Editor’s letter

February’s “Romantic Visions” issue offers a delightful hodgepodge, as it’s our annual love/romance/sex/body issue – topics everyone relishes, right?

What is particularly tantalizing about February is the way our topics overlap. Take sex, for instance (please). We have actual sex — well, not actual sex, but you know what we mean — in Phil’s eye-opening piece about male escort Bryan Knight who, failing to make a career of environmental science in the Great Recession, wound up as a New York City M4M (as in men for men) sex worker. And while it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of chamomile, it’s afforded Bryan a living and insight into human nature.

But then we also have sex — as in the sexes — as we consider the female gaze, or perspective, in the arts, how it differs from the often-objectifying male gaze and why, oh, why it can’t seem to attract a male audience. (If it did, the estimable “Little Women” would’ve attracted more award nominations earlier this season though it did get six Oscar nods.)

The male perspective, however, still dominates in culture with a small and capital “c.” It underlies the deterioration of the working class captured so hauntingly by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their timely new book “Tightrope:  Americans Reaching for Hope.” The Westchester couple does an excellent job exploring the many ways society has failed the working class, as you’ll see in our story. But a less-considered underpinning of the book is the corrosive patriarchy that still has men as society’s primary breadwinners, and when that patriarchy fails — due to layoffs, substance abuse, early death — families and communities fall apart.

Kristof is also well-known for his many New York Times columns on child abuse. It’s a subject close to the heart of Ronit Raphael, founding president of L. Raphael Geneve, whose spa services we first introduced you to in December WAG’s piece on The Four Seasons New York. Raphael is also the creator of the Global Army Against Child Abuse, dedicated to child protection through education and legislation. 

Child protection is also key to Kate D. and Pete Spain, whom Mary first introduced you to in 2016. Here she updates readers on the couple’s new eye heart hand rug collection, which are Good Weave-certified, meaning that no child labor is involved.

The body gets its due, not only in our story on Raphael Beauty Spas but in Dr. Constance Chen’s take on the tummy tuck; Debbi’s piece on Piret Aava, the Port Chester-based “eyebrow doctor”; and our look at The Museum at FIT’s ravishing new “Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse” show, plumbing the way the dance has shaped and reflected dressing from the 1930s to the ’80s.

Meanwhile, romance is in the air in fashions at Mary Jane Denzer in White Plains; dazzling clip-on earrings from MJD and Neiman Marcus Westchester; Kristina Cavallo’s designer shoe collection, culled from Neiman’s and The Saks Shops at Greenwich; Rajni’s spicy Lobster Molee dish; Barbara’s snuggle-fest at Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid; and a memorable holiday feast at The Russian Tea Room, one of the most iconic, and intimate, restaurants in Manhattan.

But in February WAG, we’re also all heart. We explore the literal heart with cardiologists Jeffrey Green (Phil) and James Peacock(Jeremy) and the metaphoric one as well. There’s the love of art and women helping women that defines our cover subject, Old Greenwich painter Felicity Kostakis, who hails from Australia, now the scene of so much devastation that she is helping to right. The love of storytelling that has distinguished the career of former New York Times managing editor and longtime Wagger Seymour Topping. The love of music (Gregg’s interview with country queen Rosanne Cash.) The passion for tennis (our story on rising doubles player Nicole Melichar), a sport in which “love” means “zero.”

But we know love is everything. Scarlett Lewis lost her 6-year-old son in the Newtown shooting. It didn’t stop her from founding the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, dedicated to ending school violence from “the inside out” (Jeremy again).

We asked our Wits this month if love has any limits.

Clearly, it doesn’t.

A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the new “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (also JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.

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