Endangered `E-Male'

I am Bryan Winter.

Or should the T-shirt read, "I shot Bryan Winter"? Either way, I win. That is, if I were Bryan Winter, women would see me as the ultimate conquest. They would want to conquer me with their love, which is so special that I would change for them. Or, if I shot Bryan Winter, some women might flat-out love me for no other reason.

If women are anything like the characters in "Ally McBeal" -- or gossip about relationships like Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp -- then all the hysteria about this Bryan Winter e-mail [Style, May 29] makes sense. You're all nuts! For God's sake, women who don't even know him are trying to track him down! It's this sort of obsessive behavior that men can't stand, avoid or divorce. Grow up, ladies. Move on.

-- Jack Hubbert

Subliminal Spelling

As part of its relentless campaign to discredit the gun lobby, your paper printed a Jim Borgman cartoon on the May 22 Drawing Board that has a spokesman for the lobby mouthing the following words: "Now will you please stop harrassing us!"

Borgman's blatant propaganda -- his ill-disguised contention that members of the lobby don't know how to spell -- falls on deaf ears. Even Charlton Heston knows there's only one "r" in "harass"!

-- Leonard Greenberg

Gifts of Gab

The Washington International School congratulates the 13 Central High School seniors who have studied French bilingually with English since kindergarten.

Your May 19 Metro article was mistaken, however, in crediting these students with being "the first students in the mid-Atlantic region to complete a K-12 bilingual program."

The Washington International School has graduated seniors fluent in English and either French or Spanish since 1977. Of the 54 graduates this year, many began their French or Spanish in immersion classes before first grade. All of the current enrollment of 745, half of whom are American, follow a rigorous curriculum in at least two languages.

-- Cathya Stephenson

The writer is co-founder of the Washington

International Scool.

Feudal Pursuits

In his May 17 op-ed column, Richard Cohen defined "droit du signeur" as the alleged right of a feudal lord to sleep with the brides of his vassals. That term more accurately refers to the whole panoply of privileges claimed by feudal lords. Roughly translated, "droit du signeur" means "right of the superior." The "droits" included everything from the payment of services by tenants to income derived from minting currency.

The more specific term for the practice described by Cohen is "jus prima nox." According to William Blackstone's "Commentaries," the custom did not exist in England and was abolished by MacBeth's successor, Malcolm III, in Scotland.

-- Michael F. Williams

Starting Freshman

As a proud uncle I must call your attention to an extremely misleading statement in your "Game Stars" feature of May 31 [Sports]. There, Joe Vladeck, starting pitcher and co-author of a no-hitter against Coolidge, is identified as a senior at Wilson High School. In fact, Joe is a senior at Alice Deal Junior High School, playing on the Wilson varsity. (Because Deal has no baseball team, its ninth-graders are allowed to play for Wilson, if they're good enough.) I suspect your readers will become more familiar with Joe in the years to come.

-- Bruce C. Vladeck

Missing Links

I loved Tom Boswell's May 28 story about Rich Beem, but it had one tiny error that I must correct to avoid the "one of our 50 is missing" syndrome. The tournament in which Beem won $5,000 and a crystal bowl was not in Texas, but in New Mexico -- Socorro, N.M., to be precise -- and the event was the Hilton Open, in honor of Conrad Hilton, who was born in Socorro.

-- Eliot S. Orton

Tea for One

While Ken Ringle's article on the "small wonders" of the 20th century [Style, May 25] was certainly an interesting look at the inventions we take for granted in our daily lives, it was not at all accurate with regard to the tea bag.

Contrary to his assertion of a 1919 San Francisco introduction, the tea bag was actually invented in 1908 by New York City tea importer Thomas Sullivan. The story is related in "Coffee and Tea" by Elin McCoy and John Frederick Walker. Trying to save money on the samples he sent to retailers, Sullivan decided to abandon his customary large tins and began sewing small amounts of the tea into silk bags. The retailers erroneously assumed that he had designed these self-straining, premeasured bags to be steeped directly in hot water. Delighted with the new convenience, they then began to place orders for the new "tea bag."

-- Miriam Ruff