January 3, 2005

I was amazed to read Jonathan Van Meter’s “Growing Up Trump” [December 13]. After all the anti-Bush vitriol that you were spewing pre–November 2, you then suggested that we all just fuhgeddaboudit and eat. Now the very people whom we should all learn to stay away from are those you are trying to persuade us to love.
—Leo Grinhauz, Maplewood, N.J.

Gary’s Place
As I write this, my wife and I are at sea, on our 40-foot sailboat 600 miles from the Cape Verde Islands, on the way to the Caribbean. I am the “commodore” Gary Kibler refers to in Randall Patterson’s “Beggars Can Be Choosers” [December 13]. For years, Gary sat on the sidewalk near the entrance to my office. I was struck by his intelligence. He once said something that has always stuck with me: “Scott, you don’t realize how many people are one paycheck away from being on the street!” One day, I drove him to my home in Connecticut, and he, my wife, and I sailed up to Greenwich, dropped anchor, had lunch, and sailed back. He may be a street person, but he’s a real person, too.
—Scott Kuhner, Rowayton, Conn.

Ring and Bear It
As an American expat residing in Paris for the last five years, I can say that American and French women both find me more desirable as a married man [“Mating: The Meaning of a Naked Finger,” by Amy Sohn, December 13]. I was married and living in Manhattan for twelve years, during which time I had a dozen affairs. As a married man, I was perceived to be safe, not needy and clingy, and most likely to be disease-free as well. (My monogamy was always assumed. Why is beyond me.) When I finally ended my marriage and moved to Paris, I kept my wedding band on and once again was found more desirable because of it. Most women I’ve slept with said that it was the thrill of conquest—the taking of another woman’s husband—that prompted them to pursue me in the first place. I think the single women Amy Sohn refers to are being disingenuous when they say they don’t want to sleep with married men. It has been my experience that most do. They just don’t talk about it in polite company.
—Michel S., Paris, France

Amy Sohn’s assessment of women who want nice rings was chauvinistic. Seventy-five cents to every dollar earned by a man is hardly equal! Instead of demonizing these women, perhaps she should examine the men who allow themselves to be “strong-armed” by gold diggers. Apparently, it’s much more fun to disparage women as mercenary predators.
—Jessica Noyes Mcentee, Manhattan

Women need to get over their jealous, manipulative, controlling, egocentric attitudes. A man shouldn’t have to wear a ring to symbolize his commitment. I go to work in my pitiful environment every day—and for what? Not for me; for the well-being and future prospects of my family. That is the ultimate manifestation of commitment.
—Mark Jewett, San Diego, Calif.

Guys who won’t wear their wedding rings don’t want the world to know they’re married and are looking for some illicit ass. When my late wife and I wed, we’d seen enough adultery to make us buy the plainest, widest wedding bands we could afford, talismans of honor and love. I still wear my ring.
—Adam Honigman, Manhattan

“Ms.” has replaced “Miss” and “Mrs.” as an address because women overwhelmingly agreed that there was no reason in the world why their marital status ought to be evident to all. To advocate the right to privacy for women while demanding full disclosure for men is simply hypocritical.
—David English, Somerville, Mass.

Name Drop
I enjoyed Jacob Bernstein’s “They Answer to ‘Phinnaeus’ ” [“Intelligencer,” December 13], about the origin of the name Julia Roberts chose for one of her twins. But as a loyal fan of The Howdy Doody Show, I must point out that you forgot the most famous Phineas of all: Phineas T. Bluster, mayor of Doodyville.
—Gail Farrelly, Bronxville, N.Y.

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January 3, 2005