We Hear You! Letters from Our September 2012 Issue

Leave a comment here or send us your feedback by letter or e-mail—we love hearing your thoughts!

by MORE • Editors
september 2012 image

Lesley,
 
I really enjoyed reading your letter in the September issue: A cut the crap guide to midlife friendship.  I am 52 years old and have 2 kids in high school.  Many of the friends that I had when my kids were younger are no longer my friends.  The friends that require constant attention, have the kids that do no wrong and appear to have the perfect life, are the ones to stay away from. Unfortunately  I had to learn that the hard way.  I hope at 52 I have become a little smarter.  Now I am trying to pass some of this information along to my  16 year old daughter (also information on boys to stay away from).  I don’t know if she will listen to me at this point in her life, but maybe later she will look back and think that her Mom was right about some things.
 
Thanks and love the magazine,
Nancy Talkington, Houston, TX

I just read your letter regarding midlife friendship. It was interesting, because the friends I have made in my midlife are my closest friends. We became friends through work connections: I am an orthopedic surgeon, Joan is a neurosurgeon, and Kathleen is a pediatric anesthesiologist in South Jersey. We are all in our late 40's and have been friends for 10 years. When we first met, we all hit it off because we have crazy hectic lives that other people can't really relate to: 2 of us own our own practices, 2 of us have 4 kids and an ex-husband each, one of us has 2 kids, one of us has a child with special needs and we have all had our most recent child in our mid-forties. We are all heads of the household, major breadwinners, and love to have fun. We have travelled together- our best trip was to Vegas where we were mistaken for "ladies of the evening"! We go through thick and thin together, and are there to emotionally support each other. We have a girl's weekend every summer where we go down the shore and have fun adventures, and discuss things like what drives us to keep going, and where our next trip will be (we are going to Greece/Turkey to celebrate our 50th birthdays!).

Thanks for getting me thinking about how important these friends are to me!
--Dr. Laura Ross

As I just finished reading your editorial, I realized just how true your statements are. I find myself now dragged away from my homeland of the good ole small town USA after many years with lifelong friends to be transported to live in Shanghai, China. Now that my children are no longer childlike, one is actually at NYU, and the other a senior here in high school, I find myself looking for friends outside the "kids zone."

I have learned that life is too short to surround yourself with friends who don't instantly give off the right fit! Like shoes or a great pair of jeans, we look for a good fit, comfort, and flexibility.
Here in China, I have surrounded myself with women of all ages and races who do just that. We find ourselves here in a culture that shifts constantly as people move in and out on average about every 2 years; therefore, we don't waste time on the "fad type jeans.”
When we do leave this place in the future, I hope to cling to a lesson learned about friendship, one that you so adequately stated in your column! I have learned that I can make new friends yet I will find the right fit! Thanks for affirming what I have now learned at age (soon to be 50).

Warmest Regards,
Lori Rice

Admittedly, I have not heard of More Magazine before and was surprised to find an issue in my mailbox.

While walking up the driveway, while the magazine was still in plastic, I had a feeling I was going to love the magazine for the sheer fact that Diane Lane has, of all things, crow’s feet, ON THE COVER. I immediately was intrigued at what this magazine had in store for me as I recently decided to not renew my subscriptions to Glamour and Cosmopolitan.

I work hard to take care of myself and love getting compliments that I look younger than I am. However, I get a constant sense of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with myself after reading Glamour and Cosmopolitan because their models and even the celebrities featured are airbrushed to such perfection that I can't help feeling unhappy with myself because no matter what I do, I cannot get all of my laugh lines and wrinkles to go away and cannot get myself down to a size zero (I am a 10-12) and if I did, I certainly couldn't do it without some stretch marks and cellulite spots, of which nothing of the sort show in the magazines. Does it make sense for me to basically subscribe to self esteem issues and feeling inadequate? I decided at 35, there is too much else to worry about, I don't need to struggle with my self esteem on top of all else life has to offer.

