Friday, May 27, 2016

How to Write a Celebrity Profile for a Women's Magazine

The Blood Bather will be back next week, friends. I need to edit the second half of it. In the meantime, please enjoy the following post.


     When I was 30 years old, I had to face the fact that Vogue magazine was no longer aiming towards my demographic. The book that I had slavishly devoted my allowance and paycheque to month after month year after year had abandoned me in favour of 14 year olds. Which was a shock because when I was 14 the magazine was devoted to cool 30 year olds who filled the pages with reminiscences of their fascinating lives well-lived to that point. These articles, these pictures, their memories, these women literally formed my overall world view of what women could be and achieve by drawing the past and being open to the opportunity of the future. They were professionals who had married into European royalty and women who were using their family’s money to create a better world. They were arcane writers and actresses with actual talent or a bonafide education or a resume that was longer than 6 months or a combination of all three (the original triple threat). They were happy, they were healthy, they were hippies, and I'd like to know where the hell they went. Suddenly, because it felt sudden, the magazine began to feature women I had never heard of, who themselves had barely heard of Vogue, who had only been famous for fifteen minutes and who Vogue wanted me to believe were some sort of acting savants, ready to redefine the medium. It's ironic that they all were tall blond and skinny. It's sad this went unmentioned, but not surprising. Vogue used to the place that questioned whether Taylor Swift would be as successful as she is, if she looked differently than she does. (Read: The Pinkprint deserved a Grammy)

I don't read Vogue anymore. My first Rolling Stone featured Prince. I don't read Rolling Stone anymore after they put a man I had never seen before on the cover. I later learned his name was "Clay Aitkin". That wasn't helpful because I don't choose my music using a game show. I don't read Cosmo anymore because I've already mastered all the sex manouvers I wanted to in this life. I don't read the paper anymore because I don't have that kind of time and I have never purchased a tabloid, so I'm not going to start now.

But if you want to learn how to write a female celebrity profile, here's a step by step guide featuring all you need to know:

1. Put objectivity aside and start the article with a long boring paragraph detailing your various preconceived misconceptions about the subject, while still outlining the ways in which you are a true blue fan girl before the next paragraph where you actually meet the person and they turn out to be "so down to earth". This keeps the article seemingly relevant while not upsetting the people who purchased the magazine in the first place.

2. Ask a softball question about the really tough preconceived misconceptions the subject faces. This provides an opportunity for the subject create an agenda for the interview without seeming like they are hijacking the piece. For example, "a perceived misconception about me is that I am angry at X when really we are the best of friends!" The subject will "prove" this by showing a few key pictures to the author that will not be published in magazine, keeping your reader hungry enough to buy more information about the subject. Excellent tie-ins include referencing a favourite charity or foundation to combat just this issue which will help to fatten this article about nothing. Please note, the charity can not be a regular non-profit like The Red Cross or Juvenile Diabetes, it must be new and have no real paperwork or background. Bonus points for extra obscurity if it helps children in a different country and uses the word 'gluten'. Never never never mention prisons. Not even women's prisons. Not even if they are in America. While Pope Francis may have named 2016 The Year of Mercy, don't get it twisted. Mercy does NOT sell stuff.

3. If the subject is white, focus on how they rejected their privileged upbringing to become a true artist in their own right (see Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham). If the subject is non-white, include an exhaustive genealogy to illustrate the exoticness of the subject's beauty which by its very nature is too difficult for the average person to comprehend or obtain (see Johnny Depp, Rashida Jones).

4. Never ask about the mother but the grandmother is fine. The subject will invariably describe her being "cute, strong, a great role model, funny" regardless of whether she is alive or dead. Include a black and white picture.

