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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

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The Vine: February 6, 2007

Submitted by on February 6, 2007 – 12:13 PMNo Comment

It's not a book, it's a story that was published in Sassy magazine's December '92 reader-produced issue called "Snow White" by Grace Hu (it was their fiction contest winner):

"Past Halloweens I had dressed up in the expected costumes: Lady Macbeth, Albino Killer Rabbit, Teenage Mutant Zombie. This year, though, I had decided on a different sort of costume. I had decided to dress up as a life-size, anatomically correct Weeping Willow High cheerleader…"


Dear MH,

Thanks! The other responses to that letter overwhelmingly agreed with you, and one correspondent mentioned Catherine Farnes's Snow, which sounds a little Jesus-y to be the one we're looking for, but hey, you never know.


I've recently set myself up with a blog, and I was wondering what the etiquette was regarding linking to other blogs/websites. Is it considered proper to contact people to let them know you're linking?

The thing is, of the sites that I read, none of them know me from Eve; I've followed their lives for years but I don't comment or usually communicate with them at all, so it seems a bit strange to contact to ask this. On the other hand, several of them use the sites as a form of income, so might appreciate it, and I'm not totally sure I'd like to find out that a complete stranger had linked to me without me knowing.

The site I'm writing is very small-scale, and pretty much just for distant friends and relations to keep up with the family should they want to; I wouldn't expect anyone else to read, so the question wouldn't be in expectation of reciprocation.

So I was just wondering what you think as you're clearly more web-savvy than anyone else I know.

Thank you,
Yet another small-town blogger

Dear Blog,

I for one don't really care 1) who's linking to me or 2) whether I'm notified. Obviously I'm not keen to have white supremacists or NAMBLA touting Tomato Nation as a rad site, but I don't think it's something I can really control, so I don't worry that much about it.

On the flip side, I don't think it's that weird if people ask permission; it's not necessary, but it's not off-putting, either. If it would make you feel better, go for it.

Dear Sars,

I've always thought that maybe one day I'd want to move to New York, but it was just that, a thought. Lately, though, the thought has transformed more into an urge, one that seems to get stronger every day. I was drawn to the city before I ever visited; I've now been about eight times or so. Whenever I arrive, I always have the feeling that I've come home, even though I've lived in Florida my entire life.

It's a frightening prospect, uprooting myself and basically starting a whole new life. To give you some background on me, I'm 25 years old, working a full-time retail job and just recently started taking college courses (I started a bit late). I've lived in central FL my whole life, in the same city, so I've never made a move like this.

I know the lifestyle would be completely different than what I'm used to. I know how high the rent is. I know that I wouldn't be living in a giant purple apartment with two cute boys across the hall a la Friends. I know I'd have to get used to actually having seasons aside from hot and less hot. I like to think I'm looking at it with my eyes open.

I guess my question is, how do I make a decision like this? There's plenty of reasons not to; I'd be far away from my family, my friends, my hometown. I'd be in a city where I didn't know a soul. But I can't bring myself to veto the idea entirely. I've tried weighing the pros and cons against each other, and the conclusion always comes out the same; staying here is more logical, and less scary, but that little voice inside my head that wants to go won't seem to shut up. Is following your heart really the best way to go or is that just a cliche? Is this a question that even has an answer? Thanks in advance for your time.

In A New York State Of Mind

Dear Good Luck With That, It's Nine Degrees Right Now And I Don't Mean Centigrade,

I don't think there is an answer…or there is, but it's different for everyone. I would absolutely move, because I think moving to a new city, one as big and storied as this one, is something you should do in your twenties, when you have the stubborn energy for it. And because, if it's not for you, you can just…leave.

New York City isn't for everyone, and it has a lot of qualities, things, ways that it is that I wouldn't remember to tell you about because I take them for granted, that you won't fully get a handle on until you've lived here for a year or two. Make a plan, and then make the leap. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't, but it's not really the kind of thing I (or anyone) can predict for you.

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