The ring, adoptions and cosmetic surgery

Readers respond to articles about returning an engagement ring, Florida adoption law and a hippie chick's face-lift.

Published August 27, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read "With This Ring, I Abscond," by Alexis Quinlan.]

Did anyone out there actually sympathize with this woman for having to endure the torture of living with a somewhat petty, rich fiancé, or find her self-absorbed character-assassination piece humorous? Let's get the facts straight: She chose to get engaged to the guy, she chose to enjoy his lifestyle, in a cowardly act she walked out on him in the middle of the night, and she deals with the aftermath via her high-priced lawyer. Her fiancé may have been a bit of a cad, but this woman who thinks she's a "quasi-feminist" is nothing but an educated gold digger.

-- Mark Meredith

Don't keep it; don't sell it. Here's what you do: Freeze it in one section of an ice cube tray. Then freeze that in a slightly larger container. Continue to freeze in larger containers until you've got a good-sized block of ice with a ring in the middle. Get a small Styrofoam cooler and dry ice. Pack the dry ice around the block of ice with the ring, put this in a plastic garbage bag, put this in the cooler. Send it off. He gets the ring; you get a vengeful gesture that doesn't hurt anyone.

-- Tish Wolfe

If it makes you feel any better, a used engagement ring is practically worthless. I paid $1,500 for my ex's ring, and only got $125 from a jewelry dealer when she left. Losing it altogether would've been less galling. By returning it, she got to feel a little less bad about breaking my heart -- but I was still out $1,375.

-- Tony Goins

Reading the article by Alexis reminds me of why I always follow my high school buddies' advice -- never date a feminist.

-- Chuck Willette

[Read " The Beauty of a Hippie Chick Face-lift," by Terry Greene Sterling.]

In her article Sterling writes, "If there are 9 million aging hippie chicks in America, we must have influence in the plastic surgery market, dramatically changing the aesthetic toward a more organic, natural outcome."

Apparently Sterling fails to realize that there is nothing organic or natural about face-lifts -- no matter how many times she uses the term "hippie chick" to describe herself, or attempts to paint her past ideals of beauty as naive and hypocritical in this incredibly self-serving article. Vanity is vanity, whether you're a Beverly Hills real estate agent or an aging boomer too proud to admit it.

-- Bethany Eldridge

I generally don't tout myself as a feminist. I'm of a generation that didn't need to fight for basic rights, so I tend to take equality for granted. However, every once in a while something Neanderthal catches my eye and I feel as if equality is further away than I thought. Such was my reaction to Terry Greene Sterling's article.

Ms. Sterling, an aging pseudo-hippie gets plastic surgery. Is that news? Does that require an open forum? Who would even want to bring this to the attention of the public? It's disheartening to read the shallow musings of an insecure boomer in an otherwise intelligent publication. I expect this type of article to appear in Woman's Day or Cosmopolitan, which is why I do not purchase them.

Sterling states that she "surrendered to vanity." Vanity is makeup. Vanity is a hot outfit. Plastic surgery is a grotesque of vanity, born of America's "think young" mentality. Revealing that the temporary relief of her feelings of inadequacy cost $15,000 is a further example of the obscenely decadent extremes women are encouraged to go to in order to look like something we are not. No matter how many nips and tucks she gets, her attitude dates her more than any wrinkle. I'm confident that I'm not only speaking for myself when I say that women don't all dress with men in mind. Some of us actually dress comfortably and for ourselves. Some of us don't mind not looking like the women on TV. Some of us even live our own lives, with or without partners.

The saddest part is that this could have been an excellent opportunity for Sterling to realize that the wisdom and experience of her years have brought her to a place where she no longer needs to change to please others, how she has found something more meaningful than looks. Perhaps she could've even given women something other than the same old "horrors of getting old" drivel, but that did not happen. Instead we get insight akin to that of a 13-year-old girl who blows her allowance to buy makeup for the big dance. But I'm sure Ms. Sterling looks stunning.

-- Lauren Ryder

Sadly enough, Terri Greene Sterling's article reveals why the values of most "hippie chicks" are now largely thought to be as transparent and passing as her "makeover." Everyone has a right to look and feel their best, but her decision to finally take the knife to her face only lends weight to those who discredit the ideals of her generation.

-- Dr. Daniel Gonzalez

[Read "Trial by Public Humiliation," by Janelle Brown.]

The writer mentions that the legal requirement for a mother to publish her name, age, physical features, and names of sexual partners only applies to women giving up their babies for private adoption, not to a state agency. Brown writes that the notification/disclosure rule is waived for babies given to the state. The story is structured so that private adoption is the only good method of adoption and pregnant mothers would not even consider state adoption but would rather choose abortion or raising the baby themselves.

I suspect the mothers who dismiss state adoption out of hand are interested in the financial rewards offered by private adoption. Many well-heeled but childless couples are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a healthy baby to adopt, but state agencies hold out no such prizes.

-- Charles Primm

The Florida adoption notification law may be draconian, but I don't think it goes far enough. If it's fair to impose this burden on women, men should have to publish notices such as this: "Joe Blow, Ft. Lauderdale, age 28, 5'11", beer gut, shaved head, enlarged forehead, small penis. Had sex with some drunk chick in Miami last summer. Don't remember if I used a condom. Shit, I hope I didn't knock her up. That would, like, totally suck. If I did -- and I'm not sayin' nothin' -- my phone number is 555-8464."

Seems fair to me.

-- Sean Carr

I'm confused. The Florida legislature refused to approve a law that would have men register as potential fathers, on a list I assume the public would have to have gone down to Public Records to access, because a wife might see her husband's name there. But to see the name, a wife would have to suspect her husband in the first place, and go to the effort of looking, which, if it was a sexual encounter outside of Florida, would take time and the money -- both to identify the state where the other woman lived, and to travel to Florida to check the records to see if that woman might have become pregnant.

Whereas, as the current law is written, the woman places a newspaper ad with the man's name -- in the city where he lives! Which is the wife of a philandering husband more likely to see? Never mind the law's other heinous aspects, if the goal was "protect the man," it makes no sense. How did it ever get passed?

-- Mary Ennis

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------