Five Things I Learned From Real Simple at the Doctor’s Office: A Review

24 Jan

When the first issue of Real Simple Magazine started, I had to check it out. “How stupid do they think women are?” I asked my friend Dan. “Would they start a magazine for MEN called Real Simple?” Seriously. Check out, say, Women’s Health and Men’s Health and Men’s Health is written at at least a tenth grade level, whereas Women’s Health is so low on content you feel as if you’d have to literally chew on the paper to get any fiber from it. And Cosmopolitan! Did you know it was once a fairly well-esteemed literary magazine? It used to be at least a fun read, back in the day. Now it’s pretty much Hos Monthly.

  • “How to make Him Squeal Like a Stuck Pig.”
  • “Man Pleasing Specials That Will Bring Out the Wild Bull in Him.”
  • “How Pepper Spray can Spice Up Your Love Life.”


Ladies, is that really all we’re interested in?


Okay, it is pretty interesting. Nonetheless, isn’t there anything ELSE we’re interested in. Well, when I first got my hands on Real Simple, matters were just as I suspected. I still remember an article by a woman, a respected writer, mind you, who was amazed at the fact that if she filled up her gas tank, she was less stressed when she drove around. Mirabile Dictu! (Or, as they say in Real Simple, “Wow!”) I thought, as I read this, “Honey, are you stupid, or are you just slumming. Or is there something really deep about this observation that I’m just . . . too. . . simple .. .to get.” I mean, do I need “REAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL Simple” Magazine?


Well, over the years they’ve upped their game at least a little, because when I was at the doctor’s office yesterday, thoroughly enjoying the effects of the Percocet plus valium plus Motrin I had taken before my biopsy (which wasn’t as bad as I thought, especially under those condtions), I found ten, possibly twenty, useful pieces of information and now I shall commence to sharing them with you.


  1. CURES FOR A BROKEN HEART. If some jackanapes leaves you for his “office wife” or the so called “intern” at his office, despair not. Readers have offered a number of handy tips to heal you. Among them:
  • Gardening (this wouldn’t do it for me.)
  • Cleaning refrigerator (removing rotting food=symbolic)
  • Dog (I’m not getting one of those poop monsters)
  • Hug from mom (this would work if it were my awesome mom)
  • New recipe (oddly, I could go for this one)
  • “What went right today.” (actually I like this. )
  • “When things aren’t normal, do normal things.” (also good)

Conclusion: My husband had better not leave me.  But if I do, I have at least two and a half helpful tips.


  1. IS YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT FOR YOU? Your medical relationship isn’t all about being a doctor-pleasing Ho. Your doctor actually is supposed to be helpful for YOU. (Say what?) Like, does s/he listen to you? Really!


  1. WHAT BOOK TAUGHT YOU AN IMPORTANT LESSON ABOUT LOVE? I think this is actually a great question, and I’m going to think about it my own self.  Answers ranged from


  • children’s books  like the Velveteen Bunny, which I loathe,
  • the Bridge of Madison County (blecch),
  • to a book I actually adore, The Color of Water. If you somehow missed out on The Color of Water, ohhh—it’s the true story of a white woman who married a black man and had 12 kids, all of whom turned out to be wildly successful. The father leaves the mother, and sometimes the family is so poor that when the mother gets a job in a cafeteria, the kids all wait around until the Mom gets home with leftover sandwiches stuffed into her pocketbook, and then the kids fight over them. As a member of a large family, albeit a middle class one with perfectly adequate food supplies, I can definitely relate to this. But what is remarkable is both the son and his painstaking research and loving-fair-minded assessment (and excellent writing) and this tough, imperfect, quirky woman who pulled off with 12 kids what I find challenging with two.


  1. CHOCOLATES: YOU DO TOO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO GET. When you open a box of chocolates, it’s not like what Mrs. Gump said. Different chocolates have different shapes. (Okay, that’s the kind of tip ALMOST on the level of filling up cars with gas, but slightly better.) Also: America’s favorite chocs in a box
  • Caramel (34 percent)
  • Nut
  • Chocolate ganache.



  • Separate eggs
  • Peel garlic
  • Dispense powdered sugar

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