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).