Friday, March 30, 2012

Maybelline Color Tattoo

Heavily advertised in Vogue is Maybelline's Color Tattoo, a supposedly 24-hour Eyeshadow.
It sounds positively ideal for Shabbos and Yontif, but most of the shades overdosed on the glitter. I don't do glitter. It's hard to find matte cosmetics in the drugstore.

However, with a little online scouring, I discovered that a universally flattering shade, Tough as Taupe, has a matte finish. It's a cream shadow, but some put on primer beneath anyway since on some skin types it creases.
Reviewers have noted that it sets very quickly, so blend swiftly after applying. If using fingers, use the ring finger and try not to tug the skin too much.  
Many of the tutorials use Tough as Taupe as a base, adding other eyeshadows on top. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Battle of the Bulge: Know What You Like

As those who successfully maintain their weight will testify, they focus on eating what they really enjoy, not mindlessly consuming a dish just because it's there. If it is extremely fattening, they will have just a little. 

For instance, when I go out to eat by other people's houses for Shabbos I know that I will happily consume their forshbeis or fish, then soup, but chances are their meat won't appeal to me, and I don't have much during the main course. 

Don't waste calories on "meh" dishes. If before a packed table or tempting shmorg, take only a little of each until what really appeals to you makes an appearance. 

I have two major weaknesses: potatoes (in any form) and sugar (specifically in the milk chocolate/homemade cake form).  

It is probably because of my unhealthy appetite for french fries that I restrict eating out to four times per annum. French fries are "poisonous" due to the high amounts of fat and salt, and I cannot be in the same room with them.
Hold me.
Luckily, I will happily take potatoes of the sweet/yam variety, sauteed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and maple syrup.
Pinch me!
Pesach: The death knell for any diet. Especially in my house, where a box of Shatzer is ravaged. ("Mine! It was MY piece!" "No way, I got it first!" Give it back if you value your life!" "I'd like to see you try!")
As everyone knows, matzah is less than friendly to waistlines. One year I couldn't shake the added 5 pounds until I was forced to take my crotchety niece on two-hour walks in August's 93 degree heat. 

Nothing is more divine than buttered matzah. So last year I went with a new tactic. For every meal, I sat down with ONE solitary matzah, buttered it lovingly, and that was it: no more crackery goodness. I succeeded in keeping my weight steady, only to be dragged down by Shavuous.

But you get my point. Focus on the favorites, not the filler.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


"Everyone has their nisyanos," she said spontaneously, deciding I need comfort. 

"I'm not complaining," I respond. 

She chose not to hear me, repeating her line over and over while I continued to protest, "I'm not complaining."

This woman, I know, happens to have her own tests. But she seems all to eager to imagine me soaking my pillow in unrequited tears.

True, cheerful optimism wasn't always my tactic. A few years ago, I would find myself stomping home from work, angry at the world, accusing every acquaintance for my single state.

It's their fault, I thought. They aren't redting me. (Never mind that even if I was redt and the guy said no, I wouldn't even know). 

Then, one day, I had an epiphany. 

Being a religious Jew does not mean that just because I want something NOW means I'm supposed to get it. I'm a grandchild of survivors, for pity's sake. This sort of mindset it not only irreligious, it is ungrateful, one of the most heinous crimes of the ancient world, not just of Judaism. 

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman said once that everyone has trials, in any of these categories: parnossah, health, religious children, and shidduchim. 

I'll take this, I thought.  

