Saturday, December 30, 2006

Random Thought #6701

Who exactly is it that buys nudie magazines from the airport newsstands?

I have a routine when I fly that began when I regularly flew between Des Moines and San Antonio in college. To this day, I always go to the ATM, take out my requisite cash for the trip and then go buy a Sports Illustrated. Reading this magazine is pure indulgence so I save and savor it for when I have to fly.

Not surprisingly, Sports Illustrated is with all the other "men's" magazines, like Car and Driver, Muscle and Fitness, a lot of sports magazines, and, on the top row, a collection of nudie magazines that would make the Encyclopedia Britannica proud, in terms of comprehensiveness and organization.

And part of my routine is to marvel over all the selections and how one goes about choosing one magazine over another. Are the differences between Playboy and Penthouse as subtle and nuanced as the differences between Running Times and Runner's World (or Newsweek vs. Time)? Or are the stakes higher and more polar? Is it like choosing between FOX news and, well, anything else besides FOX news?

And this seems like a strange place to contemplate this because I'm in an airport, not Sex World or SuperAmerica.

And this brings me back to my original point. Who on God's green earth is buying these magazines in the airport? And why? They have been there for as long I have been regularly flying, so clearly there is a market for Playboy in the airport, otherwise they would have been pulled from the shelves a long time ago.

Is there a whole sub-type in the Annoying Traveler category that I've been missing here? I mean we've all had to sit by any of the following: screaming baby, smelly man, obese person, grunter/snorer, the conversationalist, Mr. Cell Phone, and (this one was new for me on the last trip) a girl with a small dog/rat in her purse.

But has anyone had to sit by "the crazed porn addict who can't go two hours without seeing a naked lady so he had to buy a Penthouse from the Lake Woebegone Newsstand in Terminal C of the MSP Airport"? Because I haven't. Have you ever sat next to someone who spent the whole flight from Chicago to Denver studying the dimensions of Miss February's centerfold? Again, I haven't. So if Porn Addict is indeed a new kind of Annoying Traveler, I have yet to meet him.

So I ask again, who in the hell is buying all these magazines? And why?

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