I have not even made it through your whole magazine yet, but I like what I see and I like the sense of camaraderie and understanding of where mid 30's and older women are in life and what is important to them. I hope I continue to feel good about myself as I finish the second half of More.

I don't think that I am much different than other women out there. I want to spend time reading a piece of journalism that makes me feel like there are other women out there, especially celebrities, who battle the same issues I have as we mature. I want to put down my copy and feel sad that I have to wait another month, like I used to when I could more relate to the early twenty issues, relationship matters and career events that were important to me when subscribing to Glamour and Cosmo. Now those magazines make me feel like I have a ton of work to do on myself, that I need to start another new diet, re-think my entire wardrobe, start saving for plastic surgery...

I understand that maybe the average public person doesn't necessarily want to see a swimsuit model with severe cellulite, weight issues and stretch marks. I understand that part of society. It is a reality, but maybe we don't even need to see that at all in magazines. What I do love is that we all age, no matter what we try to do to stop it or how much time or money we invest. Why does that fact have to be hidden in the media? Thank you for keeping it real.

Please keep up the good work and I will be subscribing. I have many friends who I think are going to be refreshed and excited about this as well.

Thank you!
--Shea Wegner

Oh my goodness. What a great end of the day to come home to my September issue of More and read your page 22. Reality is: I have nine girlfriends who came back together in our late 40's after being friends since fourth grade. Today, school started in Dallas:-/(. Our kids are now in college, married, working, or in the military, and since we came back together, there has not been a dull moment. Sadly as it is, some are divorcing, some are becoming grandmothers for the first time, and some are questioning life in general. And may I add that my one and only daughter graduated from college in May 2011, married in November of the same year, and is now teaching kids with special needs to live on their own. Whaaa!
And my grandma name she wants to name me is "Grandma Wrinkles." Really?? I'm successful. I have worked 30-plus years through a male-dominated company and was recently named Vice President (second female in our company history). Now I'm questioning if I should run for the board of directors of my company or do I look at some nice beach where my grandkids can come visit someday and call me G'dub
(a cool way to reference Grandma Wrinkles)?

Anyway, I'm only on page 22 and felt the crazy urge to share what is going on in this 50-something life and nine girls coming back together after so many years apart.. I thank God every day and night for bringing us back together. We are conquering 50-plus, one day at a time.

Thank you MORE!
--Cindy Saigling

I am writing to apologize for my recent very angry survey answers. It has been bothering me since I hit “send,” As there is no way I can retract my answers, I decided to go through the book again, as you had asked us to do in the survey.

When I read “vent” and “positive OR negative,” I was carried away. I overreacted and some of what I said is untrue. For instance, I DO continue to recommend MORE to friends. I was reacting because usually, I love every page of MORE and was just a little disappointed in this issue (for the first time). I apologize and here’s the way I really feel:

To begin with, I LOVED your letter and it has given me REAL food for thought and I have already made a few phone calls to reach out. Thank you for that wake up call.

I always love “Notebook” and sometimes tweet your excellent factoids (and give MORE credit). The Elizabeth Shue interview was typical smart MORE reporting.

Everything was fine until I got to “Talk Back” (Is Siri sexist?). I expected it to be funny, but it just seemed dumbed-down and ho-hum.

In the survey I submitted online, I complained about Stylebook – only because I disliked the cocoon coat, the peplum top, and the winter floral dress. (It is not MORE’s fault that those clothes are not my style).

I LOVED the Soul Cycle story – so well written and it dealt with the Zuckerman issue honestly.
Then I read Joyce Maynard, which I didn’t feel, was her best writing, and there was no real resolution. (I bet she had the drink). I had to ask myself, if it wasn’t a famous author and that story was submitted on spec, would you have published it? (I decided no, you would not have).
“Into the Woods” for some reason didn’t grab me – I kept skimming expecting to latch on – but I couldn’t find my way in. Again, not your fault. Just my personal preferences.

I loved both the Diane Lane and Patti Hansen profiles. Then I complained about the “Swept Away” simply because none of the jewelry was my taste.

