by Michael Long
Regularly credited as the “smartest woman in the world,” Marilyn vos Savant was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for five years as holding the world’s highest IQ. Every week in this space, she answers questions from readers.
What are you wearing? – Cody, Sacramento
I dress for comfort, but within the boundaries of what is appropriate for the day and the task. Today I am writing and doing a little research, while slipping off occasionally to the kitchen where I'm braising flank steak for a dinner party. We’re expecting an opera-loving friend – a women my husband knows. I am wearing a distressed black T with the Triumph motorcycle on the front, vintage boyfriend jeans, and red kitten heels as a young and sassy accent.
Heels, mmm. And jeans. Bet they’re tight. – Cody, Sacramento
It is the current fashion, yes. My excellent metabolism helps me stay in shape to wear them! I am fortunate in that way.
So… tight? – Cody, Sacramento
It is the look for me.
How do you smell? Be specific. – Cody, Sacramento
I’m wearing the last of my Lentheric 12 – but don’t expect to find it in stores! As frequent readers of this column may recall, I have lately been on a tear for classic perfumes, and Lentheric 12 was discontinued around 1975. (I found this unopened bottle at an estate sale last winter in Connecticut – inexplicably, in an old Amish family home!) For such a complex fragrance it has held up nicely, with only the subtle top notes lost to chemistry and time.
So you smell like a woman… - Cody, Sacramento
While such a description is open to broad interpretation, I am confident that I am well within the continuum of its essence – so, yes.
God, that’s hot! – Cody, Sacramento
Thank you! Though my husband might feel a stirring of jealousy at such open admiration.
What time’s he get home? – Cody, Sacramento
Robert’s demanding schedule sometimes keeps him working at the office until late at night—
But he says he’s just working. “Working.” And you buy that? – Cody, Sacramento
Excuse me, I was not finished. Tonight he will be home by five to prepare for our get-together.
No question. – Cody, Sacramento
He may arrive after dinner begins – he called to say there was an afternoon conference call that could hold him over.
No question. – Cody, Sacramento
I’m sure that’s all it is.
I’m not saying anything. You raised the question, not me. – Cody, Sacramento
Fine. I admit he’s late more than I like. But what you’re suggesting is ridiculous.
Oh, yeah. Ridiculous. – Cody, Sacramento
I need to look in on the flank steak.
No, you don’t. – Cody, Sacramento
No. No, I don’t. An individual of my intellect can identify this for what it is, but intellect is no defense against the construction of delusions and excuses to divert one’s attention from embracing the obvious and undesirable likelihood. Call it “seeing without knowing”; not willful ignorance, but a comforting rejection of the truth. If any of what you’re intimating is true, which it may not be. Damn it to hell, this is hard.
Shh. Shh. – Cody, Sacramento
Damn you! Now I need a tissue. Why does this always happen to me?
It’s not you. It’s him. You’re not the one coming home late every other night with some transparent malarkey. You yourself addressed the reasons for this kind of problem only two years ago (Column 441, “What Does An Atom ‘Look’ Like?”) when you described kissing the pool boy after he found a simple algebra error in your Fourier transform. Loneliness isn’t just temptation. It tells us something important. – Cody, Sacramento
I know that. I do.
How far are you from midtown? – Cody, Sacramento
Upper West Side. What is that, ten minutes in a cab? – Cody, Sacramento
Um, yeah. Unless there’s traffic.
I’m at the W. Come to the lobby. I’ll recognize you. – Cody, Sacramento
I don’t know….
Yeah, you do. And wear the kitten heels. – Cody, Sacramento
Um… yeah. They’re red.
Do you have a question only Marilyn can answer? Send it along! You may be featured in her next column. (Please submit by email with no attachments.)
Michael Long is a speechwriter, screenwriter, and playwright. He also teaches writing at a big university on the East Coast. So there’s that.