Should ALL Pasta Just Be Pappardelle?

That has nothing to do with anything else in this email, it just felt like a question that DEMANDED answers

Hello, Dames Nationals!

Carefully analyzed emotional conflict: INJECT IT DIRECTLY INTO OUR VEINS

MW: Dame Sophie is off this week so she can recap Hulu’s newly-released adaptation of Looking For Alaska, so our good pal Christina Tucker is here to lend Dame Margaret a hand with today’s issue. And the timing could NOT be better, because one of our mutual obsessions just reappeared: after being gone for 18 months, the podcast Where Should We Begin? is finally back for its third season. In each one hour long episode, you get the edited audio of renowned couples therapist Esther Perel doing real counseling with real couples who do not stint on the details of what’s wrong in their relationships! Want one where a couples’ mutual evangelical background has decimated their erotic life? Esther’s got you covered. One the struggle when your partner loves to be cuckolded, but you only want to sleep with him? Yup, Esther’s got that, too! Lesbians whose relationship started with infidelity? Of course she has that!!

The joy of rubbernecking on other peoples’ profound emotional conflict, if you share in it, needs no explanation. But what might surprise you is how emotionally useful eavesdropping on other peoples’ therapy can be. Even when their problems have nothing to do with yours, the conflict negotiating tools Perel teaches her participants are extremely useful.  

CT: Showtime’s excellent Couple’s Therapy shares a ton of DNA with Where Should We Begin? perhaps most notably the fact that you the viewer get the chance to learn about emotional boundaries and how past trauma can inform your current relationships right alongside the participants in the show. In the capable, and, it must be said incredibly hot hands of Dr. Orna Guralnik, a longtime couples psychologist, you get to watch four couples come in, sit in the waiting room and have a session. It is unspeakably thrilling to watch these people sort through their thorniest and most private issues on screen, and it is because Dr. Orna is so damn good at her job that you don’t feel gross watching. DamesPal Kathryn VanArendonk talked to Dr. Orna for Vulture about the process of making the show, how she met with over 1,000 (!) couples to find people who were willing to bear all for the small screen, and how important her perfect dog Nico, is to her process. We cannot implore you enough to watch this, there are only nine half hour episodes, you will devour them all and beg for more! 

MW: And maybe, with your help, we can ALL convince Christina to go and visit the fancy Philadelphia coffee shop that one of the Couple’s Therapy couples owns.  

If we get at least four new subscribers this week then Dame Margaret will be allowed to buy these leopard print booties (without which she will surely perish). So, please consider:

Dames-Adjacent Announcement: Help the MIT Libraries Unionize!

A little-known fact is that, in addition to being your loving guide to all the best pocketed dresses on God’s green earth, Dame Margaret has been an employee of the MIT Libraries for nearly 12 years. She adores her colleagues, including her managers, but over that time it’s become increasingly clear that when the Institute’s needs run contrary to those of the libraries, the Institute will win at any cost. And so she and her colleagues are working to unionize with AFSCME. If you want to learn more about why we’re doing this or help, you can:

Dame Margaret’s Loosely Arranged Thoughts

NOT flipping you off, dear readers, just sharing a link to this gif as an act of #ServiceJournalism for you 

If you’re one of the eagle-eyed readers who’ve (1) made it this far and (2) noticed that this email came out, technically, on Saturday, please allow me to apologize abjectly. Damespals Jasmine and Kate were both in town for the Boston Book Festival and they… kidnapped me, and plied me with wine and fine food and good company and you know, the hours just SLIPPED right by. But it’s okay, because my links are so good that I bet you won’t even MIND that they are hours late. 

  • First, and most important: WNYC released the first episode of Dolly Parton’s America, their podcast tracing Dolly’s legacy and impact on American culture, and it is EXQUISITE. I have a feeling that it’s going to inspire a REAL deep dive into Dolly’s back catalog for this Dame. 

