1. Actually, I WAS shocked. Such ire over…what exactly? Your essay was far from controversial. In a strange twist, the huffy responses vindicate the perceived point about Wisteria Lane / Cambridge Ladies which you never (in your openness / kindness) actually make. ..Otherwise known as an ‘”Own Goal” for these readers. Don’t sweat it.

  2. I loved Sara’s comment over there–as you already know, we come from very different perspectives but I did not find your article out of character. You actually sounded quite wistful to me, like maybe you would have enjoyed the manicures and @200 tracksuits. I live in a New England suburb now, and I find our neighbors and New Yorkers equally provincial. What I really miss about the small town in the south where I grew up is the need to accept everyone on his or her own terms–the fact that it’s just not practical to exclude someone just because his or her beliefs don’t quite match up with yours, even when those beliefs are truly repellent.

    My dad and I were talking about a friend of ours who died when I was a small child, but whom I remember well–he was a former vaudeville performer who took tickets at our local moviehouse, one of those old-timey downtown ones. He always wore full makeup to do this job, and I was very struck by it, even though I did not go to the movies often. Anyway, my neighborhood is full of professors and millionaires, and really nice people, but I don’t think the true eccentrics last long here, and it makes for a less exciting childhood I think.

  3. Your description of the “I love your smile” guy makes me ache to return to Manhattan. My beloved grandfather chose to spend his last year of life in Chelsea and spent much of that year teaching poetry to the Starbucks baristas he got to know and riding buses just for the fun of meeting people (and occasionally singing showtunes with the driver when the bus emptied out).

    So keep smiling and writing. Thank you.

  4. M, if readers are getting mad, then you are doing something right!

    If a writer has a strong point of view, at least half of people will naturally disagree.

    The suburb v.s. city thing is especially polarizing, (much like the working mom v.s stay at home mom argument). I say this as someone who loved living in NYC for 18 years before reluctantly moving to the suburbs to raise my kids.

    I don’t miss the city anymore, except for the fact that you don’t have to drive there, and the pizza is way better.

    I think the people who did get irate, maybe don’t feel that secure about their own decisions.

  5. Huh. I’m not Jewish, so some of that is outside the scope of my experience, but wow! I’d say that, based on the level of hatred over there? You must be very important indeed!

    Or that’s how I try to read criticism.

    Sometimes I’m successful. Sometimes not so much.

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