Tell me what you think, she said.

From the archives, about 1 year ago.

It was 9:20PM; I was in the bank getting out $100 from the machine. A man and woman were with me under the fluorescence, the man making out a deposit slip.

The woman showed the man her foot in a sandal, and said, "Look at my toe, how it bends. Isn't that disgusting?"

"You're really brave showing me your flaws," he said.

I swiped my card against their brief silence.

"Well, don't hold back," she spit out, "how many flaws do I have?"

"I didn't say you had any flaws, you--"

"Flaws. You said. I was just showing you my toe."

In his voice, you could hear that he hated the toe, that he had noticed it many times and kept his counsel.

He said, "I meant imperfections. I never said flaws."

I punched in my PIN.

"You said flaws," she said, voice ascending. My machine said, beep beep beep squee beep. I struck my head against the plastic lightbox with the bank logo, chunka clunk. They didn't hear.

"No, not flaws, I meant imperfections."

She paused. "What else do you hate about me?"

To hell with you both, I thought.

"Hate? What?" he said, his mouth moving slowly.

"You hate my feet, is there anything else wrong?"

"Nothing, I don't hate anything. Everyone has imperfections."

She had scored a victory--she had said "you hate my feet," not "you hate my toe," and dug him in deeper.

The roller spun and I pulled out 5 20's, 2 new ones and 3 old ones, and walked out, giving them a sneer.

All he had to do was lie, and say that he liked the toe, that any slight imperfection simply made her more human--because otherwise she'd be just too beautiful.

That's what she wanted when she showed it to him, to be told she is the gorgeous angel of her fantasies, despite the toe, or the extra pounds, or the crooked nose. Can a women be happy if she doesn't look like a magazine, or someone tells her she does? Men have other vanities just as base.

Perhaps she just wanted the fight, or else she forgave him and they are now home in Manhattan making love. Are these the things you do when you are with someone and it is boring, and neither of you is particularly attractive, or even if both of you are?




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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