Pancakes, Pity and Potter

No Complaints #142

Welcome back.

Things to read

“And now his artistic ability has become my burden. When he isn’t home, our daughter sits at the kitchen table, glares at me and says, ‘I want a pancake. Peppa Pig.’ She doesn’t even know that pancakes are round. I try to sell her on a bowl of oatmeal. I tell her it’s Wonder Woman food. She doesn’t buy it. She demands the edible art she is accustomed to. I cave and nervously promise her a pancake. ‘I’ll make you a “brown ball”!’ She looks at me with confusion, followed by pity and then disgust. A tantrum follows.”

A frustrated woman blows off steam about her husband’s artistic pancake abilities. I know this is mostly meant to be funny, but I feel like there’s something darker lurking behind it too: why does he get to be fun Peppa Pig pancake guy? Why can’t he be fun “fold all the laundry at 11pm” guy? Hmmm. Email to Pocket.

“The tattoo artist lines up tiny pots of ink, 16 in all, blacks and browns and reds, a metallic gold, a lurid pink. She has studied the image, taking apart its planes and colors, rewinding Copley’s brushstrokes. To watch her build it up again, from outline to underlayer to surface, working in pigment and blood, is as close as I will ever come to watching Copley’s hand and seeing through his eyes. The work is painstaking, paint-staking. I worry that her eyes must someday fail her, as those of miniaturists often do, as Copley’s eventually did. Tiny facets of the picture that I’ve never noticed before — the squirrel’s eyebrow, the pink tip of its nose, the peak of its ears, the faint stripes of black that mottle its back — come clear as they needle into my arm.”

A writer explains why she let writing her book mark her in the form of a tattoo. Email to Pocket.

“Harju maintains a lively correspondence on YouTube with Johnson, a rising grip superstar who is a decade younger, and the pair frequently compare notes on Captains of Crush grippers versus rival products. ‘It’s all pretty ridiculous on the surface, I know,’ Pankoff once told me. ‘But I wouldn’t dream of using a Gillingham High Performance Gripper. It’s like how in cycling, you don’t wear silly gloves, and you would only wear a hat specific to the sport. I see the GHP as a kind of faux pas. It’s too easy, I think — a gripper for amateurs. I’m a Captains of Crush guy all the way'.’”

Inside the strange world of competitive gripping. Yes, as in holding things tightly. Email to Pocket.

“And when Claudia married her social-media star boyfriend Ben Soffer, also known as ‘Boy With No Job,’ in 2017, the two tightly controlled which photos and videos of the event were released. Despite inviting several well-known Instagrammers, Claudia refused to let any of her 275 guests bring phones to the wedding or take photos of their own. Although they vacation with Geller, regularly spend time with her, and reference their ‘mom’ on social media, none of the Oshry sisters follow the far-right agitator on social media or interact with her content.”

When you’re a viral Instagrammer, you have to keep your alt right mum under wraps. Email to Pocket.

“This is when people do tune-ups, like race cars going in for pit stops. You won’t be doing anything this major this close in. Some will do vegan stem cell facials, and a few might do a last-minute procedure called Microthreading to define and texturize. Think of it like 1,000-thread fancy cotton sheets — the microthreads are like Egyptian cotton threads, and the procedure leaves virtually no bruising. It dissolves in six to eight months, and is finer and doesn’t have the same amount of lift as the threads used in the Silhouette Instalift. We would use these if someone has dented skin from old acne scars, and for more smoothing and texture enhancement. Just yesterday, we did a little bit of threading on the lip for someone up for an award. It gives a little bit of definition, without augmentation, and looks very natural so you have a more defined line for lipliner and lipstick.”

As Hollywood awards season comes to a close, boggle your mind at this perspective on what’s involved from a dermatologist to the stars. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

I’m really enjoying Ctrl Alt Delete at the moment, an interview podcast with a focus on how and why people work as they do. Recent episodes I’ve liked: Dawn O’Porter on knowing when to give things up, Greta Gerwig on standing out and fitting in, Lucy Sheridan on social media comparison, and Anne Boden on how to start a bank.

—And if you’d like to receive more podcast recommendations, sign up for a paid subscription (just $7 a month or $70 a year) and you’ll get weekly extra emails from me containing excellent themed podcast playlists.

Things to watch

Jamia Wilson is brilliant.

This is the kind of books TV I would like to see.

A spooky short film starring Toby Jones? Yes please.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

If women ran the internet.

The guest gif

Sometimes, we are all tiny Potter.