Boyfriend’s Delight

It was always hard to get him to buy skim milk, and maybe that was O.K. Guys who drank skim milk were always a little suspect, a little wussy, like they weren’t forceful enough to metabolize the fat or something. “I just think it tastes … cleaner,” they’d say unconvincingly, pouring out the ghoulish gray-blue substance in a thin stream. Nobody ever chugged skim milk from the carton.

But now there’s a macho skim milk nestled in your grocer’s dairy case among those more feminine organic and lactose-intolerant versions. It has 34 percent more protein and calcium than whole milk, no hormones or antibiotics (or fat), and it’s extremely creamy. It’s called Pasture Perfect; it’s the skim milk that boyfriends drink.

The marvelous milk was invented by Marc Goldman, 52, a Teaneck, N.J., resident who made over $100 million last year when he sold Farmland Dairies, which had been owned by his family for three generations, to the fast-encroaching Parmalat (they make that creepy long-lasting milk popular with Europeans, but that’s another story).

Reached in Orlando, Fla., where he was vacationing, Mr. Goldman explained the simple, unpatented procedure by which one makes boyfriend milk. “When the milk comes out of the cow,” he said, “it’s 3 1/2 percent fat, about 9 percent ‘solids’ and not fat, which is where most of the nutrients come from, and the rest of it is 87 percent water, so what you do to make it skim is you take the milk, run it through a separator which takes out the fat, and now you’re left with a product that has basically 91 percent water, 9 percent solid non-fat. What I did is add back more ‘solids,’ or conversely, you’d say, decrease the percentage of water.”

But there was still one more mystery left to solve: Why, in the heavenly chill of a Food Emporium on a recent afternoon, was a half-gallon of Pasture Perfect going for $2.95, while its pink-labeled sister, Skim Plus–judging from the label, the exact same product –was priced 24 cents higher? Is this one of those situations, like getting your hair cut or your shirt dry-cleaned, where women are supposed to pay more?

“Truthfully, there is no difference,” said Mr. Goldman. “The reason I came out with Pasture Perfect is because the name ‘skim’ in Skim Plus, when I tried to understand what made people buy it and what motivated them, I felt that some people wouldn’t drink it because it said ‘skim.’ I knew they’d like the product, but they couldn’t get over the name. It’s marketing. It’s just marketing.”

–Alexandra Jacobs

Top 10 Songs for Lovemaking

1. John Fogerty, “Centerfield”

2. Peter Gabriel, “The Feeling Begins”

3. Maurice Ravel, “Bolero”

4. Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Für kommende Zeiten”

5. John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme”

6. Rosy Grier, “It’s All Right to Cry”

7. Patti LaBelle, “If Only You Knew”

8. Dead Kennedys, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”

9. Whitesnake, “Come an’ Get It”

10. John Philip Sousa, “Stars and Stripes Forever”

A Man and His Oversized Umbrella

Steve Rosenthal, 35, is a signal securities specialist at HBO and he has a large umbrella. Not just large, huge. Enormous. It’s the kind of umbrella we’re seeing more and more of these days around Manhattan. Hey, let’s just call it a trend.

Mr. Rosenthal’s black umbrella extends a whopping five feet in diameter when in use and it’s three and a half feet from head to toe. This is an umbrella to be reckoned with. An umbrella of stature. Mr. Rosenthal, 5-foot-4, lives in the East Village and drives a four-door Buick Century (fully loaded).

It’s not hard to find an oversized umbrella. Hammacher Schlemmer sells a 62-inch beaut for $29.95 called the Wind-Defying Oversized Umbrella, and the reliable umbrella guys on the street are selling a version for 10 dollars. (Actually, I know a place where you can get them even cheaper.)

People, typically men, typically shortish men like Mr. Rosenthal, barrel down Manhattan sidewalks in the rain with their enormous umbrellas clearing a three-foot path on either side–while the rest of us, with our conventional, inefficient shrink-up umbrellas, look on with a mixture of envy and disgust.

“I’ve always used a large umbrella,” Mr. Rosenthal said one recent rainy day from his West 42nd Street office. “When a large gust of wind comes it will blow rain on everything from the knee down, so you need a large umbrella to shield yourself. Also, when I come to work, I dress nicely. I don’t want to come into work squishing. Then your hair gets wet. It’s terrible. It’s just not a comfortable thing.”

There are other benefits. “I makes me feel more powerful,” Mr. Rosenthal continued. “I’m in control. People on the sidewalk move out of the way. There’s also a little ‘my umbrella’s bigger than yours’ going on. I’ve had people make jokes, you know, like ‘Where’s the rest of the family?’ and ‘Look at the boy with the umbrella.’ Or you get grumpy old men and women saying things to you, yelling at you. But I really don’t care. I’m dry.”

Mr. Rosenthal does make one concession to his fellow pedestrians.

“I really mastered the lift,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “That’s where you’re walking and you’re approaching someone, then you lift your umbrella in the air and you raise it above the level of the person walking by.”

Even so, he said that occasionally he will poke someone in the eye. “If they’re not watching and if they’re in my way and if there is wind in my face so that I have my umbrella tilted forward, I may occasionally poke someone in the eye. But I really do make an effort to be courteous and to do the lift. It’s important. It’s a very important part of owning an oversized umbrella.”

But Mr. Rosenthal, since you’ve got all that room under that umbrella, do you ever make like it’s 1900 and do the chivalrous thing by offering up a slice of umbrella space to a stranger?

“I’ve never really thought of doing that,” Mr. Rosenthal said.

He considered the matter some more. “I like the umbrella also to maintain my space. This is my space. It’s a good spacer. Standing in the street I’ve got my umbrella, and if you’re close enough to come underneath my umbrella, you need to back off.”

–William Berlind