Do You Know What Guys Like? Glamour Does.

For obvious reasons, I was drawn to February Glamour's beauty section, themed "The Hair & Makeup Guys Say They Love." (Hopefully, the reason I was thumbing through a women's mag like Glamour in the first place is also obvious—my job.) Did the magazine's editors hit the nail on the head when it came to reading the opposite sex's mind? Well, sort of. Besides the slight twinges I felt when seeing the more subjective statements, such as " Guys like it when you don't try too hard, but as any makeup artist will tell you, 'low-key' requires some essentials" (i.e., men want you to look natural, but trust us, not too natural!), I was generally amused by their suggestions. Try a "baby pink" lip stain, for example, since "no one likes kissing goop," or one of four skin-softening products—because "your outfit's cute, but what about when it comes off?" Sure, the notion of doing specific things to please a man isn't new—or necessarily 'wrong' or 'bad'—nor are the recommendations (whiten your teeth, wax, spray tan, do a face mask...), but there's something in how the info is presented, especially in light of this recent debate about makeup and self-esteem, that seems a little...old-fashioned. And, flipping through these pages, I wondered, Is this why women are so messed up when it comes to guys and what they want? Because, if you read every word in any number of magazines and websites (including this one), you're taking in lots of often conflicting information about what guys want, what looks pretty, what doesn't, what's in, what's out, how to do "natural" skin but using lots of makeup, etc. Is all of this helping or hurting?

With that question in mind, may I present to you, without comment, Glamour's 9 Things You Can Do When A Guy's Not Around:

1. One word: extraction. Follow up with an anti-blemish salicylic acid gel.

2. Break in those new five-inch heels. Strut around your house and accessorize with a pair of keratin manicure gloves.

3. Wax your happy trail. If you're doing larger areas, blast Pink so you can scream as loud as you want.

4. Try out clip-on bangs to see if you should do the chop. Go to the grocery store to gauge reaction.

5. Get a spray tan. Spend the next 10 hours naked while you dry.

6. Watch an aerobic sexercise DVD. Laugh hysterically. (But take mental notes for later.)

7. Apply whitening strips. Spend the 20-minute wait watching Buffy/SATC/90210 reruns, obviously.

8. Trim your bangs. Try not to trim your brows.

9. Find hiding places for: ingrown-hair aids, cold sore gel, and cellulite cream. [Ed. note: God forbid your boyfriend discover you're an imperfect human specimen!]

—Nick Axelrod

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  • Cybil Lake

    i am feeeling a LOT of different emotions when i read this - and i cant even read it - i can just skim ;-O !!!!! i kinda hate/yet relate/cringe/uncomfortable feelings....xoxo ?? how abt u?but ya gotta give it to glamour and those mags - they DRAW ya in! no matter how much u resist

  • Ana

    I remember reading this kind of magazine in high school and being really disturbed by it. The fact that everything revolved around pleasing this specific type of man that I'm not even sure why would anyone want to date was just too much at that time. I'm glad I have Into The Gloss now.

  • horangi113

    Yes, well... everyone likes sausage, but no one likes to see how sausage gets made.

  • Janine Wanderlust

    oh dear, wrath upon a woman who didn't get a secret hiding places for her cellulite cream...

  • Sarah Decowski

    Thank you Nick for this! Articles like this make me cringe because it's directed towards younger women (like me) telling us that we need to 1. Be perfect 2. Hide the fact that we're trying to be perfect 3. All this so we can get a man. Okay okay, I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years so it's hard for me to have a good perspective on what it's like to be dating someone new. But it all seems so secretive and high stress to me.


  • fairytalesandcoffee

    glamour and their ilk no where near as bad as cosmo...shudder...but I picked up cosmo to see what changes Joanna Coles did to mag - not enough...but these types of articles always annoyed the hell out of me. Why I don't read them. Page filler as far as I am concerned.

  • Ksenia De Brueker

    Haha so funny! In fact guys like everything that girls normally don't like about themselves!

  • Anna Red

    Happy Trail? Jesus Christ. I stopped reading women's mags years ago, thanks for reminding me why.

  • Sindhu R.

    I think that is a divisive headline and that it's going to receive a lot of criticism but I have a respect for Glamour because of the sharp writing. Yes, doing anything to please a man is annoying but I think the writing is pretty witty and self-aware which is refreshing.

  • Kiki

    I can't read these magazines anymore exactly because of articles like this. Everyone is different with a different taste (not to mention perversions!) - a fact that editors seem to forget.

    But what really bothers me is the fact that they think women need a "what to do when he's not around" guide. Live a life for example? I haven't had a boyfriend in three years - but lived in three different countries, met a lot of interesting people, learned a lot about myself and found out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Not to mention that while doing all that, I learnt to speak another language fluently. Yet, according to these magazines, I'm supposed to be unhappy and spending my time waxing my bikini line and going to the grocery store to see people's reactions at my new haircut,,, In 2013.

