Advice

Miss Information

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Miss Information is on winter break. She’ll be back with an all-new column on January 5 th. Until then, nibble suggestively on a candy cane, put snowballs on a snowman, and enjoy this New Year’s best-of.
Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,

I’m a Seattle guy in his thirties who identifies as straight. I love women — especially giving them oral. But here’s my secret: I’ve been sleeping with pre-op transsexuals. At first it was just oral, but my "friend" and I were partying a little too hard the other night (marijuana, alcohol and a little crystal). The next thing I know, I’m doing full-on anal — giving and receiving. I don’t want to imply it was forced. I know on some level I must have wanted it, if I’m being honest with myself. No one knows any of this. My friend circle would be shocked. In the past I’ve made fun of swishy flamer-type gay men. I guess I felt threatened. Should I just tell them, since they’re eventually going to find out? I’m not prepared to deal with this. I have so much drama going on in other areas of my life. If I do tell them, do I say I’m gay? Straight? Help! Foggy Outlook

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Dear Foggy Outlook,

What is this with "a little crystal"? That’s like "child-safe ecstasy" or "organic speedballs." Yeah, you might get away with a dibble or a dabble, but the overwhelming majority of users cannot. Outing yourself as a tranny-loving flyboy may help you, but outing yourself as a mixed-up guy on the verge of a substance-abuse problem at an AA or NA meeting might help more.

Are you gay? I don’t think so. Are you totally straight? Uh-uh. You’re somewhere in the middle, which is — despite what the religious right will tell you — completely normal. So normal that you don’t have to make a big proclamation or announcement. People don’t share that kind of stuff in normal discourse:

"How are you, Sally?"
"I’m okay, Phil. By the way, I love to watch auto-fellatio videos!"
"Oh, really? See me, I like rope play. What’s with this crappy weather, huh?"

If you’ve been reading my column for a while you know that I rarely let anyone off this easy with the communication homework. As such, I have a few alternate assignments from the Harvey Milk school:

  1. Wear condoms with every partner, every time.
  2. Get tested for HIV and other STDs.
  3. Tell your partners that you’re having anal sex with other people. There’s an increased risk associated, so it’s good they know.
  4. Make a donation to a group like GLAAD or, if being broke is part of the drama, at the very least cool it with the homophobe talk

Dear Miss Information,

I’m shacking up with a guy who’s in an open relationship with his girlfriend in Korea. He himself will be leaving for Japan within a year. I’m okay with the fact that this relationship isn’t meant to last.

The only part I can’t accept is that during every sex session he says the words "I love you." It’s not as awkward as an orgasm-induced love proclamation, but coupled with all the affection he lavishes on me, it makes me uneasy. I’m worried it’s going to mess with my head and ruin this good thing between us. How do I tell him to not say that, while not making him feel awkward? — Deaf Lover

Dear Deaf Lover,

Not to stereotype swingers, open-relationshippers and polys, but my experience has been that an "I love you" from them often has a different meaning.

There’s a Sting-type sub-genus for whom "I love you" translates not only to "I love you" but also to "I love my close friends, my distant acquaintances, marijuana, a blue-eyed baby I saw in K-Mart (so beautiful, man! so sage beyond her years!), marijuana and French monarchs."

Still others are hedonists, with "I love you" being another way of saying "I love this experience." Them touching you. You touching them. The whole pink enchilada — from railing to snuggling. They get all hopped up on endorphins and the verbal hyperbole just follows.

A third kind of open-relationship "I love you" is used to communicate to the third party that he or she is valued. Even though they have a regular partner, and the two of you have a sexual relationship, they really dig you as a person. You are not just a random hookup or a side dish.

There are many more interpretations, but I’ll stop here. The point is: think about what could be motivating him, before you issue your cease-and-desist. It’ll help you communicate in a way that’s less stilted/one-sided and more empathetic/understanding. Start by complimenting him on all the things you enjoy about the relationship. Play up the honesty and communication, and use specific examples — issues that were worked out, fights that were resolved, little conflicts that could have evolved into something bigger but didn’t.
Then, make the transition into what’s bothering you. Tell him why it bothers you — whether it’s because you fear him saying it will make you fall for him, or you think it’s cheesy, or you don’t feel comfortable hearing those words because you associate them with a deeper commitment — one that’s not possible right now, given the current situation.

Close on a positive. You enjoy being with him, you appreciate the affection, and you want him to feel free to tell you you’re hot, awesome and the cat-bee’s knee pajamas. Just leave the I-love-yous out of it.

It’s a small request. I’m sure he’ll understand. The only reason he might not is if he really does love you and is feeling torn between you and his long-distance girlfriend. Then you’ve got a bigger problem than three little words. How do you feel about Korea?

Dear Miss Information,

I am married and wear my ring proudly, but women hit on me anyway. Am I giving off some sleazy vibe that makes women think I’m a cheating fucktard? I don’t want to be that guy who is always "My wife this" or "My wife that." But I do wear the ring and will gladly tell whomever that I’m married. It’s just embarrassing to extricate myself from weird come-ons. Some women are really aggressive. And I drink. How can I correct this? Do you know women who do this? Why do they do this? I am sure you don’t. And by the way, I ain’t all that. — Seeking Peace of Mind

Dear Peace of Mind,

No, I don’t do that. Once I get wind that a guy’s taken, I pretty much shun him. Like the Amish. Or a Sicilian grandmother in an old Mafia movie, "Married Guy? I do not know Married Guy. Married Guy is dead to me." Sometimes I don a little black veil and do this thing where I point my finger. It’s very dramatic.

I do know some women who hit on married men. Some are unhappy in their relationships, others are self-sabotaging and competitive. Some made a one-time mistake. Others are plain old deceitful and selfish. There’s no one reason you can point to.

My first guess is that you’re probably too flirty. You might not think you’re flirty but that stuff’s subconscious. Body language, body language, body language. Go to all the bookstores and web sites you can and study it. Learn what signifies "Hey ladies, come get some!" and correct yourself when you’re doing it. For example, one flirt staple is mirroring. She touches her hair, you touch your hair. She takes a sip of her drink, you take a sip of your drink. If you notice this happening, alter your body language to more defensive posture. (Note: A karate chop to the neck is probably going too far.)

I’m also wondering if you put yourself in situations where alcohol is flowing and scads of available women are milling about. Why? Where’s your wife? Under house arrest or something? I understand the importance of guys night (girls, too). But maybe try a less sexy venue. Play touch football in the park, rent a bunch of DVDs. Geek out on video games.

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with being that guy who’s always "My wife this" or "My wife that." Personally, I like that guy. If he wears a wedding ring I’m going to think it’s sweet that he’s so devoted to his old lady. If he doesn’t wear a wedding ring, I’m going to be thankful, because I know he’s no longer a possibility and I didn’t have to embarrass myself by asking him out when he’s got a mortgage and three kids in private school.


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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com