Zoe Strimpel

Zoe Strimpel

Bridgerton’s big fantasy

Bridgerton is an American fantasy of ye olde England – right down to the absurd if enjoyably playful not-quite colour blind casting and its insinuation that Regency London was peopled with an equal number of Bame and white aristocrats. Even the casting of Queen Charlotte, played by half-Guyanese actress Golda Rosheuvel, is an allusion to

The descent of the Cambridge ball

I went to quite a few May balls in my three years as an undergraduate at Cambridge. As an editor at the student newspaper I blagged my way into the top ones – Magdalene, Trinity and John’s – since they were stupidly expensive and even as a 20-year-old student I had the sense to feel

Why are men so offended by my hair?

My annus horribilis was 1992. I was in fifth grade (aged ten) and had impulsively cut my hair short over the summer. I turned up to school with auburn ringlets billowing out and up from my head in a wavy sphere. Boy did it get the boys going: constant insults, including ‘Ronald McDonald’ (McDonalds’ clown

Why shouldn’t teenagers be allowed to use WhatsApp?

For my thirteenth birthday, which coincided roughly with my Bat Mitzvah (the Jewish ceremony for entering adulthood), I had begged for – and got – my own phone line. This was so that I could talk for hours on the phone to friends I had seen all day, or possibly all weekend if they were

I’m a hypochondriac. Even I’ve had enough of the anxiety epidemic

Our age of mental hypochondriasis has some surreal, even comic, aspects. I recently met some Gen-Zedders who were actually competing over bagging psychological diagnoses. Unsurprisingly, ADHD was the gateway pathology for these young folk – prescription rates for hyperactivity have jumped a fifth in the last year to 230,000, with doctors claiming to be overwhelmed

I ❤️ the NHS

There is much to bemoan about the NHS, from the cruel entitlement of its junior doctors to its zest for hiring diversity and inclusion staff when many people can’t even see a GP. I have been a harsh and consistent critic for years. I don’t like the cultish, Big Brother vibes, the gawping black hole

Logan Roy is disgusting

The other day I met a young woman wearing a crop top emblazoned with the words Waystar/Royco – the media conglomerate at the heart of Succession, HBO’s cult television drama about the nasty Roy family and their insane attempts at one-upmanship for control of their father’s company. It won Emmy and Golden Globe awards three

The unbearable rudeness of the thumbs up emoji

Years ago, in the midst of a dating spree that involved numerous encounters with erratic and callous young men, I often consulted my cousin. She’s a cool, emotionally controlled New Yorker who seemed to have an innate knowledge of how to seize and maintain power in sexual or would-be sexual entanglements. She often advised me

The rise of the Thomas Hardy guy

If I had to pick a king of women I’d call a draw between Vermeer, the 17th century painter, and Thomas Hardy, novelist and poet. Both had an outstanding capacity to take women’s interior lives seriously, to see individual women as distinct, intense and complex, and far from corresponding to any feminine stereotype. Whether it’s Vermeer’s

Retailers are hacking your brain

While perusing bins on the John Lewis website, having heard great things about the Brabantia 60-litre, I noticed my stress levels rise – and it wasn’t just because the lid-up height meant the bin wouldn’t fit in my new cabinet. It was because for my whole shopping session there had been a dribble of information

A (partial) defence of the ‘Jewface’ Oscars

How could I be Jewish, my friend wondered out loud, when I didn’t have the… She paused as she mimed a big old nose, coming far out from the face in a grotesque outward bulge. I was shocked. My friend was a sophisticated Cambridge graduate, yet still she had imbibed the anti-Semitic cartoons that have

How Israel is failed by its war of words

Sitting in a room at the Israel Defence Forces’ Hakirya base in Tel Aviv, I listened – along with a room full of delegates, mostly European MPs and members of the House of Lords – to a briefing from an IDF spokesman. He was a British-born reservist recruited back to the front lines of Israel’s

How Hamas radicalised Israel’s liberals

I have visited Israel three times in the past year. The first trip was in the spring, just as the anti-government protests – triggered by Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to control the Supreme Court – were beginning. The day before we travelled, protestors forced Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to close, and a general strike was announced.

Israeli nightlife is slowly returning

Tel Aviv is the size of Bristol, with about 400,000 residents each. While Bristol has 400 pubs and bars, and just shy of a thousand restaurants, the rough concrete charm of Tel Aviv yields no fewer than 1,750 cafes, bars and clubs and more than 4,000 places to eat. Tel Aviv is a dense, hedonistic city: friendly,

Why women still love Twilight

Anybody who has been a teenage girl will know how dark and swampy the sexual imagination of that demographic can be. At 14 and 15, after watching Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (1996), and then James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), I became so obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio that I’d lie for hours on my bed hatching

Why climate activists love to hate Israel

Climate activists have been busy since 7 October. The demands for ‘action now’ on global warming continue, but affairs in the Middle East are proving to be a distraction for Just Stop Oil. Cries of ‘free Gaza’, ‘ceasefire now’, and even ‘from the river to the sea’ – a chant, purported to be a cry for

Back to the future: Sunak’s big gamble

45 min listen

On the podcast: It’s been a busy week in Westminster. On Monday, Rishi Sunak’s first major reshuffle saw Suella Braverman sacked and David Cameron make a surprise return to politics.  Then two days later, the Supreme Court’s Rwanda ruling left the government’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’ in tatters. It was meant to be the

The death of TV

A while ago, a therapist advised me to go out less and stay in and watch TV more. Having avoided the world of block-streaming until then, I took her advice and immediately found great pleasure in my new pastime. There was so much to watch, and it was all so absorbing and pleasantly addictive. The

Among the Glastonbury pagans

England is a mystical place, and its epicentre is Glastonbury, known by its pagan residents as Avalon, the mythical island of the Arthurian legend. It has sacred springs, the supposed tomb of King Arthur, the Tor and ruined tower, proximity to Stonehenge and now a thriving, sprawling community of pagans, with dozens of denominations from druid to water-witch.