PRINT February 1991


Paris and the Middle

Let’s rethink this word Other. Must we always use it to press gilt buttons? I’d rather trade it for guilt buttons, like the ones on those nifty new parkas from Chanel. These days my Other is Paris. I’m not really going there for the food, the fashion, the sentimental beauty of a walk along the Seine. I’m confronting my fear of the Other, a fear I’m determined to conquer, no matter what the obstacles—the sauces I must wade through, the wines that may give me headaches, the injuries to the spinal column from the head-swiveling beauty of buildings, scarves, scent on the air. This isn’t tourism; it’s anthropology, fieldwork of scrupulous rigor.

If you live in New York, this is no joke. Oscar Wilde famously said that good Americans go to Paris when they die. But some New Yorkers I know hope to make the move before they get murdered. Or before the spirit goes into complete arrest, before they

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