Advice

Miss Information

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Email your questions to erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,
I had a summer fling that ended with some hurt feelings on both sides, but I’ve decided not to dwell and to move on. Physically, I had always enjoyed what’s basically a male version of myself — tall, thin, delicate, hairless dancer body types. However, this summer taught me that burly, hairy, manly and Mediterranean turns my crank like no other, as I experienced consistent vaginal orgasms for the first time in years. I’m open to meeting someone new now, but the problem is I still think about my brawny summer guy when I’m getting off by myself. This bothers me because I think of him as someone who disappointed me. How can I get past this and get excited about someone new? — Shoulda Moved to Italy After College

Dear Shoulda Moved,

I’ve dealt with this one before. The guy who was masturbating to his ex and felt weird about it. (Interesting side note: The domain name I referenced in my answer, "TotallyNormalSluts.com" is now registered, with "What you need, when you need it," as the tagline.)

Anyway, to reinforce what I said earlier, what a boring James Dobson-friendly world it would be if fantasy was confined to only those whom we truly respect and love. Sometimes we find ourselves turned on by people who hurt us (exes), people we know we shouldn’t be thinking about (bosses and brothers-in-law) and people we don’t even know (celebrities and historical figures). It’s totally fine, as long as you stay on the right side of the law.

What turns you on is a complex formula. Some of it you’ll understand and be able to draw inferences from you like guys with blonde hair because of the hot next-door neighbor you used to play doctor with when you were a kid and some you won’t. I have no idea why I’m still sexually attracted to Al Pacino. I mean, look at him. For Chrissakes. He’s a hundred years old. Attempting to make that follow a logical pattern is futile. It’s random, like dreams. You don’t judge yourself for those, do you? No. You celebrate them and adopt an attitude of wonder: "Holy shit? Why was that spatula taking elocution lessons from that frog?" Can you see yourself taking that same attitude toward your ex fantasies, Shoulda Moved, and your new attraction to the dark-n-beardy?

If not, it’s quite normal to date someone similar in appearance to your ex. (Readers, you want to chime in here?) I know I’ve done it. Don’t worry about getting stuck in a rut. If your type has changed once, it’ll change again. Otherwise, just go with it. As long as these dudes aren’t fucking you over emotionally, like your ex, who cares?

P.S. If you don’t have the dough to move to Corsica, I’ve found that Jewish boys tend to be on the furry/swarthy side and are a nice substitute.

Dear Miss Information,
Any advice or thoughts on dating a bartender? I just met one. I’m jealous. (Don’t judge! I have many other wonderful qualities!) I have a day job. I spend all day at the office. I’m worried I’ll never get to spend time with him. To be fair, he’s not at all "the type." He’s actually sort of quiet and mellow. I don’t see him cheating on me, but isn’t that what those guys are all about? Flirting and getting girls to hand over their numbers in exchange for better tips?
Don’t Want to Get Jim Beamed

Dear Jim Beamed,

While high on cool factor, dating a bartender can be problematic. There’re odd hours, attractive people, the widespread use of sex appeal to boost your dollar — and plenty of alcohol. Anything can happen. And often, it doesn’t.

Yeah, I realize. Not a typo. Look, I used to work in a bar. A relatively cool one by Midwestern standards, with lots of young people. Yes, there’s flirting. Yes, there are come-ons. Yes, there are customers offering to buy you shots. People are drinking, dancing, debauching and generally acting silly. All that’s hot, right? [Insert loud Family Feud noise here.] Wrong. People act like idiots when they’re imbibing. They think they’re charming, funny and clever when actually they’re really obnoxious. Even the ones who are trying really hard not to be.

"That’s okay. I know you never drink like this, Johnny Customer. You’ve already said it. Eight times. Yes, I’ll clean up your chicken-wing remnants and broken Corona bottle. Yes, you’re still a cool dude, dudebro. No, put away the Blackberry. Aaaand the Bluetooth. Yep. That’s right. You don’t have to apologize to my mother…" Now play out that same scene. Night after night. It gets really mundane after a while.

My advice is to keep an open mind and remember that you’re hotter and cooler than 99% of his clientele. It’s just a job. A temporary one, probably. Don’t stress before you need to. You can work anywhere and be a cheating asshole. Use the weird scheduling as an excuse to solidify your friend group or blast your pecs at the gym. I love me some night sweatin’. It’s so much better when everyone’s gone. Basically, anything you can do not to hang out at his workplace is the goal. Even if you say you’re not there to visit him ("I’m not jealous! I just want to hang with my girls! In this particular bar! During the time he’s working! Which happens to be right now!) you still come off like a bit of a loser.

Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to hang out at the bar — his or others— in his off time. Sometimes it’s hard to relax in that kind of environment for us bar/restaurant folk. I still find myself critiquing other people’s technique and I’m over a decade out. Crack open a bottle of wine at home or go out with your friends if you need to have an ethanol-based beverage in your body.

Dear Miss Information,
I have a message for all your female readers: If a man approaches you at a bar, be an adult. If you’re not interested, say, "No, thank you." Don’t ruin it for the next girl. He’ll be less likely to hit on her if you were bitchy and dishonest. If you don’t want a guy to contact you, don’t give out a fake number. Why give out a number at all if you don’t want to be contacted? You think it doesn’t matter, but all these interactions are connected. Girls can help out other girls by being nice to other guys is all I’m saying. What do you think? Does that make sense, Miss Info? — Captain Karma

Dear Captain Karma,

Don’t send me to Yanni hell for telling you this, but I’ve given out fake numbers. I know it’s immature, but my confrontation skills are variable at best and I feel put on the spot. I’m only ballsy in certain situations. I have no problem calling someone out if they cut in line in front of me at the deli. But if a guy asks me out, or worse — invades my space and acts gross and gets up in my shit — well, I’m not always composed enough to give him what-for. Instead, I give out a number.

 

I’m proud to say I’ve finally stopped doing that and now only give out my email. Inevitably, I’ll get a guy that says, "Aww, you’re not going to email me back," to which I think, A., you might be right, but you shouldn’t think that’s appropriate for discussion, and B., why would I want to go out with a guy who’s so urgent and defeatist? Did he just get out of prison? Is he a sex addict? Am I the only girl he’s going to get to see all evening? The pick-up game is about economics. You want to create the illusion of scarcity.

Demanding a phone number when a person gives you an email or calling them in front of them to verify the number’s veracity has the exact opposite effect. If you’re tired of all the fakeouts, there’s a cure for that. Give women your number. Finally, calm the fuck down. I realize approaching people is tough, but you’re doing it wrong if you have such a high rejection rate that you feel like you need to issue a blanket statement in a sex-advice column. There are better things to get angry about than fake numbers. I heard somewhere there’s an election going on…



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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com