One of the side-effects of Jocelyn being in the States for a while is that I get to see the mail first, which is a novelty.  J has subscriptions to several magazines, and as I've been picking them up over the last two months, I've become aware that they invariably have headlines containing numbers.  It can't just be a coincidence.  Here, look:

Marie Claire:

  • 71 best beauty buys
  • Sex - 6 hot new tips for you
  • Fashion & Beauty - 720 new ideas
  • 457 New looks + 101 Ideas bonus
  • 148 Sexy, simple ideas for hair, makeup, skin
  • Shopping solutions from $5
  • 1790 Free giveaways for you!
  • 7 Sneaky reasons you're still stressed

Real:

  • Pursuit of the Perfect 10
  • Raped at 14, Prostitute at 19, Revenge at 40
  • 238 Style Secrets

Oprah:

  • 20 Surprising ways you could be putting on the pounds
  • 10 women doctors tell you how to take care of yourself
  • 14 really good answers to sex questions you'll be glad somebody else asked

Glamour:

  • The 20 best sex ideas in the world
  • 50 health secrets, for women only
  • 6 mystery moods guys get into - and how to decode them
  • Two young women have cancer.  Only one will live
  • 1,000 men & women rate everything you can do, try or say in bed
  • 314 upgrades, secrets and rules to dress by
  • 10 signs it's time to change your hair
  • The 14 things that'll never go out of style

Why is this?  What's the deal with these seemingly random numbers?  Why do the magazines feel the need to audit their content to such an exact way?  Would potential readers be more suspicious if there were only 300 secrets and rules to dress by, instead of the not-round-and-therefore-more-believable 314?

I mentioned all this to J on the phone tonight.  She basically told me that if I was this curious and wanted to read her magazines, I could go ahead and do so.  Humph.  Well, maybe a more detailed study is called for, purely in the name of scientific research, and I think this copy of Glamour with Renee Zellweger on the cover could be a good place to start...

 

Update [2004-11-11]: Heh, the new edition of Real just arrived and there isn't a single number-related headline on the cover!