So now I walk home with a bounce in my step, inhaling the clean, crisp, cool air, admiring the old, majestic trees, the bright blue sky, thankful that I can appreciate beautiful days with health and joy. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


We frummies are now officially inventors of a trend! Specifically, skirts—they are in with a vengeance, my coreligionists
After years of being overlooked, skirts have become beloved for their multiple-uses. 
Ms. Berman . . . has noticed her peers [are] rediscovering a wardrobe staple that has languished in recent years, in short supply at retail and all but supplanted on city streets by dresses and skinny jeans.“Fashion-y people had a craving for skirts,” she said, “even if they didn’t know it.” 
It was chic but no one realized. Not only that, no one skirt style reigns; all species are selling fabulously. Although, many still do consider below-the-knee lengths to be, and I quote, "matronly, a relic straight out of granny’s closet." However, I have read in more than one magazine how right below the knee is the most universally flattering length. 
Skirts’ very multiplicity, emblematic of a fashion landscape in which no single style or trend prevails, is acting as catnip to consumers, who are combining skirts, long and short, slim and wide, plain and patterned, with pieces varying from tank tops to mannish shirts, from turtlenecks to blazers.
“The skirt has become the new hot toy for women to play with in fashion,” said Marshal Cohen . . . For the first time in six years, he said, “consumers are thinking, If I’m going to update my wardrobe, I’ll put my money on a skirt.
But don't let oneself get carried away, since the fist commandment, and I will say it again, no matter how much you roll your eyes, is know thy body type. Therefore, though I hunger for a '50s-esque petticoat-layered flarey skirt, no way can I wear it.
I am doomed to spend my life with pencil skirts.
But that doesn't mean they have to be boring . . .

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cleansing . . . With a Vengeance

I was intrigued by all that I heard regarding face brushes, so I purchased the DDF Revolve 400x Micro-Polishing System. Every night, I use the brush with the bristle attachment and a cleanser of my choice. The bristles are not harsh, but they are thorough, cleansing deeply and exfoliating lightly to remove the accumulated dirt of the day.
My skin is definitely happy with this regimen, glowing merrily. The summertime leaves my face ravaged by blemishes; this past summer they were rare. I barely get breakouts anymore, poo poo.

There are also many of these brushes available, such as:

Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System (this comes with only the bristle attachment; available in drugstores);

The Conair Facial Sauna System comes with an electric facial brush;

The priciest are the Clarisonic Systems;

For non-electric use, there is skin brushes like Earth Therapeutics Softouch Complexion Brush.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A New Low

It was bad enough that Halberstam's article got published; now people who should know better are giving it validity. On the news you can hear the absolute disgust in the reporter's voice. 

And I had thought the Groggers' music video was mocking the concept of nose jobs, not advertising them! Even plastic surgeons are having a cow. 

Great. We are now the shallow people, rather than the chosen. 

Great-Aunt Advice

"You meet someone, marry him. As long as he wants you." 

I nod solemnly.  

"But," my great-aunt amends, "don't marry just anyone. You are a great girl, so not just any guy is going to be for you." 

I am now thoroughly confused. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jaundiced of Eye

Luke had this epiphany. 

We all say that one cannot be judgmental. We try to perceive people beyond their exteriors. We try to be open to other ways of life. To be a progressive thinker, one takes an anthropological view of other cultures and backgrounds, accepting it all without criticism or recrimination.
But being non-judgmental and tolerant also means accepting those who are judgmental and intolerant. 

I have seen those who claim to be more open-minded than me smirk at other Jews, whether it be for their havara or choice of dress or beliefs. This sort of mentality creeps into all avenues of observant Judaism, no matter what the choice of headgear: beeber hit, velvet kappul, black hat, or kippah serugah. For women: shpitzel, wig, kerchief, hat, or no hair covering.

That is why, I suppose, I cannot be considered non-judgmental, because I will not be thinking pleasant thoughts about those who judge, no matter where they would like to fall on the religious spectrum.

I recently stumbled upon this website of Doni Joszef, a cognitive therapist. His article, "Against My Bitter Judgement," has the same point. But his source is beyond beautiful. 

It says that we should become drunk on Purim until one is unable to "curse Haman or bless Mordechai." It's not about telling the good guys from bad, but that we do not judge. We should become that drunk guy who weaves about crooning, "I love you, man!"
There is a fine line between using our judgment and abusing it.Using our judgment means making smart choices. Abusing our judgment means making smart choices – for other people. We redirect our sense of right and wrong away from the self and onto another. It’s a defense mechanism by which we assign our own standards onto everyone else. Makes me feel nice and superior. 
Until it doesn’t.
This last line really put it over the top for me: 
Judging others solidifies ego. But it obliterates joy.
So I must learn to embrace the unembraceable. To welcome those who do not return the favor. To those who turn our religion into that of divisiveness, to still consider them my brethren. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beautiful Inside & Out

She prefaces her account with a disclaimer that she knows she will be attacked for this. That, however, doesn't make it any less offensive. 

