Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reading on the Other Side of the Fence

I forgot to make a big splash over here about the fact that my latest book, Not Another New Year’s, is excerpted in January’s Cosmopolitan magazine! It’s the "Red Hot Read" of the month. Cool, yes? So consider this my big splash, and now I’ll go on to blog about what I really want to blog about.

Every once in a while I pick up a few men’s magazines to get into “guy” head space. When I’m starting a new book (like I am now) I need to figure out my characters and wouldn’t you guess that the women are always easier to flesh out than the dudes. So I find that the “lad mags,” you know, like Esquire, Men’s Health, Maxim, Details, offer me a window into the male world.

I was reading Men’s Health at the gym on the stepmill when one of my sweat buddies, Katherine, joined me on the adjacent machine. I thanked her for giving me someone to chat with and so distract me from the exercising, though I added that the lad mag was pretty distracting in itself. That it was enlightening to see what men were interested in. She glanced over at the glossy pages of beautiful people. “Is it really that different than what women are interested in?”


Guys are interested in cars and gadgets and adventures that other guys take that involve spending blood and/or bullets. This takes up the same space as the articles on the “New Bright Eye” or “How to Look Slimmer in Blue” that show up in or magazines.

Where women read articles about making the time with their children quality time, guys are reading about just making some kind of time for their kids.

Guys want to know how to have more sex. They want to know how to make their wives and girlfriends want more sex. Women’s magazines have articles on how women can get a man to want to take them out to dinner. I see a problem developing.

Magazines catering to men have articles on the very minimum wardrobe a man can get away with. This is a foreign idea to women, and is why you’ll never see a story in Glamour entitled “Why You Don’t Need Seven Pairs of Black Shoes.” Because of course everyone knows you need at least eight.

Both kinds of magazines have Q & A columns, and I always love those. Women ask questions like “Can I date my friend’s brother even though I once didn’t tell her her latest haircut made her look skanky?” The guy magazine I just read had a question like this (no lie): “How do I convince the new woman I’m dating that my DVD collection of over 150 slasher films doesn’t mean I’m weird?” They actually came up with an answer. “Explain that you take them seriously by tossing around some film-critic type phrases.” Um, dudes, don’t bother. Any woman in her right mind has already left the premises and is in a cab speeding away as fast as she can, while at the same time calling Cingular to change her cell phone number.

So, all in all, it’s always an interesting experience when reading on the other side of the fence. Always something new to learn about men. This time, it was about the effect of too much booze on a man’s sexual performance. Who knew it was called “brewer’s droop?”

Do you ever read on the other side of the fence? Men’s magazines or even a male author who writes books that seem particularly male-centric?


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

I'm so annoyed with Blogger -- it's been down all morning!! But I'll give it another shot...

With four brothers, I've always found men's magazines interesting. And I really like Men's Health--it's got the best Q&A and interesting little factoid columns about things men are interested in...mainly sex and how they can get more of it! You're so right about that, Christie! LOL

And BTW, Christie, I think you capture men's voices wonderfully well in your books!!

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

And Wooohoooo on the Cosmo excerpt!!!!! I'll pick up a copy this afternoon!!!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

I'm trying this comment again. Blogger is being a butthead today.

Having brothers really helps in getting "male," Kate. With four of them you've got to be an expert. I only have one bro but I'm surrounded by men now. Surfer Guy, Son 1 and Son 2, all their friends. It helps.

I also read male authors...what about you? Harlan Coben and James Rollins are auto-buys for me.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, yeah, so psyched! Blogger's working for me again!

At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only hope you are wondering these things about men mags because Joey Caruso is wondering the same thing. Please tell me that is your next story!


At 8:09 AM, Blogger Louise said...

OMG...I just spit out my cereal reading this. This is hilarious! No wonder you do such a great job capturing the male pov.

And congrats on the Cosmo excerpt!!!! That's huge!


At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Barbs said...

Yes I couldn't get my comments posted here yesterday either! Darn

Just don't get any men's mags to read but I'm glad you do. Your male pov is great!

Congrats on the Cosmo excerpt and $1. off NANY Border's coupon

Have a great Wednesday, ladies!

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

barbs: I didn't know about the Borders coupon. Cool!

Louise, I'm telling you. Read a men's magazine and you'll understand the guys WAY better. But beware. You may wish you hadn't!

Sandy: I'm 'fessing up that I don't have a pub date for Joey's story at the moment. There's a new trilogy coming up before that. I know, I know, Joey's pissed about it too. I'll figure out something.


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