Wednesday, 27 September 2006


A liquid diet.

I shouldn't do it. For a thousand reasons I shouldn't do it. It is not healthy. It is not healthy for me. It is almost surely guaranteed to make me start bingeing again (in fact, even the thought of doing it is kicking in my "last chance" eating -- a crappy Cornetto last night, and Ben's Cookies for lunch today). It is totally incompatible with my life. (Am I supposed to stand around Mo*vida -- where I have to go tonight for, as Bridget Jones would say, a scary party with Jay Z, Chris Martin, Gwyneth and the lot -- with a Lipotrim shake in my hand?)

And yet.

And yet I'm thinking about it. Seriously. I've got my sister's wedding in a month. I'm tired of feeling like I'm spinning my wheels, not really bingeing but also not eating particularly healthfully either. Tired of catching sight of myself in the mirror in the bathroom at work and not wanting to go back into the office because I hate the reflection. Tired of wondering if Leonardo DiCaprio would have been less rude to me at the Armani party I went to the other night if I'd been thinner. (He was only allowing pretty girls to take their picture with him, so I don't doubt he vetted reporters in a similar way.) It hasn't helped my state of mind that I spent the past couple of days in Milan, looking at size zero (or less) models wearing clothes I will never ever be able to wear, and feeling like a sub-par human being because I wasn't wearing skinny jeans (or the size where skinny jeans are an option). All my life I have given the room the once over to see if I'm the heaviest one there, and in Milan I felt so conspicuous it was almost unbearable. If only my Spanx could have squeezed me into social X-ray size...

So I am thinking about it. Loving the idea of a break from any decisions about food for a few weeks. Wondering if I will be friendless at the end of it because I won't meet anyone for dinner. Wondering if I can do it. My mind is spinning with the minefields over the next few weeks and how I'll skirt them. If I'm going to do it I need to just start, because any days between the decision to do it and the official start date would be filled with last-chance eating.

Stay tuned.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Yet More Signs Bridezilla Is in the House

My sister is awash in wedding chores, and so her fiance's mother offered to help. My sister gave her the task of ordering yarmulkes. Now I think of yarmulkes as akin to, say, napkins. Functional, necessary (for a Jewish wedding), and chances are about one in a million that any guest, when asked about the wedding the next day, will say, "Those were the ugliest/most stunning napkins/yarmulkes I've ever seen."

Apparently I am wrong.

The black silk moire yarmulkes my sister's mother-in-law-to-be -- um, MIL? -- ordered (and paid for) arrived the other day, and

My sister's mother-in-law-to-be -- um, MIL? -- ordered black silk moire yarmulkes, my sister told me, wrinkling her nose. Apparently if my sister herself had ordered them, she would have chosen black suede. And she would have stamped she and her fiance's names on the outside, not the inside. And she would have used just their first names, not their first and last names. And she would have used just the English date, instead of the English and the Hebrew date.

With each day I become more and more grateful I live thousands of miles away, because I can only imagine how I would mess up the tasks I'd be given if I actually were around to do them.

* * *

My sister has done nothing but complain about how much she has to do and how over budget she is, but I arrived at her apartment to find five boxes with the words "sniff" on them stacked in the space most people use for a fireplace.

They were packets of tissues with a bride and groom on each one. She claims to have forgotten how much she paid for them, but I find it significant she also refuses to look it up...

* * *

Today I met my sister for lunch and listened as she complained, virtually without stopping, for an hour, about her co-workers, her lack of time, her lack of money, and how grateful she will be when this wedding is over (I resisted adding "Me, too.") I asked if there was anything I could do to help, since I was planning to spend the afternoon mooching around Georgetown spending money I shouldn't. She asked me to look for champagne-colored ribbons -- not champagne-pink ribbons, she specified, but sort of light gold.

"Why?" I asked.

She needs ribbon for the basket with the yarmulkes, and ribbons for the bags she might leave for out-of-town guests, and ribbon for various other things I tuned out. She did not want me to buy the ribbons -- only to find samples, because only she herself could determine if they were the right color. She has not booked a DJ for a wedding that is five weeks away, and she is spending time deciding between shades of light gold?