Her underlying message is that girls who are dating should dress/makeup/hair style themselves accordingly. For those who read my blog, it must be obvious that is something that I don't disagree with. Except my belief is that makeup is forever, not just for the dating years.
What really irritated me was the condescending tone, which came through despite her protestations that she does not want to be patronizing. In her view, all single girls are curled up by the phone, begging it to ring while her tatteleh sheinz is sitting pretty. After all, he is wonderful. 'Cause she said so. 

While it is true that profiles are demeaning, the alternative is positively mortifying. 

Hey guys, getting too many suggestions? Fax machine backed up? Can't get a straight word out of references? Then send your mother down to our Single Girl Emporium, where the significant lady in your life can pick out your wife! 

Disturbing? I thought so. 

Then she launches on a diatribe of how if so many girls are single they have only themselves to blame since they don't make themselves look appealing. 

I was going to cut her some slack since her interest in looks is the same as my background (my people are notorious for their obsession with aesthetics) but she really went too far. 

Besides for the fact that makeup does not equal married (I'm still single, aren't I?) she forgets the main point: your son will be marrying her. Not you. 

What you consider attractive and personable doesn't matter. Do I wish I could see more girls putting on mascara? You bet. Do I resist the urge to beg strangers "Why, why, are you wearing that"? Oh yes indeedy. Do I think, "If only she slapped on some face paint she would be married"? Uh, no. 

Mrs. Halberstam: welcome to America. Here, most find my makeup to be threatening. Here, they shop recreationally, not zealously. Here, they find a way to connect with someone's insides, not just the outsides. 

My proof? Because I'm the one still single while my classmates who never exfoliated in their life are married!

The story she uses as a viable reference is frightening. A woman had herself completely remade in a plastic surgeon's office, and she was getting married. Health and psychological issues aside (a man who wants a plastic doll for a spouse is normal?), how is this remotely religious? 

She brings up her own experiences as an ugly duckling. 
. . . nothing could ameliorate my self-consciousness, the terrible ache of knowing that I was not pleasing to the public eye.
Here she misses the point again. It wasn't about how men viewed her. She didn't feel good about herself. And when someone doesn't feel good about themselves, that is a factor in interpersonal relationships.

It was her lack of self-confidence that was throwing a wrench in her dating life, not her looks. When a vivacious person enters the room, the first thing I notice is her self-assurance, not her features. It was Halberstam's own insides holding her back, not her outsides.

She gives credit to her marriage to "trying." It wasn't that. It was because after she dressed up, she felt good, ergo her inner was allowed to shine instead of being muffled beneath self-doubt. 

While she references the Satmar Rebbe's tale that one should take pains, she also ignores yet another story. A bachelor came to the Steipler Rebbe (thanks to Shades of Gray for which rebbe it was), crying why Hashem never sent him his bashert. The rebbe snapped back, "Because you said her nose was too long, and she married someone else!" 

We are not the people who advocate extremes. We are not the people who can write off others saying, "No one will want you," ignoring the plans the Eibishter may have. Our men sing "Eishes Chayil" every Friday night as a reminder that beauty is nothing, it is a woman's character that is the allure. 

Mrs. Halberstam, bless her heart, believes she is in a special position. Honey, every European mother-in-law has been there. And I can safely say, that if you do not step aside, it will blow up in your face.  
'It's not you I have a problem with, Felton — it's your mother.' by Sizemore, Jim
Don't be surprised of one day your son fires you. I've gone out with more than one boy of European ancestry who has.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bluestockings are In

And I don't mean cobalt-hued hosiery

Can men handle educated women? It has been the view for quite some time that most can't, but that turns out to be yet another myth. (This article was mentioned on other blogs, but I still want to analyze it further). 

