At first Ofcharming was disappointed to discover that her commander’s home so resembled that of her stepmother. But in familiarity there is comfort, and the former kitchen wench has since learned to appreciate the pleasures of her new life — like having Marthas around to cook and clean, talking to the radioactive mice that live in the walls of her room above the pool house, and never having to worry about which dress to wear because “they just give us this one big, red robe.”
Women in Gilead are not allowed to read, so the bookish Ofbeast enjoys reciting Simone de Beauvior in her head during the ceremony and mentally correcting the Aunts when they mispronounce words like “nuclear waste.” Forever a believer in the goodness of mankind, Ofbeast is also teaching her commander to eat soup with a spoon and to stop flipping the table in rage during Settlers of Catan.
Her biggest vice? “Sometimes I skim the labels on the sides of potato sacks.”
No stranger to giving up her voice for a man, Oferic has adapted exceedingly well to the humble dictates of Gilead. Her knack for turning household items into styling tools has proven invaluable in her new surroundings, where all luxury products are forbidden. (“Butter makes a great body lotion,” she says. “Bye bye, winter flakiness!”)
Not everything is perfect, and Oferic does admit that she wishes the Charles River weren’t the site of so many executions: “It’d be nice to dip your toes in the water after a long ceremony, but it’s hard to relax next to all those hanging bodies. Also, it’s so polluted.”
Ofaladdin used to say she became a handmaid for love. “I thought, here is this high-ranking leader in the Sons of Jacob, this is going to be great.” She has since learned that her existence consists mostly of counting the days between periods, which is why she hopes “it doesn’t take 1,001 nights to get pregnant.”
“To be honest, some days I’m a little jealous of Ofjafar. Sure, her commander’s a maniacal sorcerer who once enslaved me, but if I have to hear about the shining, shimmering wonders of Gilead one more time I swear Under His Eye that I will feed myself to Rajah.”
It’s too bad that the handmaids’ traditional head covering prohibits a clear view of Ofdwarf’s features: Her crimson uniform looks particularly striking against her porcelain skin.
“I feel like I’m really in my physical prime right now, so it’s kind of annoying that these side-flappy-things don’t let anyone see my face,” she says. She’s aware of the benefits of her new station, of course: Her precious fertility means she can eat apples without fear of death by poison. (“Do you have any idea how freeing that is? I fucking love pie.”) Plus, “having one man to service beats seven!”