From the juvenile days of playing M.A.S.H. (when we probably should have been reviewing our basic fractions), to practicing our penmanship with our new crush’s last name, it’s safe to say many of us have grown up fantasizing about our Prince Charmings. You know, our typical knights in shining armor, complete with a convenient set of piercing blue eyes? We could easily blame this upon Walt Disney, though the chances of Walt giving a single care are slim to none at best.

Fast forward past the days of Teen-Beat, or better yet J-14 (if you were looking for a real life-changing read), and you’ll find yourself buried deep within the glistening pages of our beacon of hope: Cosmopolitan.

Though I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been a devoted worshiper/subscriber to Cosmopolitan since the day I first had my braces removed, I’ll also touch upon the fact that there’s some pretty ridiculous advice. Having difficulty tying down a man? Well, that’s easy — it must be the pace of your strut! The day I meet a man who would turn down a woman because she walks just a hint too fast is the day I cancel my subscription and hop aboard the Vanity Fair train.

And then there’s the issue of body language. If it’s crucial enough for heartthrob and mastermind Jesse McCartney to write a song about, this stuff’s gotta be good. Say you’re out on a Friday night and you fall in love (quite possibly in a hopeless place, given the scene) with a stranger across the room. Are his arms folded? Later, soulmate. For according to a potential featured covered story, if a man’s arms are folded, he’s clearly unapproachable.

So many of us psych ourselves out over the littlest things — so much that these unlikely explanations become subconscious. Heaven forbid the cutie in the corner had sore biceps from getting his swell on at the gym — another tongue-in-cheek tip from, quite possibly, the male equivalent of Cosmo.

However, the worrying doesn’t have to stop just yet. Say your man has been hitting the gym harder than in recent past; better slow your roll, sister, because he must be cheating. In an online post earlier this spring, columnist Bianca Valerio states the heart-wrenching following. “If you’ve been dating for some time and you’ve become really comfortable with each other (to the point that he relaxes his gut and forgets to shave religiously), it might be a cause for concern when he suddenly makes the effort to start looking good again.” Gasp. You mean if your significant other doesn’t completely let his entire self go, you’re headed for splits-ville? Apparently so, according to “For Long Distance Relationships: How To Know If He’s Cheating.”

It’s hard to argue that our society of singletons thrive upon one major tactic: the game. From Hasbro’s Operation to college flirtation, we’re always looking for shortcuts; an easy out. But if it holds true that good things come to those who wait, I can’t help but question — why the rush? We’ve become so hell-bent on becoming the poster for what our leading “How-To” columns encourage us to become, that far too many have lost sight of the uniqueness and the one-in-a-million people that we are — or at least have the potential to be.

What it comes down to is that it very well may be time to grasp a hold of the notion that perhaps we’re not the crazy ones after all. Brace yourselves avid readers, for our bestie (in monthly magazine form) may have been pulling this season’s most fashionable wool over our eyes all along. All that’s left to do now is rock to the beat of your own party rock anthem, for where Cosmo leaves off, L’Oreal picks up: Because you’re worth it.