6 December 2021

Shock, horror, it's True Confessions time!

| Sally Hopman
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True Confessions magazine

True Confessions magazine. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It’s True Confessions time. I just read it for the ads. Well, maybe some of the stories, but I definitely don’t look at the pictures.

Remember True Confessions magazine? It was the magazine in its day. OK, so the day/year for this magazine we found was 1963, and it was full of handsome men with shiny hair mostly called Gustavo and women who said things like, “You can just about forget differences in days of the month. Goodness knows, I do”, when advertising a particular sanitary product.

It starts, sensibly, with the cover. You literally can’t go past its alluring cover lines like, ‘Because I was mad at my wife I went into the arms of another woman’, or ‘Nobody knew the truth about us’ and what would True Confessions be without a story titled, ‘Hospital-bed confession’? Probably another magazine.

The second best bit is the Index, because it goes into a little more detail. Like Page 32, for example, there’s a delicious yarn titled, ‘Nobody loves a fat man – a true confession in pictures’, followed by, on Page 38, something that could well be related, ‘My strange obsession’.

True Confessions magazine cartoon

True Confessions magazine. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

These magazines sold like, well, really popular magazines in their day.

Yes, the stories were pure escapism, but if you spent your days waiting for your husband to come home, only to be interrupted by blasts from the vacuum cleaner or offers of a lifetime from door-to-door Encyclopaedia Britannica salesmen, they weren’t half-bad.

Then there were the ads.

‘Bedwetting stopped – without drugs, without punishment’ but by using a worrying ‘new imported appliance’. Or U-KIRIMI could develop your bust ‘in one month or your money back’. ‘Wonderful new U-KIRIMI guarantees a perfectly proportioned figure easily … quickly … privately’.

Don’t fall off your chair in surprise, but it seems back in the 1960s women had a thing about their bodies, judging by the ads. They didn’t like them – their bodies, not the ads.

Just as well that silliness didn’t last.

‘Reduce without drugs’, ‘A bathing belle or a beach wall flower – how will you look in a bathing suit this summer?’.

Then it goes into some scary details about which floppy bits you want to get rid of. Lots of cruel talk about “ungainly ankles” and even worse stuff about “bustline secrets of Hollywood stars”.

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Clearly, the editor of True Confessions believed in balanced journalism.

In between the love lost/regained/destroyed/reignited/how to lose your body weight in 60 seconds without really trying stories, there was The Real Thing. An exclusive by one Reverend Dr James Z. Nettinga, Executive Secretary, American Bible Society, entitled, ‘The most neglected book in the world’.

What book could he possibly mean? Brussels sprouts I’ve known and loved?

In case you’re in need of some spiritual guidance after reading this story this far, Dr Nettinga’s message was that the Bible was like a barometer in the home.

True Confessions couple

True Confessions magazine. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

“If it’s in poor condition – its cover worn, its pages marked and soiled – I can be pretty sure that the spiritual climate of the home is warm and sunny. On the other hand, if the Bible looks new and it takes someone several minutes to find it, I can be pretty sure that the skies of the spirit are cloudy and dark and that the family has a special need for the ministry of the church.”

Well, that’s telling you.

My favourite yarn would have to be the one titled, ‘Take her, she’s yours’.

A man called Stan, clearly a genius when it comes to understanding women, told his wife she would get along just fine when his mother came to visit. The best bit is the accompanying photo which shows Stan helping a woman who looks scarily like the dead Queen Mum, out of a train carriage while his wife, in an attractive knitted number, complete with gloves and matching shoes, glowers.

Wonder how that one will end?

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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