These were not your typical scientific journals or collections of Amish family recipes, but glossy periodicals that, if you can judge a magazine by its cover, combined equal parts of hot vehicles (of the two- and four-wheel varieties) and young women who also seemed to be hot, because they were dressed for a day at the beach as they stretched out across the Mustangs and Harley-Davidsons.
(If you're reading this, Honey, I looked away quickly, because the only things I was thinking about were coffee, creamer and you.)
Those racy (in a couple of ways) magazines were what I would expect to find in a place that caters to a mobile, mostly male clientele. A shopping list in a gas station might include regular unleaded, beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, microwavable burritos, beef jerky, pork rinds and BC Powder.
Before I chastely averted my eyes, however, I spied a publication that appeared to be out of place. Instead of the subject matter exposed on the other titles, this cover showed a fully dressed woman. Moreover, what she was fully dressed in was a white wedding gown.
I didn't quite catch the name of the magazine; it was Bride Something, or Something Bride - or something else. For all I know, it could have been Gas Station Bride.
Why, I asked myself, would a gas station carry a magazine appealing to brides? Is there a big market for such things?
Have we been misinformed all these years? Has it been the corner Chevron where brides go to find out about flowers, gowns, diamond rings and honeymoons? Are wedding planners a dying breed?
For that matter, is it even brides who are the target of bride magazines, or is it single women hoping to become brides very soon? Actual brides - women who have already said "I do" - probably scan the shelves for a slightly different batch of titles: Young Married Women Who Still Haven't Sent Out Their Thank-You Notes Yet, or perhaps Great! What Am I Supposed to Do With Seven Toasters?
Then again, what do I know? Being basically male, I've never actually looked at a bride magazine (nor any of those other magazines, either, Honey). The only guy I know who ever picked up such a magazine used it to heave at a cockroach on the wall.
Still, bride magazines wouldn't be in a gas station if they didn't sell, right? I wonder about the demographic for the typical customer:
She: "Pooh Bear, I'm starvin'. Buy me a sausage biscuit."
He: "Come on, Baby Doll; you know I have to pay for that gas and buy these three quarts of oil so we can get the Firebird to the coast. Hooooey! I just hit $12 on this scratch-off ticket. This changes everything. Go ahead and get yourself that biscuit, Baby Doll."
She: "Since we're in the money now, I sure would like to have this here magazine, too."
He: "Is that the one with Britney cuttin' off all of her hair? I can't get enough of that."
She: "Hmmph! Britney Spears is so ugly - and fat, too! How can you even look at her? No, I want this copy of Gas Station Bride. It got me to thinking that maybe we should - Pooh Bear? Pooh Bear? Hey, come back here! You forgot to pay for my biscuit."
By the way, if any of you readers decide to publish a magazine called Gas Station Bride, I want a cut of the profits. (You hear that, Honey? I was thinking of our financial future all along; that's the only reason I looked at those magazines in the first place.)
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.