girl in front of mirror

Illustrations: Oliver Jeffers

Definitely not naked from the back.
toes under blanket

Downward. At my feet. Crimson nails poking out from under a sheet, saying hello. Very sexy.
reflection in shop window

As I catch a reflection, walking by a shop window. Unexpected encounters with oneself are always risky: Am I slumping? Am I prepared for a candid glimpse? But my legs never let me down. It seems unfair that after a certain age, a woman with good legs can't walk on her head.
dog in lap

With a dog on my lap.
scarf around neck

With a scarf around my neck. The only good thing about whiplash, a friend of mine said after she was rear-ended, is that you get to wear something that conceals your neck.
sunglasses on

With sunglasses on. The other day I was having lunch with my sister. I was wearing my new very large Italian sunglasses, and she said, You should never take those glasses off.
mirror squinting

While squinting. A doctor once told me this. A male doctor. I was in for my yearly checkup and might have mentioned how I was slightly freaking out about aging and he said to squint. Whenever you look in the mirror, squint.
blow dry

After a blow-dry. I am obsessed with blow-dries. My hair is curly. If I don't have a blow-dry, I look like a tulip. The only person who gets more blow-dries than I do is Michelle Obama. I go twice a week to Eugene at Ted Gibson on Fifth Avenue and 22nd Street. If Eugene buys a Manhattan co-op, I feel pretty sure that I will be the reason he can afford it.

Not on the iPad. There's a feature called Photo Booth that lets you take a picture of yourself looking at the iPad. Never, ever on that. Unless I want to terrify myself.
hands in picture frame

At my hands, from any angle. I have the best hands in my family. Everyone knows it.
woman walking

With a bra on. I was walking out of a Japanese restaurant the other day and passed an older woman going in. Okay, I don't actually know if she was older, but she had gray hair (which, thanks to the miracle of dye, I don't), so she looked a thousand years older, in my opinion, and she wasn't wearing a bra. Her breasts looked like balloons three days after the birthday party. At that moment I decided, I am going to wear a bra for the rest of my life. I will never again be a woman who doesn't wear a bra. Fine for your 20s, okay for your 30s (depending), but after that... I'm not someone whose breasts can sit in her lap or anything; far from it. Nevertheless.

Not from the side anymore. Either side. This has to do with my chin, which I used to love. I can't even talk about it.
Dressed in black

Dressed. Well-dressed. In black. Lime is Los Angeles, pink is the South, red is for women senators, turquoise belongs in Florida, brown is all those states with horses. I haven't any idea what Chicago is, but I know that black is the New York woman. So, black. But with a little pop of color—like my bright green ballet flats that draw attention to my legs.

Delia Ephron's novel, The Lion Is In, will be published in May 2012 by Penguin.