August 19, 2006

“I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman."

Liesl Schillinger writes:
In her latest essay collection, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman,” the roman-à-clef author, playwright, screenwriter and film director Nora Ephron offers rearview reflections on her life as a talker and writer, as well as a flinching but honest look at the image she lately confronts in the mirror....

[L]ately Ephron has learned that there is one betrayer upon whom no woman (with the possible exception of Cher) can exact vengeance or impose a fairy-tale finish: the body, with its dazzling flurry of early gifts, and its misleading air of permanence. Just as you begin to count on it, off it goes, hooking up with its smirking henchman, the aging process. She does not hide her pique at this 11th-hour deserter. “Why do people write books that say it’s better to be older than to be younger?” she asks. Ruefully, she catalogs the body’s defections, and the desperate measures she has taken in her attempts to woo it back — creams, waxes, injections, dental work, dyes, threading, bleaches: “Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death,” she writes. But she doesn’t wallow. Instead, she does what she has always done — she buries the bad news under a barrage of shareable anecdotes, humorous self-deprecation and womanly bravado.
1. Has Liesl looked at Cher recently?

2. Ephron's book sounds like all the stray articles in fashion magazines I have ever read. (And I once had a job that consisted of reading magazines, including all the women's and fashion magazines, circa 1975.)

3. "I Feel Bad About My Neck" really is a great title for a book trying to get the attention of the aging woman crowd. But I can't picture myself standing in line and buying it at a bookstore. Everyone would look at my neck.


David said...

I think older women are far more sexy and interesting than their younger counterparts. With age comes wisdom and, like rings on a tree, each wrinkle speaks of another year of learning and knowledge that keeps the conversation going when the lights go out.

Only other women and twits look at necks. The beauty is in the eyes! I love women, especially the "Red Hat Society" of women.

I recently saw Sally Field doing a commercial for some pharmaceutical and she looked fabulous, including her neck.

Dave said...

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Living in a Society Wealthy Enough to be Preoccupied With Such Concerns.

The ultimate repudiation to Das Kapital.

Oscar Madison said...

With Art. III, sec. 1 tattooed on it, yes they would.

MD said...

Oh for heaven's sake. She's got to stop looking at the threading and bleaching, etc, as maintainance, and look at it as a little harmless fun. If that's her thing, that is. Yeah, it's great to be young and healthy and shining and full of possibility. It's also great to feel comfortable in your skin, settled, exploring the world vigorously because you are more grounded in your own being

Anyway, some people think too much. Especially about necks.

Ron said...

Necks? You're kidding me right?

Sissy Willis said...

The loss of your beauty -- a lifelong companion until it slips out the back door -- is truly heartbreaking. But brain-in-a-jar blogging helps soften the blow.

Gene C Evans said...

The loss of your beauty -- a lifelong companion until it slips out the back door -- is truly heartbreaking.

I wouldn't know, as I have never had any beauty to lose.

Unfortunately I was born a guy, my bad luck. But to look on the bright side, I'll never feel bad about my neck :)


tiggeril said...

Oh, for Christ's sake. Isn't why the French gave us Hermès scarves?

Neck angst. Wonders never cease.

Maxine Weiss said...

Can we all admit that Nora Ephron is a bad writer. The only reason she gets published is that she's the former wife of so-and-so.

She and Anne La Mott, and that other one, whose name escapes me....

All trying to be Joan Didion...

And, even Didion isn't spectacular these days.

Peace, Maxine

knoxgirl said...

I'm always sort of stricken whenever I catch an old "Match Game" on the Game Show Network; or the "Bob Newhart Show" or "Mary Tyler Moore" on TVLand... it really wasn't that long ago that older people were all over the tv, a staple of popular culture. Heck, even Dynasty in the '80s had an older cast!

Now, it's like if you're an older woman, and you work in anything related to Hollywood or the like, forget it. Move over: Olsen twins coming through! My point is, no wonder she obsesses about her looks.

Rob said...

I think this thread calls for the following comment:

At least by the evidence of her solarized portrait, our hostess looks fabulous........including her neck.

However, as a former law student, I still say the portrait which long graced this site (still on Althouse2) gave me Socratic method flashback Kafka dreams.

Eli Blake said...


That old Hollywood stereotype about old actresses just doesn't wash anymore.

Heck, I'd say that Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand are much more in demand right now than the drug infested, anorexic chain smoking Olsen twins.

knoxgirl said...


not sure how to explain the plastic surgery epidemic in Hollywood, then, but if that's how you see it, OK. I think it's pretty sad that "Desperate Housewives," for example, admittedly a show with an older cast, is so botoxed their faces look like scary masks.

George said...

I don't know whether or not this is going to be an appropriate talk back message....but my wife Paula Spencer is funnier than Nora Ephron (or Erma Bombeck, for that matter).

Her new book, "Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody," will be published by Crown in September. It's a spin-off of her long-running column in Woman's Day magazine.

Please buy the book. If it doesn't sell, our children don't eat, and they need the cookies.

Maxine Weiss said...

Anyone is funnier than Nora Ephron.

Why would anyone in his/her right mind want to read about the chicken-gizzard neck of an over-privileged dilettante ????

Ephron has a very insipid blog she does on Huffington post, where she spouts her evil feminism, and even more evil recipes: Ricotta Pancakes????

Can you believe it?

What kind of twisted puts Ricotta in their pancakes???

I won't read anyone who does that type of thing.

Peace, Maxine

spunkybeans said...

I was loaned this book by a friend,I did not think I would enjoy it( I dislike most of her films), but I truly did.I am a women of a certian age, and I found this quite charming and funny in a sarcastic sort of way. I too am bad with purses and am a card carrying member of the turtle neck sweater club.My favorite essay
was the one about her internship at the Whitehouse when JFK was president. I could see why some people would't like it ,she has a random sort of humour and tends to bounce around from subject to subject, but it was nice to read something geared toward those of us post menopausal women.