    (And what's with that editor's note: God forbid your boyfriend discover you're a imperfect human specimen! I know it was meant to be funny but in the end the article suggest just that... )

  • Coquette & Dove

    God that's depressing. You can't trim your bangs when a man is around? Why's that? In case he figures out your dirty little secret, that your hair actually grows?! Thank god for being old enough to see through all that BS!

    • Madeline

      This comment made me laugh so hard. Thank you. You're the best.

  • merylfriedman

    Welp! I will admit I wanted to pick up this issue of Glamour (which I don't think I have EVER purchased in my whole life) because I just read "How to Be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran (which is a super funny feminist book) and then I read Zooey Deschanel's covert story includes the great line "I want to be a f--king feminist and wear a f--king Peter Pan collar. So f--king what?" But if I buy it, I see I will have to skip everything else.

  • Avalon

    Lame. Why is it a handful of guys interviewed get to choose how an entire slew of women make themselves over in hopes of attracting men. If men thought this way truly, Maxim/Playboy etc would be out of business. Nothing about those women are natural.

  • Sara Scott

    Love this! I adore Zoey D. and almost picked up this month's Glamour to pine over her bangs, but I could not help but feel like the whole magazine reminded me of Teen Magazine. I'm in my 30's. I am accomplished, independent and not worried if "he" likes anything. I am about what I LIKE.

  • Michele Crenshaw

    My current boyfriend saw me with no make-up and a ponytail on our second date...walking my dogs. I'm not going to sweat that stuff anymore. Besides, I have permanent eyeliner and lash extensions...HAHAHA

  • Tori

    You hit the nail on the head. I'm always disturbed to see these types of articles, knowing how widely they're circulated and the young readers they reach (and are shaping). Equally disturbing are any sort of relationship/sex guides built on such impersonal and weird, consumer-type principles.

    I DO whole-heartedly think this *contributes* to "why women are so messed up concerning guys and what they want."

    I think that Into the Gloss is a great, fun sight and I would love to see more pieces like this, that probe culture and point to bigger picture ideas.

  • Christine Kim

    lists like this...exactly why I don't read glamour or any of the other women's interest crap magazines anymore.

  • L

    A-MEN. I was just thinking about this after reading the same issue—I live with my boyfriend, and frankly, the prospect of not doing any of my grooming while he's around is a depressing one indeed. And frankly, if you're with someone who's going to judge any/all of your beauty and grooming habits, or be grossed out by your cellulite cream (which...why even bother in the first place? we all got it!), then the problem has more to do with him than it does with you. I can't imagine how exhausting it would be to keep that charade up all the time...

  • Ann

    Haha, I love your list!

    God, I wish women's mags could stop diminish their readers with "Do You Know What Guys Like" lists. Hello, it's 2013. We're smarter than that.

  • mlle p

    And of course, didn't GQ have the men's version? "Guys, don't trim your toenails, pick your teeth, readjust your man parts unless you're alone!" That'll be the day.

  • mickharper

    At your service! I'll weigh in on the natural vs done-up conundrum, but just keep in mind, this is just on bro's opinion and this bro worked at Teen Vogue.

    I've never worn makeup myself other than for a play in 8th grade, but my best analogy would be to mixing music (random, sorry). If you've ever recorded a song, it's very easy to get carried away putting in tons of reverb and effects. So your best bet is to keep turning up the knobs until you hear them -- then turn them back 10% and you're golden. Same thing for adding spices when you're cooking.

    In truth, this really is a "different strokes for different folks" type thing, but if you find yourself in a situation where you think "I should put on a lot of makeup for the ______ party" or "I want a makeup artist to come over and do up my bridesmaids and I before the ceremony" -- my general rule of thumb would be: check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    • CFH

      you're awesome. I stand by the "get fully dressed, then remove one accessory" rule of thumb. to each his/her own lexicon!

  • sally

    You guys are awesome!

  • Annie

    I used to have several grooming habits that I kept hidden from an ex. One night he basically sat me down and was like , "Look, I know what you're doing. I don't think the fact that you do ____ and ____ is weird, but it's weird that you are hiding it from me. Do whatever you want. You're beautiful. I don't care." It's true that we're not together anymore, but that's the kind of guy I want to date, not the dude in the Glamor article who wants me to have pink lips but hates kissing goo.

  • Lucy Apted

    I love this! I just laughed out loud. xxx

  • Celleste

    Augh, more like "9 step recipe for disaster".

  • KD

    Not sure why Into the Gloss feels Glamour is in the wrong having men dictate what women should do with themselves, but it's okay for their own writer? We need another male voice on female beauty like a hole in the head. I don't care what you, as a man, have to say about what I do with myself. Full stop. This article is just as bad as Glamour's- or maybe worse for its self-righteousness.