@Aconite So I'm a white person who did move to a low-cost small city, and I don't see this as guilt-inducing. I see it as someone talking about her life, and I see it as a useful corrective to my tendency to forget sometimes that I have the privilege of not worrying about things that other people have to worry about. I had lots of concerns when I decided to move here, but whether it would be emotionally (or physically) safe for someone of my race was not one of them. That's sort of the definition of white privilege, and it's an example of how that privilege is invisible to those of us who have it. I don't think that we should have conversations that pretend to be universal but that really are only relevant to white people, and that's what's happening when we discuss moving to cheap small cities without asking how that experience would work for people of color. I get really defensive sometimes when people in big coastal cities snobbishly badmouth the Midwest, but I don't think this is the same thing as that.
If you guys all move to Des Moines, we are totally having an Iowa meetup. That is all.
@TheDilettantista OMG, bras. Bras are a nightmare. Last time I checked, BraSmyth didn't carry my size, because they don't have bands below a 32. I am in the dreaded below-32 band, above-D cup territory, and I have to mailorder all of my bras. I can tell you exactly how much every bra I owned cost. Today I'm wearing a Panache Porcelain T-shirt bra that I got from Zulily for $25. The day that Zulily had decent bras in my size for $25 was one of my more triumphant days this year.
I honestly couldn't tell you the price of anything I'm wearing today, and I don't think I bought anything I'm wearing today within the past two years. I think my sweater may be like ten years old. Do most people remember how much most of their clothes cost?
Is it cheating to be one of those dudes who doesn't help cook and doesn't help clean and spends the whole day sitting on the couch watching football while a bevy of women and girls create a lovely meal for him?
@crenb When those dude bros talk about "female privilege," I think they typically mean "women whom I want to screw who are not interested in having sex with me." They're not talking about, like, the 95% of the female population whom they don't currently want to screw and therefore don't consider important.
Ok, that's interesting, because I met a guy yesterday who had celiac and said that the hardest place to be gluten free was in Boston, because there were tons of people there who were gluten-free because it was trendy, not because eating wheat gave them terrible neurological symptoms, and they weren't concerned about whether their gluten-free products were truly gluten-free. He kept eating supposedly-gluten-free stuff that actually had gluten in it. He said that it's easier to avoid gluten in the town where I currently live, where there is some awareness of celiac but not a lot of trendy gluten-free stuff. Here, when things say they're gluten-free, they're generally not going to have issues with cross-contamination.
I used to live in Hyde Park, a fairly rich neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago that borders a lot of not-rich neighborhoods. There's a particular block there, on Harper between 58th and 59th, where people go completely nuts decorating their houses for Halloween and then announce that anyone is welcome to come trick or treat. Kids come from all over the South Side, and it's a blast. Maybe the letter writer just needs to adjust her attitude and see it as a community event, the way people on Harper do.
@Marille Yes, there is a sad absence of Ikea in Iowa. I think the closest one is in Minneapolis. On the other hand, there is a Trader Joe's in West Des Moines, so civilization is slowly making its way here.
@Marille There are Amish people in Iowa! They're not that close to Des Moines, but you could get to Kalona in two hours or so.