5. Talk about food and the newest diet craze. It is imperative that you include the subject saying "I love to eat!" and follow up with a cute anecdote about what a disgusting pig they are sometimes when they eat. This will make the subject more relatable to other lady brains. Bonus points if they subject wants to be seen as a cooking or baking "maven" and include some ridiculous recipe that sounds stupid on paper but the subject "swears by" to increase their beauty/lose weight (see Gwyneth Paltrow, goop).

6. Talk about bullying. It is imperative that you include the subject saying "If people like me that's great, and if they don't that's okay too. I don't care what people think".
7. Follow up this really abrasive feminist manifesto with something fun like the subject's new fashion line. It doesn't matter that the last fucking thing the world needs is MORE cheap plastic clothes, the subject will - without question - "have their own line"'. You actually don't even need to ask the subject the question, just google it afterward because it's a given. Be sure to include that this fashion line solves some problem that had not yet been addressed in human history. Allude to the fact that the subject might be a design genius and superior than the author (read: your readers) in every way. Don't forget to include that some percentage of the profit's are directed toward the subject's "charity", creating a very effective tax evasion scheme (gloss over this using a words like "give back", "sustainable", "global warming" and "social responsibility").
8. Briefly cover the subject's personal relationship. Coy answers will be given and are preferred. End the paragraph re-affirming that a man will never define the subject, that she is an independent woman and how much her man loves that about her.
9. The interview should end with the author wishing it could have lasted longer, with a sad air of longing and abandonment because they have become such fast friends with the subject. The subject must rush off because they are so busy like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight and the author is left imagining the bright future the subject will enjoy. This will include political aspirations, a multitude of awards and the perfect marriage. Feel free to editorialize.
If you are mistakenly assigned a male subject to interview, please rigorously adhere to the following steps:
1. Ask detailed and well-researched questions about subject's current project.
2. Ask detailed and well-researched questions about the subject views on his industry as a whole and what he forecasts for the future.

3. Include an exhaustive list of beautiful women he has slept with. Get him to confirm the numbers, dates and positions then subtly indicate how this devil-may-care attitude makes him very successful in business using anecdotal evidence.
            When Vogue stopped caring about me, I switched to Playboy. It was way more informative: It had the sex manoeuvres and quizzes like Cosmo, it was streets ahead of the tabloids and the articles were better than anybody. I literally read it for the articles. They didn't deal in makeup like Vogue does but, then again, who cares when you've got so many naked chicks?
Oh, wait...

