The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Pretty to Think So by Samantha Edmonds

Better Living Cookbook: Recipe for a Real Girl

• The so-happy-your-heart-hurts teeth from your first love
• A dusting of powder, a streak of eyeliner
• The curvy eyebrows of the boy who wasn’t as smart as you
• The dogged persistence of the boy who never asked
• The wrinkled, soft hands of the man you’ll never regret
• Brains, your own (measure amount carefully, too much of this
can ruin the entire dish)
• The heart-shaped freckle on the right shoulder blade of the one
you lost
• The gentlemanly manners of the one you never said yes to
• Blue eyes from someone, sculpted arms from another, and
mouths from them all
• Pieces and parts of all the boys you have ever known, Eve
carving herself from Adam
• A mascara’d crust to put it all in, to hold it all together

65 Minutes 20-30 years a lifetime, if you’re lucky


  1. Boil thoroughly in a long, hot shower.
  2. Shave legs and under arms. (Tip: Shave the knees a second
    time; no matter how hard and close you press the blade, there
    will always remain a few solitary hairs there, defiant in
  3. Moisturize, lotion, perfume.
  4. Slice and dice a garment for wearing until at first glance it looks
    modest with potential for accidental sex appeal.
  5. Knead the still-damp hair under fingers and leave to air dry in a
    casual, messy way. (Tip: Don’t rush this step—sometimes it’s
    necessary to spend several minutes ensuring the part is just the
    perfect kind of crooked; it can take hours of preparation to
    achieve this natural look.)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Let simmer until he arrives.
  2. Sift through restaurant options. (Tip: Don’t mention you hate
    hamburgers when he suggests the local burger joint.)
  3. Sprinkle laughs on all his jokes, especially the ones in poorest
  4. For extra flavoring, add a kiss.
  5. Carve the smile from his lips to keep for yourself.
  6. Flip half-heartedly for the check, to ensure even browning, but
    back down when he insists—grate this chivalry into fine pieces
    and save them.
  7. Squeeze the fingers off the hand you’re holding to never forget
    the feel of them.
  8. Melt into his arms, chop them at the shoulders to keep around
    you always.
  9. Peel the freckles off his back, set aside.
  10. Whisk conversation in a restaurant or a car, careful of dark
    secrets boiling over, stir occasionally.
  11. Strain out the excess, and keep the parts of him you like best.
  12. Bake arms and freckles and hands and mouths into warm pie.
  13. Remove from oven, allow 10 minutes to cool.
  14. Best served quickly, as soon as you return; swallow these parts
    of him and make them yours, and he will see himself in you and
    be glad.
  15. Wait for him to call again—and repeat.

Chef’s Note: We have determined the nutritional value of a first date
based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount may
vary depending on cook time and temperature, ingredient density, and
the specific type of boy used.

This selection comes from the book, Pretty to Think So, available from Selcouth Station Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Samatha Edmonds am the Fiction Editor for Doubleback Review, a new lit journal in the Sundress Publications family, as well as the new Assistant Fiction Editor for Sundress Publications. My work appears in Ninth Letter, The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. I currently live in Columbia MO, where I’m a PhD student in fiction at the University of Missouri.
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.

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