For the last six or so weeks, I’ve been obsessed– obsessed– with my health (“to the surprise of absolutely no one,” says my roommate. “I bet you also love to read advice columns.” He’s on to me.). I’ve been thinking about it constantly. I’ve been blessed to have great health, but preventative medicine is the best medicine, or so I heard on NPR. There’s so much conflicting information out there and it makes me feel like I may as well keep doing what I’m doing, because hey, that’s not going badly, or at least not yet. I consulted with a variety of friends in the medical field about how to take care of myself– a pharmacist, someone who works in insurance, two nurses, a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a surgeon, a physical therapist, a medical journalist, and three doctors– and got a ton of information. It inspired me to take stock of my habits and practices, get my family’s complete medical records, and do some research about what options are available for me for care. It’s helping me to sleep better at night, and so I wanted to pass that along to you.
Everyone who knows me, with the notable exception of my mother, agrees that I am a Clean Person. Staci’s house is kept at all times at hospital-grade sterility and Pottery Barn catalog levels of lovely, and she considers the Dairy Queen to be the absolute height of filth, so in recent years I decided her opinion is not one I can take into account. Sorry, Mommy! Everyone else, though– they all agree I keep a real clean house. There’s pretty much nothing worse in the whole world than staying the night with a friend, or being invited to your cousin’s for dinner and finding that everything is covered in a sticky film, or that there’s cat pee staining the rug. I’m not saying you’re that cousin, but if you are, I want to show you how to dig yourself out with a minimum of cussing and sweating.
It was not always this way. To paraphrase 1 Corinthians, when I was a college student, I swept as a college student, I laundered as a college student, I Windexed as a college student. When I became a grownup, I put the ways of college behind me. I first got my own space about four years ago. Initially, I was so pumped because any mess I made was my mess, and I was the only person I had to clean up for. I had a washer and dryer at my place for the first time ever and I had a dishwasher. After four years in dorms and keeping it as clean as I could in the wake of seven suitemates, I was in tall cotton, and I let it get filthy. I embraced dimmer switches and lived out of a series of piles.
That worked for me for about 3 months and by September or so, I hated everything. I had always dreaded cleaning as a kid– and to be honest, it’s not like I love it now– and I didn’t want to devote my whole Saturday to Windexing baseboards and polishing silverware. I was also living on $12,000 a year, and couldn’t afford stuff like Pledge wipes, which were suddenly a luxury item. So I decided to change.
There’s no reason to be modest about this: I look spectacular in a hat.
Hats occupy the uncanny valley of clothes: they have all the aspects of things one might put on one’s body (softish, cover something up, come in sizes), but a vast segment of the population feels somewhere between uneasy about and repulsed by the idea of actually integrating them into their lives. Whenever I venture out of the house wearing a hat, someone says, “I love your outfit! I wish I could pull that off!”
Can I tell you a secret? There’s no such thing as “pulling it off.” You don’t have to have amazing bone structure or a certain haircut or be between 18-22 or anything at all. The reason you think I look good in a hat is that it’s novel (if you don’t know me) or you’re used to seeing me in one (if you do).
When I was 15, I was at Dot Fox, talking to my style mentor Sally Bird (I know we’ve talked about Sally), and admiring this big, black felt hat. Since I was 15, I said something like, “I love this but I couldn’t ever wear it! I’d feel so silly about how weird I’d look because I am a teenager and think everyone is looking at me all the time and actually no one cares but I think they do.”
Sally said this: “You know what the trick to pulling it off is? You put that sucker on and don’t take it off until everyone is telling you how goddamn stunning you are.”
You should know by now that Cool Whip is something that grosses me out. Come on, it HAS to gross you out, too. Right? Right. When I was a kid, we had this fancy whipped cream maker, so I thought making whipped cream was this HUGE undertaking that required specialized equipment. I was incorrect. Here’s what you need:
Well, that and like, two other tiny things you definitely already have.