The Night Dad Dressed in Drag

EVERYONE'S TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD IS CHALLENGING, BUT I feel mine was especially traumatic. One day, I was a childless English professor whose most pressing concern was handing out final grades four days later, my daughter, Lauren, was born a few weeks prematurely. I hadn't even had time to read What to Expect The First Year, and believe me, I knew absolutely nothing about what to expect. Adding to the pressure was the knowledge that in six short weeks, my wife, Michele, would be returning to...

Stilettos in the Slush

SOME WOMEN CAN WALK IN HEELS-AND I AM ONE OF THOSE women. I always laughed at those silly girls who carried their pumps to work in purses and totes, ruining an otherwise perfectly coordinated outfit with running shoes. But that was be fore I moved from L.A. to New York City. Decked out in my most stylish work clothes for my new PR job, my first few days as a commuter were spent dancing around the sidewalk grates that seemed to reach out and snap at my heels like little steel Chihuahuas. Maybe...

The Scent of

ANOTHER DAY WITH NO WATER RANTED CAROL, OUR CIVILIAN interpreter. Carol was a robust, graying widow who normally wore her body armor without complaint as we trudged around the dust and debris of Abu Ghraib prison. She stormed into our windowless quarters and flicked on the light switch. The room was a fifteen-foot square with a ceiling that was higher than the walls around it. Except for the raised plywood boards that passed for beds, there was no furniture except a steel gray Army-issue wall...

By Stewart Erigesser

The trouble started after my fourth mojito. or rather, it started the next morning, as I merged shakily onto the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York City, already late for the modern poetry class I was scheduled to teach at one of New Jersey's fine state universities. As I attempted to navigate my way through rush-hour traffic, the exhaust system of my old brown Mazda sedan seemed to suddenly explode. There was a crashing bang, and then something large, something metal, fell to the asphalt beneath...

By Cynthia Morse

THE LAST TIME I'D BEEN TO TEXAS, IT WAS HOT AND STICKY AND everyone wore either big hats or big hair to keep the sun at bay. So I was a little disoriented when I pulled my white, mud-speckled Dodge rental van off I-40 into the icy city that claimed to be Amarillo. This wasn't Amarillo it was Cryogenically Frozen Amarillo, and I was clearly a foreigner to the ways of the Ice Cowboys. It was dusk, and the rush-hour traffic was heavy. Weren't these Amarilloans confused by the ice on the road and...

Bad Pants

It was a real problem, despite what you might think. A NEW relationship is a delicate thing, and the pants are important. My friend Mira has a lot of requirements. She can't stand guys who carry man-purses. She has specific standards for the shape of a man's shoe (can't be too pointy, no noticeable heels). I knew she'd understand the gravity of this. I called her after the third date. It's just he has really bad pants. Oh no, Mira said. What kind of bad For one thing, the legs taper they're...

Spring in the Desert

IT WAS ONE OF THOSE RADIANT NEW MEXICAN SUMMER DAYS, 105 degrees, with the heat oozing from the city pavement and the sun making pinpricks in the air, when Andrew said, Let's go up in the mountains, and like Dorothy leaving Oz, I blinked and found myself alone, eight-thousand feet above sea level, trudging toward the Sandia Mountain ridgeline with an empty bottle of water. Andrew was long gone either far ahead or far behind I had lost track and didn't care. We always hiked alone when we hiked...

The Underwear

THIS WAS BEFORE MY PREFERENCE for the classic white cotton bikini and so I'd made a collection of silken pairs. These had a black background and a paisley design the color of green jewels. They were not expensive I was in high school at the time , but they seemed terribly sophisticated to me. I wore them only occasionally, under a perfect-fitting pair of jeans or a whirly sundress. That night I had them on because I was going to a party an important one with the...