>So Americans voted yesterday, and one of the things we seem to be voting against is how things are going in Iraq. Extrapolating a bit, you could say that Americans are against torturing prisoners. On the other hand, an article from The Guardian about how fashion for women is often literally torturous is an excellent read. Over the past year or so, I’ve been wandering around muttering about why “sexy” seems to mean “extraordinarily painful” for women. What is attractive about grimacing from physical discomfort? (And why is my grimacing over the stupidity of others not considered nearly as attractive as clenching my teeth in pain?) But men nor women seem to object to this abuse. Fanny Johnstone, the author, is on that fine wavelength, and the article amusingly attacks many of my pet peeves.

She reminds us that, “this autumn's shoe of the season - with versions by everyone from Kurt Geiger to YSL - has a nine-inch heel and a three-inch platform sole, which forces its wearer into the toe-pummelling posture of a ballet dancer on points.” In a historical context, this is nothing, as 15th Venetian prostitutes and women of wealth both wore shoes called chopines, which could have platforms as high as 30 inches. But think about it: neither or these women spent much time on their feet. Perhaps women who wear such inane shoes today also have servants to support them as they walk into lunch at The Ivy or wherever it is that the fashion conscious eat salad these days.

Since the article was about clothes, there was no mention of the insanity of having pubic hair ripped from the sensitive nether regions for style purposes (and certainly no reference to having crystals glued on to the newly bare area), but the torture sentiment is the same. Don’t believe me? Read Dawn’s so-funny-it-hurts (literally) account of her Brazilian wax at I am doing the best I can. Sure, it might be less painful next time, but why on earth would there be a next time if it was so excruciating in the first place?

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