For New York magazine's fall fashion interview, Lionel Shriver (known for novels like We Need To Talk About Kevin and So Much for That, as well as her journalism) wrote an essay about beauty and obesity and their manifestations in literature and life. The whole of "Warning: I Will Employ the Word 'Fat'" (posted two days ago on online) is terrific, but this early paragraph on feeling beautiful is particularly perfect:

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.

It says so much about humankind — what motivates it and leaves it desperately strung out — in so little space. Amazing.

[Image via Getty]