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Miss Information

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Dear Miss Information,
About two months ago I met a guy. Banter banter — very cute. An exchange of cards ensued, and lunch was organized. A late Friday lunch. With wine. So he shows up, and in the course of more meet-cute conversation, a certain sparkly object on his left fourth finger catches my eye. "Omigod, you’re married, I’m so sorry, I err. . . thought this was a date," I say, mortified. I’ve been divorced for a year, after a seven-year relationship, so I suppose I’m out of practice with the ring-finger scoping. "Yes," he says, "I was worried that you might think this was a date." And then he leans across the table and kisses me.
Mortification turning to confusion. He’s very sexy, thinks I’m beyond hot and is married with an infant child. I told him I couldn’t see him again. That worked for about a week, and then the dirty texts and emails started. Okay, I started the dirty texts. I’m starved for attention!
Then one day, he was gone. Disappeared in the middle of a particularly juicy email strand. I know it had no future. But I was really enjoying myself. Until it all stopped, and now I’m miserable. Is this the way this sort of thing goes down? What are the guidelines for being "the other woman" these days? Did I forfeit all rights when I heard about the infant child and still sent texts while trying on lingerie at Neiman’s? Or is he breaking the rules? Are there any rules? D’you think he got busted? Yikes. — So Glad We Hadn’t Fucked Yet


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Dear So Glad,
Put on your Hello Kitty rainboots, guys. We’re about to wade into some sticky moral ground.
I’m sure if I asked your boyfriend’s wife, she’d say you deserve everything you get. In some ways, I concur. You went into the relationship knowing this guy was unavailable. He delivered the information straight up. You were given the opportunity to extricate yourself on the very first date. Which you did. For seven whole days. Then you folded like a house of Hallmark cards. I know the feeling, So Glad. Exercising willpower is hard. I’ve been promising myself for years I’m going to quit Googling the crap out of exes and looking at their MySpace profiles.
It’s likely he got busted. I think your hunch is right. His wife probably has him under a strict communications embargo, and he’s not allowed to give you a goodbye email or call. Two more possibilities are that he had a spiritual epiphany and decided what he was doing was wrong or he decided to drop you for some other other woman.
Ideally, this guy would have told you he was going to break off communication and given you a vague inkling of the reasons why. I’m sorry he didn’t do that, So Glad. Even if your actions were shady, so were his, and your status as a human means you deserve a little better. There’s nothing worse than meeting a wall of silence. You feel invalidated, almost sub-human.
Best thing you can do right now is try to be more vigilant about ring spotting and ignore Joe Married if he tries to re-initiate communication. You might also want to consider seeing a shrink. They’ll help you figure out why you’re willing to risk your own happiness and other people’s for what amounts to a little cheap attention.

 

Dear Miss Information,
I am a twenty-four-year-old female, cute, intelligent, well-adjusted, the whole shebang. My problem isn’t meeting new people, or finding someone to hop in the sack with. My problem is that I have epilepsy. It has no real impact on my day-to-day life — I take a pill twice a day. I’ve only had three seizures in six years, all before being diagnosed and medicated. It sounds so much worse than it really is (at least in my case, I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones). I’m just now actively taking steps to date after having been diagnosed in December. . . But I have no clue if, when or how to tell any potential boyfriends without scaring them away. Any suggestions? — No Flashing Lights!



Dear No Flashing Lights,
Relax, baby girl. You have a common neurological disorder. We live in a modern, civilized society. No one’s going to burn your crops and cast you out of your suburb or bleed your head for demons.
Epilepsy is not contagious. Keeping it quiet isn’t posing a health risk to anyone. The only person you’re putting in danger is you. It’s always good to have someone around who knows what to do and can stop ignorant fucks from putting dirty wallets and keychains in your mouth if you have a seizure.
If you do decide to tell, follow the mandate put forth by Fleetwood Mac member and fellow epileptic Lindsay Buckingham: Go your own way. The best way to do it is whatever way you come up with. And I have confidence in you, Flashing Lights. You’ve already convinced me it’s not a big deal. Just say the same stuff to your fellows that you said in this email.
If you’re not the best at communicating, which I’m guessing you aren’t, there are certain non-verbal ways to force the situation. Pop a pill in front of him or duck into a convenience store and say you need water to take your medicine. Most people are uncouth these days. They’ll ask, “Hey, what’s that for?” either because they’re curious or they think you have something good and are trying to cop some. Then you can answer, all casual “Oh this? I have epilepsy. It’s not big deal. I’ve only had three seizures in six years and now I’ve got these groovy pills.” And so on, blah blah blah.
Regardless of how you approach it, there may be a very tiny minority of guys who are turned off. To that, I say screw ’em. You can laugh in their face when they’re eighty and suffering from baldness, hairy ears and erectile dysfunction. By then, they’ll have learned to be more tolerant of little differences and imperfections.


Dear Miss Information,
I’m a gay twenty year old. My brother, twenty-three, is gay too. I’ve been dating and fucking guys since I was in high school, and he waited until college to have his first kiss. I’ve gone through boyfriends like water, while he’s had two. He has recently made a life commitment to his current partner, who is slightly older than me.

How do I not feel like a spiteful bitch about this? How can I be happy not only for him, but for myself as well? He’s doing what my parents wanted, finding a "perfect" life partner, and he’s happier than me! Meanwhile I hate my boyfriend every other day, and lately have been cheating. The guilt, the guilt.
His so-called perfection, especially in the romance department, has been making me feel like a failure. Secretly, I want everything to fall apart for him and for me to come out as the underdog. It’s sibling rivalry, and I want it to end. Now. But how? — The Other Brother


Dear The Other Brother,
I don’t like it when other people are happy either, Other Brother. It bothers me to see them so joyful. I live in a bar soaked neighborhood and sometimes I just want to open fire with an Uzi. Saturday night I almost punched a group of drunken kids for jostling my bag of kitty litter as they reached for the Red Bull display.
Moment like those, all you can do is take deep breaths. Channel Oprah’s spiritual healer du jour and breathe, man, breeeeeeathe.
Give your brother and his perfect partner two years, and one or both will be secretly fantasizing about living the single lifestyle. Couples think singles have it made. Singles think you never feel any pain once you’re in a couple. It’s life’s big wacky sitcom, and it never changes.
Remember that you won’t feel this way about your brother forever. I grew up with a sister who’s a year and a half older. I oscillated between worshipping her and plotting her disinheritance when I won the lottery, married Prince and made a fortune as an archaeologist/veterinarian/standup comedian. Now we’re super-close, with the exception of the occasional curse war over Instant Messenger.
You’ll probably feel better if you do something about your boyfriend. Cheating on him is not the right answer. Do what you can to fix it, or break up with him and spend some time on your own.
Finally, ask yourself where you go all these boring, restrictive ideas of what constitutes perfection. Perfection is having two boyfriends. Perfection is not sleeping around. Says who? Your parents? The media? Your brother? Perfection is whatever makes you feel happy and well-rounded. The only person living your life is you. Comparing your experiences to someone else’s is always going to be apples and oranges.

 


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©2007 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com