A Glimpse at a Better Life, Just $3.99 a Pop

I had a period after college where I really loved to read gossip rags. You know the kind: US Weekly, OK!, and People (though it’s a bit less of an offender). Plus, a couple of times per day, I’d peruse Perez Hilton and TMZ for all the intrusive bits the weekly rags didn’t have.

And though the words were fun to read, I was really in it for the pictures. The gritty ones, taken with telephoto lenses longer than a standard rifle. Stars in their element, where they thought they were safe. But they’d find out a few hours later that they weren’t, just as soon as their pic went to the highest bidder.

I don’t know why I got so into this, but I have an idea.

In college, we’re still thinking about what our lives could be. What job we could snag, where we could move, what cool apartment/friends/experiences we could have.

But when you’re out of college, reality hits. You’re at your first job. You’re making money (invariably not enough), and “real” work kind of sucks. There’s nothing really cyclical about it like college. There’s no summer break/internship to pine over. There’s no safety net of cramming before a test or dropping a troublesome class. There’s just reality: bills, the work week, life.

And though I was happy, working my first couple of newspaper jobs with my awesome (and also new) husband, I suppose I needed an escape.

And what better escape than spying on someone whose real life is much more exciting than your own?

Plus, I didn’t have to dirty my hands with the actual spying myself. Nope, I could just pay $3.99 or type in a well-worn web address and I had all my spying done for me. The words and pictures setting scenes in lavish places I’d never been to and probably never will, with beautiful people and big drama and huge dreams.

I don’t seek out those magazines much anymore, except for the occasional People buy at the airport. I’m not even sure if Perez or TMZ are still functioning (though they probably are). And if I do happen to see one of those grainy shots of celebs in their element, I feel guilty even looking.

Maybe my change in heart has to do with growing up. Or maybe it’s because I have a family of my own (those pics of celeb kids are kind of terrifying). Or maybe it’s because my own life keeps me busy and doesn’t leave me wanting to live vicariously through a starlet or two.

I’m not sure, but this sort of spying through a medium has lost its luster for me. Now, I’d much rather spy on the kiddo and his cousins at the kids’ table on Easter Sunday.

How have your tastes in spying changed over the years?


6 thoughts on “A Glimpse at a Better Life, Just $3.99 a Pop”

  1. TMZ is still in business. I think it’s a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” thing. You’ll never live like that, but man, look at those houses! What if…?

    Yeah, I used to flip through the gossip rags at the dentist’s office. Now, I’m much more likely to read an ebook or catch a quick nap. Yes, once you’ve got a zillion things going on in your own life, things change (and yes, those celeb kid pics are creepy – I wouldn’t want people stalking me that way).


  2. At one time I was so into the Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck gossip that I programmed Google to send me an alert any time there was something said about them! I think you’re right about the motivation. Those magazines do provide a certain level of escape, but it gets weird when people start to think they know these celebs based on what they read.


  3. Agree with you and the others’ comments! I used to love those kind of mags but focus has definitely shifted away. Very interesting post!!

    Has anyone else seen DIRT? It was a short-lived show about a gossip magazine…very, very dark. I binge-watched it on DVD one summer and found it haunting.


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