I don't think I am imagining it when men get nervous from what I know. I don't put that blame squarely on the lap of higher education; I only have my BA. I have always been interested in history and different cultures, with a penchant for polysyllabic vocabulary, and I can spit back useless information which I may find interesting but no one else does ("Trivial Pursuit" is my game). 

I often find myself on a date with equally college-educated men, who are well-read and are learn-ed, and they look at me in horror. I don't understand what the big deal is, because I am always happy to learn something new and obviously there is something he may know of that I don't. Why can't we just exchange ideas? 
During a talk I recently gave to a women’s group in San Francisco, an audience member said, “I want him to respect what I know, but I also want him to know just a little more than me.” One of my students once told me, “it’s exciting to be a bit in awe of a guy.” For a century, women have binged on romance novels that encouraged them to associate intimidation with infatuation; it’s no wonder that this emotional hangover still lingers.  
Seriously? The only romance novels that appealed to me were the ones when the two had a battle of the wits, like Lizzy and Darcy. After telling him off soundly on more than one occasion, she couldn't exactly have been in awe of him. How can these women clutch P&P as their love bible then cast the message aside? 
The most important predictor of marital happiness for a woman is not how much she looks up to her husband but how sensitive he is to her emotional cues and how willing he is to share the housework and child-care. And those traits are often easier to find in a low-key guy than a powerhouse.
Sure, men are flailing as they try to find a role which is now "acceptable" to women. They have to be manly yet not overbearing; educated, but slightly more than a specific female; handy with a mop in a macho sort of way; in tune to feelings while still a rock. Women have actually decided that Fabio exists in real life. I'm starting to feel sorry for the dudes.
Do I want a man to help me with housework? No, not really, if I manage to make my dream of being a stay-at-home mommie a reality. If he works full time, taking out the garbage occasionally is enough, and I don't need him reinventing my system of letting dust bunnies lie. 

Do I need him to be "sensitive to my emotional cues"? Well, there lies the assumption that I am an unreasonably emotional individual just because I am female. I hope I should be able to verbalize what is bothering me, instead of marrying a psychic. 

In our world, obviously, where girls currently go to college or get a job faster than the guys, we gals often know more due to exposure.

We assume our man will know stuff, just not the same stuff as we do. Girls spend high school hunched over Tanach, while men have barely any idea what is going on in there. Girls can rattle off bios of shoftim in catchy tunes (I actually only remember Ehud ben Gera), but our men have to be okay with that, since they don't have much choice in the matter.

So why is it such an issue for them if I say things like "Little Ice Age"?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Shabbos Face: Mascara

After applying primer, the lashes are white and thick with added fibers; my lashes now are pretty clumped together, so I use a mascara with a fine comb brush as well as fiber-adhering properties, like Ultraflesh Panthera Mascara
Of course I get a kick out of the holder. Look, a ketzy!

While the primer is still wet (after it dries it is impossible to work with) I apply the mascara slowly, starting first at the base of the lashes and wriggling the brush side to side. If I do it quickly then I just strip off the primer.

Afterwards, the lashes should be nicely combed out yet full, long, and thick. I often like to add some more kick, so I use d.i.v. beautenizer Fiberwig LX or Fairydrops Scandal Queen Mascara on top after the first layer dries. These two also have lash-hugging fibers, making the lashes really pop. I dab it on gently so it doesn't clump together my freshly separated lashes. 

Don't be afraid to coat, coat, coat your lashes. If lashes are skimpy and sparse in their natural form, that can usually be rectified with many, many, many layers of mascara.  

I prefer the mascara method as there is some talk how false lashes weaken the actual lashes.    

These lashes tend to behave themselves for all of Shabbos, never going anywhere. Providing I generously coat, they stay put for yontif as well. They do not leave smudges under my eyes after a night's sleep + nap.

