Are You Normal? Ask Cosmo

Judy’s office was filled with noise. The presentation for corporate was closing in– four days, six hours– and no one could sit still. No one was promised anything, but one word kept passing between people like a secret. Promotion. It was a typical word to hear on the eve of a huge presentation, but it held so much promise. If one of them got it…new house. New car. Bigger boat. The possibilities were endless.
Judy, however, was restless for a different reason. The May issue of Cosmo had just come out. It did not bring good news. Sitting next to the open magazine was a legal pad filled with notes in black. Note taking committed the information to memory. Statistics, positions– Judy relied on that three dollar sex bible to keep her relationship happy. Spontaneity only ever left her digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s alone on a Saturday night. The spontaneity was in which flavor she chose.
She gingerly put down her can of diet Coke (good luck getting her to eat anything else for lunch. She would have a snack of precisely eight carrots and one tablespoon of hummus later. See page 81 of May’s issue.) to take up reading again. “Are you Normal?” the quiz asked. She picked up her pen in quiet response.

1. Be Honest. How many new positions do you try every month?
a) I have a copy of Cosmo’s 365 sex positions on my nightstand. It’s great for giving me ideas 😉
b) 2 or 3? We’re ripping each other’s clothes off so quickly that we’re not paying attention to which position we’re in.
c) I know what I like and I like what I know. We might introduce some new moves soon.

Judy went through each answer slowly. Her and James had been together a year now. They had never sat down and talked about trying different positions. They normally rolled around in bed and, well, kept at it. Would that make her answer B or C? They weren’t sex maniacs or anything. She nodded once and circled C. The answer key, saturated in hot pink, delivered the bad news. “Forty three percent of readers answered A. Way to go ladies! As for the rest of you, add some spice to your sex life!”

Oh no.
Oh no no.

This was the beginning of the end. James would realize that they were relying on a handful of basic positions. He would see the possibilities with his new secretary. Add in a few late nights, two or three glasses of wine…
She would get dumped. Her mother would be right. She wasn’t interesting enough to hold on to a boyfriend. She would die alone.


It wasn’t too late. Waterstone’s was only a block from the office. She could surreptitiously pop in, get the addendum to the bible, pick up a new legal pad, and start scrawling. Work, promotion, money, paled in significance to making sure that she was like everyone else in her relationship.

She inhaled so her stomach puffed out, then exhaled through her nostrils. Just one question. It was pure chance she was an outlier. The next question would show she was normal, just like every other woman.

2. Your boyfriend wants to watch you get yourself hot and bothered. What do you say?
a) I’d rather him do it, actually.
b) I love that my boyfriend is into that. Goes both ways, if you know what I mean.
c) That’s a private thing, thank you very much.

There was no such thing as TMI with Cosmo. Judy let the pen rest between her teeth. James wasn’t selfish by any means. He would start, but after a few minutes, they moved on, you know, together. It was just… she shook the sentiment out of her head. A. It was way hotter when he did it. Back to the answer key: “Thrity nine percent of you said A. You got that right!”

She was normal! Glory hallejuah! It was worth it. Clearly Cosmo didn’t see the point in saying anything if things didn’t go just as Judy would plan. And if Cosmo didn’t see the problem…then there must not be one.

She crossed her legs and loosened her hair. She flipped to a new page in her legal pad. She ran her fingers through the glossy pages until she reached the center of the magazine. New sex tips. She spent the rest of her lunch break copying.


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