SNAP benefits aren't enough to afford a healthy diet

A new study finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, only covers 43-60 percent of what it costs to consume a diet consistent with federal dietary guidelines for what constitutes a healthy diet. The study highlights the challenges lower-income households face in trying to eat a healthy diet.

Flat-chested and Can’t Afford Breast Implants

Dear E. Jean: I’ve always been flat-chested, but I had a great figure with a good butt and legs. After giving birth to our baby daughter, I breast-fed and my boobs looked amazing!

Now, a year later, I’m back to normal weight, and I have no boobs at all. My husband always said, “Don’t worry, you can have them augmented,” but with the costs of educating our child, feeding her, and finishing my grad degree, we’ll never be able to afford the procedure. I enjoy my life, but I can’t avoid feeling ugly and unfixable. I know physical beauty is not everything, but how can I stop feeling bad about my breasts? —New Mommy on the Block

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My Dear Miss Block: Breasts are like movie stars. Those who want to be noticed are ignored, and those who want to be left alone are harassed. Show your cute, taut, sylphlike shape. Make tight sweaters and T-shirts your style. In a world of plastic and saline, the streamlined siren rules.

In other words, if you change the way you see your breasts, your breasts will change.

P.S. Not a philosopher? Girl, I can fix your boobs for free. Ready? Snap on a Miracle Bra. Good. We’re done. Now forget your bust. I promise you everybody else has.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

I Can’t Afford to Be My Friend’s Bridesmaid

Dear E. Jean: I’m a bridesmaid. I recently had to tell the bride I could not attend her bachelorette party at a foreign destination and her wedding (also—you guessed it—at a foreign destination). Even her shower is not local. She picked the place for her party and expects her bridesmaids to cover her portion of the trip. The plane tickets to these events alone are spreading all of us bridesmaids very thin—but I’m the only one who had the courage to tell the bride that, though I would chip in for her flight, I personally couldn’t afford to fly halfway around the world for her bachelorette shindig.

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She did not hide her disdain! She asked if I wanted to be relieved of my bridesmaid’s duties. Shocked, I replied I’d never miss her wedding! We haven’t spoken since. I don’t want to ruin her big day; should I step down, or go through with it? —Unhappy Bridesmaid

Dearest Bridesmaid: Let ELLE readers around the world pause and honor you. Let Hymen, the god of marriage, give you his blessing, and may you and your band of bridesmaids, as you hover near bankruptcy trying to fly yourselves and the bride’s ego to the Strzelecki Desert in Australia (or wherever the hell she’s demanding), find the chutzpah to tell the young lady that you love her, but plans have changed and the bachelorette party is now being held in your backyard.

Bridesmaid! Brace yourself! One beautiful shitstorm is approaching. There will be howls. There will be shrieks. When she doesn’t get her three— Three! Lord!—trips to celebrate the happiest day of her life, bridal teeth will gnash so badly she’ll have to be fitted with a set of dentures just to walk down the aisle. Hold your ground. Keep smiling and repeating: “The bachelorette party will look better on Instagram this way. Destination parties are so totally out right now.”

Anyway, the time a woman really needs to fly “halfway around the world” is 10 years after she’s married and needs a break.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.