I thought parts of “The Next Big Leap for Women,” were brilliant, but the conclusion didn’t do enough (or maybe that was the point?)

I thought Vaginas Rule was really really smart on your part.

I only skimmed “Better off,” because I don’t have female children and have such a wonderfully rich and full life that it couldn’t hold my interest.

Thank you for printing the story of Katie Monroe – what she is doing is SO important.

Then, when I read the foot article and saw that the writer gave ONLY surgery as a solution to Morton’s Neuroma, I was furious. The WORSE thing anyone can do is have that surgery because the scar tissue can often be more painful than the surgery itself. Why didn’t she write about the alcohol shots (guided by imagery) which is safer; and instead of being on crutches (as I was the first time I had surgery), with the alcohol shots, I simply walked out of the doctor’s office – not even limping.

And finally I got angry with “In praise of Vanity” because I’ve read articles on the same subject so much better written and also smart and funny. Again, this is personal taste.
So that’s it – I will continue to devour the magazine and recommend it to my friends; and knowing me, I’ll probably continue to rant and rave whenever you give me a chance.

All the best,
Margie Goldsmith

Re: SEP letter from the editor
Fantabulous! And credit to you for learning from P.

Good to be reading More again.

Thanks,
--Anonymous

Oh My!!! Where do I even begin?! I just read your wonderful and enlightening article "A cut-the-crap guide to midlife friendship" and it just summed my last year up in a nutshell! I've just gone through a whole new 'shift' in the friendship department realizing I’ve outgrown the "friends you can't really depend on". It's so sad when you can't even come together for even just a few short hours of a women's dinner, shopping, or movie out. If they need to constantly cancel or bail on you at the last minute several times before you can even meet for just a coffee... is it really worth it?? Sometimes, yes.

I get that life happens and everyone's schedules and lives are different... but whatever happened to busy women and lives, but still being there for your friends?

And in that... I've decided that I just need new friends who also share the same belief in that we love our husbands, and our children, but we need to get away every once in a while and just be women too! They will survive for a couple of hours without you... I promise! But with that comes the arduous search for new friends... and though it is easier to get over yourself than it was when we were teenagers... the initial ice breaking is still a little unnerving. And though it's also easier now being older to pick up right away on whether you’re "compatible" or not, it can still be an intimidating task.... though one that will hopefully pay off in the long run with a new best bud (or several for that matter).

So thank you for your words of wisdom... and really hitting home! Bring on the new friends!
Respectfully,
Stacy F.

Thought the entire issue was warm and fuzzy good. Your overview Letter "A cut-the-crap guide to midlife friendship" was at least in my little opinion the most needed and compelling. For some reason, the closer women get to 55 and older, the sooner too many start spending excessive energy on how soon they can retire, their grandchildren and an abundance of other excuses. Not realizing this destructive self-behavior destroys friendships. For many, not realizing terminating a friendship is right up there with divorce. Thank Heavens for not having to go through the process. For the person realizing there is no longer the common interest once shared, it is exceedingly difficult to vanish from the former friendship. To the person that simply does not understand why the friendship ended or slips into complete denial to the facts, it becomes a mental roadblock.

As a professional, I have had to distance myself from certain former professionals as they aged. I have spent countless amount of time trying to explain some of the reasons women lose friendships as they get older. Many just don't think it out. Therefore, they don't get it. As one gets older, finding a close acquaintance that can carry on a worthy conversation can be a challenge. Consider yourself fortunate to have a great helper with the art.

Thanks for sharing.
--Gloria Jones

I enjoyed your experiment to see if Siri responds to men and women differently, but in her choice of song ("Daisy, Daisy"), she is not as clueless as you think! It was a clever nod to the end of "2001: A Space Odyssey" where HAL (the computer - a distant relative?) sings that song as he is being powered down. No wonder Martin Scorsese has a crush on Siri - she's a film buff!

