On the ideal misting fan to use at Disney World
New York Magazine

As an Aggressively Perspiring Person, certain objects give me great pleasure: air-conditioning units, clinical-strength deodorant, those damp towels distributed by fancy airlines and masseuses. In attempts to gain respite from sweltering temperatures, I’ve bought items I know are superfluous but suspect are heat-combating, such as Aesop’s Immediate Moisture Spritz ($25 more expensive than splashing your face with water; infinitely better smelling).

Last month, while drunk-browsing Amazon, I happened upon a product category custom-made for sweaty humans: handheld, battery-operated fans with inbuilt cooling humidifiers. I’d seen miniature fans at dollar shops and desk fans at office-supplies stores, but the genius addition of water made these fans irresistible. For an hour or so, I clicked breathlessly through pages of near-identical plastic blowers, entering hyperlinks into Fakespot to sort the wheat from chaff. Eventually, satisfied I’d found the real deal, I took my tiny fan to checkout.

A few days later, Insten’s Portable Mini Misting Fan arrived. It was bigger than expected — the length of my hand, palm to fingertip — but light enough to carry around in my bag for extended periods. Its plastic exterior also looked more expensive than I’d predicted: a pleasant shade of minty blue reminiscent of toothpaste in kids’ cartoons. There was a USB cord to recharge, for times I wanted to fan myself and use the computer, and a flat, sturdy base, for periods when I desired its cooling presence, but didn’t want to use my hands.

Since purchasing, I’ve tested the misting fan’s potency in several clammy places, from subway stations to the congested, calescent queues at Disney World (where, on a stinking-hot day, I’d unwisely worn a boiler suit). For something so small, it’s surprisingly powerful. The highest of three settings produces a deeply satisfying blast. But the fan’s hero quality is the option to add water. You pour it into the device’s top via a 20 ml bottle (admittedly fiddly and tricky to fill), and the result, while short-lived, is heavenly — it feels, I suspect, like dunking your face in an icy cloud.

Story /
Publication /
Dinner at the End of America The Paris Review February 2018 * Notes on Chance Encounters Museum January 2018 At ‘Concrete’, OMA’s first building in Dubai, an ode to a disappearing valley Interview November 2017 Alone with Robert Mapplethorpe Vault October 2017 Editor’s letter—I Quit Museum September 2017 In conversation: Cao Fei on fakes, facsimiles and factory work Museum September 2017 The Enduring, Gloriously Déclassé Style of Barbara Windsor The Paris Review August 2017 * Kaari Upson: Life drawings Vault July 2017 On the ideal misting fan to use at Disney World New York Magazine June 2017 Australian lawmakers vote no on legal abortion law Teen Vogue June 2017 Tschabalala Self: bodily pleasures Vault May 2017 * These uncooked ramen noodles are my favourite snack New York Magazine April 2017 Editor’s letter—The mystery gift Museum March 2017 Gillian Wearing and her masks Museum March 2017 An email thread with Sheela Gowda Museum March 2017 A tale of two booksellers Vault February 2017 The summers that came and went as I clung onto my high school job Vice December 2016 * Pleasure centre: a history of the female orgasm Par Femme November 2016 Rare beasts, birds, and the calaboose The Paris Review September 2016 * Editor’s letter—The smell Museum September 2016 In conversation with Sissel Tolaas Museum September 2016 * “For dramatic purposes, I detest it”—Orson Welles, collector of noses Museum September 2016 Anti-kidnapping rhetoric Museum September 2016 The hard-on on trial The Paris Review May 2016 * Anton Alvarez The Last Magazine March 2016 When you are not a surfer Oyster March 2016 Someone else’s Holiday Museum March 2016 * Editor’s letter—13 days Museum March 2016 Simon Klenell The Last Magazine September 2015 Kaitlyn Dever The Last Magazine September 2015 Mira Calix cascades Interview May 2015 How to steal Museum March 2015 The king of the tip-off Museum March 2015 * Garments of the Golden Age Art & Australia February 2015 1.61 The Last Magazine October 2014