Dowager Shock

I think to myself sometimes—maybe you do too— why all the selfies?

I barely took a picture of myself until I turned 40. But I spent yesterday with an old lover and it gave me an inkling of an answer: You really can’t go home again. Not because time is hopelessly linear but because if you keep on self-reckoning, eventually you outgrow obfuscation and objectification, diminishment and toxic possession. Shame. You stop saying, “Daddy, please approve of me.” You start saying, “Daddy, you have no invitation nor right to my deference.” Which is to say: you stop taking or talking jive. And maybe that’s why I take these pictures now. To remind myself that, despite the fact that I have aged out of viability in the eyes of patriarchy, despite the fact that I am untethered to a romantic relationship or biological family, despite the fact that I have very little cash nor clear prospects, despite the fact that I carry more weight than ladies are programmed to allow themselves, I am still here. At 48, I am more sure than ever before of who I am, what I can tolerate, how I can serve, and of the space I claim. So today I put on eclipse-season, mercury-retrograde, dowager-chic armor: a boob-revealing mini dress, platforms, 4D hair, lipstick, big glasses, fannypack—essentially I transformed myself into a 6 foot 4 spacecrone. And what I am saying—what I always am saying in Trump’s fucked-up, cockocratic, white-supremacist dystopia—is this: I’m not just a lover. I am a fighter. And I have earned the right to look back at you.

Swans of the Concrete Jungle

Money’s dear this year, which sounds like a Dorothy Parker stanza but is one of the myriad reasons I’m lucky to live in NYC—a miraculous place to live on the cheap if you’re resourceful. Yesterday with ten bucks in my pocket I ferried ($2.50) to the Metropolitan Museum—both Mets!—for one buckarino (1$) and entered an alternate dimension mostly pink and 100 percent fabulous: Camp:Notes on Fashion at 5th Avenue and Mrinalini Mukherjee’s Phenomenal Nature at the Breur; then the Chris Ofili show at David Swirner (free) and the nutty gallery that is Madison Ave designer window displays and designer rich-lady faces (free, at least for me).

Altogether it was a rarified world of wedding cake townhouses and mermaids with big cocks and tin-foil goddesses and licentious, lichen-ous trees. I even had enough left over for a pretzel with loads of mustard ($2) in Central Park, so lushly green that Edith Wharton would’ve found the terrain familiar. I felt what I always feel when prowling a NYC jungle not my own: joyfully restored, gratefully inspired.

Taxi Driven at 3 Am

I went to bed so early last night that I was up at 3am watching Taxi Driver, quel meta. One of my first memories is of passing through that ratchet Times Square with my parents; the littlest me fell for its underbelly the way you get hung up on a bad smell. Scorcese captures its neon reds and blues, blurred and bolting–its cheap calories and cheaper sex–with Cadillac cars and a Cadillac score. And then there’s De Niro’s ex-marine outsider wandering and wondering, blood-shot with an ignoramus’s bravado. Which is to say: terror, especially when it comes to his unamused muse Cybill Shepherd and her very fine, DVF-clad ass. So loosely adapted from Dostovesky’s Notes from the Underground, this Scorcese-Schrader collab doesn’t endorse the basest attitudes about race, women, sexuality so much as inventory them as evidence of Our General Decline. It’s a portrait of a dangerously white male that could be stripped from today’s headlines except the macro-aggression isn’t just garish. It’s gorgeous.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy