Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine

Readers share their thoughts on an stories about becoming Americanized, men’s clothing choices, and picky eaters.

Americanized or American?

My father came from Damascus (“Finding My Race,” August 19). I witnessed anti-American racism from my father’s close family members. I also suffered anti-Arab racism by Americans against myself. I am in the middle: not really Syrian, not always accepted by Americans because of my mixed heritage. But this ennobling, enlightening article brings all of these things, along with hope, to mind and to heart.

Carol Rae Bradford / Somerville

Thanks, Sharmila Sen, for this piece! Excellent, resonates so much.

Lija Joseph / Newton

Besides being brilliantly written, [Sen’s article] was emotionally powerful and painfully clear about the damage done by racism and white supremacy. We are looking forward to reading [her] book.


Stephanie Yesner and Maura Russell / Jamaica Plain

Dressing While Male

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Charles Taylor observes the average urban male as a sartorial disaster (Perspective, August 19). Unfortunately, his musings are correct. Go to the theater or most cultural events and likely, the people sitting next to you are dressed in the same clothes they would wear to the beach. Let’s show a little respect for the event and the performers. Kudos to men who take pride in their appearance and the impression they make.

Gerald Crown


I don’t understand, and refuse to accept, this trend in male dressing. There is really no effort in putting on a pressed (by the dry cleaner) shirt and pair of pants. I mean seriously, try blow-drying your hair, doing makeup, and making sure your manicure and pedicure are perfect, every time you go out! Maybe if we start expecting more of our men, we will feel more confident about what we deserve.

Karen L. Mazzarelli


When I was in Vietnam in the early ’60s, knowing I would need them, I ordered a white-tie outfit, a black tie, and a number of suits. When I returned to Boston, wearing white tie was appropriate at the opera, then it went to black tie, business suit, and now anything goes.

Ronald Forrest Frazier


[Taylor’s] article on male dress was unfortunately a fabulous assessment on today’s male culture. I understand that they want to dress like slobs but what bothers me is that when some of us dress with actual style or class, the slobs react with derogatory comments. Looking forward to the day when this fad fades, as they all eventually do.

Omar Adams



It’s just not that hard to present yourself as someone who understands the difference between dining at a fine restaurant and painting lawn furniture in your basement. And, while Mark Zuckerberg may have accelerated this sartorial decline by being the face of a highly successful company while dressing like a 10-year-old waiting for the school bus, you’ll notice that when he appeared before Congress and needed to be taken seriously as an adult man, he dressed like one, in a suit and tie.

Richard Tennant


I blame corporate America for allowing their employees to come to work like they just got out of the gym. Parents of young children need to step it up and take the time to teach their children what the world expects of them in any situation. Your article should be recommended reading for all high school students if they expect to land a well paying job in their future.

Paula Less


Taylor is missing the substandard quality with which clothes are made today, especially what you find in department stores. I know my waist and inseam measurements and when I went to buy a couple pairs of jeans, I tried on eight of the same brand/cut/size before I found two that fit. Similarly with shoes. Maybe if you go to more upscale stores, you don’t see this problem as frequently, but I don’t have money to spend $70-$80 on a pair of jeans or $160 or so on a pair of shoes.

Clifford Otto

Manchester, New Hampshire

When we can no longer manage to tuck in our shirts and wear a belt, we have real issues. I have always prided myself on what I wear. It makes a statement and always instills a sense of confidence. Unfortunately I’m not sure I see this trend changing.

Mark Cutone


While there are many examples such as wearing a baseball hat backward everywhere, and wearing essentially what amounts to pajamas on airplanes, one of the most grievous events, in my opinion, is not wearing a jacket and tie to a funeral home both during visiting hours and to an actual memorial service. It shows a major lack of respect to the deceased and to the family and other mourners.

Stephen Krom



[The] article on clothing did make me feel dated. I do recall when untucked shirts were a never unless you were escaping the home in a true emergency. Then came the leisure suit and the untucked was given a bit of style, but still a mark of the gaudy and those without good taste. In fact, two or three pages might be spent on the woeful state of female fashion as well.

Jeanne Stark / Reading

Picky Eater Problems

When I had multiple food allergies, I would eat before I arrived, bring a dish or go hungry (Miss Conduct, August 19). But this is about more than the food. This is a spouse perceiving her partner as being unnecessarily fussy about food and placing her in an awkward position. They need to have a talk about how to handle it and he needs to take responsibility or stay home.

eastsight / posted on

Aside from any allergies, I was always taught that when someone served you a meal, you ate at least half of it, even if you didn’t like it. Someone is offering you a gift, accept it.

pane242 / posted on

Happy to change or expand our menu to accommodate finicky guests, that’s what being a host is all about. But it’s a two-way street, being a guest means eating and (at least pretending) to enjoy the meal.

PL / posted on

If it’s an allergy, bringing something to share that won’t make you sick is not rude. If you are an adult who only eats cheese sandwiches on white bread, you maybe should work on that.

Effrontery / posted on

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