Think Like a Geisha

Presenting on flat-screen HDTV (which now sells at Best Buy for approximately half of what we paid for it three years ago) is 60s comedy series, “I Dream of Jeannie.” (How self used to love watching this show!  Oh, the hours self spent imagining herself in Barbara Eden’s genie get-up, wearing the diaphanous harem pants and floaty head scarf!).

Son has awoken! (She distinctly heard him talking to someone at 3 a.m.; he sounded extremely jolly)  With fear and trepidation, she proposes her plan for the day:  to see a movie.  If he agrees to come with her, self says, she can take him to the 3:45 screening of “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”  On the other hand, if he already has plans for the day, she will go by herself and see “Brothers,” showing at noon.  He hems and haws.  Self tells him that It’s OK, she’ll go see “Brothers.”  But then he changes his mind and says he will see “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with her after all!

So then self sits down to resume reading a most interesting article in a back issue of Condé Nast Traveler, “My Life as a Geisha.”  Self has seen an article about this woman before:  She’s a western woman who decided to enroll in Geisha training school.  Self saw her featured in Marie Claire, one of self’s favorite women’s mags.  But the article in Condé Nast Traveler is substantially longer, and begins this way:

I have come to Japan to learn about allure.  I’ve been married for seventeen years, and while my marriage isn’t falling apart, it is fraying at the edges:  a victim of minutiae like leaky taps, lost airline tickets, and PTA meetings.  Nowadays when I ask my husband a fairly innocuous question such as, “Does this green dress suit me?” he gets this deer-in-the-headlights expression.  I want Ram to look at me without fear and without adoration.  So I have come to Japan to learn about feminine allure from its acknowledged masters:  the geisha.

(What a very interesting name this woman’s husband has!  Self for the life of her cannot imagine what being married to a man named “Ram” might be like.  Is that an Indian name?  She knew someone at Stanford, a tall, statuesque blonde, who was married to a gorgeous but delicately built Indian man, about ten years her junior.  It seems to her this person was also named Ram, or perhaps that was just a nickname?  Why, self, are you now so obssessed by this name???)

The Condé Nast Traveler article reminds self of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.  Also about a book self read a couple of years ago, about a woman who went to Kyoto to take classes on the niceties of the Japanese tea ceremony.  Self thinks a really good topic for another “women’s self-help” book might be (inspired by the Vera Farmiga character in “Up in the Air” of course)  “How to Hook Up with Men Like George Clooney and Still Keep Your Husband and Kids Happy.”  Self thinks that book would be a No. 1 best-seller, sold in all airport bookstores from here to New York City, and be especially pertinent to all women who log at least 50,000 flyer miles on business trips a year.

Stay tuned.


2 responses to “Think Like a Geisha”

  1. Sayuki is the first white geisha in Japanese history

    The writer of the article in Conde Naste is an Indian writer who interviewed Sayuki for an article, but then went ahead and used that to write an article as if the writer herself had tried being a geisha, kind of a strange thing for a journalist to do.


  2. OK, now that is just strange. So the Conde Nast Traveler article was written by Shoba Narayan. You’re saying, she never actually went herself and tried to be a geisha? Because it sounds as if she did — but I see now that the Marie Claire article was written about Sayuki (aka Fiona Graham), who is, as the Marie Claire article describes her, “Japan’s first Western Geisha.”

    Thanks so much for the clarification!


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