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April 17, 2005

Out with a guy, the letters

Attila's iron rule number 14: Every stupid article in the New York Times will elicit even stupider letters, of which on average 4 to 8 will be published.

Case in point: Last week's article on "man dates," about which I posted here, resulted in a crop of 8 stupid letters. There's no RSS feed for these letters, so this link will disappear in about a week, but here are my two favorites:

Origin of 'Man Date'

Re "The Man Date: What do you call two straight men having dinner?" by Jennifer 8. Lee (April 10):

I think The New York Times should hear that the writer did not in fact coin the concept "man date." I'd like to point out that I wrote the book, published by Crown in January 2004, "The Mandates: 25 Real Rules for Successful Gay Dating." Obviously I have nothing against a good tongue-in-cheek article. So I can overlook the homophobic subtext and just assume your readers are smart enough to enjoy the irony in the article without focusing too much on the facts. What I cannot overlook is the fact that the author never even references my book title or the fact that a "date" is generally considered romantic and thus applies to romantic dating by homosexuals or heterosexuals. If a man date is two straight men, then what do you call a date between two homosexual men?

Dave Singleton

Just Don't Enjoy It Too Much

In the article "The Man Date" the discussion avoided the main conflict that makes for the discomfort when men participate in certain one-on-one activities other than sports attendance. What is missing is that this fear is of actual emotional and even erotic attraction to another man coming to the surface, which in our culture is strongly condemned. For a man to be emotionally or even erotically attracted to another man does not make him gay. It is merely an experience in addition to his heterosexual life. As Freud suggested, human beings are bisexual.

Dr. Alex Caemmerer Jr.
Englewood, N.J.