A creepy ad for Love’s Baby Soft, JFK Jr. and the Peter Pan Bus

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I remember the day I fell in love with magazines. It was 1983, and I was in sixth grade. My family was stationed in Spain because my dad was in the Navy, and my best friend Belle and I were hanging out on her bed in her room. I was flipping through her older sister’s Seventeen magazine, which I had just rescued from the trashcan; American magazines were hard to come by. I took it home with me and spent hours reading it, poring over the pages, marveling at the attention to detail the girl in the back-to-school fashion story exhibited with her buttery yellow headband that perfectly matched her yellow and black plaid skirt and her Trapper Keeper. …


It’s cats in wigs. Cats in wigs!

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Handsome Badger dressed in his finery awaits you

I’m a 49-year-old lady who still doesn’t know how Instagram Stories work, and I’m not going to learn. So it came as a surprise to me to discover that I love TikTok. Like most people my age, I ignored it for a while. Sarah Cooper’s Trump videos made it to my inbox without me having to concern myself with what the kids were doing in the latest online craze. But then I saw a man and his kid parodying a woman named Elizabeth from Knoxville Tennessee who got maced while “storming the Capitol, it’s a Revolution!” …


Getting adequate sleep is romantic.

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Feel free to entertain whomever you like in your boudoir

My preference is to live in a gothic estate where my bedroom features a wood burning fireplace and my night-time routine includes brushing my hair in front of my vanity while wearing an ostrich feathered robe. As I am a normal person and not Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, I settle for my ordinary bedroom. Just so long as it’s mine. All mine. At least when it comes to sleeping.

The idea that people are meant to sleep together in the same bedroom — let alone in the same bed — night after night is absurd.


You are all invited.

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Do you prefer turrets or gables?

I’m starting a writing retreat for worn-out women. There is no application process, and everyone is welcome. It will be modeled after Jenny’s shingled Fisher Island home in The World According to Garp but it will be a gothic estate with a hedge maze and a glass conservatory. It will be the Lilith Fair of writing groups.

The house will be worthy of haunting when you die, and you are welcome to take up permanent residence with the sister spirits who already reside within. Sylvia Plath enjoys sunning herself on the wrap around porch. We will conjure the spirits of your idols, who will serve as mentors for your great work. There will be a wood burning fireplace in every room as well as a bathtub with feet. Every room will have a view of the sea. Disparate design schemes will flow organically, from the tasseled curtains to the Queen’s Gambit patterned wallpaper. There will be an infinite supply of candles and they smell exactly the way you desire them to smell. There will be misty moors and a nearby forest. …


We’re both moving forward after leaving careers we loved before we were ready.

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On the surface, I guess I knew I had a lot in common with Jenna Lyons. I’m also known as Jenna to my older family members; we’re nearly the same age and so are our sons, both of whom enjoyed having their toenails painted; we both worked in fashion in NYC and have a passion for blending sparkles with drawstring pants; and we were both forced out of careers we loved before we were ready to leave.


For girls who grew up way too fast. Let it serve us well now.

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If you haven’t seen Swinging Safari (also titled Flammable Children) you should watch it immediately

For those of us who read Flowers in the Attic and the rest of V.C. Andrews’s oeuvre in the third grade, it is perhaps understandable that we grew up a little too fast.

For many girls born in the ’70s, rites of passage included being responsible for your younger siblings from the time you were nine — gaining experience not limited to but including figuring out how to clear their air passages by freeing a chunk of hotdog they ate for lunch, which you cooked for them and placed, whole, in their chubby fists. …


The uplifting power of magical thinking during bleak times

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These are dark times. We need something to look forward to. You are all invited to my 50th birthday party in Amsterdam. Please start planning now.

I turn 50 on January 5th, 2022. Because January is a crappy month to be in The Netherlands, I’m also going to have a 50th birthday party six months after my actual birthday during the surreal days of Amsterdam summer when it stays light out past 11pm and the cornflower skies are filled with fluffy white clouds featured on all the master painters’ canvasses in the Rijks Museum down the street. The clouds are worthy of mention. They form shapes you don’t even need magic pancakes to see, but there will be magic pancakes at my party if you would like them. There will also be boat rides of varying types. We will of course go out on the Shrimp Whisker, my family’s little canal boat but that’s only for very special guests, of whom you are definitely one. I’ll also be hiring one of the regal Dutch wooden boats with a crystal chandelier and a silver bowl for tulips — that’s really a thing boats here have — and an elegantly stocked bar, varied depending on the festivity that particular day or evening. There will also be a gothic estate in the country with a hedge maze and glass conservatory. I’m inviting Allison Dubois, the medium who wreaked havoc at Camille’s dinner party in season one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to a dinner party I’m hosting one night. …


The Real Housewives of New York star’s recent plastic surgery is undermining the strides I’ve made in overcoming a lifetime of negative body image issues.

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I’ve been a Real Housewives fan for years but since moving to Amsterdam two years ago I stopped watching. Nevertheless, I’m well aware that one of the stars of the New York franchise recently underwent a drastic cosmetic procedure. The news is hard to miss. Her newly refreshed face is the talk of the town and she’s plastered on the front page of nearly every publication that covers celebrities. Thrifty Sonja, never one to miss out on a freebie or deep discount (just ask those unpaid interns), has clearly aligned herself with her plastic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Jocono, as both of them have been swanning around all over town touting his skills with the scalpel. “He uses a method called deep plane which goes under the muscle so your skin is still attached. …


It’s a good story that I never tire of telling

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Pretty much everyone has had at least one brush with a celebrity in their lifetime, however brief, leaving them with a story to tell. I personally never get tired of hearing these stories, or telling mine. I’ve found the thrill is not necessarily the encounter itself; it’s how one chooses to tell the story.

The day I met Martha Plimpton was the 4th of July in New York City in the summer of 2000. As this was years before my decision to stop drinking alcohol, I was very drunk. My best friend Dorothy was visiting from Virginia and we were spending the 4th at a bar in South Street Seaport. There was some kind of maritime celebration and sailors from all over the world were in town, their ships of many sizes and colors moored just outside in that very port. Many of these international sailors were in the bar my friend Dorothy and I were in, also getting very drunk. …


I tuned in for a breezy escape and found myself deeply concerned about the toxic work environment’s effect on three women

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Source: Netflix Official Site

*Spoiler Alert (this essay contains many)

On day seven of a record setting heat wave and burgeoning second wave of the Covid pandemic in the Netherlands, I surrendered any remaining efforts and melted into my couch with Selling Sunset on Netflix. …

About

Jennifer Barnett

Former managing editor of The Atlantic, Teen Vogue, Redbook, and Elle. Now I’m writing. Expat in Amsterdam.

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