Take a Knee
...and might I interest you in some hair gum?
New readers! Filing in steadily like ants at the insect company picnic. Look here to get an idea of what’s on the menu. And as always, a thank you for taking the time to read HNTFUYF. Please tap the little ❤ above if you’re glad you’re not f*cking up your face.
Breaking news: It appears miniskirts are once again having a moment. I recently read a story that quoted a middle-aged woman who’s decided the hell with it, she’s got nice legs and she’s going to wear a miniskirt this summer. And I thought, But…why? Who wants to be wondering if her cooch is part of the scenery? Also, I’m always wary of “mutton dressed as lamb” situations, where the mutton appropriates a sartorial trend put forward by a generation or two younger (or that was first popularized decades ago when the mutton was herself a lamb). Then again, when it comes to Who What Wear (or whatever) I’m a firm believer in the anything goes theory. You’re 70 and you want to wear a miniskirt? Just do it! I’ll applaud you in my caftan.
As I was thinking about this, L, my accidental muse, sent me a Vogue story declaring that knees (women’s knees, of course) are the “new neck” and that (to quote the headline) “As temperatures and hemlines rise, an-oft-overlooked body part arrives in the dermatologist’s office.” Huzzah! One more piece of ourselves we’ll be encouraged to obsess about 😒. And this quickly brought to mind a (slightly amended) Jane Austen quote: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a doctor in pursuit of a good fortune must be in want of a patient (or a new appendage).
Like every other part of our bodies we carry with us till we shuffle off this mortal coil, our knees break down (ours more quickly than men’s), change shape, and lose definition. One of the better things about knees, IMHO, is that they’re not on our face. Meaning we’re not confronted with them at every turn in the glass. (“And so what if we were?” you might ask. And I might answer “You’re right—and so what?”) I’m not going to list the treatments you could pursue if you’re rattled by your knees’ appearance; the Vogue story has a comprehensive account. I do, though, want to suggest… well, what do I want to suggest? I guess I’ll keep it simple: If it bothers you to look at your knees, don’t look at them.
A few years ago I discovered the joys of wearing a silk, cotton, or linen midi-shift in the dog days of summer. On the beastliest of days (and please keep this between us), I go commando—which requires a dress long enough to prevent a lively gust from catching me (and, sorry, you) unawares. You need something like this, this, this, or this. With a pair of inexpensive flats or fancier ones, serious shades or more lighthearted ones, and, if the sun is really hot, a hat, you’ll look and feel so fine and elegant that no one, least of all you, will be tempted to think about the state of your patellas.
Today is a short-ish post, because I’m currently working my way through the Japanese medical system. But I just had to share some of the exotica I noticed on my last trip to the dollar store.
I stood for many long minutes in front of this package trying to figure out the usefulness of these runny, blobby balls. Silly Putty? Dog toys? If you guessed that they’re actually hard-boiled eggs, flavored with smoke and soy sauce, and best enjoyed—far away from the packaging—with a glass of chilled sake, you’d be right.
Want to change your eye color from “Coconut” to “Hot Chocolate” to ‘Matcha”? Pop in a pair of these colored contact lenses, good for one use only. And for more…eye-catching…options, check out this online menagerie.
Finally, how great is the name for these hair rubber bands? My granddaughter, M, taught me the Japanese word for rubber band: wagomu, so the name makes some kind of sense. A very fun kind.
Book Club News, ICYMI
Though I’ve been a latecomer to audiobooks, once I discovered them I couldn’t get enough. I borrow them from the public library, but as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the library steals them back before I can finish. So I'm happy to share I'm partnering with Chirp to launch an audiobook club of biographies and memoirs called “Unfiltered Women.” It’s free to subscribe and Chirp offers great deals. Plus, you obviously get to keep the book to listen to at your leisure.
Full transparency: At this point, I’m choosing not to receive payback for sign-ups, but I do hope to get the benefit of introducing HNTFUYF to Chirp subscribers.
Here’s how it works. Every other month I’ll announce a new book club pick that we’ll listen to together. You’ll have a chance to share your thoughts on the book a few weeks later and hear what other readers thought, too. My first pick is the memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. I often encourage you to quit objectifying yourself and to instead turn your attention outward, where there’s so much to be appreciated. Hamilton is not only a master of extreme attentiveness, but also a gifted chronicler of what she sees—and she sees...everything. It’s enormous fun to follow her path from spunky kid and lover-of-backyard-barbeques to the founder of what was one of the most beloved restaurants in the world. Delicious reading.
To get started, go to chirpbooks.com/val and press FOLLOW to join my club. (Again, it’s free and there is NO commitment.)
Val Asks You
Don’t be shy! What’s your most vexing or intractable appearance issue? Send your beauty-related questions to email@example.com. If I don’t have a good answer, I’ll find someone who does.
HNTFUYF, a Payola-Free Zone
Readers, a few of you have wondered aloud to me if I get a cut from sales when I mention a product. I do not. I only mention products I’d like to buy myself, and therefore think you might like, too. I share this so you know my recommendations are offered without obligation. The only financial contributions I receive from these posts are from those of you—thank you!—who have generously subscribed. All posts and the archive are free; there’s no paywall.