Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

Dear Miss Information,

A friend of a friend had a thing for me four years ago. We never had more than a couple of conversations. Since he lived far away and I was involved with someone else, I never moved on it, even though this guy was totally slammin’ and smart.

It’s been four years since I’ve seen him, but would it be totally weird for me to contact him on Facebook or Myspace? I don’t want to make a fool out of myself, and I’m just not sure what to write. — Social Netlurker


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Dear Social Netlurker,
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m continually amazed by who comes knocking at my digital door. More random than a chinchilla with a slide rule. The latest we’ll call "Sean," a football player who went to my high school. Sean was (surprise!) a jock. I was a goth. We ran in different crowds. One morning, during some pre-English-class banter, our teacher Mrs. Jackson asked Sean if he had gotten a haircut. Sean answered in the affirmative. Sensing an opportunity to be clever, I decided to try out a joke I’d heard my sister’s supercool boyfriend deploy many times before. The gag is supposed to go something like this:
Person: I got a haircut.
Hilarious Jokester: Oh yeah? Which one?
Get it? Like they schlepped all the way to Supercuts just to have the barber prune one measly hair off their forehead? (Shut up. Apparently you don’t know ninth grade humor.) Anybiscuits, this is how the joke unfortunately played out:
Sean: I got a haircut.
Erin, aka Soupy Sales: Which hair?
Cue uproarious laughter from entire classroom and Sean blushing redder than puppet drunk Lady Elaine Fairchilde. Despite my humiliating this boy (and by extension, myself) by expressing such a public interest in his pubic region, Sean still took it upon himself to send me a howdy-do on Facebook the other day. Looks like he’s married now, with a Ph. D. Best of all, he hasn’t let his hair grow down to his ass it’s still a neat buzz cut. I feared he would have stayed out of hair salons forever after that little debacle.
Moral of the story: if the person at the other end of the message is receptive, there is no social barrier too weird too embarrassing to be broken down with a confident, casual hello. As a general rule, people love to reconnect. They at least like to hear how someone from their past is doing. Start by picking the network he’s most active on. Then send a friend request, coupled with a short note: "Hi, how are you? Been a long time. Saw you on here, thought I’d say hello."
The length should be about three sentences. We don’t want a book recounting everything that’s happened in the last four years, or a syrupy "I WUV U." If it’s not something you’d imagine yourself saying to him in broad daylight at the mall, it’s not fit for email consumption. Resist the urge to get all maudlin and nostalgic. It also looks good if you’re in touch with other people he knows from that period old roommates, school friends, etc. If you’ve only got two people on your friends list and you’re sending a request for him to be your third, it looks way weirder and less casual than if he’s one of thirty-five. Good luck.

 

Dear Miss Information,

After six months of dating, my girlfriend and I moved in together. Initially, things were going great, but it’s gotten grim quickly. The first layer of problems is standard: she doesn’t like some of my friends, resents my Saturday golf games, and thinks I’m too messy. Though it’s frustrating, I’m convinced these things can all be straightened out with discussion and compromise. But there’s another, vastly bigger problem: We almost never have sex. The principal reason, she tells me, is this twisted strain of IBS that often leaves her constipated, bloated or suffering from diarrhea. This, as you may imagine, zaps her sex drive.

She almost always resists my come-ons and never, ever, ever comes on to me. I’ve been understanding, but it’s starting to get me down. I mean, I’m a twenty-five-year-old guy. I once heard Dr. Drew say that if a guy my age isn’t trying to have sex with his girlfriend three times a week, there’s something wrong. We’re averaging once every two weeks, if that. I would happily accept a blowjob or handjob as a substitute when she’s not feeling up to the full deed. But she’s said she hates giving blowjobs (thinks it’s gross) and would never be up for me going down on her (again, thinks it’s gross).

I feel like a creep hassling her for more sex considering her condition. But I’m incredibly frustrated, and I can’t help occasionally resenting our near-sexless relationship. How can I get my girlfriend to read your column without pissing her off? I think it would really help our relationship. The one time I left it up on my laptop, she said I had way too much time on my hands if I’m reading stuff like that and stormed off. She’s uptight about sex, and as far as web reading goes, there’s only Daily Candy for her. — Backed Up Boyfriend

Dear Backed Up Boyfriend,
Dude, who’s more morally upright? You, for looking at tasteful nudie shots, hipster movie reviews, and a relatively sedate advice column? Or your girlfriend, for preferring to read about $500 shoes and $50 ass bleaching treatments when people are starving to death, and eating dirt in Haiti? I love fluffy reads as much as the next person, but come on now.
I don’t know if anything I say could convince her to read my column, other than presenting it to her as one of many things you’re reading on this site (i.e. it’s not just the yummy boobie shots). Why does your erotic reading material bug her? Because she’s insecure and knows your sex life is stalled. She’s probably just as bummed as you are, but feels paralyzed. Books seem desperate, counselors are frightening if you’ve never tried them before. You can whine to your friends a little, but only so much.
It sounds like you’ve made some sexual concessions with the substitution offers and such, but have you also worked the non-sexual side as well? See what happens when you take a few weeks and ease up on the golf and boys’ nights and the used Q-tips on the counter. For some people, doing the dishes will go a long way toward getting you a blowjob.

Final bit of advice is to be more patient, Backed Up. Dr. Drew may be smart and have an gorgeous disaster of a show, but that three-times-a-week benchmark is bullshit. People fuck more, people fuck less. If you’re in it for the long haul, there may be months where you don’t fuck at all. There is no norm. If you want to come on to her, then do it. But don’t feel like you’ve got some TV pop psychologist’s mandate to wake her up at 3 a.m. every night by putting her hand on your junk. Her butt hurts. Think about the last time you had an explosive dump. Remember how sexy that felt?

I’d try counseling. This isn’t normal couple squabbling. There’s a serious medical condition involved. You need advanced-level help from someone who’s dealt with this before. If she won’t go, go by yourself. You’ll get the tools you need to deal with her and determine whether you want to take this relationship any further. But if I were you, I’d be leaning toward"no."
 
 

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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com