Vanity Fair at The Lab


I have to admit that I’ve worked hard at taking my sabbatical seriously. Having said that, travel research, travel bookings, packing for travel, actual travel and then recovery from travel, should not be under-estimated.

As a result, I was still deep in recovery phase late last week when an ex-colleague called about some contracting work (bearing in mind that I have not engaged in actual work, per se, since April ’09). When we met to discuss the project, she looked so fab in her tailored shirt, fitted skirt and pointy shoes that I felt a rush of nostalgia for the glamour of a working wardrobe. “I miss suits and heels!!!” I thought and promptly accepted the piece of work. As it turns out, I ended up doing the work at home in my PJ’s. I can’t say it was exactly brain surgery but it was a bit of a shock to the system – what with its deadlines, timelines, frameworks and all those other workie-type things.

So when I finished the work yesterdday, I really felt as though I deserved a reward. I thought about it and then settled on a mani and a pedi at the Blubird’s Nail & Body Lab.

There are many things I love about The Lab. I love settling down into the big, leather Lazy Boys and coming out with perfect little, bright red fingers and toes.

The part I enjoy less is the: “Howz-i-i-i-i-t, D-o-o-o-o-o-o-ol!” (think: ULTRA nasal).

“Ah my G-o-o-o-o-rd! You look a-MA-a-a-a-a-zing!”

“ Ah my G-o-o-o-o-rd, I’m so exh-a-a-a-a-usted. Ricky had a Board function last night and all I’ve had today is two freezocinos and a Super C.”

“Ah my G-o-o-o-o-rd!” And so forth.

Obviously if the cheerleaders actually spoke to me, I’d put on my best nasal drawl and drawl right back,

“Ah my G-o-o-o-o-rd! You ‘usso’ (read ‘also’) look aMA-a-a-a-a-zing!” But since they don’t, my strategy is to look intellectually intimidating. I take along a copy of Vanity Fair and smugly immerse myself in one of the regular articles by Nobel Prize-winning economists such as Joseph Stiglitz.

That’ll teach ‘em. Today, however, I have a somewhat post-modern moment at The Lab. Instead of the latest Vanity Fair, I take along the book I’ve just started reading: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young (it inspired a recent movie by the same name). Turns out, the book is actually based on Toby’s experiences as a writer for Vanity Fair itself.

A chapter or so in, it dawns on me that my visions of the magazine as the seat of cutting-edge journalism and the mouth-piece of world-renowned economists, may be somewhat off-base. From Toby’s descriptions, Vanity Fair is starting to sound more like Cosmo – except the editors are richer and bitchier.

And then comes the quote that pretty much settles it: APPARENTLY (according to Toby), Vanity Fair was once described as “a magazine read by women in Illinois while they get their nails done.” Touché, dol.

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