Women’s Magazine Quizzes: A Digression

It’s a code.

Hahaha, right, it’s not exactly like the horrible book that became the movie with Tom Hanks and the evil person with albinism (which is a thing, obviously.)

You know what I mean: a) is for women who are dumb in one direction, b) is for women who are dumb in the opposite direction, c) is for women who can count and buy women’s magazines and want to feel marginally better about their choices.


When you and your man go out for dinner, who pays the check?

a) I don’t think women should touch money, as it discolors their beautiful fingers unless they wear gloves, like Scarlett O’Hara should have when she was trying to shake Rhett down for money when she went to visit him in prison.
b) I always pay, because bloody gender warfare scorched earth last womyn standing we live in communes like Ariel Levy wrote about.
c) Sensible something about who asked who and who makes more money and we take turns.



In the depths of history, as a girl with no disposable income and parents who used Wite-Out to remove the golliwogs from Enid Blyton and banned Barbies, I only had access to two kinds of magazines:

1. The December 1994 issue of Allure, which I bought after finding ten dollars on the floor of the Toronto train station, and read until it fell apart some years later (from memory: juice fasting, Christy Henrich, how to find discontinued perfumes in a pre-eBay world, and what you can use as an eyelash curler if you have an unexpected sleepover — spoon.)

2. Magazines I stole from my prettier cousin Erin. My grandmother liked to tell us that Erin was the pretty one, and I was the smart one, so you can imagine how well both of us did with that little tidbit of information. Erin had every single issue of YM, and had them arranged chronologically in bookshelves that wrapped around the bottom of her bed. I wanted to consume her and absorb her chicness through my esophagus.

And, in one of those delicious, purloined magazines, there was a quiz.

It was about exercise, which, since I was probably eight, was not super relevant to my interests, but the question was something like: “After you exercise, how sweaty are you?”

For which the three available responses were, verbatim:

a) “So dry you don’t even need a shower.”
b) “Super-sweaty and kinda gross.”
c) “Totally sweat-city.”

And, I feel like c) is probably the answer they were looking for, but I cannot tell the difference between the weird 1990s jargon of b) and c) to save my life, and have thought about it at least once a week since I read it, and will, perhaps, go to my grave wondering, even though now I subscribe to about eight women’s magazines and keep them chronologically arranged in bookshelves in my guest room for my pretty and smart nieces to steal.

Is it better to be super-sweaty and kinda gross, or totally sweat-city?

Can you tell me?