Over the past two days, I've read 11 issues of GQ magazine:
GQ isn't a magazine that I regularly read, but I have a subscription for it because they gave me one for free back in October, when I registered for the Race for the Cure. I'm not sure why registering got you a free magazine, but my assumption is that the magazine publisher somehow supports the charity, and the choices offered to me were "Woman's Day" or "GQ". I have nothing against "Woman's Day", despite not being a woman, but I grew up reading it (I don't know if my mom was a subscriber or just bought it at the grocery store) and already had a pretty good idea of what was in there. I hadn't read GQ before, though, and thought it might be something different and possibly fun.
I should have stuck with Woman's Day. At least then I would have recipes.
When my first issue of GQ arrived, I opened it with curiosity. I only subscribe to two magazines, Smithsonian and Food Network Magazine, and buy all my other trashy magazines at the store. If, occasionally, I want to look at a magazine filled with attractive men I usually buy Men's Health, where they often have their shirts off, so I wasn't sure what GQ had to offer me. The answer turned out to be, "Nothing of interest", and I put the first issue aside. As issues continued to arrive I stacked them on a kitchen counter, unopened, one after the other until yesterday afternoon when I thought, "Maybe I misjudged the whole magazine based on one issue. I should give it another try."
It's possible that I'm just not their target consumer, but it's also possible that this magazine is actually garbage. Here's what I learned over the course of 11 issues:
1) Men wear shirts, and women wear bikinis. Go look at the picture above again. There are eight men on nine covers (Chris Pratt appears on two different issues) and two women. The men are all wearing shirts and, with the exception of Chris Hemsworth, aren't just wearing a shirt but are instead all in layers of clothing. There are ties, jackets, and vests, while the women are both one much smaller layer from being naked.
2) This is a magazine for people who buy things. Based on the number of cologne samples in each issue (possibly why the magazine ships in a plastic bag), one of those things is gallons of cologne, but beyond that this magazine is generally more advertisements than it is articles. In the first issue, I started turning past the ads, and didn't reach any content until page 49. That was the table of contents, and in several issues the table of contents is broken up into two separate pages with a page of advertisements between them. In trying to read these, there were several times when I had to double check to try to figure out if I was reading an article or an advertisement, because so much of the content is fashion pictorials, style guides, and suggestions on how to get "the look" from the pictorials that it blends right in to the ads for the top 5 ways to wear the men's summer looks from J. Crew. In the first issue, the first article on something that wasn't a product I could buy was on page 128.
3) I have no idea how long a quarter is. This magazine doesn't come out quarterly, despite being named "Gentleman's Quarterly".
4) Most gentlemen are apparently actors. Our covers feature six actors (seven if you count Amy Schumer), a musician, a professional athlete, and whatever Kendall Jenner's job is. I'm not 100% sure, but appearing in swimsuits on the cover of men's magazines just after turning 18 might actually be her job. Either way, the examples of gentlemen highlighted on the cover of GQ are, for the most part, actors, so I guess that's a gentlemanly job.
5) The magazine is not entirely terrible. The November 2014 issue had a really good, entertaining section on horror movies that I enjoyed reading.
The rest of this is pretty vapid and empty. I guess I'm just confused because I can't figure out who the market for this is. Pretty guys who don't want to think too much? This is like a dumbed-down issue of Cosmopolitan, and that magazine isn't known for being an intellectual juggernaut. It at least has the Agony Column, though. This? A whole lot of nothing.
I will not be renewing my subscription when the free year expires.