Advice for the fashion forward

I took a few helpful notes while I was in New York, so that those of you in the bass-ackward heartland could keep ahead of the fashion curve.

First of all: Queens is the new Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Manhattan is the thinking man's queens. The Bronx is the poor man's Westchester County. And Staten Island is the sportsman's paradise. Or something like that. Basically, Brooklyn: so 2001. Manhattan is, finally, where it's happenin'.

Second, for the ladies: thongs are out, nipples are in. So burn those bras if you've got 'em, and don't be afraid to show a little pantyline beneath your white skirt, micro-mini, or painted on jeans.

And, for the fellas: aviator glasses, guys, and polo shirts with the collar turned up. Short, spiky hair. Think Brat Pack. Think Risky Business. Think ahead. For the truly fashion forward, may I recommend matching athletic wristbands and headbands, the old person sunglasses that fit over your real sunglasses, and ponchos. Seriously. I've never steered you wrong before.


In which, a girl

There is a girl. Isn't there always a girl?

There is a girl down by the canal, where the barges dock. Among the sailors. Among the whores. Amid clouds of foul air and fouler language. She is, he thinks, like an anemone blooming in a barnacle colony. He has watched her on weekdays, hurrying, veiled, out of and back into a shop run by a brother, or father, or cousin, does it really matter? whoever it is would cut of his balls for watching like that.

It is a basket shop. She hurries out carrying baskets. She comes back empty-handed. She is a delivery girl.

Why can't he stop looking? Something about her changeable eyes, which remind him of the water, now blue, now green, now muddy. Something about her hands, which are small and quick and smart like birds. Something about the way the sun alights on her skin, as though it were merely returning to her after years of wandering.

He's helpless not to watch. On Sundays, when Dr. Demoto, struck by an unlikely, unlovely piousness, goes to church, he slips down to the wharf and wanders, hoping for a glimpse of her. She is the kind of girl you want to steal and whisk away in a boat. She is the kind of girl you want to hear laughing. She is the kind of girl of whom there always is at least one in a tale like this, as there is at least one in your life, reader, whether you are a boy or a girl, and whether you know it or not.