Layers, Laundry and Lambs

No Complaints #147

Another week, another newsletter. It’s sunny in Britain now, though, so everyone is being two per cent nicer to each other, and I’m in to it.

Things to read

“Let me start with my skin in the game. In the four months between November 2017 and February 2018, I spent about $520 on skincare products. This number does not include makeup. It does not include shampoo or conditioner. It does not include body lotion. And it is, in all likelihood, a little low. If I pored through every receipt and every debit card transaction, the actual, shameful tally of skincare spending during these four months would hover above $600. Average it out, and that’s $125 a month, more than my $90 Con Edison or Verizon bills, and a little less than a third of my monthly college loan payment, which, at age 55, I’m still paying.”

I’m absolutely loving this collection of writing about “unruly bodies” curated by Roxane Gay. This one on skin is great, but I also recommend reading her introduction to the series. Email to Pocket.

“The story of your life, described, will not describe how you came to think about your life or yourself, nor describe any of what you learned. This is what fiction can do — I think it is even what fiction is for. But learning this was still ahead of me.”

A novelist writes the autobiography of his novel. I approve of this as a form and would like more writers to do it. It’s sort of like a director’s commentary on a film. Email to Pocket.

“We treat not just the skin as bad, but the person under it. The problem is even though drinking water and using SPF and getting sleep helps, some people are just more prone to cystic acne or seborrheic dermatitis, the way others are prone to thick hair or small feet. But that hasn’t stopped us from moralising any of those qualities and seeking to ‘improve’ our own condition with anything available. And those resources typically become more available the more money you have.”

I seem to have been reading about skin a lot this week. This is a very interesting take on “good skin” as a point of class differentiation and discrimination. Email to Pocket.

“Laundry can be frustrating, even for a laundry enthusiast. It's time-consuming, unceasing and there is so very much that can go wrong. For many of us, it’s one of those chores we learned to do from our parents, a dorm-mate, a significant other or whoever else, and then we stop asking questions. But questions are great! Because knowledge is power and can make doing laundry easier and more effective. This guide aims to help you understand your machines, how fabric types behave and the methods for treating common problems like stains, dinginess and odour — all with the important caveat that laundry is a personal endeavour. If you have favourite methods or products, or just feel better treating your washables to a proverbial boiling, by all means, march on. The thing about your laundry is that it's yours.”

I know, it seems weird to include an exhaustive guide on how to do laundry. But I actually really enjoyed reading this, and a lot of it was quite useful. Maybe I am a closet “laundry enthusiast”, a term I had never heard before I read this piece? Email to Pocket.

“Oyefeso is one of the most high-profile figures of an internet subculture that reveres Jordan Belfort and has taken his Wolf of Wall Street persona to social media. Posing as ultra-wealthy kids and posting internet memes taken from the movie, its followers aggressively sign up young people to what looks like an international pyramid scheme that has helped to generate billions of pounds for large companies selling highly risky financial trading products.”

I love a long read about a long con. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

I can’t do better than to recommend you Caliphate, a new New York Times podcast from reporter Rukmini Callimachi. I’ve been reading her articles and tweets for years now to try and stay vaguely informed about Isis and the Middle East, and now she’s got a whole audio documentary series too. It’s excellent.

Things to watch

Thanks to reader Alex for this one!

I love how invested this man is in his giant lasange.

Award yourself some happiness.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

It’s sprriiing.

The guest gif

All this vitamin d is making me giddy.