So More and I took a break of two or three years away from each other. When I happened to pick up the November issue, I found that a new editor in chief (Peggy Northrop, who joined in April, 2004) had returned relevance and substance to More's pages. With a renewed focus on the lives of high-achieving women, this issue included Senator Barbara Boxer talking about her new novel and an interview with Jennie Lindners, the writer and producer of "Menopause: the Musical." The biggest personality piece was a profile of renaissance woman Sandy Lerner, who helped found not only a heavy-duty computer company, Cisco Systems, but a hip cosmetics company, Urban Decay, and--whoa!--"appeared in Forbes magazine nude at the age of 42."
Beauty and fashion still received ample coverage, but the incessant curiosity about the grooming habits of everybody featured in the magazine seemed to have settled down. In fact, the only interviewee who addressed such matters was shuttle commander Eileen Collins, with a fresh take on the subject: "My hair was beautiful in space! It curled more, it was effortless. When I'm on earth... my hair sticks to my head. I prefer space hair."
I even found articles that taught me something new. I'd heard of plastic surgery tourism before, but in "Procedures in Paradise," I learned that people are now traveling to third-world countries not just for vanity elective surgery, but to have other medical procedures performed by respected doctors much more cheaply than in the U.S. And an essay about a woman with a heterosexual past and a current female lover held fresh insights about the line between the two camps of sexuality.
That issue of More hooked me enough that I bought October's and then December/January, and found more absorbing reading. Several articles tied in to current events, including a profile of the Army's Janis Karpinski, who was demoted from a high post because of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
As befits a mag targeted to affluent, sophisticated women, More has a stylish look, with much high-quality photography--especially evident in a stunning two-page spread of the mountaintop ruins at Machu Picchu that's so vivid you get dizzy from the height.
Not everything is perfect in More's new incarnation. Many articles are too long and unfocused. A piece about high-profile female murderers in prison spends an excruciating page and a half on the women's backstories, for example. And the first-person stories--both essays and travel pieces--have more misses than hits, including a tedious essay about knitting while worrying about job security.
Still, as I used to read Seventeen aspirationally when I was 12, excited about dates and clothes and makeup to come in my life, now I'll be turning to More, happy to see proof that accomplished and interesting women can be over 40--and evidence that, just maybe, the best is yet to come.