WOMEN
08/12/2013 03:24 pm ET

Warning: I Will Employ The Word 'Fat'

Getty

“You will never look better than you do right now.”

It was Broadway and West 106th Street in Manhattan, the summer of 1978, right after I graduated from college. As if the older gentleman who volunteered that comment snapped a photograph, I remember exactly what I was wearing: a sea-green Danskin leotard, an eggshell wraparound skirt, high-heeled cream sandals. Though he’d effectively passed a death sentence—it was all downhill from there—in that moment I felt beautiful.

Whatever I actually looked like, feeling beautiful is a subjective sensation you can’t argue with. Yet this fleeting thrill thrives on an audience. Sure, there’s a muted home-alone version, but feeling beautiful is largely a social experience—of wielding a small power, of having something that other people covet but that you couldn’t give away even if you wished to. It is a short-lived little crack high that I would argue we overrate.

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