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Blood Bather: Chapter 9

The Blood Bather

Chapter 9
            Seen from the back, a boy who looked similar to the unformed man was crossing the campus towards the library. And yet much had changed.
            Gone was the toque and in its place was a fresh hair cut, his black hair washed and combed neatly to the side, reminiscent of the old superman comics he used to enjoy. He wore a white button down shirt and a pair of wool slacks instead of loose jeans and a grimy T shirt. He still carried too much weight in his middle but his arms where beginning to show some tone as he hefted his backpack, which was also slimmer by several pounds. But it was in his general gait and demeanor that the biggest change had occurred. He walked with his back erect, he was purposeful, there were no more instances of muttering and his oral hygiene was beyond compare. Yessir, much had changed.
            Not that Darryl had exactly noticed. It was more of a series of slight suggestions brought about by his new Mistress. At least that was what he liked to call her in private. Or did she suggest it? He couldn't remember. The one thing Darryl was good at was keeping a secret; that much was obvious. For a month he had lived a male fantasy of epic proportions, an every increasing variety of sexual perversions that even his former life of gay porn had barely touched on. Besides, no one would believe that he was having an affair with his professor.
            Darryl barely remembered that day in the bathroom at the library but since then his life had done a complete turnaround. Each day was spent in perfect adherence to his Mistress' schedule. He was to wake up at 6am and run on the athletic track until 7am, then shower and eat a breakfast that included protein. By 9am he should be in his first class, or barring that, in the library studying for his next one. Lunch was promptly at the noon hour and also included protein and vegetables. Gone were the junk food and the afternoon powernaps on his laptop. Darryl had not played a video game in a month, it was a miracle. He used his time during the day for assignments and cleaning his room because his evenings were spoken for and this vocation had brought the most change. His Mistress required him in her office by sundown. He was to enter even if she was not present and prepare a small soup, or some thick rich coffee that was native to her part of Eastern Europe. He would sit and drink these in a contemplative fashion until she was ready for him. It was in these quiet moments that he felt most himself, yet it couldn't be farther from the truth.
            Never before had he borne so much responsibility and executed so much effectively. He had never been so productive and engaged in his life, ever. When he opened doors, when he spoke in class, when he walked down the street, people took him seriously and no one bumped into him accidentally on purpose to embarrass him. Darryl had hardly looked in a mirror in a month but could tell that his clothes fit him differently. He was no longer fat, but beefy in an attractive way. Yesterday he had caught a woman making eye contact with him while riding on the local bus. He had stared blankly, his face still until she had looked away. This was sometimes how his Mistress looked at him before sex, like she could smell something on him. It was a major turn on.
            His Mistress of course was Dr. Elzbeta Nadasdy, his professor in Victorian Studies. She had taken his virginity and given him so much more. His training, if that was the right word, had begun so slowly. He was of course in awe of her, so when she deigned to bring him to her office he was gobsmacked. He stared at her practically open mouthed as she undressed him and threw away his clothes, into a corner. She asked that crawl on his hands and needs across the room to retrieve them. What a sight he must have made, panting and sweating from the heat of ardour and the embarrassment of her scrutiny. But he did and she was well pleased. Instead of dressing she asked that masturbate, sitting right there on the floor, leaning against the far wall as she sat in her office chair, legs crossed. He was literally mortified, in that he thought his flesh might actually die, but the passion that he generated was most satisfactory to Elzbeta. She smiled so charmingly at him he felt like a child that performed well in school and was showing her his card, instead of wiping off the mess with his old t shirt. He was exhausted.
            Elzbeta walked over with a glass of red wine and took a sip, her body statuesque in the single lamp that burned over the desk. Then she leaned over and kissed him, chastely, lip to lip, no tongue. He puckered like a fool and into his mouth she spit a small amount of wine. No, not wine, a fluid that was warm from her mouth but tasted of iron. Was it blood? No, it was sweet.
            He swallowed and felt a burst of energy, a surge of hormones directed at one spot. He stood for the first time as a man and grabbed the object of his desire, his erection jamming what must have been painfully into her hip but he did not care. Elzbeta encouraging him in a thousand different ways, with her slight laugh, the soft permissible body, her heat and the sound of whispering angels all around that guided him in the deepest recesses of brain to react on a purely sensual level. It was an unstoppable force of thrust and release as banged away at her on the desk. It was a wave that rocked within him, he at the centre at the top and rolling in the bottom, in all parts of it at once. Time for him stopped when he came with a shout of ecstasy and slowly collapsed over her on the desk, supporting his weight with his arms. When it was over he blinked with new found eyes and noted in a very bland and cerebral way that he was in Love with the golden saint that lay beneath him, defiled.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Blood Bather: Chapter 8

