“And Baby Makes Two.” What couldnbe more creative than getting pregnantnat the age of 40 by “a rock musiciannstill in his 20’s”? And what could be anbetter alternative than deciding “marriagenis out of the question”? (Whennfeminine identity is simply a matter ofn”attitude,” you can be as creative as allnget-out.) And under the heading ofn”new ideas,” we have the results of anstudy that produced the “unexpected”nfinding that couples “who stay togethernhave commitment, each to the othern. . . and are possessive of each other.”nApparently this is news to women whongo around getting pregnant by rocknmusicians they don’t want to marry.nFor New Woman readers whonhaven’t reached the commitment stagenbut would like to, there are articles liken”Last Chance for Love” (how “attractive,narticulate, circumspect” peoplencan end their loneliness and find someonento marry) and “20 Ice-BreakingnQuestions” to ask a man on a first date,nquestions that will help a womann”know someone deeply” and “maximizenthe opportunity for intimacy.”nAfter reading through this list, I’d saynthe writers, two women, are correct inntheir claim that these questions cann”turn a man’s head around.” Beingnmarried, I haven’t been dating muchnlately; but I’m sure that if I did go on andate, I could get a man’s attention realnquick by asking, perhaps on the way tona movie, “Do you believe in God?nWhat is your concept of Him/Her?”nIt is a sign of the times that anmagazine can call itself “intelligent”nand its readership “liberated” whilenpublishing the kind of first-date advicenthat once was thought appropriate onlynfor teen magazines aimed at anxietyriddennadolescent girls. It is a furthernsign of the times that this same publication,nin the same issue, runs a singlenmen’s discussion of “men’s viewsnabout women” in which a man namednMarshall reveals that one of his leastnfavorite experiences is being askednprobing personal questions on a firstndate. So what is New Woman actuallynsaying on this subject? It seems to bensaying that it’s a great idea to grill a firstndate with intimate questions, so long asnyou avoid going out with Marshall.nThe magazine makes one more passnat motherhood, with a short essayncalled “Watching My DaughternGrow.” As a way to talk about herself.nthe writer, a New Woman Mom,nchooses as her subject her daughter’snarrival at puberty. “[T]he odds arenawfully good that her breasts will benbigger than mine,” Mom writes. “WillnI be able to avoid shifting into ancompetitive mode?” The question,nmuch less the answer, is too revoltingnto contemplate. But then, this is anwriter filled with “sadness” becausenher growing daughter is now that muchncloser to being “a woman in a worldnthat does not treat its women well.”nAnd maybe she has a point. Whennmothers can publicly exploit theirndaughters’ feminine milestones for nongreater purpose than moldy politicsnand biological sentimentality, thennsome females really aren’t being treatednvery well — at least not by othernfemales.nNew Woman arouses in me a feelingnI never thought possible: a sense ofnnostalgia for trivialities like fiesta ricenrecipes and easy kitchen makeovers.nMaybe I can kick the feeling withnLear’s, the fine-looking new monthlynpublished for “the mature woman,”nage 40-plus, a category I happen to fallninto. It could be an interesting experiencento have someone else tell menwhat’s on my mind.nSo what IS on the mind of us maturenwomen? Let’s run through the Maynissue of Lear’s and find out. First off, anluncheon interview conducted by editornFrances Lear with talk-show hostnLarry King. The best moment in theninterview comes when King, sly foxnthat he is, covers his sexual and politicalncredentials in one deft stroke bynstating that he could “never go to bednwith [a woman] who didn’t know whonAdlai Stevenson was.” Mrs. Learnseems pleased but skeptical. “Never?nNo exceptions at all?” she asks. “No,nno, no,” insists the maturity-lovingnKing.nNext, a column on how women cannget the maximum financial settlementnin a divorce proceeding. No youthfulnromantic notions here. Women arenadvised to plan from the beginningn”for the contingency that a marriagenmay end in divorce.” This is followednby a piece on backgammon.nMoving on, we come to a lengthynarticle on the digestive system, one thatnis memorable for two reasons. First, itnplaces a detailed description of everynunpleasant digestive problem known tonnn(wo)man under the rather charmingnheading “Digestive Snafus.” Second, itnis illustrated with a photograph of annude woman. Lear’s being an unmistakablynfeminist publication, this nakednfemale can’t possibly be intended asnsome kind of cheap eye-grabber. Butnsince nudity is not a requisite for digestion,nit’s hard to view her as a medicalnillustration. Then why is she there?nAnd why is her hand resting gracefullynbetween her breasts? And what is shenthinking of as she looks dreamily offninto space? Gallstones? Lactose intolerance?nAdlai Stevenson?nNext, another article on divorce, thisnone featuring less-than-famous womennwho have either dumped or beenndumped by famous Hollywood husbandsnand are now trying to “emergenfrom divorce with a new definition ofnself,” presumably something othernthan “divorcee.” The consensusnamong these ex-wives is that divorce 1)nis a devastating, disorienting, deeplynpainful experience and 2) has its positivenside. For readers who need evennmore information on divorce, the articlenincludes a sidebar on DivorcenAnonymous, a Southern Californianself-help group in which lots morendivorced people are redefining themselves.nAfter that, in rapid succession, wenfind a superficial piece on Rose Styron,nwife of the novelist William Styron; anlavish photo spread of women smokingncigars; a book excerpt called “WhatnReally Happens in Bed” (silly me, Inhad assumed that one of the advantagesnof not being born yesterday was thatnyou didn’t need instruction on whatnreally happens in bed); and an interminablenaccount by Pete Hamill of hisntrip to a fat farm.nThis last one surprises me. I havennever read anything by Pete Hamill innwhich he wasn’t either continuing hisnmourning for the passing of John Kennedynand Camelot or bitching aboutnthe heartlessness of government. Andnnow here he is, posing barechested in ansombrero, talking about submittingn”my Irish peasant’s feet to a pedicure”nand yammering on about a recurringndream involving Bette Midler, a Mexicannvolcano, and a pizza.nExcuse me if I feel gypped, not tonmention depressed. Someone finallynpublishes a magazine for the womannwith a few years on her and this is whatnOCTOBER 1989/51n