Thursday, January 10, 2008

Most Definitely "in"

So, apparently I’m “in.”

All right, that’s a gross personalization (as opposed to generalization) of a trend, but I’m applying it to myself.

I am an avid reader of Entertainment Weekly. I subscribe to two magazines, the other being Newsweek, in order to feel connected with my world and surroundings. My job also has a nice program where they order magazines and circulate them through interested personnel; through this, I am “subscribed” to Time, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, but with a bizarre irregularity. (I often get 3 copies of each at the same time and am not able to read any of any of them. Therefore I read the short stories in The New Yorker, look through Time for anything interesting, and completely disregard The Atlantic and send them all on to their other waiting readers.) I say this so that, even though I do love my Entertainment Weekly, you will know I am not just a pop-culture moron whose only worldly concern is whether Britney has yet gone the way of Anna Nicole. I will take this down if she does.

So Entertainment Weekly, for those not in the know, has a feature called The Shaw Report which labels trends In, Five Minutes Ago, and Out. One of her recent trend successions goes: “In, Widow Lit; Five Minutes Ago, Mommy Lit; Out, Chick Lit.”

My book definitely falls into the category of Widow Lit. Hooray! I’m “in”!

I have never been “in” in my life.

When I was a teenager I decided to buy those incredibly trendy Minute glasses, with the oversized round frames. Unfortunately the pictures I had seen of those very cute Minute glasses had very thin lenses in them. My lenses were...not thin. In fact, for anyone in the know, my prescription in high school went from -7 to -9. this is not on the 20/20 or 20/whatever scale, because it’s a comparison of what people can see at 20 feet; I saw zero at 20 feet. I literally could not see one foot (my own, or distance) or more than three inches. (This is not legally blind, because the definition of legally blind is that you can’t see 20/20, or anything close to it, even with correction. With correction, I had 20/20 vision, at least until I changed another whole diopter, which happened with frightening regularity.) So those adorable Minute frames were the diameter of Coke bottle bottoms, lending an awful literalness to the term “Coke bottle glasses.” My head and eyes were distorted and shrunken, and the lenses (Featherweights!) stuck out of those cute Minute frames by about half an inch. In my next pair of glasses, we decided “smaller is better,” especially since, by then, my prescription had gone to -11, topping out at -12.

I had Lasik surgery at age 23, which was before it was officially “in.” Maybe this made me avant garde, but I was not “in.” My prescription has edged up a little since the Lasik, and now I own a pair of trendy Tina Fey glasses (or as my brother calls them, “smart girl glasses,”) but I don’t wear them because most of my day is spent at a computer screen and I only need them for long distance. I wear them to drive, which I do about twice a year. I’m not “in.”

I don’t like diets, so I refuse to try anything that’s “in,” like Atkins or Zone or Marilu Henner’s plan. I won’t do Jenny Craig. So not in. (Then again, the celebs who pitch Jenny Craig are even farther from “in” than I am...because they were “in” at one time, and I wasn’t, so while I’m still just “not in,” they’re “out.” Hmm.)

I don’t buy trendy clothes, because quality trendy clothes are expensive, and if I sucked it up and bought the quality trendy clothes they’d be out within a year and I’d have to revamp my entire wardrobe once again. I could shop at H&M, but the few items I’ve bought from them (bordering dangerously on “in”) start unraveling on the second wearing.

I don’t have trendy hair. In fact, after my last haircut, I looked into the mirror and thought, “My goodness. My hair is now ‘The Rachel.’” “The Rachel” was 1995. Then again, when it dries naturally, it goes into “The Hillary.” This will never, ever be “in.” (I am temporarily solving this problem with copious amounts of gel.)

I don’t wear trendy makeup. Makeup tends to go in fads, like sparkly one year and matte the next...but all in various shades of pink. I can’t wear pink; I look like an old lady who buys Wet ‘n’ Wild on sale.

(So maybe I’m not “in”...but I did just get an email that said I have won the European lottery! I’m not in but I’m rich! don’t need to enter contests to win them, do you?)

All of these reasons why I am not “in.” But...I am the author of the book that, for whatever it’s worth, has been classified by Entertainment Weekly, as “in.” Line up! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Because in five minutes, they’ll be “five minutes ago.”


Andrea said...

Wow, Widow Lit is a category? I'm so far from "in" that I evidently have never even heard of it.

Kathryn Maughan said...

I hadn't heard of it either, but there it was, in Entertainment Weekly. Of course, it was waiting in my "to be read" stack when I got back from a 2 1/2 week Christmas vacation, so maybe it's already five minutes ago...

Kathryn Maughan said...

In fact, I just Googled "widow lit," and it was designated a category by Publisher's Weekly in 2004. My blog post on widow lit put me at #7 on the Google results.