Behold, ladies, fake lashes without the fake lashes!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I don't deny that I like a little gossip. Who doesn't? It is that lowly form of entertainment, giving petty shocks of delight as one assumes much from the slightest shreds of available information.
But social media is providing too much detail, writes Pamela Paul. Pieces of others' lives that we would rather not know is being freed into the world at large, while we duck ineffectually.  
“I feel as if I see things about people that I don’t necessarily want to see, and then it’s lodged like a piece of corn in my subconscious,” said Sloane Crosley, author of "How Did You Get This Number."
The web, in its eagerness to please surfers, have decided to bombard its users with people it thinks we know. 
“There’s one person who keeps coming around in the People You May Know Box on Facebook where just the suggestion of this person changes my whole day,” said Pam Houston, the novelist. “It’s essential to my well-being to create the illusion that this person doesn’t exist.” 
Goodness, how I hate that feature. Either I feel as though I am supposed to know them, or they keep on suggesting people I made an idiot of myself in front of. 
Sure, you can unfollow, unsubscribe, de-link or tune people out. “At least the Internet gives us the option of blocking them, consigning them to oblivion forever,” Andy Borowitz, the humorist, “shared” in an e-mail. “The only equivalent option in the real world is strangulation.” 
But sometimes, the gossipy side of ourselves needs to be satiated, despite our better judgement. 
Let’s be straight: it’s not just that other people’s minutiae bombard us regularly. Sometimes, we seek it out despite ourselves. Whether you call it low-buzz stalking, cyberstalking or the unsettling new term “creeping,” people can now browse around the edges of former intimates’ lives, learning much too much about them.
Then there are all those parties and get-togethers that one wasn't asked to join. 
“I had to stop following certain friends because I was constantly seeing them tweet about all the parties that I wasn’t invited to!” said Laurie David, a Hollywood producer and author. “The worst is the Twitpic — people take pictures of themselves at these fun dinners, and you’re not there.” 
And for singles . . . 
But while other peoples’ unsolicited information can be amusing or annoying, it can also be hurtful. For singles, the Internet is fraught with painful T.M.I. Never mind a man graciously telling a woman he’s met someone new and wants to pursue that relationship. One look at his active profile on, and his cover is blown.
“You meet someone at a party, and instead of them asking for your number, they’ll say, ‘I’ll find you on Facebook,’” complained Dodai Stewart, editor of “Then I’ll see drunk party photos of the guy with other women he’s dating. I end up unfriending because I just can’t deal with it.” 
Although, sometimes I used FB to dodge an unpromising evening. Like the guy who's privacy settings are nonexistent, so his "likes" for every form of alcohol is public information. 

A woman wrote into my local paper how it seems everyone else has these amazing lives, these husbands that shower them with gifts, these friends that go out and have fun. She took everyone's photos and status updates at face value, and decided her own life was wanting. 
A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence. 
People's lives are obviously not strictly that which is seen on social media. I don't want to say that not everyone is that happy, but one shouldn't believe every single photo and typed word. 

To quote Joel Stein:
The entire point of Facebook is to make you jealous. Why does that person have more friends than I do? Why do they go to such fun places while I'm at work? Why do their friends have better abs? Why does my wife have so many male friends who show off their abs?
I have concluded that people lie or misrepresent themselves as much on FB as they do in online dating profiles to mollify their insecurities. Yet that, in turn, chips away at others' egos.   
What we’re losing, Ms. Turkle said, is a healthy form of compartmentalization. We can no longer box up aspects of our home life when we go to work or tuck away distressing episodes from our past. Never mind ever moving on.
Think of a life without closure: The boy you made a fool of yourself over in high school is now a private-equity king with 400,000 followers. The face of the guy who date-raped you in college pops up as Someone You Might Know. 
Sometimes I meet someone new, and I'm happy I have FB to be able to easily communicate with them. But I never seem to again. What was once two ships passing in the night is now a failed foray into true friendship. 
“For most of my life, I’d encounter people and then they’d be gone,” said Caitlin Flanagan, the cultural critic. “You’d have to go to a major library and pore through phone books or hire a private detective to track them down.” Now it’s way too easy. “You can get this instant download and find out their whole life story and download all their pictures,” she said. “But then you’re like, ‘That’s enough of that person.’ ” 
Or I wish I never friended them to begin with. 

