Reader feelings run high

The faithful respond to dewlaps, blind dates and King Kaufman's flight to St. Louis.

Published August 10, 2001 7:20PM (EDT)

Read "A bounty of dewlaps and drooping hooters" by Carina Chocano

As I finish the article regarding "aging women," I am reminded that the United States' culture still devalues its women by equating us with some unreal physical image. I'm a grandmother of five and proudly 59, and my physical appearance is of little concern to my family. My advice and experience are, though, and I am pleased that they frequently ask. I also ask the young women in my life, daughters-in-law and stepdaughters, to remember that they are the women who must choose to be respected and revered for their gifts not their form. Not until older women command the respect of their younger counterparts will this rich resource of knowledge, power and, yes, money (we control a huge percentage of the nation's wealth) be fully inculcated into this shallow society.

-- Evie Shucart

I don't understand the point of this article. It came across as condescending and vicious. If it was meant as a commentary on a lame media obsession, it failed and only seemed to ridicule and mock women for managing to live long enough to get old. What a horrible little piece. This is the kind of thing I expect of immature middle-aged male writers who make themselves feel better by insulting their female peer group. I hope the author's old age (no doubt in the distant future) is complete with bongo face, sagging implants and a flat ass.

-- Amy Wicklund

Read "Mommy gets laid" by Laurian Leggett

OK, this is supposed to be funny -- G-strings on fire and all that. It's just that, as a man, I have a genetic inability to laugh at it. Perhaps it is my own fear of losing my hair, I'm not sure. I've noticed that whenever women make an over-30 comedic rant on the dating scene it goes right over my head. Articles like this one and television shows like "Sex and the City" make me slightly bored and slightly uncomfortable (like being dressed incorrectly for a tax seminar).

I'm writing not to condemn these pieces, but rather to make an open call to other readers (or perhaps the editors of this magazine) to tell me exactly what it is that I'm missing. Is this the way women really think? Is my discomfort a sympton of insecurity in the face of all these mocking women or is it simply a matter of not understanding what it's like to be a woman?

And, finally, am I the only man that feels like this? Perhaps the editorial page of Salon is not the best place to muse about these things, but the beauty of the Internet, after all, is communicating impulsively. Thanks for reading this.

-- Jay Black

Hilarious article. Ms. Leggett's language skills far, and happily, outweigh her dating skills. Congrats on her forthcoming marriage.

-- D.R.Baron

Read "Bohemia lost" by King Kaufman

Well, I always thought anyone who could start out life as a Dodgers fan and switch allegiance to the dreaded Giants was at best a little suspect and at worst a traitor to rival Benedict Arnold. My suspicions are now confirmed. Goodbye, San Fran, hello, St. Lou. Brother, there really is no accounting for taste, is there?

-- Kim Jordan Tabor

Haven't we had enough articles of people bemoaning the loss of "their" San Francisco, that magical bygone place where they could smugly affirm their own nostalgic tendencies and inbred sentimentality? What do these people want S.F. to be? Appalachia?

Kaufman's article is worse than most ... reiterating the same flabby-minded clichés of SUV-driving yuppies and then disjointedly comparing St. Louis to S.F. Am I to suppose that his idealized version of old S.F. more closely resembles contemporary St. Louis? It's just confused writing by someone who seems to prefer to move elsewhere to pursue a life path where he can stand out for his goatee and preference for Chai. Please.

Nowhere in the world have I experienced a populace that prides itself on how long it has been since moving into town. Does it remind anyone else of a bunch of self-involved ex-pats in Prague endlessly saying, "I was here BEFORE they opened a Gap and you could get Sam Adams." Sure, people came to S.F. at the height of the dot-com frenzy just to make money, but you know what, those people are leaving. Those who came to participate in the creation of a completely new and innovative medium, will stay and continue to come.

Yes, much of it was silly, and will continue to be silly. That's what happens when you are experimental. If anything, that is what S.F. is: experimental. The dot-com phase did not change that, it just expressed that experimental nature in a new way. Those lamenting the "loss" of S.F. aren't grieving for the loss of that spirit, but the fact that they were so locked into their own habits and past, that the newness and vitality of the dot-com phase looked like a threat, rather than something to explore and celebrate. I imagine it must be terribly hard on people who have always prided themselves on being avant garde to suddenly find themselves shunted aside for a new medium, or worse, obsolete.

Goodbye, Mr. Kaufman. If you're not willing to be part of the future, then you're part of the past. In this case, St. Louis.

-- Sean Dolan

Your article made me miss the San Francisco of my college days. Thanks for the look back on a city I loved when I was there in the early '90s but can't imagine living in again. Well, maybe in a couple of years once Bohemia returns.

-- Lara Cullinane Smith

I think King Kaufman sums it up best when he nails S.F. for thinking that people who don't live there are losers. San Fran brought about its own demise by collectively adopting such a hipper-than-everything posture that the culture ate itself. Any society that thinks of itself as morally and culturally superior to all the world is doomed to fail. Even New York has the Hamptons, New Jersey and Connecticut to offer a reprieve. People from these dreaded suburbs feel at home in New York. Native San Franciscans are mostly nice people, mind you, but all the transplants (from the '60s through today) tended to be self-important, pseudeo-intellectual, stuck-up posers who assisted in making San Fransicso a thoroughly unpleasant place to live in or visit. Having said that, I wish all the "Friskies" out there a better future. Perhaps the dot-com nighmare will be a good cleansing period.

-- Ace Fantastik

Sheesh Kaufman, piss an' moan, why don't ya. Are you sure you ever really loved "The City"? You come off like a poseur who fled as soon as you had a little trouble hacking the rent.

Now maybe I'm out of line -- let's assume the rent really did force you out. These days that's what all the fine young underdogs are doing, right? Running from a bunch of cappuccino-sipping dot-com mooks the way you did. But how is it you, of all people, get to point fingers in this situation? Have you forgotten that you are a "senior writer" for "Web's best newspaper" (quotes taken from You are one of the dot-commies, friend.

You moved somewhere, lived, loved and partook of what it had to offer. You were part of the influence that changed the city, until one day you pulled up your stakes because the old place ain't what it used to be. And now you're spreading to St. Louis.


-- Elijah Newton

The situation King Kaufman describes in S.F. is truly heartbreaking, but I wanted to comment on his observations of St. Louis. I live in Knoxville, Tenn., and the No. 1 obsession with all native Knoxvillians is worrying about what other people think about us and our city -- similar to St. Louis. It reminds me of an insecure high school student who is constantly compromising on his true talents in order to break into the "popular" crowd. The desperate genuflecting is unbecoming in both situations. Also, the reason that the lights are always longer on the "stop" cycle than the "go" cycle (another Knoxville phenomenon) is that the people who program the lights are trying to encourage traffic flow to lowest-common-denominator areas of commerce, which Mr. Kaufman is probably trying to avoid.

-- Kim Davis

By Salon Staff

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