Editor’s note, this post was orignially entitled ”Are Dwell & Playboy Selling the Same Thing?”
I subscribe to two magazines - domino (a home design magazine) and Glamour. I really enjoy getting tidbits about fashion, makeup, and interior design - even though I realize that my life will never be able to live up to the glossy standard portrayed on the pages of these publications.
As I was thumbing through my most recent issue of domino, I came across a tiny little Q & A column (ask dara, pg 66). In it, a reader pleads for some advice,
“My boyfriend is set on buying a recliner. Is it possible to find one that’s not hideous?”
“Dara” proceeds to offer up three attractive alternatives, prices ranging from $2400 to $3600 each. All three appear to be lovely places to rest your tush, but I am pretty sure that I got my sofa (oversized and extra deep), a very mod recliner, and a designer rug for under $2k altogether about 18 months ago. At the time, that seemed like a lot of money, but I had been living on hand-me-down furniture since college and I saved specifically for the new stuff (and spent a lot of time shopping for the best deal for it), so I felt good about the purchases.
After seeing those beautiful, expensive, chairs in the magazine - my decor seems pretty blah. Media and materialism can be very powerful things.
I’ll also occasionally pick up an issue of Dwell, but no subscription (it’s kind of the Tiffany of interior design / architecture periodicals). I can’t afford a single thing between its pages, but it’s so beautifully laid out I can’t help but “window shop” every once in awhile.
What I recently realized is that these periodicals are selling a fantasy - much like Playboy or Penthouse. No man who picks up one of these girly mags thinks that he seriously has a chance with one of the scantily clad women within - but he pays for the subscription anyway - for him the fantasy is enough.
Earlier this week, Penelope Trunk wrote about what she called ”mommy porn“. Since I’m not a parent and don’t intend to become one anytime in the immediate future, all of the Hollywood baby stuff is totally lost on me. For me, it’s the home-design and fashion porn that really gets to me. I have a mountain of debt and have no business considering Jimmy Choo shoes or Stickley furniture, so for now, the fantasy is enough.
Besides, good design (like a beautiful woman) can be appreciated without being owned.Stumble it!