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November 28, 2005

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Odd Couples
I have two words for those couples who want to engage in managed monogamy ["The New Monogamy," by Em & Lo, November 21] and all that that entails—the insecurities, guesswork, risk, constant comparisons, speculation, negotiation, and manipulation: Stay single.
—Debora Stein, Manhattan

Let me get this straight: Okay, so my work girlfriend and I are ethical sluts involved in a partially open relationship which does not include pinch hitters. I recently attended a make-out party some 50 miles away from the office, where I encountered one of my celebrity trading cards in the form of a female wrestler, who, in the midst of open flirting, lifted me from my seat and turned me upside down. Here’s my question: Would this temporary repositioning of my body parts allow me to not cheat on my above-the-waist rule and yet still get a decent blow job?
—Leonard B. Lafeder, Wayne, N.J.

Partners are foolish to consent to a love triangle (to be "trinogamous," as you call it) just to prove that they aren’t possessive or so they don’t have to feel guilty about affairs of their own. Any chance at enduring romantic love requires sexual exclusivity. When we fail to inspire exclusive love and devotion in our partners we feel betrayed, humiliated—even homicidal—despite our pretenses of sexual sophistication to the contrary.
—Lawrence Josephs, Manhattan

As an adolescent psychologist, I can attest that despite the questionable scientific method used in your teen-sex survey, the results are totally accurate ["Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Your Kid’s Sex Life," by Stacia Thiel, November 21]. For fifteen years, I’ve educated parents of teens about their kids’ sex lives. From sex to the Internet to illegal substances, there is a remarkable chasm between what parents know and what teens actually do. I will tear out this article, copy it, and hand it out to my patients!
—Susan S. Bartell, Port Washington, N.Y.

The Rag Trade
I’ve always found the Village Voice to be a New York tabloid for none-too-bright gay adolescents from Queens ["The Voice From Beyond the Grave," by Mark Jacobson, November 14]. Nonetheless, however jejune its worldview, the Voice is an institution, and it would be a shame if it became homogenized by its new corporate owners.
—Steven Goldberg, Manhattan

The 6:30 News
In your November 7 issue, I’m quoted as saying, "People don’t watch the 6:30 news anymore" ["Intelligencer: Party Lines," by Jada Yuan]. The quote was taken out of context; as published, it makes me out to be even more of a damned fool than I deserve to be. What I was saying was that compared to the days of Cronkite, Huntley-Brinkley, and Howard K. Smith, today’s audiences are minuscule, thanks to 24-hour cable news and a profusion of other news broadcasts. Today’s 6:30 newscasts simply don’t have the clout they used to.
—Mike Wallace, Manhattan

The Feminine Mystique
Two weeks ago, you published a story in which you described Maureen Dowd as catty, foxy, and seductive ["The Redhead and the Gray Lady," by Ariel Levy, November 7]. Last week, you claimed that Leslie Crocker Snyder bewitched the Times into endorsing her ["Intelligencer: Morgenthau Gets Witchy About Leslie Crocker Snyder," by Geoffrey Gray, November 14]. Are you insensitive to the sexist implications of this? Can’t a woman be aggressive and successful on the same terms as a man without magic or the casting of spells?
—Robert Cal Adelman, Manhattan

Whenever I read, or read about, Maureen Dowd, I am reminded of the lyrics from Frank Sinatra’s "Soliloquy": " . . . a skinny-lipped virgin with blood like water." Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
—Barry D. Galman, Cherry Hill, N.J.

A sampling of the dialogue attributed to Maureen Dowd: "Alessandra called me and she goes,” and then "he goes," and "you’d like it to be, like, a cool kind of line." Is that the way a 53-year-old New York Times columnist, like, speaks?
—Robert Frater, Bronxville, N.Y.

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