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    What if Men Had to Follow Female Beauty Rules?

    We sure spend a lot of time talking about ideal female beauty—and why women spend so much time obsessing about it. But what if we lived in a world where women had always been the kings, the presidents, the bosses (and, thus, the arbiters of beauty)?
  • Divorce: The New Rules of Child Custody

    Most parents will never forget the details of the day their children were born. For those who divorce, there's another day—equally vivid, totally different—that etches into memory: when they have to tell their children their mother and father are splitting up. What I remember is pacing through our apartment the night before, watching my girls sleep. The older one was 8 and still slept as she had when she was a newborn, arms thrown high above her head. The little one, just 4, was curled at the top of her bed, leaving two thirds of it empty.Their dad and I had read the divorce books and rehearsed our speech about how none of this was their fault, that we loved them. All of this was true, but it seemed insufficient. He and I made a big calendar, as advised, with mom days in red and dad days in purple. In the half-light of that sad morning, I opened the calendar and realized that this crazy quilt would be a map for our lives from now on.In the morning, we sat the girls on the sofa and...
  • The Tipping Point

    David Sedaris is back with a new collection of essays, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames." He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Susanna Schrobsdorff. ...
  • Scientists Who Study Sex

    Best-selling writer Mary Roach on her hilarious new book about the history of sex research and the quirky scientists who study the hows and whys of the bedroom.
  • Stay-At-Home Mad

    A reality show touches off some real drama about when a soccer mom should get back in the game.
  • Reality’s Believe It or Not

    Physically unusual people have 'performed' for decades. But on TV, they're bigger—and smaller—than ever. Is this entertainment, or exploitation?
  • Can Britney Get Her Kids Back?

    A prominent Los Angeles family law attorney on how child custody decisions are made when a mother is in distress—and why the Spears case is not that unusual in family court.
  • My Scary Battle With Bacteria

    What happens when even the most potent antibiotics don't work? A personal tale from the front lines of the fight against potentially deadly bacteria.
  • Is Economy Facing Widening Credit Squeeze?

    Kristin Schantz, a 26-year-old manager for a human-resources company in Kenosha, Wis., got some unpleasant news in the mail last week. In a form letter, Capital One told her the interest rate on her credit card was about to almost double—she’d been bumped up from a fixed 8.9 percent rate to a "variable rate that equals the prime rate plus 6.9 percent"—or about 15.8 percent. Schantz, who says she’s “never late with payments,” is irate. The letter blamed rising interest rates across the economy for the decision.Schantz isn’t the only American who has lately received Capital One’s letter. Blogs are teeming with postings from people complaining about sudden rate increases by the company. In a statement to NEWSWEEK, the McLean, Va.-based Capital One acknowledged that it had raised rates for “some” customers, citing “business and economic factors (a core one being rising interest rates)” and changes in the lending market.For now, consumers can dump Capital One and move their balances to...
  • Bush's Body Language in Latin America

    What can a staged grip-and-grin picture tell you about international relations?  A lot, says Peter Andersen, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Body Language" (Alpha) and professor of communications at San Diego State University. "The body language of world leaders is reflective of their attitudes either toward the individual or toward the country or the culture," he explains. The president suffers poor approval ratings in the region, and anti-Bush demonstrations have been common during the trip. So it’s not surprising that some of  the photo ops from the five-nation Latin American tour reflect tension, Andersen says. "Bush's body language in many of the images from this trip is that of someone who's either very reluctant or somewhat inept, and that confirms the image that a lot of people in those countries and around the world have already developed of him." NEWSWEEK's Susanna Schrobsdorff asked Andersen to review photos from the trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala...
  • Christmas Duty

    Mitchell Bell spent last Christmas 7,000 miles from home, at an airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province. The Marine pilot did manage to stay in touch with his family, though, sending a DVD of himself reading Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch” for his 2 ½-year-old daughter. Thanks to technology, his wife, Teresa, was able to ask the little girl, “Do you want me to read to you tonight, or Daddy?”The Iraq war is full of contradictions. It’s a high-tech conflict fought against low-tech weapons like sniper rifles and improvised bombs. American troops may sleep in tents or old Iraqi buildings without electricity, but many also have regular access to the Internet, which has become a lifeline to home. Even some of those stationed in the roughest areas can help make family decisions via e-mail, watch videos of their children’s activities or do their banking and holiday shopping online. But there isn’t a gadget that can alleviate the worry for loved ones left behind to face a festive season that includes...
  • When Growing Up Was Nothing but Fun

    Bill Bryson sounds very British to American ears. Not in a fake Madonna sort of way. It's more like he was raised in some unknown country between the United States and the United Kingdom, where people have both droll manners and unabashed warmth. As it turns out, he's from Iowa. After decades of writing best-selling travel books about Europe and Australia, Bryson has decided to explore the most distant continent of all: his own childhood in 1950's Des Moines.  In his new memoir "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," (Broadway 2006), Bryson introduces his alter-ego superhero self, a boy who grew up in an idyllic post-war, prosperous appliance-crazy country. Bryson stuffs the book with richly reported detail about the period, even as he skims over the more contentious parts of the decade like the civil rights movement. He concentrates on what he describes as a happy and uncomplicated childhood in the middle of a happier and less complicated America. It's a place anyone would be...
  • It’s the War, Stupid—And the Youth Vote, And Angry Indies, And…

    Democrats may be celebrating their sweep of both the House and the Senate, but they shouldn’t rest too comfortably in their new committee chairs. The exit polling data indicates that much of their election edge came from independents and swing voters who could very well swing back again if they’re disappointed by Democratic policies.  And while public opinion has moved left on the war in Iraq, most of the country is still divided and voted along staunchly partisan lines according to Gary C. Jacobson, professor of political science at University of California, San Diego and an expert on congressional elections. NEWSWEEK’s Susanna Schrobsdorff spoke to Professor Jacobson about why there has not been a fundamental change in the American electorate, despite the Democrats’ historic wins. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK:  The Democrats have retaken both houses of Congress. How similar is this election to 1994, when the Republicans turned the tables on the Democrats?Gary Jacobson: This was a national...
  • Skinny Is the New Fat

    In a development that appears to challenge both common sense and the laws of nature, there is now a clothing size that is--seriously, people--less than zero. Banana Republic began offering its "00" duds on its Web site in the spring. Next fall, designer Nicole Miller will intro-duce a size tentatively called "subzero," for women with 231/2-inch waists (about the circumference of a junior soccer ball) and 35-inch hips. The company, which introduced a size 0 (with a 251/2-inch waist) 15 years ago, decided to go smaller when it learned women were taking in their 0's.The less-than-zeros arrive as Americans are getting bigger. The average woman is about 155 pounds and 5 feet 4 inches, according to SizeUSA, a 2003 survey by industry research group [TC]2. That's about 20 pounds heavier than the average woman of 40 years ago. But don't assume today's woman is wearing a bigger size than her mother. "According to stand-ard size measurements, that average 155-pound woman should be wearing a...