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,
    My girlfriend keeps condoms in her nightstand, and I think they’ve been depleting faster than we’ve been having sex. Have the condom gnomes been pilfering from her drawer? Or do I have reason to believe she’s been cheating? — Hmmm



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Dear Hmmm,
    Condoms are tricky little fuckers. They like to hide when you need them most (“You don’t understand, I always keep them right here . . . “) and then show up in droves when it’s embarrassing or unexpected (“Ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to open that bag . . . “).
    What you’re interpreting as evidence of cheating could be entirely innocent. She was doing some spring cleaning and accidentally tossed a few in the garbage. She loaned a few to a friend. She likes to put them on her dildo and you didn’t even know she had one. She does. Its name is Rex.
    If she has been cheating, I doubt she’d be so stupid as to use the same stash of condoms she uses with you. She’d probably keep a separate supply for that sort of thing. But since it’s bothering you so much, go ahead and ask. Initiate the conversation by saying, “I know this is silly, but . . . ” and see what she has to say. If she is cheating on you, then she’s a lying, thoughtless hussy. But at least she’s a lying, thoughtless hussy who’s using protection.



Dear Miss Information,
    I’m in my early twenties and find romantic relationships with women to be elusive. I’m unattractive and sexually inexperienced, and I feel embarrassed and depressed whenever I’m with people who are clearly free of these issues. How can I get past this so women will see the fantastic guy underneath? — Solitary Self-Confinement


Dear Solitary Self-Confinement,
    You can form friendships with women, and that’s a start. Really creepy guys can’t even manage that. A platonic friendship can lead to a full-fledged romantic relationship. At the very least, it’s a gateway to other available females (assuming her best friends aren’t lesbians). It’s hard to see, but you’re doing the groundwork for a girlfriend-filled future.
    What else is going to get you there? Looks are a big part, for sure. You don’t have to undergo an extreme makeover, but sometimes one little change makes all the difference. My friend Steve went from undateable nerd to bona fide snatch-magnet, all because of a haircut that made him look like one of The Strokes. “But those guys are conformist pussies,” you say. Maybe so, but those guys are getting laid. Ask your friends what’s the one thing they’d change about your appearance and then get on it.
    There’s also your non-physical self to consider. Some call it personality. Some call it moxie. I call it the reason I dumped Ryan Phillippe’s twin for a guy who looked like Kid Rock with split ends. Figure out what makes you unique and/or intriguing and don’t be shy about playing it up. The guys who get girls are the ones who self-promote.
    You don’t have squat? I doubt that, but if you’re looking for ideas: Rescue feral kittens. Take up the guitar. At first you’ll be faking it for the sake of picking up chicks, but who cares? It’s better than feeling bummed, and you can only spend so many hours cataloging your personal flaws.
    Finally, everyone — and I mean everyone — is in some way an insecure, neurotic mess, mostly about stuff other people would never notice. The same goes for you.

Dear Miss Information,
    I’m a forty-something guy who hooked up with a twenty-something girl for no-strings sex a few months ago. We hit it off and even launched an adult web site together. She’s been working as an escort, but she tells me she’s being safe and only goes on “dates” with men she knows and trusts. I have access to the email account and I know that’s not the case. I’ve told her about my concerns, but she doesn’t listen. Should I tell her I peek at her email to give my arguments more weight? I’m afraid I’ll screw up a good sex arrangement, and I could lose a business partner in the process. — Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend,
    I’m all for not getting involved in other people’s messes (I know that sounds funny coming from an advice columnist, but there’s a difference between the written word and my personal affairs). The only exception to this rule is when the behavior of others directly affects your personal well-being. In this case, her working as an escort is putting you at risk in a number of ways.
    Let’s start with your sexual health. Even if she’s using protection one-hundred percent of the time (and I doubt she is), no barrier method is without fail. Sleeping with someone who’s sleeping with lots of someones (and sketchy someones at that) is the equivalent of playing genital Russian roulette.
    On to the little business you two started. One partner is a mature adult in sound financial health. The other is a youngster who can’t keep a job and has turned to an illegal profession. I’m no Bill Gates, but I have a pretty good idea whose name I’d want next to mine on the business license.
    For these reasons, I recommend confronting her one last time. You don’t have to tell her you’ve been reading her email. Tell her you talked to one of her johns or you posed as a guy looking for a “date” and were disturbed by her modus operandi. Even if the confrontation goes well, I doubt she’ll change her ways. You’re better off cutting ties altogether. There are plenty of horny women out there, and caseworker is not your profession.  


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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com