I have been awarded membership in the Preppy Mafia by Preppy 101 at All Things Southern and Preppy and the fabulous Beth Dunn at Social Climbers, given the Beautiful Blogger Award by A Basement, and directed to list 10 things that make me happy by Our Friend Faux Fuchsia. Thank you all very much.
I have always wanted to put together my own identity, not to have to accept one cut from someone else’s whole cloth. So to be included by a gracious Southern preppy mother of the bride, a Main Line socialite who discusses her riding hobby and her anxiety attacks in the same breath, a lesbian wife documenting her project to conceive and her new life with her bride, and an Australian lawyer who rules in frocks, that, that is happiness for me. Thank you.
I feel compelled to merge these two sets of questions, so here is the Preppy Mafia Manifesto….that makes me happy.
1. Who is your style icon…that makes you happy? Paloma Picasso. I wish I had the consistency and impunity to dye my hair a stark color and wear strong lipstick every day. In my imaginary life I flout convention, stand tall, quell doubters with a hawkeyed glance.
2. What is your favorite socialite lit book…that makes you happy? Arabella, by Georgette Heyer. In which the strong-willed heroine discovers that a stomacher can be fun. Which makes me realized that I have assumed for 40 years that I know what a stomacher is. Perhaps erroneously.
3. Favorite party theme…that makes you happy? Birthdays. I love presents, dozens of candles on cake in a darkened room, and birth.
4. Go to Halloween costume…that makes you happy? I do not as a rule wear costumes on Halloween. The only adult costume I’ve ever put on was when I ran Product at a dot.com. My team and I dressed as software bugs. We thought we were hysterically funny, antennae and all. But as a child, my mother made our costumes. One year I was a letter to the Great Pumpkin, my brother was a pencil, and my sister a mailbox. It’s amazing what a little posterboard and some desire can do.
5. Extravagance you cannot live without…that makes you happy? I hope that I could live without extravagance, if I had to. But I have no guarantee that’s true. I wonder sometimes who I’d have become, absent extravagance, but I am unlikely to have the chance to find out at this point. Where do I indulge now? Massages. I love that moment when you wiggle into the warmed sheets. I’ve had to go to 90 minutes instead of an hour, otherwise I am too sad when they finish.
6. Living person you admire…that makes you happy? I’m going to keep this one secret. Everyone should have a secret that makes them happy.
7. Greatest fear…that makes you happy? Can any fear make you happy in the having? Or only in the overcoming? My sense is that in fear there is never, ever, any happiness. Which is maybe the point.
8. Trait you deplore in yourself…that makes you happy?
Thin-skinnedness. Both in the absorbing of the outer world and the communicating of an inner world. It’s as though sometimes all the world comes rushing in and then overflows the usual buffers. I am prone to blurting out my thoughts. But I think this same thin skin sometimes gives me the ability to see things as though they were new. So, deplore and appreciate.
9. Which talent would you most like to have…that makes you happy? To sing well. For my own amusement.
10. Greatest achievement…that makes you happy? So far my greatest achievement has been getting as far as I did in a career to which I was not temperamentally suited. I spent a long time in corporate America, squaring my jaw and holding my tongue. I could have stomped off in a huff, and I didn’t. Now that I’m 53, I’d like to use that same restraint and effort in service of something that I enjoy.
But in all seriousness, I am made happy by the smallest of things, the way the electric coils on my mother’s range look when they are orange with heat. And by the largest of things, the ties and revelations of family. Everything else in the middle is a crapshoot, largely, as far as happiness goes. Sometimes you find it, and sometimes you don’t. Still, you get to be alive, which puts me in a good mood almost every morning.