Consider the awkward stages of child- and teenage-hood. The joy of graduation and then a reunion years later is that it gave everyone else time to forget who one was, who has the chance to transform from geek to chic. No more. 
Weren’t we better off knowing a little bit less, a little less often, about everyone else? After high school graduation, a theater geek could once dye his hair blue, come out of the closet or declare himself a semiotician without so much as a backward glance. Once the kinks were worked out, he could introduce his new self, by which time most people would have forgotten about whom he used to be. Today, kids who graduate have to drag all their elementary school and high school “friends” along with them.
Have you noticed how sometimes what people post sounds really disturbing? Apparently, to them it was incredibly funny and interesting. 
Alas, what strikes us as witty, original and winning often comes across to the rest of the world as sloppily confessional, self-promotional or trite.
I now find myself deleting all those photos I once thought so necessary to post. I used to fret over witty status updates; now I state something inane infrequently. Perhaps I have decided to seek an aura of mystery. 
It is, I confess, paradoxically and distressingly difficult for me not to post about how much candy I’ve eaten on a given day. And even I don’t really want to know about that.  
Although I still find myself searching to see what someone's chosson looks like.   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From Where Will My Comfort Come

I have a great hair guy. He's cheap, a miracle worker, and a member of the tribe.  

He asks me regularly if I have a boyfriend (gossip material). I then visualize all the other frum girls in his chair, gushing about their imminent nuptials. Warily I respond in the negative. 

"It happens very quickly," he said. "Just one day, you meet someone, and then . . . there you go." 

Somehow that simple statement, casually uttered while my scalp was screaming in agony from blow-dryer heat, was incredibly soothing. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bar > Web

Since I have decided to opt out of online matchmaking for now, I get some flack for it. ("My neighbor's uncle's cousin three times removed met someone once on a website! You should totally try it!")

But this article (written, if can be gauged from the names, by Jews) strips any higher success rate from online dating.

Websites deal with only a few aspects of what makes a successful relationship. They don't take in certain outside factors, which can throw off their data. Additionally, they operate under the premise that what makes a great relationship is similarities. 

Yes, some similarities do help, says the article, like race and religion. But when it comes to personality types, studies show that being alike has very little impact. 

In the end, what really matters in a relationship is the personal interaction, not a clinical dissection of shared qualities over a chilly computer screen.
None of this suggests that online dating is any worse a method of meeting potential romantic partners than meeting in a bar or on the subway. But it’s no better either.
I thought of all those couples I know that I would never, ever, have set up together. Their personalities were so different. But they clicked anyway. 

OK, people! Let's start mingling! Because there is no replacement for meeting someone face to face. Asking for insanely detailed information is pointless, because in the end, those details aren't the ones that matter. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

What Not To Wear: Eyeshadow Edition

Having already discussed the most flattering for all, I would like to now delve into what should never be worn. 

The first banned hue: red/pink. I never understood why some makeup artists recommend it. Consider the original Leah - after all that non-stop weeping, what color would her eyes have been? 

Red/pink eyeshadow give rise to the thought of  eye infections and  crying over ex-boyfriends. Red/pink goes on the lips, the cheeks, the nails, but not the eyes.
Second banned hue: bright blue, specifically turquoise/aqua/light shades (navy I'll permit). I find such blues don't heighten; rather they distract from the eye, which should be the focus. She agrees with me

The purpose of makeup is to exaggerate and emphasize the features, not overpower themthe eyes should be what others see first, not the eyeshadow

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Minding my own business, scrolling through my stats, I was curious to find a lot of hits from YU Observer. Following the link, I find that Frumanista was recommended by Atara Arbesfeld as a fashion blog to follow. 

Needless to say, I am bouncing off the walls. 

I would like to thank Atara for proving to my brother (the other one) that I do have something to offer the fashion world! (In your FACE!) 


