HA! I loved getting this month’s Atlantic in the mail yesterday. My month-long ritual begins anew. It usually takes me an entire month to get through an issue, but I savor retiring the by-now-dog-eared-and-rumpled previous month’s issue to crack open the cover of the next … and then spending the next four-ish weeks reading through the entire thing, page by page. It’s a liturgy that makes sense to me.
Well, imagine how satisfying it was to see Lisa Sanford’s letter to the editor on page 18 of the November issue. Ms. Sanford, too, was completely turned off by Caitlin Flanagan’s ridiculous comments about love, about which I wrote last month. She writes:
“I was really enjoying Caitlin Flanagan’s article “Sex and the Married Man” (September Atlantic), right up until the part where she offends every reader who doesn’t have children with the sentence `I was years away from having a child of my own, and until you’ve done that you’re just guessing about love, gesturing toward it, assuming that it’s the right name for a feeling you’ve had.’
If Flanagan wants to assert that your child-free readers don’t understand, empathize with, or experience the full spectrum of the parent-child bond, that’s fair. If she herself never really knew love until she became a parent, that’s unfortunate, but only she can judge her own experiences. But frankly, this sentence, this attitude, is patronizing and insulting. As a child-free adult, I have plenty of disposable income, and I’m not interested in spending it on publications that insult me for not truly understanding the bonds of love because I am free of the bondage of parenthood.”
Rock on Lisa Sanford! Now, I personally am not going to go so far as to discontinue my subscription to the Atlantic because of Caitlin Flanagan’s ineptitude at love prior to becoming a parent, but I love Lisa Sanford’s reply, and I’m glad she sent in her letter to the editor and I applaud her for bringing this perspective to a far larger audience than I can here. So, thanks Lisa.