From Irmgard Keun, “The Artificial Silk Girl”

tr. Kathie von Ankum:

At the table next to me was a wonderful lady with really expensive shoulders and with a back–it was straight all by itself, and such a wonderful dress, it makes me cry–the dress was so beautiful, because she doesn’t have to think about where she’s getting it from. You could tell by looking at the dress. And I was standing next to her in the restroom, and both of us were looking in the mirror–she had such light white hands with elegantly curved fingers and an assertive look on her face, and next to her I looked so labored. She was tall and not at all slender, and her hair was shiny and blonde. It must be interesting for a man to kiss her, because there’s no way he would know in advance what it would be like. With me, they always know. I would have loved to have told her how beautiful she was and that I thought she looked like an evening song, but then she would have thought I was queer, and that would have been wrong.

About Eve Tushnet

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