Though lots of people say we live in a post-modern era, common sense ideas about what’s “merely in our heads” versus what’s “actually out there” in the world haven’t really changed much. We know, of course, that when we’re in love, our “rose colored glasses” make the “external” world shimmer with magic. And we know […]Read More Lessons from a tempestuous romance with Coromandel
When I was a kid, Alvin was a dog in my neighborhood with an underbite and a pushed-in snout. Mostly soft gray, but with wiry patches of whisker-like black fur sprouting up here and there, everyone agreed that this dog was ugly. Everyone, that is, except Alvin, who wandered from house to house with the […]Read More Queer style and aesthetic mindfulness: Breaking the habit of being ourselves
“What do you think of this?” I ask hopefully, as I place my perfume-scented wrist near my friend’s face. When her nose wrinkles and she pulls away, I hear a scale descending into a minor chord. I am disappointed. “What IS that?” she asks, and, as all hope that she will share my pleasure is […]Read More Respecting the tastes and opinions of others: Is tolerance really the best we can do?
You know someone, don’t you, who can be counted on to go “blech!” when they try to eat anything new to them. Whether it’s kohlrabi or Brazil nuts or hummus, the “ick!” is out of their mouth almost before the food has gone in. It’s the sort of reaction we might expect from children, but […]Read More When perfume becomes a doorway into mindfulness
To those who are disgusted by so-called “dirty,” “skanky,” or “animalic” perfumes — and many mainstream folks may never actually have smelled one — it can be utterly baffling that anyone would find them appealing. And this may be more than a trivial difference about individuals’ attraction to particular notes, of the “I like lavender […]Read More Skanky perfumes in the Age of Febreze
My two hound mixes have been dead for a couple of years now, and all I’m left with is this terrier-chihuahua something-or-other who occasionally looks more like a cartoon rendering than an actual dog. Battle-scarred, bug-eyed, and half-deaf, she’s adapted over the years by pushing more and more of her consciousness into her nose. And […]Read More My old dog’s nose: On equanimity and aging
When I finally got around to reading the first book in the historical mystery series featuring amateur Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, I was struck by its overtly imperialist aesthetic. Set in the late 19th century, it parodies and celebrates English archeologists. It also patronizes the local people at every turn. For the White Western reader, it […]Read More Vicarious living through Comme des Garçons: Exoticism and cultural appropriation