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" You'll reach into your wallet to brandish a photograph of a new puppy, and a friend will say, 'Oh, no - not pictures.' "
" Surely, it's one of terrorism's intended effects, to literally stun our morale, to blow up strength and will along with buildings, and the reaction is hard to counter. "
" These are big trade-offs for a simple piece of cake - add five hundred calories, subtract well-being, allure, and self-esteem - and the feelings behind them are anything but vain or shallow. "
" Women are actually superb at math; they just happen to engage in their own variety of it, an intricate personal math in which desires are split off from one another, weighed, balance, traded, assessed. "
" Desires collide; the wish to eat bumping up against the wish to be thin, the desire to indulge conflicting with the injunction to restrain. Small wonder food makes a woman nervous. "
" Mastery over the body - its impulses, its needs, its size - is paramount; to lose control is to risk beauty, and to risk beauty is to risk desirability, and to risk desirability is to risk entitlement to sexuality and love and self-esteem. "
" Around the time I began starving, in the early eighties, the visual image had begun to supplant text as culture's primary mode of communication, a radical change because images work so differently than words: They're immediate, they hit you at levels way beneath intellect, they come fast and furious. "
" Before you get a dog, you can't quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can't imagine living any other way. "
" Me, I walk along and feel quietly defensive, a recluse in the Land of We. That's quite the loaded word, 'we.' "
" The hard things in life, the things you really learn from, happen with a clear mind. "
" My recipe for bliss on a Friday night consists of a 'New York Times' crossword puzzle and a new episode of 'Homicide;' Saturdays and Sundays are oriented around walks in the woods with the dog, human companion in tow some of the time but not always. "
" By definition, memoir demands a certain degree of introspection and self-disclosure: In order to fully engage a reader, the narrator has to make herself known, has to allow her own self-awareness to inform the events she describes. "
" When you love somebody, or something, it's amazing how willing you are to overlook the flaws. "
" Solitude is a breeding ground for idiosyncrasy, and I relish that about it, the way it liberates whim. "
" Happy and alone, you say? Reclusive and merry? How oxymoronic! Pas possible! Alas, the concept is lost on so many. "
" Before you open the lunch menu or order that cheeseburger or consider eating the cake with the frosting intact, haul out the psychic calculator and start tinkering with the budget. "
" Anorexia is a response to cultural images of the female body - waiflike, angular - that both capitulates to the ideal and also mocks it, strips away all the ancillary signs of sexuality, strips away breasts and hips and butt and leaves in their place a garish caricature, a cruel cartoon of flesh and bone. "
" Cottage cheese is one of our culture's most visible symbols of self-denial; marketed honestly, it would appear in dairy cases with warning labels: this substance is self-punitive; ingest with caution. "
" Tiny slices, no frosting, forty-five minutes on the StairMaster: These are the conditions, variations on a theme of vigilance and self-restraint that I've watched women dance to all my life, that I've danced to myself instinctively and still have to work to resist. "
" Our culture thrives on black-and-white narratives, clearly defined emotions, easy endings, and so, this thrust into complexity exhausts. "
" Academic achievement was something I'd always sought as a form of reward. Good grades pleased my parents, good grades pleased my teachers; you got them in order to sew up approval. "
" I'm 38 and I'm single, and I'm having my most intense and gratifying relationship with a dog. But we all learn about love in different ways, and this way happens to be mine. "
" Fall in love with a dog, and in many ways you enter a new orbit, a universe that features not just new colors but new rituals, new rules, a new way of experiencing attachment. "
" Who has the best features? This was a little game, conducted several times and always with the same results, in seventh grade, the time when so many of life's little horrors begin. "
" I've always been drawn to solitude, felt a kind of luxurious relief in its self-generated pace and rhythms. "