A few weeks ago I traveled to Detroit with
friends who wanted to show us their hometown of Wyandotte, Michigan, just south
of the city. We stayed in a former Navy officers club on Grosse Ile, walked
through Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, then drove in to see a baseball game.
"Should I call you 'Reverend'?" someone asked me recently. I
paused for a moment, thinking a million thoughts at once. I'm not much of a fan
of the "reverend" title, in part because of its problematic grammar but mostly
because I don't want to be revered.
My local Starbucks—and
probably yours too—has a large sign on each door that proclaims, "Take comfort
in rituals." When I'm being cynical, I read it as a multinational company
preying on our cultural longing for meaning by suggesting we can buy happiness
with a $4 cup of coffee.
Last month Slate
ran a series by Juliet Lapidos called Strictly
Platonic. Lapidos and her friend Jeffrey were born in 1983. They've been
friends since meeting at summer camp as teenagers. There were a few forays into
romantic experimentation, but today they're more like brother and sister;
learned a new word recently and then encountered it three times that day.
"Retrosexism" hasn't made it into the Oxford English Dictionary yet, but a
Google search turns up several thousand hits, and Newsweeknoted last month that "the term 'retrosexual' has all but
replaced 'metrosexual' in