That was the summer when Janey had gone from ugly to beautiful. She’d been the pudgy, funny-faced kid in a family of beauties. Her father was 6 feet 2 inches tall, all American, the town doctor. Her mother was French and perfect. While the rest of the family ate veal with a mushroom cream sauce, Janey’s mother served her half a head of iceberg lettuce. “If you don’t lose weight, you won’t find a man. Then you’ll have to work. There is nothing more unattractive than a woman who works.”
“I want to be a vet,” Janey said.
Every summer spent at the country club was agony. Janey’s mother, thin, tanned, in a Pucci bathing suit, drank iced tea and flirted with the lifeguards. Janey had a fat belly and fat thighs. At 14, when she got her period, her mother said, “Janey, boys like to take advantage of girls who are not pretty because the boys know the girl is desperate.”
Then Janey turned 16. She grew four inches. When she walked into the country club, no one recognized her. She wore her mother’s Pucci bathing suits. She stole her lipstick. She smoked. Her mother caught her kissing a boy behind the clubhouse. She slapped Janey across the face. That was when Janey knew she’d won.
About Last Night
The next Saturday, after the scene with Zack, Janey showed up at media beach in Sagaponic with Capote Duncan. Her foot was in a cast, and Capote helped her, limping, across the sand. He settled her on a beach towel, then went to take a swim. Alison came running over. “Is it true?” she asked breathlessly.
“Which part?” Janey asked. She leaned back on her elbows.
“About last night.”
The night before, Janey and Capote had stopped at the club M-80 on their way out to the Hamptons. Zack was there. He walked by Capote and said, “Another sucker born every minute,” and Capote had taken a swing at him.
Since then, Capote had been telling everyone that Zack had been deeply in love with Janey, but she’d left him for Capote, and that’s why Zack was flipping out.
It was a small misperception that Janey had no intention of ever correcting.
Candace Bushnell began Sex and the City as a column in The New York Observer in 1994; it subsequently became a book and a series on HBO. She is also the author of Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle, which is being filmed as a pilot for NBC starring Brooke Shields. Ms. Bushnell is also the host of Sex, Success and Sensibility, a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard.