Sexy is a story that is centered on gender and race and the confusion they can give Miranda, the main character, is having an affair with Dev, an older, married Indian man. She is attracted to Dev, it is suggested, for two primary reasons – his age and his race. Dev is the first adult man that Miranda has dated. He is mature, wealthy, and complementary to Miranda in a way that she has not known before. Dev is also exotic to her. When they first meet, Dev remarks that part of her name is Indian (“Mira”) and she is entranced by this. Dev can open up another world for Miranda. But appearances fall flat. Miranda decides to purchase a silver dress, black stockings and slip and high heels, fantasizing about the restaurant Dev will take her to. In a way, Miranda is playing dressup. Since she talks about the high school and college boys she’s dated, we assume that she has recently graduated from college herself and is somewhat aimless. Dev represents an adult, masculine world that Miranda wants to understand. By buying clothes suitable for a mistress, she intends to play dressup as a woman. The clothes, and the fantasy surrounding them, represent the tropes of gender that Miranda believes in. Wearing the dress, like dating Dev, will make her an adult. Dating Dev will also broaden her world. Her coworker Laxmi tacks a photo of herself and her husband at the Taj Mahal to her cubicle. Laxmi says it is the most romantic place on earth. Miranda fantasizes that she and Dev are in the photo and she secretly yearns to tell Laxmi about the affair. To Miranda, Dev is exotic and worldly. Dating him will transfer those experiences to her own life. She moved alone from the Midwest and her isolation is coupled with a feeling of inexperience. She tries to learn Bengali, write her name in Dev’s language, try more Indian cuisine and recalls with shame an incident of mild xenophobia from her childhood. She is ashamed that she was not more understanding with the Dixit family and...
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