What do the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Cosmopolitan all have in common? Why a rigorous standard for fact-checking, of course! Believe it or not, every Cosmo article, whether about pleasing your man X number of ways or tales of real-life bedroom escapades, is independently verified through relatively awkward phone calls and emails. At least, they were awkward for Katherine Goldstein at first. She shares the details of her 18 months as an on-again, off-again fact-checker at Cosmo in a piece for Slate. Before her first day began, she wondered, “What kind of facts could Cosmopolitan possibly have?” As she found out, quite a few.
Goldstein verified everything from the best mascara to the most orgasmic sex positions. A typical exchange would have her asking a sexologist questions like, "OK, so you are saying that is more of a description of direct prostate stimulation, rather than indirect, and that this technique doesn't have as strong of an effect?" As for those real-life encounters submitted by readers or their boyfriends, she recounts her attempt to fact-check one man's story about a girl bringing him soup. He wanted her to add that the soup "gave me the strength to be a man with her all night long." When she explained she couldn't tack that on, he replied, "You know, my mother is going to read this. I want it to look good!" Shortly after talking with this "meathead from New Jersey," Goldstein decided to move on, but notes, "I'll always remember 13 creative ways to use a feather boa."