  • Next: this long read from Tavi Gevinson, former editor of the late, lamented Rookie Magazine, on how Instagram has shaped her life, and her ambivalence about the platform, is exceptionally well-written and thought-provoking. As someone who spends a lot of time crafting a personal brand on social media, it’s going to sit with me a long time.

  • From Rookie, it’s natural to move on to a trio of articles on things central to the experience of 1990s girlhood, a state said magazine somewhat fetishized:

  • And finally, I have two links on the non-Hollywood film industry-- one on how two film buffs have turned their small town in North Carolina into an independent film-loving community sufficient to support a flourishing film festival. And the second on Utah’s Mormon film industry, a topic that has fascinated me ever since the release of Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy in 2003 (yes, I have seen it and no, it’s NOT good). 

Hottie Christina’s Rumination and Links

At least once a day I think about Willa simply yeeting this iPad off a YACHT 

My worst possible habit (who am I kidding, I have many) is waking up and immediately shoving my phone into my eyeholes. Usually I haven’t even put my glasses on yet, this early morning scroll is blurry eyed and half conscious. You can imagine my joy when I scrolled past this New Yorker article by forever fave Jia Tolentino on Drop Dead Gorgeous, a film I love with my whole heart. I don’t know how I missed this when it came out in July (coinciding with Drop Dead Gorgeous being released on Hulu) but as ever, Jia never disappoints: 

But what “Drop Dead Gorgeous” understands so well is that being a teen-age girl is, in fact, deranged and dehumanizing and frequently unsubtle. It certainly felt that way at the turn of the twenty-first century, when visible G-strings and virginity pledges were in vogue simultaneously, and young female pop stars were flagrantly doing exactly what is expected of contestants in a teen beauty pageant—performing desirability while projecting naïveté.

Drop Dead Gorgeous is still streaming on Hulu, treat yourself to a screening this weekend! 

An evergreen observation and Allison Janney in a tied-up t-shirt I feel completely normal about.

It felt like it took forever for fall to hit, and while it’s here I just want to luxuriate in it. I am writing this is the dreamy little window facing nook in the house I am currently living in, wrapped in a big drapey sweater and my favorite slippers (like a Classic Mommi). To my mind, nothing goes better with big sweaters and big slippers than a thrilling mystery. As though reading my mind, Hiliary Kelly over at Vulture wrote about my favorite mystery author, Tana French, and why she is such a master of the craft. I inhaled all of French’s Dublin Murder Squad books almost two years ago, in a feverish dream state that had me staying up well past my bedtime multiple nights in a row. Now that it is officially Spooky Season, I was craving a re-read something fierce, and Hilary’s piece reminded me to put them all on hold at my local library, since my trusty Kindle died and I only have the digital versions. (A tragedy I know; I am accepting donations.) If you have somehow missed out on French’s work, I implore you to grab one for the weekend. You will not regret it! 

As you can probably guess by my choice of gif above, I am absolutely one of the people on Twitter who yells about Succession all the time, even now, nearly a week after the second season ended. Given that this season wrapped up on a literal yacht because of course it did, I was glad Rachel Syme took the time (in fairness, we begged her to) to write a piece on the truly sumptuous boating fashions. They are exquisite, of course, and while I can’t currently afford Shiv’s three hundred and twenty five dollar jumpsuit (on sale!) on my freelance/unemployment budget (again accepting donations) a girl can always dream! “Next cove, please, Julius!”

Okay look. This week was weird for me as a freelancer—one that I imagine folks who are better at this than I am are well acquainted with—deadline week. Every project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks had a deadline of right now bitch! Honestly, I’m going a little cross eyed at my screen at the moment. With that in mind, here are some more links that I can’t quite wind up with something kicky, but I promise I loved them!  

  • Andrea Long Chu interviewed in Vulture, being brilliant and four years younger than me which is certainly illegal. 

  • Rachel Weisz is hot and smart and brunette. 

    Brittany Howard rocked this NPR Tiny Desk, because of course she did. 

Whew. That’s it for me kids, I’m going to either take a bath or eat something or fall asleep for ten hours or rewatch the Succession finale. 



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