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  "We Need to Pay More Attention to Boys"
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Last EditedNone Entered  Jan 25, 2005 11:27pm
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News DateSunday, January 16, 2005 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAt 58, Laura Bush has had to master the basics of modeling: how to sit with your knees pointing one way and your spine twisting another, how to turn your head and tuck your skirt so no wrinkles show. The woman who bought a tan, two-piece dress off the rack for her own wedding now finds herself checking her teeth for lipstick and looking just over the camera to oblige a photographer. And of course she smiles, even though on this day she has a cold and a cough and probably would prefer to be alone with some hot tea and a warm sweater. But when you are the First Lady with a full public schedule, there are no allowances for a bad day.

Mrs. Bush laughs a kind of knowing laugh when she hears her position characterized as a "high-profile job that comes with great expectations and virtually no instructions." We expect our First Ladies to be attractive, even slightly glamorous. We expect them to host elegant dinners and support their husbands but also to pursue their own issues and even talk politics periodically. We ask them to be models of family values and decorum but then pry into their private lives.

And Laura Bush is no exception. She has been analyzed, criticized and offered reams of unsolicited advice. "Well, that is really just what happens in this job," she says without any annoyance in her voice. "I think you just know it's a fact of life, and you get used to it." And then Mrs. Bush, laughing, slowly uncorks and delivers her final line: "Besides, a lot of things that are said about me are quite flattering and nice. And a lot of things I read about my husband aren't. And that bothers me." She says it as a friendly joke, but there is no mistaking her point. She has no interest in being the "but" in the sentence—to read, after a long litany of criticisms about the President, "but he has a lovely wife."

The Laura Bush I met nearly four years ago wouldn’t have said that in an interview. Back then, her job seemed to sit on her a bit uncertainly. But in the inte
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