Sunday in March

I get my nails done every other Sunday. A fill-in and a pedicure.

To me, this is somewhat of a chore. Basically, I hate sitting still for that long and I especially hate having my fingernails painted. However, I like it when my nails are done, so I try to suck it up and keep my hands still for an hour and a half.

It is for this reason that I usually take a book or a magazine with me. I love books but I especially love magazines - absolutely, madly, passionately and without apology. I save them up to read when I have my nails done.

Today I took the March Issue of Vogue, to which I had been looking forward for a while. I was eagerly anticipating reading the interview with Mrs. Obama. My other goal was to try to find a picture of a haircut that I like and can take with me to Carmen! Carmen! on Tuesday night.

I got a little more than I expected.

I have to say that in this issue of Vogue, Mrs. Obama was the main course of what turned out to be one of the more satisfying and educational reads I have had in quite a while.

In addition to the interview and profile of Mrs. Obama, there was also an interview with Silda Wall Spitzer, an interview with Melinda Gates, a profile and interview with Queen Rania of Jordan and an interview with Carla Bruni Sarkozy, first lady of France.

Ya'll, that is an impressive line up!

I have always believed and continue to believe that Vogue is relevant to women, despite some of the (sometimes deserved) criticisms it receives.

I know that it is not feasible or even desirable for most of us to wear the expensive clothing that the magazine features, nor are the lives of many of the celebrities, super models, debutantes and dilettantes featured in Vogue's pages important or even relevant to the rest of us. Often, I feel that Vogue forgets that it is American Vogue, not New York Vogue (or even acknowleges that the two might not be the same thing). It seems that on the odd trip it does take out of the Big Apple it only appears to know the way to Aspen or Palm Springs, two places with an even more rarefied atmosphere.

It is for these reasons that I understand why so many women I meet don't read Vogue. I can understand why they think they shouldn't make time for it or that it doesn't have any relationship to real women who live in the real world.

I suppose I should say that I grew up in rural Appalachia. In the place that I am from, there is no real use for intellectualism, for art, for pursuits that don't culminate in an hourly wage. It is because I grew up in that place - a shy girl, an intellectual, basically, a hillbilly freak - that I came to love the ideas, the dresses, the fancy cities and the glossy pictures in the pages of Vogue.

Vogue's value to me comes, frankly, from it's lofty goals, it's dedication to art, to literature, to fashion. It celebrates the kind of women that I always wanted to be. It's value also comes from the idea that we should all rise above the mundane from time to time, to take a few moments to enjoy something simply because it's beautiful, unattainable. I know I'll never own the improbable, unwearable, uncomfortable and ridiculously expensive St. Laurent shoes, but boy do I love to look at them!

And mixed in this month with the shoes, the dresses and the idly rich, we have Michelle Obama, Silda Wall Spizer, Melinda French Gates, and Queen Rania, extraordinary women with normal, modest upbringings who are doing their bit to change the world and who are, coincidentally beautiful and fashionable. And this month, they are appearing, together, in the pages of Vogue.

Vogue is a thread that has the ability to unite women not only with each other, right now, but also to unite us with all the other women who have come before us and who will come later.

Vogue is, among other things, a paean to Beauty, of which we could all use a little more. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

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