Whenever possible, I like to model my life choices on those of Gwyneth Paltrow. While we are not friends, per se, she does keep me regularly posted on her opinions. I’m delightfully refreshed by their lack of connection to the real world and such mundane concerns as the objectification of women or the pursuit of either bargains or common sense.
She reached out to me once again today with the latest edition of her online lifestyle magazine, Goop. It’s probably written by her cadre at this point, rather than by her, but one imagines them all to be equally privileged, thin and glossy, if not of Paltrow’s full movie star wattage.
It being the holidays, and therefore – sigh -- a time to think about buying for others rather than incessantly for oneself, Goop has plenty to say about the best buys for me, a rapidly shriveling writer who’s just decided that yesterday’s socks are by no means too fragrant to re-wear.
I was glad to see that post-Hillary Clinton, Goop has embraced the idea of making America great again by reminding us that there’s always been a place in this world for sexist Christmas presents. To that end, its “Lover Gift Guide” recommends a skateboard whose deck depicts the back of a naked woman with a Kim Kardashian-sized ass, presumably for the randy recipient to gaze at as he hurtles toward his traffic fatality.
Perhaps you’re aware of this trend – apparently well-off lovers, who might otherwise be terribly bored, either “gift” their gal pals with Agent Provocateur pasties that link the lady’s breasts together ($165), or Alexander McQueen’s armpit-high black leather gloves ($765). Goop impishly suggests wearing the gloves and little else, obviously not having seen most of us in rubber gloves cleaning out a shower drain.
Hostess gifts are another one of those seasonal necessities. Please don’t embarrass yourself by offering up a sticky jar of your homemade jam. Instead, purchase a box of Maman Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies – what looks to be a dozen goes for $40 U.S. Be sure to advise the hostess they’re best warmed up, thereby eliminating very little of the work of making them herself.
As a present for your friend, the “thinker” (an actual Goop category), consider registering him or her in the Iceland Writers’ Retreat for $2,583. He or she may not write now, but by the end of the week, surely a whole novel will have emerged, most likely with a boiling mud pit or an exploding geyser at the plot’s core.
Here’s another thrill: For $175, you can present the tortured adolescents on your list with the J.D. Salinger book set. Contrary to expectation -- and, possibly, desire -- this won’t vanish into obscurest New Hampshire for 40 years, like the late author himself. The books will just sit there in their classic wine and yellow covers, faux-wrinkled, waiting for somebody to take an interest. Good luck with that.
Goop also leads me to believe that our gourmet friends, and those friends who like nothing better than a pastrami sandwich but are nevertheless still alive to say so, will deeply appreciate monthly home delivery of four jars of gourmet pickles, for $600 per year. I find this both surprising and endearing of them; are truffles over?
Of course, what we’re really all waiting for from a Goop holiday issue are the down-to-earth ideas we get when Paltrow and her gang have a few cocktails and dream bigger. Which of us wouldn’t want Dennis Hopper’s $150,000 “Personal Record Collection,” dinged up by the late Easy Rider before he inevitably coasted into easy listening?
Best yet, there’s the pelvic floor exercise tracker. “Ultimately, it’s the gift of a better orgasm,” the deliriously happy women at Goop confide, which might have prompted me to consider it as a teacher gift if either of my kids were still in school.
Finally, if we’re feeling altruistic – though who is, really? I mean, come on! -- Goop suggests we donate to send somebody to college. That, luckily, is not within reach for most of us. Myself, I plan to focus on gifts of pickles and pasties -- quite possibly, both -- to every Goop-worthy person on my list. But if Gwyneth Paltrow wants to send a million people to college, I think she ought to go for it.
-- Kate Zimmerman