I Like A Hot Towel, But Is That Asking Too Much?

Goldberg and Orlean

I Like A Hot Towel, But Is That Asking Too Much?

Goldberg and Orlean

I Like A Hot Towel, But Is That Asking Too Much?
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Jan. 25 1999 1:31 PM

Goldberg and Orlean


Dear Susan,


It's your lucky day, because I have answers to all your questions. I will address them in seriatim (I hope you're impressed with my Latin--it is Latin, right?). Actually, I won't answer them in seriatim. (By the way, seriatim comes just before the word "sericeous" in the dictionary, sericeous meaning "finely pubescent." Huh?)

Golf--it is ridiculous. It's reason enough to distrust Bill Clinton--sorry, William Jefferson Clinton. By the way, I think I'm going to refer to you from now on as Susan Jefferson Orlean, in honor of the New Portentousness.

In re: the slobbos of the Senate. Actually, I was going to make fun of Bill McCollum for going on his first date with Monica in a jacket and tie. I think Asa "The Softer Side of Sears" Hutchinson had the look just right. You know who I'd like to see in a good-looking gabardine pantsuit? Henry Hyde. There's a picture. (Gabardine: "a firm hard-finish durable fabric twiled with diagonal ribs across the right side." Alternatively, a "coarse long coat or smock worn chiefly by Jews in medieval times.")

But speaking of hair. The most interesting story I read today was in yesterday Times, a piece about some news anchor in Connecticut named Janet Peckinspaugh who is all frosted because she got canned by her station. Here's one priceless line from the story: "She said that one night, after she had her bangs styled off her face, a group of colleagues gathered around a television monitor to poke fun."

To be fair, she's also claiming sexual harassment by her male co-anchor (who would imagine a male TV anchor capable of sexual harassment?) But then I lost all sympathy, when I read that her station, as part of her contract, once agreed to provide "hairdressing services Mondays through Fridays at a salon mutually acceptable to you and the station."

Now here's my beef--I'm a journalist too, except without bangs, and yet, no one's paying for my haircuts. Does The New Yorker pay for your haircuts? I would just love it if my editors arranged for me to have regular haircuts at a mutually acceptable barber. I'm easy to please--I've had the same haircut since I was 12. All I need is an old Italian guy with scissors. And hot towels. I like a hot towel, but is that asking too much?


Jeffrey Jefferson Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and Slate. Susan Orlean is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Orchid Thief, which was published this month.