Chapter 8
            White Rose was carefully smearing a very thick white cream on her angular face. The process took all her attention and filled the room with a slight mineral smell. In the corner of her vanity a series of candles flickered giving the room an inviting ambience. The gentle operatic strains of la coronazione de poppea sung by the indomitable Joyce DiDonato poured out of the Bose stereo.
            Staring hard at her reflection White Rose lifted her chin and smeared the cream, thick as whitewash is to the side of a barn, on her throat. The tension in her mouth evidenced in her striated neck muscles. Despite the decor, the tension was almost palatable. With her left hand she stabbed "Call Back" on her phone for the fifth time. There was a pregnant pause - White Rose actually held her breath - and then Micah's voicemail clicked on without even ringing first. Micah's phone was off. Fucking asshole.
            In one swift motion she swiped the phone off the vanity and against the wall - CRASH - only to have it land without a sound on her bed. There was now a crack on the glass and a slight dent in the wall. Fucking FUCKING asshole. He would pay for that. With quiet and deliberate care now, a little violence always calmed her down, she carefully sealed the lid on the glass container containing the thick white cream and set it beside two other creams, each between $400 and $500 an ounce. She was comparing which one she liked best so had bought the top three recommended in last month's Vogue magazine. She wanted to find the fountain of youth.
            A knock on her door.
"Come in"
Audra entered and shut the door behind her.
"Everything okay in here, babe"
            White Rose was silently watching Audra in the mirror. Audra stared back. The malevolence was overpowering. The smells were suffocating. Her face had a sheen to it like she was feverish. Audra was familiar with this game: White Rose was seeing who would speak first. It was always a mistake to approach her too soon when she was angry, you were liable to become her punching a bag. This was a tactical error on the part of Audra but White Rose hadn't always been this way. She had started out as a pretty fun freshman, eager to be friends with everyone. Eager to put some notches on her bedpost and have a good time at college.
            But then the rot set in. It was the pressure to perform, to conform to everyone's idealized standards of beauty and success that choked the life out of her. White Rose wasn't the only one, either. Audra had a lot of compassion for what White Rose was going through. But that doesn't stop you from sleeping with her boyfriend, does it? Audra chided herself. At moments like this she didn't feel any guilt whatsoever, except...
            White Rose was crying. Her eyes became glassy as tears ran down beside her nose. Her shiny feverish face was still as sculpture and the only sound was a deep aria filling the room like smoke. Audra walked over and put her hand on the other girl’s bare shoulder. This made White Rose cry harder and she turned her head to lean on Audra's hand, making it wet with tears.
 Whitro, what is it? Audra inquired. But White Rose just sobbed all the harder. Gasping, choking, racking sobs.      
    Audra kneeled down and wrapped her arms around the seated girl. And her eyes rested on something lying in the thick carpet...a single blue bead. It was too large for a piece of jewellery, a bead that goes in someone's hair.
"Is this supposed to be what I want," she whispered into Audra's hair.
Another knock at the door. White Rose retracted with feline grace and lightening quick reflexes and immediately began daubing at her face with a Kleenex.
"Go away" White Rose shouted through the door.
"But I need you, whoreface," Sherrise bounced through the door, laughing. "Which one of these looks better? I need to interview for that research assistant position and ...oh-" Sherrise took one look at the two women and knew she was interrupting.
Sherrise: Did you tell her?
Like a flash of lightening, Audra felt a flurry of powerful emotions pass through White Rose and one brief thought: No, no, NO!
White Rose: What? That hate your outfit? You should already know that. Neither of you has any taste and I tell you all the time...
She smiled beatifically at both of them in the mirror. Something was definitely going on.

Changing the subject, Audra began by asking if either wanted to visit the Rare Book Library with her that night. She had some Victorian Studies homework to research and students could only enter with special permission from the Faculty.

"Ew! Fuck no! I'm not going to the library tonight, Felicity is on! Fucking priorities, assholes", said White Rose.
"Thanks Audra but I have no interest in that creepy excuse for a book mausoleum. I actually never go in there," sniffed Sherrise. "I might die of ennui."
White Rose, who never passed up an opportunity to remind everyone she had spent a summer in Quebec once, spat "Die of ...that's French for boredom, you idiot. You can die of boredom?!?"
"You can in France," quipped Audra, thinking that banality, or boredom, was probably the leading ingredient in all systemic evil occurrences, especially in Greek life. "Ok, you pair of hideous monstrosities, see you later."
            Audra turned her back to go and made to grab something off the floor, a piece of clothing, and place it on the bed. While down there she took a furtive moment to check out the carpet for the blue bead, but...

...the bead was gone.