Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Bit of Flair

Several years ago I met my parents and sister in Seville for an old fashioned family holiday. We had an apartment in the middle of the old city and armed with recommendations from a friend of a friend who had lived there for some time, we did as you do in beautiful ancient European cities. We wandered, we ate, we marveled, and we took refuge from the blistering heat in cathedrals.

At a certain point, I felt that I needed to be a bit more offensive when it came to the weather. So in a small square tucked away beneath a collection of fragrant orange trees, I purchased a fan from a local vendor.

And of course I never used it.

I came back to New York and carried it around in my purse for several years, always too self-conscious to use it in public. I feared I would look pretentious walking down the crowded, dirty streets of downtown Manhattan wafting a flamenco style fan around.

But then I went to Barcelona this past summer. A stylish, cosmopolitan and extraordinarily chic city. And lo and behold everyone was using a fan! So maybe it wasn't as severe an affectation as I thought. I felt freed.

Back in New York I was whipping it out in humid bars, at sweltering parties and on airless subway platforms. And the momentary breeze a wave of the fan provided was heavenly. I don't know what on earth took me so long to come around.

And now that the brief weather forecast that the New York Times provides each morning on the upper right hand corner of the front page has started to employ my favorite of their descriptors...sultry...my fan is coming in quite handy at all times of the day. And rather than receiving incredulous looks (as I had feared I might) I am of the receiving end of envious gazes (perhaps tinged with incredulity).


Beth said...

A pretty fan & a great idea. I could use one right now!

Kay said...

Amazing how we can find ourselves self-conscience in the smallest of things. You make me want one! :) and what a charming story behind it.

Kristen M. said...

I love fans but don't find much use for them here in Seattle so instead I have a small collection displayed in the powder room. Maybe one day I will need to bring one out and use it ...

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I'll pick up anything to fan myself...a palm frond, a magazine, a zuchinni. Hot flashes are not pretty..but that fan is. I think I'll get one at the Chinese market down the street.

"Old fashioned holiday in Seville"...sounds oh, so lovely.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Beth - I think we all could!

Kay - I know, isn't it ridiculous? I'm 30, shouldn't I stop caring what people think by now?

Kristen M - I imagine that this summer you might have use for one...I keep reading about scorching heat waves in your part of the world!

Mel - I would pay money to see you fan yourself with a zuchinni! But instead I'm picturing you in a hammock with someone waving a palm frond over you.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

From my visits to New York, I'd say it's probably the one place you can pull off pretty much anything stylistically, Laura. When things really heat up here in the Midwest, Marion and our daughters occasionally carry parasols or plain old umbrellas to shade themselves from the hot sun. And they do get some looks when they do, but mainly envious ones, I think.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Terry - That's my next thing to adopt!

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