“Deception” (by Philip Roth, February) is a mishmash of ideas that go astray due to exhausting cuteisms and inane dialogue. The vulgarities appear to have been added to keep the Steel and Collins devotees happy and entertained. Incidentally, if any man’s mistress talked that much and said that little, she’d spend most of her time alone.
WE ARE GATHERED together in the sight of our readers to come to grips with the subject of a man’s wife, his partner, the little woman, the missus (for additional terms of endearment, see page 101). Whatever name she goes by, she is there when a man wakes up and she is there when he goes to sleep, and in between, even when she isn’t there, she’s there:
WHAT WITH all those protests in medieval town squares, and subsequent tracer fire from troops loyal to ruling Red elites, much of Eastern Europe’s transformation seemed very foreign to Americans who’d caught it on the Trinitron last winter.
ON MARCH 7, 1963, when John Coltrane met with his sidemen and a little-known singer in Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studio in New Jersey, he was the most dominant saxophonist alive. If he hadn’t yet achieved the godlike status he would acquire in death, his profound invention and his technical wizardry had already brought him sainthood.
WATCH the eyebrows arch when you mention you’re headed for Guatemala City; listen to the murmured protests. Too many soldiers, too many guns. Too much heavy political weather. It is true enough. The city’s headlines are blacker of late, nerves more jangled, the endemic political humor even more mordant than usual.
THE TELEPHONE in the junk store caught my eye—it was avocado. Price: $25. It was, one might think, the last vestige of the color that, as Margaret Walch of the Color Association of the U.S. puts it, “haunted” the late 1960s and early 1970s. But that phone is a good investment:
SHORTLY AFTER he was released from a mental asylum in 1959, Governor Earl Long of Louisiana ran for a fourth term. He hooted that his opponent was just a city slicker who wore fancy clothes and a “little old tuppy.” By “tuppy,” Long meant “toupee.”
The Place: Cape Cod, of course. In Massachusetts. North side for quiet towns and cold water, south side for the warmwater beach scene. The Architecture: The Cape house first appeared in the early 1700s as a sturdy little shingled— sometimes clapboard—one-story box with a steep-pitched roof to keep out the winter.
<p>HIGH UP ON Mulholland Drive at dusk, you suddenly enter the region of melodrama. Monstrous gates are everywhere, all blunt steel or ornamental iron, electronic variations on the medieval portcullis. Some are flanked by stone gatehouses manned by uniformed pistoleros.</p>
ON THIS DAY, somewhere in the golf world, Curtis Strange is taking personality lessons and Tom Kite is hitting another straight drive. People are trying to figure out what continent Seve Ballesteros is on and Payne Stewart can’t decide which outfit to go with—the 49ers or the Raiders.
<p>DWAYNE BUTLER frankly didn’t give a damn when a cardiologist told him that he had blockages of up to 50 percent in the arteries of his heart. “So?” he thought. “They took forty-seven years to get that way. And I’ve got another 50 percent to go.”</p>
<p>HERE: THE FIRST BRIGHT, cold orange juice of the morning. The sides of the glass are sweating in the sunlight that is beaming hard and sharp off the deep, abiding green of the golf course. It lies silent and expectant directly outside my patio screen window.</p>
I USED TO MARVEL at photographs in glossy outdoors magazines. In particular I studied the ones depicting a hooked fish glistening in the sunlight, above broken water, the powerful form coiled in the precise instant before a fierce and final effort to break free.
The little reason for living sweet potato pie old lady the war department helpmeet helpmate mate significant other honey sweetheart cutie pie feets Darth Vader love lumps mi esposa the weaker vessel the mother of my children cupcake sweetface
<p>TO FIND WHERE THE Stewart family lives, start from Cincinnati and work south down the interstate. Even when the sky is starless, it’s easy to find the way. First comes the sign welcoming you to Kentucky. Next comes the city of Covington. Soon comes the town of Florence, which has two exits and a mall.</p>
<p>"I SAT DOWN. I WAS THERE FIRST. I had the aisle seat, and I was doing some reading for work, and I glanced up, and he was coming to the seat, and I thought, Hmmm. He sat down and nodded hello, and I just nodded and went back to reading, but I guess I immediately became aware that he was attractive.</p>
IT WAS GETTING LATE, and the diners at Le Cirque were starting to trickle out. Many of them stopped at Georgette Mosbacher’s table to pay their respects before leaving, their silver-streaked bouffant coifs floating like gentle clouds above their heads. ∎ Georgette held her breath when she saw Estée Lauder rise from a nearby table and move toward her, surrounded by her entourage.