* * *

Yesterday I arrived back at my sister's apartment after her bachelorette party weekend -- she had gone to drive a friend to the airport -- to find her fiance watching cartoons on Fox and smoking pot.

"Now that I don't have the bar to study for I've reverted to college," he told me proudly.

This morning I asked my sister how often he smoked -- she is unbelievably prudish about things like that, so it was a bit shocking. "Not every weekend," she said. "He does it whenever he has to do anything wedding-related, like go to Crate & Barrel to deal with the registry."

I like the guy more and more every time I meet him. I can't help wondering if he's going to smoke before the wedding, and if so, if I can have a couple of hits. Or seven.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Across the Bridge and Into the Church

Why the long silence? I was at the Venice film festival, and then having Internet problems at home. (I was almost grateful for my lack of connectivity: My bathroom is a lot cleaner – who knew scrubbing the tub could be so satisfying? -- and my shoe and handbag collections have been reorganized…)

I was anxious about Venice. Not so much for the usual reasons, which are my own appearance, and that anyone at the magazine with any question for any of the numerous A-listers at a festival expect you always to be able to reach said A-lister post-haste. (“Oh, hang on, that’s Gwyneth on the other line,” I always feel like saying. Just because I am in the same city with them doesn't mean I have acquired a magic phone with everyone's cell phone number. Or just hacked Paris Hilton's phone.

Actually, “anxious” doesn’t describe my state of mind. “Terrified” is better. Last year the Venice film festival was when I leaped off the bingeing cliff into free fall. I’d been struggling since my assignment in Africa, then thought I had stemmed the tide (hello, mixed metaphors) with my 30 Bikram yoga classes in 30 days (if you overeat before a 90-minute class in a hot room, you will be sick). But no. In Venice I had ice cream daily. Multiple ice creams. Chocolate. Pastries. It had been several years since I had lived with the fear of a dress I wore one day literally not fitting the next, but in Venice it revisited me. At the end of my week there, in desperation I bought a cardigan to wear over the only dress that fit – to hide how tight it had become.

I’m still not sure what set me off in Venice, which is why I so feared going again – because you can’t plan how to avoid something you can’t define. It’s like trying to avoid air. Instead I did the best I could. I remembered Italian hotel breakfasts can be unhealthy, and the things you can grab – often screenings are at 8:30 a.m. – especially so. So I packed a box of cornflakes and some soy milk that didn’t need to be refrigerated. I told myself I could eat anything I wanted as long as it was part of a meal with a beginning and an end. And I tried to remember the awful lethargy and misery that comes with being entirely too full on a humid Venice day.

I did well. I ate a lot of pizza – it’s easily grabbable – and not nearly enough vegetables. I had gelato most days. But no chocolate or pastries – or binges. On Wednesday afternoon, I did the unheard-of in this job and managed to sneak off to wander through churches and shops. Despite the heat I nearly skipped up steps and over bridges. The sky was blue and clear and so was my head.

Friday, 1 September 2006

Fig Redux

Tuesday afternoon, after not having spoken to the Fig for six weeks, I emailed him to say I was near -- or near-ish -- to his flat, and did he want to get a coffee?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I could have handled it if he hadn't responded at all, I think. But what I can't handle is this: He wrote back saying it was good to hear from me, that he was in Brussels, and that we should organize something when he got back Thursday. I haven't heard from him again. Ugh. Why the hell didn't he just not answer in the first place? And ugh, why didn't I trust my gut, which was not to pick at this particular scab?

Even though it's only been a few weeks, I forgot just how miserable it is to check your email every ten seconds, to be in the middle of a perfectly nice dinner and scrabble for your Blackberry at random moments and see the red light flashing and to hope, to have dizzying hope, and to see it is only your White House press update, or a list of colleagues who will be promoting various magazine stories on TV, or a work question, or...