These essays are a little longer so, snuggle in your chair with a beverage and a snack. Hope you like them.
Priced out of the Boston area rental market in the early 2000s, I moved to Revere, a beach-side neighborhood of contractors, ice cream truck owners, recent immigrants, old-school Italians and good old-fashioned white trash. Getting access to this much better writing material almost makes up for having to to leave my gentrified neighborhood in Somerville. Almost. Read more.
Shaving, Waxing, Electrocution: A Primer on Women’s War on Hair
I remember very clearly the first time I raked the blade under my arm. It gave me the shivers, not from excitement, but from feeling so uncomfortable, weird, unnatural—like the way your scalp hurts when your hair has been tied up on top of your head against gravity all day. Leg shaving came a short time later, and that’s when the cuts started in earnest. Cuts so close to the surface of the skin they bleed forever, especially the bad slices. From a skin cell’s point of view, you’ve scraped off an area the size of Texas. Read more.
Holland, the Land of Water
The phone rang early on a chilly Saturday morning in late October, breaking the stillness. The wood floor was smooth and cold on my bare feet. It was my father, telling me in his Dutch accent that after a prolonged battle with cancer, my Uncle Kees in Holland had died. I asked for and receive the necessary information: he died at home with my dear Tante Rennie caring for him; he was asleep; she was holding on. Then this: they had received my card a week or so ago, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Read more.
Between Fat and Jesus
While riding on the subway one day, I overheard a homeless man lecturing to a polite passenger about fat and all the diseases we’re told it promotes. He deplored the daily media reports that warn us about a new harmful food every day. I tuned in, relating to his portrayal of the media. I’d been thinking a lot about that role myself. It is such a presence in my life, and yet I spend a lot of time ignoring it, tuning out. I’ve stopped (almost) reading about the new studies declaring what fat will and will not do for me. Every week a new study will contradict the study before, and in the scientific world, this is the normal course of healthy research. In the world of nitty-gritty living, however, these ever-changing “facts” – presented with such certainty, such finality – corrode something deep inside me. I can feel the corrosion, but I cannot localize it. These messages are all so fleeting, so sensational, so terrifying as they flippantly report what will prolong and shorten life. How is my soul affected by the barrage of images and information masquerading as Truth I encounter every day? Read more.