My everlasting gratitude, Atara! 

Friday, March 9, 2012


You are so lame, I tell myself. 

It's not for the reasons you think, my ego counters defensively. I do this to know there are other Jews out there, y'know? Other Jews with different lifestyles, who come together to share their news. 

You are still lame, my self snorts at me. 

Be quiet, this engagement comes with photos. 

OK, I am a confessed Only Simchas! surfer. It just constantly amazes me is how there are so many frum Jews out there that I didn't know of. 

What, she's from my town? I never saw her before. 

Luke pounces from behind, annoyingly leaning on the back of my chair until it starts to tip back. 

"Looking at this stuff again, huh?" he smirks. 

Wait for it . . . 

"Click on that engagement, will ya? I think I know him . . ."


"What in the world is that kallah wearing?"


"I like that guy's glasses." 

"Luke, would you like the chair so you can see better?"

We are all just a bunch of yentas.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wedge With An Edge

After much observation, there should be an established law about what wedges look good. So I shall establish it.

The wedge and the rest of the shoe should be two different colors.
Guiseppe Zanotti
When the wedge and the rest of the shoe are the same color, it provides the false image that one's foot is a blockish shape. 

To illustrate with The King and I: The females of the king's harem peer under the circa-1860s voluminous hoops of Anna, and she shrieks, "What are they doing to me?" Lady Thiang answers, "They think you dress like that because you shaped like that."
To ensure one's foot looks dainty despite being encased in a lot of shoe, opt for a multi-hued wedge. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Go Introverts!

It seems all these years I've had an erroneous perception of what qualified as an "introvert." I thought it was strictly that mute kid in the corner that chewed miserably on her hair. 

However, I could not be more wrong, according to Time magazine.
While I definitely did not consider myself an extrovert, I am unafraid of social situations and happy to talk with new people. But I do consider it an effort, like a kickboxing class.

Which makes me, by power of a Time quiz, an introvert.

And I couldn't be more proud. 

Most parents want their children to be outgoing go-getters with a fleet of friends. If their offspring, however, would prefer to read quietly or do an assignment by themselves, then often they will find themselves pushed to do "normal" activities. 

In my local paper a mother wrote in that her son was not very social, so she decided to send him away to school to force him to make friends. Her son was begging her not to, and she was asking what do. Thank heaven that "Abby" told her not to send him. My nerves were shot on this boy's behalf just by reading the letter. 

If there are children that have a few select friends, or perhaps they are waiting for a buddy they can actually communicate with, that does not automatically make them an aberration. Introverts have a lot to offer, bringing all sorts of benefits to our culture, offsetting the risk-taking of the extroverts.

As mentioned by Susan Cain, being an introvert is not the same as being shy. 
Shy people fear negative judgment, while introverts simply prefer less stimulation; shyness is inherently painful, and introversion is not. But in a society that prizes the bold and the outspoken, both are perceived as disadvantages.
What is interesting is that introverts do better academically than extroverts, even though they have the same IQs, since they tend to analyze first, then proceed, unlike extroverts who leap before they look.

But without the extroverts, introverts would not be in a good place. Both personality types are needed for success. 
The ideal scenario is when those two toddlers — the one who hands you the toy with the smile and the other who checks you out so carefully — grow up to run the world together.
Jeffrey Kluger, a self-professed introvert, points out: 
Introverted people don’t worry unduly about whether they’ll be found wanting, they just find too much socializing exhausting and would prefer either to be alone or in the company of a select few people.
Oh, so it's not just me. 
And that same 20% tend to grow up to become introverted children and adults, eventually learning to protect themselves from overstimulation by avoiding the situations that will overload their neural circuits.
I didn't even know how to phrase it. Now I can say: "I'm sorry, I prefer not to overstimulate my neural circuits." That's why I never enjoyed camp and all that ruach.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Erring Prophet

We were in the hotel lobby, which was nicer than most, with clean white lines, a crackling fire, and comfortable leather armchairs.

This was a first date, and we had just started to chat about siblings. 

