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April 13, 2013


:-) It sounds so fun!

How heart-warming a time you both had. Thanks for sharing.

Sounds like a wonderful visit from a good friend. I'd love to try her knit pattern.

This sounds so delightful! Even the Sephora visit, which I recognize isn't necessarily your usual cup of tea (nor mine), but which sounds like a nifty adventure even so.

I love, love, love this. I love your sketch of Pica, with all the pertinent details you noted.

Beth, this is lovely. I feel the same way about the possibilities of online friendships. It was such a long time ago when I first visited you in Vermont, the whole experience of shared blogs so novel and shiny.

Loved going to Sephora with you, it was a fun thing to do. Tell Jonathan we'll take him along next time!

The two people who seem to be faced toward us (in the far right of the sketch) in Pica's sketch look so mousy and add to a nervous energy in that sketch. I imagine (without any birdwatching experience myself) that it must capture the tension of waiting for the birds perfectly.

As for the internet friendships being real or not, I wonder if we can push the discourse beyond that binary into a more nuanced thing. Can we explore why you and Pica (and any other internet/blogging friends you have) are friends and why others don't have that experience? In that context it would become clear that you and the people telling your internet friends can't be real friends are talking about two fundamentally different interactions. I know that I feel that some of my older friendships feel cheapened by our internet interactions, but I think that's more to do with the way we interact online versus real life, not the medium's limitations on us.

I wonder at this need that we seem to have to look younger or different.

When will men our age be going to cosmetics stores?
When they do what will it mean?


Sharat, I'd be pleased to discuss the subject of daily-life/internet friendships in a more nuanced way. In particular I'm interested in how you feel some of your pre-existing relationships are cheapened by online interaction - is it that what were once deeper conversations have devolved into briefer, more superficial contacts? I think that is true for me with certain people too.

ET: funny thing, I asked that cosmetologist how many men came into the store to shop for themselves and she said "a lot more than you'd think!" Most of the product lines they carry (especially for skincare, hair, and fragrances) have lines specifically for men.

"Cheapened" is the wrong word. Social media (Facebook mostly) is the way I interact with most of those friends, and for me Facebook has this tendency among people my age (I am 21) to turn into a show. Each status is a competition, an unconscious one, I think, for the most likes or the comments turn into "Who can say the next funniest thing or ironic joke, etc.?" Therefore it feels hard to keep up friendships that way. Perhaps its only my network's age, but I see it as an outgrowth of Facebook's choice of quantifying relationships via Likes. I'm no media theorist, but that seems an iffy way to do anything other than collect data to sell to advertisers.

However, the solution to this falls to the individuals in the relationship. I know, and suspect most of my friends know, Facebook is a bit of a circus, but we can change the tenor of our interactions on the medium. I will say that there are a few people who I am in contact with via Facebook chat during my current study abroad trip to India, and conversation flows much more easily that way for me with them. And I do get the feeling I know them better for it.

I love the pictures and your description... wish I'd been there! Pica's sketches and her new short haircut are great. Why no photo of the results on you and Pica of the make-up session?

The desire to enhance our appearance is probably more natural than the relatively modern idea of 'looking natural'. The cosmetic industry has taken over what is essentially the ancient human practice of decorating our faces and bodies - an art-form in itself. Whatever one's age, gender or looks, experimenting with make-up, hair styles and colours is fun and invigorating but I would draw the line at cosmetic surgery, Botox etc .

Natalie: And in taking over the human practice of decorating ourselves it has homogenized cultures.
Blue or green eye lids - fine, blue or green lips - not accepted.
Bright red lips for women - fine, men - not accepted.
Heels so high they make it difficult to walk - sexy and acceptable in many circumstances for women.

Interesting creatures, aren't we?

ET - if you look at glossy fashion magazines - Vogue, Harper's, Elle etc. or at news pictures of the latest designers' catwalking models, there are multicoloured eyelids and lips (yes, blue, green, black!) sometimes on the men too. Maybe not in the US but over here in the UK and Europe there doesn't seem to be anything unacceptable in the fashion world. But of course you're right and these extremes don't generally filter down to the average woman or man on the street.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.