because ‘I need a big, strong man for this.’” Oh no—did they really just go there? Obviously, this one is terribly problematic. Then on the following page, they have advice for how to flirt if you’re already in a relationship, like suggestion No. 50: “Wear a very short skirt and let him follow you up a long flight of stairs.” That one sounds like the beginning of a bad Ke$ha song.

I realize that it’s these silly and borderline-insane tips that keep readers coming back for more each month, but I wish there were some kind of disclaimer at the bottom of each page. It might read something like, “Warning: These tips could make you look like a complete idiot.” That way, it might cut down on the number of poor suckers who actually buy into the magazine’s absurdity.

Carrie Henderson PO ‘12 regretfully admitted, “I tried all these tips and none of them worked. Trust me.”

Most of the sex tips are just as outlandish. Some of the suggestions involve food, others embrace stilettos and costumes, and occasionally you’ll come across one that is freakier than the personals section on Craigslist. Last year, one issue even recommended that women use a thong as a substitute for a hair tie before performing fellatio. Gross. But despite all the creativity, everything basically boils down to touching his “manatomy.” (Yes, they even italicized the “man” part, in case you didn’t get it.) I will spare you the X-rated details, but I honestly feel that some of their “naughty strokes” will leave your partner feeling more violated than aroused.

So, to conclude: Ladies, do not follow this advice or else you will exude desperation. Or maybe psychosis. Cosmopolitan will keep publishing foolish things right and left, and yet people—myself included—will keep reading it precisely because of its craziness. Besides, how else will we be able to “decode his texts,” solve our “bedroom blunders,” or “curb cravings without eating a thing?” Exactly.

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