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"Expecting Rain?"
...some Henny Youngman wanna-be in a late-model BMW convertible yelled to me as he drove past. (A lucky thing I wasn't expecting wit.)


Go ahead, make fun of me for carrying an umbrella on a bright, sunny, southern California day. There's one of us that won't look like an Hermes handbag when she hits fifty, and that would be me.

I credit my umbrella collection and my tendency to forgo Yves St. Laurent shoes in favor of buying over a hundred dollars worth of Anthelios XL 60/visage sunblock whenever I go to Paris. And I'll soon get the windows on the Insight tinted (clear, that is) with LLumar UV Shield.

I must admit, sometimes I do feel a little silly walking around with an umbrella in the blazing light of day. Luckily, this feeling usually passes as soon as I see somebody who has what I call "car face." This condition, as of yet unrecognized in dermatology journals, typically affects longtime southern California residents. It's when one side of the face -- the side closest the driver's window -- looks like it they borrowed it from a Shar-Pei.

Posted by aalkon at May 15, 2005 8:02 AM

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'"Expecting Rain?" ...some Henny Youngman wanna-be in a late-model BMW convertible yelled to me as he drove past.'

Someone screamed "Faggot!" from a car at me the other night in West Hollywood. I didn't know I was looking that good! That hadn't happened to me in years.

Posted by: Lena the Hag Fag at May 15, 2005 6:15 AM

I've been calling it "driver's side damage" for years. Being of the Red-Head persuasion myself, I keep a lot of sunblock/moisturizer in the car.

I'm getting laser treaments now for the left side of my face....the sun damage caused before I even knew the rays could "get you" through glass is catching up with me.

Hooray for parasols!!

Posted by: Deirdre B. at May 15, 2005 7:20 AM

The problem is, most Parsol is not photostable -- ie, it breaks down in light!

Here's a link about that (

* Photodegradation Certain sunscreen agents like avobenzone (Parsol 1789) have been shown to isomerize and lose part of their sun protection properties when exposed to light, whereas others like the newer agent Mexoryl-SX are especially photostable.11 In vitro studies have shown that certain sunscreen formulations can lose more than half their SPF value after one hour of artificial light exposure, suggesting that photodegradation is an important factor to consider when evaluating sunscreens.12 In vivo studies are needed comparing the photostability of sunscreens to both UVA and UVB.

This sunscreen

is made by the same people who make Anthelios XL (which is not available here, because our dumbass FDA wants to protect us from the chemicals that would protect us from getting too much sun). Also, the Anthelios L (above link) that is sold in Canada is not, I understand, the same formulation as the stuff I get in France.

I pay 10-12 eu for a much better sunscreen than they charge nearly $30 for (in the 50 ml size). Thank you, FDA. (Fucking Dumb Administration, I believe that would be.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 7:59 AM

A huge, tacky-looking, floppy hat works for me, in addition to sunblock (I can't afford the best). Some folks think I live year-round in a crypt, but the positive results are starting to manifest themselves. People think I'm around twenty-five, when I'm rapidly approaching forty. My gorgeous model blonde sis-in-law is actually developing the classic redneck leather-face look. I try not to feel smug about her.
So, Amy, for those of us who have to shop at Target and Wal-Mart for our sunscreen, what would be our best bet?

Posted by: Tired Teacher at May 15, 2005 8:47 AM

Well, if I ever have to run when it might be the least bit sunny, I wear Hawaiian Tropic Baby Faces 50, which is hard to find -- order it online. It has the consistency of Elmer's Glue, unfortunately. But...the important thing is...titanium dioxide. Somebody told me yesterday that there's sunblock at Whole Foods in which they've been able to calm down the particles so they're only white when you wash them off. Tan bottle. And you know -- there are some extravagances in life that aren't extravagances. As a woman, looks are supremely important, so I'd spend money on sunblock and skimp on food!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 8:53 AM

Yeah, my mom was big on parasols, though by and large I think they were out of fashion by the beginning of the 20th Century. Too bad; I always thought they were rather charming.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at May 15, 2005 9:07 AM

I buy them on Ebay. I just take the green one when I'm going to write because I have so much to carry, and it's easier if I can hang the handle over a chair and it isn't falling all the time.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 9:18 AM

Gosh, this in an informative blog! I didn't know that car windows won't block harmful rays. I have solar keratoses removed annually and live in Fla. Guess I need to be better informed.

Posted by: Rojak at May 15, 2005 12:50 PM

Oh, I'm a wealth of information, deep and superficial.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 1:01 PM

You look like a bad transvestite.

Posted by: Calum Courtney at May 15, 2005 1:28 PM

I generally don't think there are "bad transvestites." I tend to applaud them for effort.

But, do elaborate on my apparent feminine "don'ts."

And send us your photo for analysis/comparison as well.