1. She’s trustworthy. Can be depended upon never to humiliate you with all the teeny peccadilloes that, if they became common knowledge, would compel you to jump in front of a milk truck. Perhaps you suck your teeth while reading. Maybe you simply must have warm Jell-O with saltines before retiring.
WE WERE IN LIKE with each other for a long time before we were in love. Friends for six years but always listening to other voices in other rooms. Being in like gets you through the bad patches when love is strained. But of course we didn’t know that then.
THIS IS SUPPOSED to be about Kristina, I know that, but I just want to say this about me as a way of getting closer to the subject. I’m one of those guys to whom other men—peckish little New York tailor’s-dummy types with bow ties, and big ol’ loud-talking, gin-breath, heavy-armed Delta boys, too—are always saying, “How in the world did a guy like you ever get a woman like this to agree to marry you?”
EVERY ONE WANTED TO go out with the girls who worked at the Figaro. But the girls who worked at the Figaro, who wore black leotards, barbarian sandals, and Egyptian jewelry, had no time for us. We were hardly older than they were. Like them, we were Americans from Podunk and Canarsie.
For best husbandly performance, please read these pages thoroughly. Retain for future reference
<p>To the untrained eye, the purse of a married woman is a gaping maw into which all manner of important things is fed, and from which no important thing ever returns except keys, and those only after an arduous search that often requires acrobatic skill.</p>
Sometimes the ghost of an ex-wife just won’t let go
<p>IT IS A SHRILL AND MISTY MANHATTAN DUSK: autumn 1969. A wan sliver of dying sunlight catches the windows of the skyscrapers. I am standing furtively at a street corner. Soon my wife emerges from a door across the way. No—my ex-wife. We have been divorced a fortnight, though I have yet to acknowledge the reality.</p>
Duuuuuuuude! This will be the summer of the groovy shirt—jungle prints and floral prints and what the rag trade is calling “mambo” prints, everything wild and untucked and drapey. Timothy Hutton, seen most recently in the movie Q & A and the Broadway play Prelude to a Kiss, is seen here in a tarot-card-print number.
I BELIEVE A BATHROOM wastebasket should be placed where I can pop a dull razor cartridge directly into it—where it can be used. Or at least I thought I knew this, until, at thirty-six, I got married. My wife feels a bathroom wastebasket should go where it cannot be seen, under the sink.
HE WAS A LIFELONG BACHELOR. SHE WAS READY TO COMMIT. HE WAS PUNCTUAL. SHE WAS FOREVER LATE. HIS BODY WAS A TEMPLE. HERS WAS A CHIMNEY. HAS THERE EVER BEEN A MARRIAGE BUILT ON LESS?
<p>I’M THIRTY-SIX YEARS OLD and I’ve never been married. ∎ I’ve written two novels, a book of nonfiction, a TV movie or two, sitcoms out the ol’ wazoo, and several feature films. I co-invented Rotisserie League Baseball and I run a reasonably large and successful publishing company.</p>
I TRIED TO LOVE PETER but soon had to accept that my best efforts were destined to fail. I cajoled, I flirted, I listened, I tried to please, but nothing I could do or say sparked a feeling sufficient to rival the bottomless love he has for himself.
<p>How It Got Like This Memphis may be the one town in America where Elvis is never seen anymore. The very hint of a possibility that he might be alive must terrify city fathers. For if he were, what would happen to the 650,000-or-so folk (a number approximately equal to the city’s population) who visit his home each year?</p>
Charles Stuart’s hunger for a new life meant doing something wicked to the one he had
<p>FROM A MARKETING PERSPECTIVE, this murder had just about everything. At its center, it had the white, attractive, middle-class couple so critical for mass appeal. It had the necessary measure of sudden, unseemly violence, not only against a loving wife, but also, and even more disturbing, against an unborn child.</p>
WHAT IS one eighth of an inch thick, weighs one ounce, and, if you’re not careful, can your finger, not to mention your marriage, green? ■ It’s your wedding ring, and depending on how you look at it, it’s either the ultimate symbol of your troth or a suffocating chastity belt worn for all the wrong reasons.
THE SUMMER NIGHT you strolled up to our house, dressed in a white linen suit and carrying lilacs you’d lifted from your mother’s yard—that was when I knew that all was lost for love. It was like hearing the metal tumbler fall and drop in a dead-bolt lock, so absolute was my conviction.
Dear Lee, Self-appointed do-gooders, bustling about vacuuming and Pledge-ing the language and posting its tedious household dos and don’ts—down with cantankerous semantic nitpickers. And we all know who they are, hmmm? Certainly not the undersigned, a linguistic regular guy who couldn’t tell a gerund from a Garand rifle; but having thus so endearingly exempted myself from any taint of didacticism, am I allowed just one tiny, heartfelt carp?