Look Book #3

Look: Little Minx

Book: The House of Mirth “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth,” warns Ecclesiastes 7:4, and so does the novel by Edith Wharton that takes its title from this call to heed. New York at the turn of the century was a time of opulence and frivolity for those who could afford it. But for those who couldn’t and yet wanted desperately to keep up with the whirlwind, like Wharton’s charming Lily Bart, it was something else altogether: a gilded cage rather than the Gilded Age.

One of Wharton’s earliest descriptions of her heroine, in the library of her bachelor friend and sometime suitor Lawrence Selden, indicates that she appears “as though she were a captured dryad subdued to the conventions of the drawing room.” Indeed, herein lies Lily’s problem. She has, we’re told, “been brought up to be ornamental,” and yet her spirit is larger than what this ancillary role requires. By today’s standards she would be nothing more than a mild rebel, but in the era into which Wharton drops her unmercifully, this tiny spark of character, combined with numerous assaults by vicious society women and bad luck, ultimately renders Lily persona non grata. Her own ambivalence about her position serves to open the door to disaster: several times she is on the verge of “good” marriage and squanders it at the last moment, unwilling to play by the rules of a society that produces, as she calls them, “poor, miserable, marriageable girls. (read more)

Look: Silver Fox

Book: Skinny Bastard So you’re fat. Big deal. Chances are, you haven’t done so badly, despite the few extra lbs you’re carting around. But don’t kid yourself, pal: A hot-bodied man is a head-turner. You have only one body to get you through this lifetime. So quit eating crap and abusing yourself! Even if you never look like Brad Pitt, if you’re eating well and exercising, you’ll be healthier, happier, and more confident.

So strap on a pair. It’s time to get ripped. (read more)

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