Currently viewing the tag: "magazines"

Nostalgia

At eighteen, I was aware that such a woman existed.  I had seen pictures, hair loose and swingy or clipped in a hasty chignon.  And the shoes—strappy slides, with a heel.  But I met her in the flesh one July afternoon at her hillside villa in Nice.  She was a Persian beauty in her 40’s named Shirin, and in the summer of 1979 she was my hostess on the Cote d’Azur.

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 Haiti

Vogue, September 2010

In a crowded hospital ward in Cange, Haiti, Ophelia Dahl chats with 25-year-old Shelove, who lost her entire family, her home, and a leg in the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince.

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Watch out for the Men

Town & Country September 2011, Social Graces 

“Watch out for the men,” the travel agent cautioned before I left for Greece.  I was 12 and already five-foot-nine, with all the curves of a tent pole.  It was first ever trip to Europe.  And as my mother and I shopped for a gold charm on Crete, a passing man called out, “How much for you and your sister?”  My mother thought it was hilarious.  I was thoroughly repulsed.

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Small Breasts

Easy Living UK, March 2011

I have always had small breasts, and was generally content with them.  Over recent years, though, at every cocktail party, some woman who used to be as mammarily challenged as I suddenly appeared with a firm new pair, and a visible preference for snug tops.  I found myself increasingly abandoned on a flat-chested desert island with the few remaining oddballs who stubbornly refused to go under the knife.  I began to think, am I crazy?

Do I really want to go through life as a flat facsimile of a woman?  How lovely it would be if, for once, words like ‘curvy’, ’voluptuous’, or ‘shapely’ could pertain to me.  This  could be an easy fix.

Instead, I made peace with my breasts.

The fact is, that life is stacked against the small-breasted these days. Walk into any lingerie emporium, and if they don’t laugh you out of there, they insult you with the consolation prize. Many stores do not even carry small-cupped bras, and if they do, they are unsexy, seamless, elasticized little numbers. Recently, I ordered some bras online – balconnet style, the kind I used to buy in France when most women in the world still had their own breasts, and many of them were small.

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 Everlasting Mementos

Easy Living UK, May 2011

It was a sticky Friday night on campus.  The stench of spilled beer was familiar, as was the bass guitar on Brick House.  But many years had elapsed and we were no longer college students.  We had all convened – The well preserved and the pot-bellied, the triathletes and the cancer survivors – to reclaim something.  In preparation, I’d had fresh highlights and a facial, which removed “free radicals” that were apparently eroding my skin and with it , my youth.  It’s the conundrum of the march of time that, inside, I felt the same as I did 25 years ago.

When I spotted my freshman boyfriend, I started through the crowd and greeted him.  I folded into his body by instinct, as if his arms and mine wer aware of our former intimacy.

“You look the same,” I said.

“So do you,” he replied. “Come over and meet my wife.”

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Happiness

Easy Living UK, June 2011

One day in January, the sun appeared.  It’s not so unusual in the rural corner of New England that I call home, where there are an average of 196 sunny days a year.  Except that this winter we have endured months of snow and sub-zero temperatures.  So sun was a big deal.  There was happiness in the valley, and for a moment, in me.  Then the all-too-familiar crept back: the feeling that the permafrost seems to have sapped my sanity and ability to accomplish one meaningful thing.  And what I really need is a jaunt to the Maldives or a carpenter to fix my roof.

How difficult it is to find enduring solace in a moment of happiness, and try to focus on what there is – heat, blankets, healthy children, a fridge groaning with food and a sun in the heavens – rather than what is lacking.  From that morning of bliss, I reverted to being an ungrateful wretch.

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Leaving Sugar

Vogue, April 2011

Several days after I ended my toxic affair with sugar, I went to see David Nathan, M.D., director of the General Clinical Research Center and the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.  I had jettisoned what I loved most in life: refined sugar of every stripe—pastries laden with chocolate ganache, frosted doughnuts, cookies, Kraft caramels, and three-layer coconut cake.

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