Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Letters to the Editors of Women's Magazines, with Edith Zimmerman

INSTYLEWinning Hands
I haven't worn playful nail polish since I was an adolescent, but the painted nails in "Power Points" [September] were so stylish, they made me reconsider my go-to French manicure. Your article showed me that my nails are another accessory I can have fun with.
Stephanie B., Overland Park, Kan. (InStyle, November 2009)

Why do we have ten fingers? That seems like a lot-personally I think I'd rather just have one. I'd want it to be made out of all the other fingers, though, so what I'd do is cut them all off and sew them together end to end, and then reattach the whole thing back onto my hand. And you could get rid of my other arm too, so I'd just have one arm with one really long finger at the end. Wouldn't that be stylish?
Tracy J., Long Beach

Before and After
As a teenager I always wore baggy clothes-I was considered a tomboy. Once I started reading InStyle, I was finally able to put together my current classy look. Not only do you show great fashion and beauty ideas, but you tell the reader how to get them for herself. That's why I love this magazine.
Garima S., via instyle.com (InStyle, November 2009)

As a teenager I used to put a toilet paper roll in my underwear and tell people I had a dick. I don't do it as much anymore, but sometimes I still do it.

Charlotte T., Kansas City

What Generation Gap?
I may be considered "old" by some (I just turned 47), but women of all ages love InStyle. The proof? I keep several issues on my coffee table and often find my daughter and granddaughters flipping through them. I continually go back to my past issues to find accessories, beauty products, and style tips. Don't change a thing. I love you just the way you are!
Linda F., via instyle.com (InStyle, November 2009)

Do you ever wish you went to the bathroom and instead of pee a bunch of dust came out because you were dead and your body had already decomposed? Or do you ever wish you were a hundred pounds skinnier because you had died and been cremated? Or do you ever wish you went to the doctor and he was like, "The test came back empty because you were never alive in the first place"? N-E way, just wondering.
Amanda N., Columbus, OH

Obama Overload
I am so past the saturation point with the Obama family, I can't even see straight. In the five years I have been receiving your magazine, I cannot remember a similar adulatory article that fawned over Laura Bush's style.
Jane P., via InStyle.com (InStyle, December 2009)

OK, one last question: Do you ever wish you woke up in a grave and had bugs for eyes and worms for hands? OK, and this really is the last one, I swear, but do you ever wish that instead of getting dressed in the morning you could just roll out of bed and clatter to the floor in a pile of bones?
Amanda N., Columbus OH

Best of the Best
How irresponsible of you to show model Carmen Kass separating her eyelashes with, of all things, a safety pin ["Best of Beauty," October]. Let's hope none of your readers display such a, so to speak, glaring lack of common sense.
Kathe R., Las Vegas (Allure, December 2009)

Thanks for all the awesome tips! I particularly enjoyed the tip about poking my eyes out with a safety pin. At first I was like "Maybe I shouldn't," but then I did, and it's definitely given me a new perspective. As in, no perspective, because now I am blind. Kudos!
Marcie T., Mobile, AL

The Techno Gap
I applaud Katie Drummond ["The Facebooking Mother-in-Law," October 2009] for exposing the secret hostility I feel. Let's face it: No one wants her technological kingdom taken over by nosy parents. We don't want to have to censor our language or delete pictures of blackout moments. Give us back our Facebook!
Kara J., San Diego, CA (Marie Claire, December 2009)

I only have two Facebook friends-my mom and my dad. I didn't even know you could have more! This is amazing! So what do you do, look up names you've heard of, or do you think up imaginary names and see if they're real? Actually nevermind, I bet you do it both ways. Oh man, I can't wait to start hunting these other people down on Facebook and killing them! Wait, I mean, like, finding them and looking up their house and going over and killing them-ugh, sorry, I mean, like, getting in touch with them and becoming friendly and then meeting up with them and just literally murdering them. Whoops, I better cut this short, I guess.
Abby L., Yuma, AZ

Previously: Letters to the Editors of Women's Magazines

Edith Zimmerman is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn.

