Office workers in Seoul, 2005. Until recently, most office jobs in South Korea required a headshot. Getty Images
"This Is Uncomfortable" Newsletter

This is lookism at work

Reema Khrais and Marika Proctor Mar 8, 2024
Office workers in Seoul, 2005. Until recently, most office jobs in South Korea required a headshot. Getty Images

Hey y’all, 

Reema here. I just wanted to say thank you all for the overwhelming support and kind messages I received in response to the episode about my family in Gaza. It was scary sharing something so personal, but I was heartened to hear how much it touched and resonated with so many of you all. My dad also loved reading your messages. I hope to share more personal reflections and updates with you all in future newsletters. 

This week, we explored the capitalist and social forces that shape our relationship with beauty, with a focus on the beauty industry in South Korea. In the spirit of the episode, we have multiple recommendations and links below that I hope you check out. 

And if you have any thoughts on the episode, or if it prompts an idea or story you want to share with us — please let us know! We always love hearing from you all. You can email us at

Thanks, happy reading!

— Reema

Defend your splurge with “Get Money” author Kristin Wong

Money messes with all our lives, but sometimes the right purchase at the right time can make things a little better. Tell us how you’ve treated yourself lately, and we’ll include the best stories in our newsletter!

This week’s splurge comes from Kristin Wong, freelance journalist and author of “Get Money.” We loved her recent piece in the New York Times about the psychological quirks that can lead us astray financially. Here’s a gift link.

A man and a woman take a selfie in a dark room. They're dressed for a date.
Courtesy Kristin Wong

My husband and I live with a toddler. If you’ve ever met a toddler, you understand how unreasonable they can be. If you’ve never met a toddler, imagine the most toxic boss you’ve ever had but in Elmo pajamas. The point is, toddlers are incredibly demanding and by the end of the day, we’re too exhausted to do much of anything. 

Recently, we decided to reconnect and plan a date night. We booked tickets to a Rufus Wainwright performance and made reservations at a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant. We made plans with a sitter in advance and let her know we’d be coming home late. At dinner, we ordered drinks and toasted to a night off. Then the bill came. We live in a high-cost-of-living city, so we expected it to be a lot. But when we did the math to see how much the entire evening cost  — between the sitter, the dinner, and the show  — we were flabbergasted that we had spent upwards of $600 on a single night. Even now, typing that out, I feel embarrassed. But we agreed to enjoy the night rather than complain about how expensive it was. We paid our tab and went to the show.

The performance was beautiful and we had a great time. Then, at the end of the show, Rufus came out for an encore. He sang “Hallelujah,” the song we played at our wedding almost eight years ago. I cried, my husband grabbed my hand, and we felt a sense of connection that we hadn’t in a long time. It was like a reminder from the universe to slow down and savor all of life’s moments — even the exhausting ones. It was the most expensive night we’ve ever had, but it’s a night I’ll remember forever. 

The comfort zone: What our team is into this week

Some books, articles and podcasts we consulted while making this episode:

A few more recs from our team:

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