The Myth Making of Virginia Heffernan

What can we glean from Dylan Byers’ rapturous profile of NYT’s writer Virginia Heffernan? Well, for starters she’s incredibly smart, ambitious, an excellent writer and oh yes, very attractive.

They caught a cab. Once they were back at her apartment, as Rellie tells it, “She said, ‘Fix yourself a drink; I’m going to get into something more comfortable.’ Just like that. She left me with a decanter of scotch and reappeared wearing a see-through baby-doll thing with furry balls. It was amazing.”

Things progressed, then took a turn.

“She stops me and she says, ‘Before we go any further, I need to know something. I need to know if King Lear is a comedy or a tragedy.’”

Rellie protested: “‘You’re kidding.’”

“‘No, really, I need to know.’”

He paused, then ventured: “‘It’s obviously a tragicomedy.’”

“‘I’m going to need you to leave,’” Heffernan said, as Rellie recalls. “‘Please leave now. It’s not your fault. It’s my fault. You’re going to have to leave.’ I pulled my trousers up and walked out into the street.

“Many years later she came to my 35th birthday and gave me a present,” Rellie says. “I took it home and opened it. It was a paperback copy of King Lear. On the inside she had written, ‘Dear Euan, Happy Birthday. This is so you can find out the story for yourself.’

“I told the story to her husband,” Rellie says. “He said, ‘Oh, I completely believe it.’”

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