I just received my first issue of True Romance magazine.
Some readers might be wondering why I would pick up such a magazine. But it goes further than that, folks. I am a full-on subscriber. Certainly I am not a member of this periodical’s target market. But I’m still a fan.
And I’m not the only one. All across the world, people are starting to catch on to the phenomenon. True Romance is THE new MUST-READ mag. And all credit is due to Assistant Associate Editor Gia Portfolio.
True Romance is a story magazine. Most of the stories are written by readers, and from what I’ve read, they share a few common themes. In “The Love Lottery”, Clare, a woman who has been through a bitter divorce and now works as a tired clerk in an electronics company, wins the lottery and builds the house of her dreams. But things look bad when her ex-husband comes around looking for a share of the money. Clare escapes to her parents’ house for a week, where she runs into an old flame who gets the impression that Clare is in financial trouble because she says she is “not working right now” and at one point has her credit card rejected in front of him. They quickly fall back in love and he proposes, promising to take care of her through this difficult time. The story fades to black as Clare thinks, “Tomorrow I’ll tell him I’m a millionaire, but tonight I’ll just let him love me.”
Millie Bauer, a lonely seamstress whose loving husband died years ago, begins falling for a mysterious customer in “The Princess Dress”. But her feelings are reserved as she knows that the tall dark ex-football player she is smitten with is planning on lying to his little daughter about the dress Millie is making for her. Warren is going to tell the little girl that her mother made the dress – she had promised to do so but never did, as she is a lying drug addict. Millie eventually refuses Warren because she needs honesty in her relationship, and so Warren tells his daughter the truth, and the three of them live happily ever after.
Nina, whose battle with breast cancer was made even worse by her jerk husband leaving her after her masectomy, finds courage and romance by taking a city-slicker tourist package to a Colorado ranch, in the story with by far my favorite title, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” Nina has serious issues with her appearance, having only one breast and all, and for a long time could not even look at herself in the mirror. But all those fears and self doubts wash away as she basks in the rugged good looks and soothing compassion: “It’s not the breasts I love, Nina, but the whole woman.” Awww.
In all seriousness, though, I’m really proud of Gia for getting her first post-college job. The best part of the magazine is the column she writes each month: “The Couple Connection: Gia’s Guide to Good Lovin'”. In it she discusses ways for couples to keep the flame burning in their relationships, and she comes up with some good reading. For the October issue (yeah my mag arrived a little late – not sure how many subscriptions they have in China), in addition to her usual tips for having fun on a small budget, she has written a list of he & she Halloween costumes.
Still, I’m not sure about some of the advertisers. There is a full page opposite the contents (prime location) pitching the “First-ever John Wayne Stained Glass Panorama“, which is self-illuminating, hand-numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Get yours today for only $135 (available in 4 installments of $33.75) and saddle up with a true legend!
UPDATE: I am not the only one writing about True Romance, apparently. Peter Carlson of the Washington Post filed this piece about the “True” series phenomenon. It is worth reading for its insight into how such magazines are so successful – and they are successful. The “True” series was started in 1919. As Carlson writes:
Today, Dorchester Media — publisher of True Story, True Confessions, True Romance, True Experience and Black Confessions — sells about a million copies a month, about half of them by subscription, says John C. Prebich, Dorchester’s CEO. The main audience, he says, is older women living in rural America.
“A typical reader that I hear from will say she’s from Oklahoma and she’s maybe 51 and the mother of four kids,” Prebich says. “She’ll say: ‘I started reading them when I was 12. I’d steal my mother’s copy because it was a little risque.’ And she’ll say, ‘For me, it’s therapy. I know I’m not alone. I’m not unusual. Most people have these problems.'”