32 Comments / Post A Comment

HiredGoons (#603)

French-tips are tacky – THERE IS NO WAY TO REFUTE THIS!!!


(*call me)

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

They're total porno nails.

Olivia2.0 (#1,716)

I also agree. Ugh. I wish people would understand this. Guess what else is tacky? FRENCH TOE NAILS. IF YOU CAN DO THAT TO YOUR TOE NAILS YOU HAVE TOO MUCH TOE NAIL!!!!

Toe nail extensions with piercings… sighted in NE DC

mathnet (#27)


skipitjerk (#2,227)


I have many, many times said in the past (sometimes to people actually sporting the french toe nails!) that I would rather cut off my toes than do that to them.
And it's trrrrrruuuuuuuue!

myfanwy (#1,124)

*sincerely* You must have difficulty walking without toes.

metoometoo (#230)

When I go for my trimonthly mani/pedi, I make disapproving faces at women who ask for French manicures, and extra-disapproving faces at women who ask for French pedicures.

I looked at that cover and thought, "Oh, it's nice that Kylie Minogue got on the cover of a magazine in the States!"

kuhnsy (#2,511)

Me too! K.Heig. is much too tall to fit on a magazine cover!

Baboleen (#1,430)

French tipped nails are the antithesis of "hands" in the book "The Cleft" by Doris Lessing (a really strange but fascinating book.)

dorothy (#1,694)

Do you ever wish Edith would write for The Awl every day? N-E way, I do. Don't change a thing. Except for that!

Dorothy, Greenpoint, BK

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

YES. All the time. Like even NOW.

dorothy (#1,694)

And that Mary wrote about eating food all over the world all the time whilst wearing bright red lipstick and looking sultry? ME TOO!

Peteykins (#1,916)

Yes. This has quickly become one of my favorite features on The Awl.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

On 1 January 2009, the ghost of HL Mencken appeared to me in a dream and said, Tulle, before the year is out, your favorite journalism will be a blog column called Letters to the Editors of Ladies' Magazines by Edith Zimmerman. I answered absently, You are a fool. And he rolled out of bed and clattered to the floor like a pile of bones.

"In an ideal world I'd have all ten fingers on my left hand so my right hand could just be a fist for punching."

zidaane (#373)

If you need a pattern for a hand knit single fingerless glove I have one. It's for a pretty large finger but you could probably change that.

mathnet (#27)

Wouldn't that be stylish!

It's In Style!

Bittersweet (#765)

Forget separating your eyelashes with a safety pin – I hear the latest beauty thing is to scrape your cheeks with steel wool, obviating the need for powder blush.

cherrispryte (#444)

Nah. You're just supposed to slap yourself in the face as hard as possible. Men hate blood, remember!

As my mother tells me, "Pinch a couple capillaries. Only whores use rouge."

hockeymom (#143)

Dear Jane P,

Thank you for your letter. It's a GOOD QUESTION and YOU ARE RIGHT. We DIDN'T fawn over Laura Bush. But that's because she had no style and you have to HAVE style to be InStyle!


HiredGoons (#603)

"Besties!!!" (squint-smile)

skipitjerk (#2,227)

Dear The Awl, sometimes I love stuff so much on here I scare myself, and maybe, I think, others…

belltolls (#184)

Edith Zimmerman has the highest laugh to word ratio of anyone I have been reading. I went to her blog and she has these wonderful "very" short stories too. I think Tina Fey wouldn't want her in the writing room. Jealousy.

cinetrix (#47)

Math class is hard. But! "I may be considered “old” by some (I just turned 47), but women of all ages love InStyle. The proof? I keep several issues on my coffee table and often find my daughter and granddaughters flipping through them." 47? GRANDDAUGHTERS? Whoopi, that you?

afarerkind (#379)

Oh god, the safety pin item.

this is the funniest thing I have ever read I keep reading it aloud to my roommates and now they deffo want to move out. JUST LETTING YOU KNOW.

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