Quick question: Are you a friend, perhaps, of Jane Langdon or Susan Spano? Or, perhaps, a woman upset that I advocate paternity rights for men? Or were you disturbed by some other remark I made recently; for example, that it's lack of personal responsibility, not porn, that causes men to be addicted to looking at naked chicks? (I could go on!)

But tell me this: What is it that compels people to hop on somebody's blog and make nasty comments about their looks? Generally, and personally -- in your case.

Enquiring minds...

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 2:49 PM

Enquiring minds...want to know?
Jealousy, Amy! What else could it be? :)

Posted by: Tired Teacher at May 15, 2005 3:19 PM

Aww, thanks. I get enough hate mail that I'm able to let it roll off most of the time. What really bugs me, though, is when they hate me because they're too dim or intellectually lazy to get the logic behind some point I've made.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 4:21 PM

Bad Transvestite! Down, boy!

You have stockings of your own.

tee hee.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at May 15, 2005 4:24 PM

Actually, it is coming from a European IP address:

And it could be a Parisian one!

If you have an MT blog, be a dear and run that through your filter, and see if anybody comes up.

Heh heh...I've had nasty posts like that before. Last time, it criticized my pink lipstick, I believe. And it referenced my trips to Paris in a very knowing way.

Heh heh...perhaps somebody's a wee bit faché with my tendency to fact-check her weary posts from abroad?

Yoohooo? Feeling vengeful? I have nothing against you, really...except the fact that you get paid for sucking at what Auntie M, La Coquette and Jason Stone (until recently, in his case) are doing for free.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 4:35 PM

And actually, I'd love to have a drag queen on staff. Nobody, but nobody, is more adept at putting on false eyelashes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 4:37 PM

If you'd never left Detroit you wouldn't have these problems. We go days -- nay, weeks -- without seeing the sun.

Posted by: Nance at May 15, 2005 4:47 PM

for example, that it's lack of personal responsibility, not porn, that causes men to be addicted to looking at naked chicks? (I could go on!)

Wait, what? I missed this one... I have been blog-blind for a few weeks and now feel I missed something pertinent!

Posted by: Doug at May 15, 2005 7:01 PM

I just wrote a column on that two weeks ago...probably in the papers now, called "Leering Impaired." Dozens upon dozens of logically impaired women wrote me to tell me that porn causes addiction. Sigh. A thing doesn't cause addiction; it's lack of personal responsibility. (See, and "The Truth About Addiction And Recovery.") Women who prefer not to engage their brains, and would rather parrot what they've been told, hate me for basing my column in reason and data rather than simply rubberstamping the feminist-approved status quo.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 15, 2005 7:25 PM

No, it's not Spano. 81.6.230.* is assigned to:

person: Adrian Mardlin

address: Nildram Ltd

address: 1 Triangle Business Park

address: Stoke Mandeville

address: Bucks

address: HP22 5BL

address: UK

phone: +44 8701 608600

fax-no: +44 8701 602719


Don't yell at Adrian, however. Anyone with an entire range of IP addies is almost certainly re-assigning them (for profit)

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 16, 2005 6:13 AM

Actually, it looks like you missed a few numbers...did you? I got Amsterdam -- as I did with a few other France-dweller's IPs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 16, 2005 9:17 AM

No, I got the additional .40. I'm just saying that 81.6.230.[anything] has been assigned to Nildram Ltd. Amsterdam is simply where the RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) Network Coord Centre is located. It's their business to assign chunks of IP.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 16, 2005 10:47 AM

No, it looks like Stu got it correct. It's a range of UK dynamic ADSL.
That IP address particulary, is

Posted by: Ron at May 16, 2005 10:47 AM

Y'all need to get back to work.

Posted by: Lena Cuisina, Tortured Writer at May 16, 2005 12:20 PM

For what it's worth, I think you look pretty cool.

Here in Arizona, an umbrella would make even more sense than in LA, but for some reason I only see elderly Hispanic women carrying them.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at May 16, 2005 12:35 PM

Speaking of Jason Stone-- has anyone heard from him? I must check his site weekly just hoping he'll direct us to a new site of his, but to no avail...

Posted by: bev at May 16, 2005 2:47 PM

I thought that was a croissant beneath your elbow....

Posted by: diana's hungry at May 16, 2005 9:07 PM

That's a wrist, not an elbow, Diana.

Posted by: Lena-doodle-doo at May 16, 2005 10:12 PM

He's in San Fran. I think he needs a blog vacation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 16, 2005 10:17 PM

Wrist/elbow; Amy/Lena; Where was my mind? Guess it was after my bedtime......

Posted by: Diana at May 17, 2005 7:14 AM

"Where was my mind?"

The first place I usually look is in the gutter. It's a lot easier than finding my car keys.

Posted by: Lena-doodle-doo at May 17, 2005 9:00 PM

So cool, Amy! I may need to bring that trend to New York- my Florida family makes fun of my pale skin, anyway, so I mine as well go full force!

Posted by: Kate at May 20, 2005 9:02 AM

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