Sincerely,
Celia Bressack

I didn't want to send feedback via the sweepstakes, because I don't want to have my email and cell number on marketing lists, as per the privacy agreement. But I did want to send some thoughts! So I hope it's ok for me to just email my thoughts like this.

I turned 30 last November and somehow started receiving More magazine right away (I didn't subscribe and I don't know of anyone who signed me up). A little about me, since it may be helpful background: I am not married (yet), have no kids (yet), graduated from Harvard college, live in an apartment in Manhattan with my dog and have a demanding career. At some point I will probably get married, have kids, move to a house and worry about how to pay for college, but realistically I'm nowhere close to that right now. I'm into skin care - including makeup and anti-aging preventative measures - and fashion to a certain extent. I also read and buy a lot of books. I'm athletic: I climb high altitude mountains on vacation, rocks on the weekends, I bike to work and I love the gym.

My general feedback is this - I feel like More magazine doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Is it for 30-something professionals? Moms in their 40s? Stylish women in their 60s? It almost seems like the magazine is trying to be something to everyone for women between the ages of 30 and 70. I find only about 15% of each issue relates to me. (My 62-year-old mother, on the other hand, likes your magazine very much.)

More specific feedback is as follows:

The good stuff:
1) Role models:
I always appreciate reading about other successful women and in each More issue, I wind up liking the cover interview and (especially) the one-pager 'this is what (x age) looks like.' I also like that the magazine features women in their 40s, 50s, an 60s - I love seeing what paths these women have taken, what I might be able to expect at those ages, how I might be able to balance career and family, and what choices these women made that I might have to make someday. I also like that your magazine specifically chooses older women to feature since in much of the media, women disappear after a certain age even though they are more accomplished, have more interesting stories and have made more impact than their younger counterparts.

2) General interest blurbs:
Occasionally the fashion pieces have interesting bags, skirts, etc. Also, I like that the magazine has book and music reviews, recipes (although I don't really cook - I always think I might though! And I love Mark Bittman) and bits of health/science reporting.

The not-as-good stuff:
1) The 'don't worry, honey, you look great'/'this will hide your problem areas so no one will see what you really look like!' tone implying the women in the audience think they *don't* look great:
One of the first things I noticed in a previous issue was the overuse of the word 'still' in several pieces about skin care and fashion (something along the lines of 'you're still not in terrible shape, so you can still consider wearing something like this!' or 'you still have decent skin tone, so you don't need these kinds of products yet'). Also, much of the fashion advice is about covering up flaws. I find this tone to be extremely annoying - it assumes that I'm unhappy with the way I look and want to hide or fix things. Don't get me wrong - I'm as into the science behind anti-oxidant moisturizers as the next female. But I don't spend my mornings in front of the mirror tearing myself apart. Or my shopping sprees thinking about what clothes are best to hide in.

2) Generally unrelatable articles to my demographic:
In this issue 'is your hair aging you?' is wasted pages that I just flip over. I don't have 'multiplying grays', 'helmet hair' or 'granny bun'. And I'm not looking for a hair stylist who is the 'cheapest surgeon you'll find' (who's thinking about age-correcting plastic surgery in their 30s?) I don't know who Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is so I don't know what it means that no stylist endorses her look.
In another example, the author discusses issues with her feet. The are bits and pieces of this article that are relatable (mentioning what women can do to avoid problems is relatable and 'do you need an orthotic' isn't age specific) but for the most part I skim through this and say 'don't have that, don't have that, don't have that...' So this is only a useful article to me in that it shows me what is in store for me ten to twenty years down the road.

I hope this is helpful in some way!

Best,
Alexandra

I am surprised that your writing staff was too young to remember the reference used by Apple's Siri in your article, Is Siri sexist? on page 36 of the September 2012 issue. Daisy, Daisy was the song sung by the HAL 9000 computer as it was disassembled at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey; So, YES! Siri WAS programmed by a man.
--Oscar Navarrete
 

First Published Thu, 2012-08-30 10:41

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/member-voices/your-letters/we-hear-you-letters-our-september-2012-issue