Mailbox: 02.18.09-02.24.09

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VD-Day Continued

Bravo to Michele Hoos, “V-Day or STD- Day?” (Feb. 11-17), for daring to bring up the topic of STDs—a sort of “love that dare not speak its name”—on Valentine’s Day. But there was a glaring omission from her list of STDs.The most common, non-viral STD is called ‘trich,’ caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Despite more than 5 million cases in the U.S. and 170 million worldwide each year, trich receives scant attention as a public health problem. The parasite is transmitted during sexual contact, and there have been reports of infection through contact with contaminated objects such as toilet seats and towels (though these are fortunately rare). More importantly, the STD is associated with an increased risk of HIV infection and problems during pregnancy such as low birth-weight babies.The symptoms of trich in men and women are a malodorous discharge, genital itching and painful urination, but there are potent drugs that can easily cure an infection.The more this extremely common STD is discussed in the media, the greater awareness the public will have, making V-Day an occasion to celebrate rather than VD-Day.

— Jane M. Carlton, Ph.D., NYU Langone Medical Center

Stimulate This

Re: The feature about the Fashion Week downturn, “Fashion’s Victims” (Feb. 11- 17), one reader responded: As a 28-yearold fashion industry professional, I have to say that this article is right on. I hope Obama’s stimulus plan trickles down to the hatmakers, florists and all the various and sundry trades of what’s left of our Garment District. Fashion Week is the only thing that’s propping them up, and they certainly aren’t doing that this season.

Charming and Sweet

Re: Jessica Wakeman’s “Charmed, I’m Sure” (Feb. 11-17), her experience of hanging with dudes in charm school: Sam S. tells us: “I remember when I immigrated to the United States from Tehran at 17, I felt both attracted to/seduced by American women, and powerless because I didn’t know how to act around them. So I read a book called How To Talk To Women in college, which helped me tremendously. There are many reasons why we sometimes hit a lull in romance, but I think the trick is to honestly self-assess and address whatever is lacking.”

And someone calling herself Princess writes: “This seems really cool. I’ve seen that TV show Pickup Artist, and I thought that was really creepy, but this seems completely different. I think it’s great that some guys are open enough to look for ways to improve with women. In fact, I think 95 percent of guys in New York should be taking these classes. I can’t stand guys that pretend to be my friend and follow me around at the bar. Same goes for the guys that think, ‘hey baby,’ will get my attention.”

Mobbed and

And there was the usual back-and-forth regarding Armond White’s review of Gomorrah (Feb. 11-17). One reader claimed: “It’s a little difficult to take this review seriously when the author seems to have no idea it’s based on a book, and that the film accurately reflects the book’s monotonic realism; a realism that is straightforward and doesn’t need to overplay its moral revulsion in order to pass its revulsion to the viewer. If anything the film has overplayed its moral revulsion in that the two characters most clearly in it for the glory get their heads blown off by fat, middle-aged gangsters.

And perhaps the best review of the book and the movie have come from the people of Naples, who have snapped up the book and the film in enormous quantities, attest to its fundamental reality and even participated in the film (the fat bearded gangster with an affinity for cheap sportswear was recently arrested for being a camorristi). Their positive review is far more enduring than yours, dude.” And then another writer had a differing view: “Brilliant review. It was about time for someone to put this garbage in its place. I can’t believe all the hysteria with AMPAS not nominating this. At least from time-to-time they don’t screw up.”

Charming and Sweet

Re: Brian Pennington’s review of “Second Stop Cafe” (Feb. 11-17), one reader noted: “Except that Stumptown is still shipping their coffee from the West Coast.Their roastery is not up and running in Red Hook yet, so much for keeping it local.Though Stumptown does have excellent beans, it ain’t a NY joint.”

That sort of coffee snobbery didn’t seem to be enough to stop one reader, who replied: “And your point is what? Its a beautiful place with amazing product. There is currently no ‘local joint’ to remotely compare in taste and quality. The lines out the door all day seem to bear this out, no? Why are you feeling pissed off? Will everything be OK when the plant in Red Hook opens? To everyone else, this is a wonderful addition to the nabe; I advise anyone to visit and enjoy.”