A man wandered by; after noting the date's kapul, he shares the fact that he is also a coreligionist. But then: 

"I'm psychic," he continues, "and I can see that you two are for each other." 


"I can tell about such things; you'll be very happy together." 

He went on in this vein for quite some time. 

He wandered off eventually, pausing to wave cheerfully over his shoulder, and I wiggled my fingers in return. As soon as he was out of sight I burst out laughing in an attempt to defuse the situation.  

My poor date looked somewhat shell-shocked; I kept on hooting. 

The sentimental side of me (I have one, deep, deep down) had a mystical feeling for a moment, wondering if it was a sign.  

Nah. It turned out to be "mutual." Our sooth-sayer will have to turn in his ESP credentials.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Interfacial Shidduchim

I'll admit, I am guilty of thinking this: 
He is gorgeous. And she is . . . well . . . as my Bobby would say, a maidel in a klaidel (a girl in a dress).
I am not proud. 

I also make those observations the other way around. Like if she is slammingly beautiful and he is a tubby, balding fellow with a receding chin. 

Those are my initial impressions, bred in me by my aesthetic-obsessed heritage.  

Belinda Luscombe addressed this in TIME magazine a few years ago. Apparently, she has had people blatantly remark on her husband's breathtaking looks, while pointing out her plainness. 
As in so many other areas of discrimination, women face double jeopardy. Guys who marry a few rungs up the looks ladder are rock stars or rich or have, I don't know, beautiful penmanship. Women who marry up, well, they're deluded. Their husbands must be gay or have really bad bacne to even look at them. And the standards are ridiculous.
It's an hysterically written article, so check it out. 
These are all challenges that scummy-yummy couples must deal with to survive. And that's before you get to the big questions: Do you raise the children as attractive or hideous? Or try to find a middle ground--you know, sorta cute? Do you celebrate beautiful-people holidays (Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras) or Oktoberfest? Very few mismatched pairs can work through these issues on their own.
Most of the world wouldn't bat an eyelash if an interracial couple strolled together down the street, but if one spouse is of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie proportions and the other is  . . . not, somehow that seems to excite comment.
La Belle et la BĂȘte (1946)
I've always believed that personality can conquer all. It happens so often that I meet an incredibly bad-looking woman, and after ten minutes of conversation I am absolutely smitten.  

To illustrate: I was at a kiddush, where the women were mingling together and their husbands were across the way, chatting with their buddies. There was one couple that stayed together the whole time.

The husband was incredibly handsome, tall, broad, full head of hair, and sharp shoes. His wife was incredibly bad looking, figureless, wearing everything that was wrong for her. But he remained glued to her side, even while she socialized with others, gazing into her face, inquiring of her opinion—and they were married for probably ten years. She appeared to take his constant presence by her elbow as a given. I don't see much devotion like that nowadays. 

When it comes to dating, I have said I don't care about looks. "Women fall in love with their ears" and all that jazz. There actually is something to this inner-beauty stuff.
By that same token, I can meet absolutely breath-taking men or women and be so appalled at how they behave that I am gagging in disgust. 

I really am surprised when girls I know are demanding dates with physique and looks. Frankly, I know many svelte grooms who quickly balded or hit the cholent to make that a criteria. I know of maybe one man who is 95, still unlined and stunning. He can't walk, but he is very pleasant to look at. His wife seems happy. 

Not many women have such guarantees of the staying power of her husband's handsomeness. I can't take the chance that genetics or takeout won't fail me. With personality, there's less chance that I'm flipping a coin for the future.

By that same token, there are plenty women who were rather plain on their wedding days but became more style- and Sephora-conscious over the course of their marriage, soon outshining their comely spouses.

So while my first thoughts towards an interfacial couple is less that complimentary, I can kick those into submission pretty easily. They must have the match of souls.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There is a segment in the NY Times called "Social Q's," where Philip Galanes provides humorous answers to people's questions regarding proper behavior.

His answer, a quote from an unknown source: 
Silence is golden and duct tape is silver.