Wow, did you read that undeniably dispiriting excerpt from Maureen Dowd’s forthcoming book in Sunday’s New York Times (“What’s a Modern Girl To Do?”). The book is called “Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), and the subject is how today’s younger women have totally shunned feminism and have reverted back to a 1950s sensibility — catching a man, being demure, letting him pay and going shopping, etc. The subtext, of course, is basically Dowd’s coming to terms with the probable fact that she’s too intimidating to attract a suitably high-powered guy and keep him (i.e., persuade him to propose getting married), and that being a strong, whip-smart professional of a certain age, she’s more or less doomed to live a single life and that’s that. And that feminism has led her to this place and she’s not especially happy about this, and may in fact be livid. I love this photo of Dowd, taken recently at Manhattan’s Bar Centrale, that illustrates the piece on the main page. Here’s a montage assembled from photos I took of Dowd plugging her Bush-bashing book at L.A.’s Skirball Center in September 2004. She’s a very sexy and vivacious woman, but she’s not what you’d call a confessional type and she’s extremely mindful of power dynamics and political equilibriums. (Naturally, being who she is and who she writes for.) Notice that discerning, cold-blooded look she has in the lower-left photo of the montage? Imagine getting that look in her bedroom at four in the morning.