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 few years ago, I exchanged emails with a woman I met on a personals site. For whatever reason, it didn’t go anywhere. Now she’s back in touch. What should I do? Pretend it never happened? Bring it up? And if so, when? Double Barrel



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Dear Double Barrel,
     Online dating has given us so much, including neurotic conundrums like these. Don’t think I’m making fun; I’ve actually experienced this one before, and so have most of my friends.
     I doubt it will make a difference, but I wouldn’t bring it up until you’ve met for a date. Once you’ve thoroughly charmed her and she’s taken the last bite of her rigatoni, casually mention that you “think” you may have exchanged emails in the past. Of course, we both know this is bullshit — you don’t “think,” you “know,” and “in the past” is “August 21-26, 2004.” But you don’t want to say that. Why? Because online dating is fast-paced and fluid. The average female’s Stalk-O-Meter is set on high, and you don’t want to come off as the guy who’s cataloging every interaction in a little diary with a troll-topped pen. A bit of feigned amnesia is appropriate.
     So why even mention it at all? Well, if this first date goes well, there will hopefully be others, and there’s always the chance she’ll remember. Then you’ll have to act like you don’t know and it’ll come across as fake.
     Try not to give it much thought. These kinds of snafus happen a lot when you’re dating online. It’s not like you had sex in some bowling-alley bar and then she forgot you. Emails mean little until they’re matched with a face.



Dear Miss Information,
     Last November I entered my first relationship. In the bedroom, there’s plenty of love and intimacy. Outside, not so much. He says he has severe phone anxiety, so he never calls. He thinks holidays are stupid, so I’ll never get Valentine’s Day flowers or even a birthday present. He rarely gives compliments or affection. Which is worse: being with him and feeling unloved, or leaving him and losing my only friend? Tormented


Dear Tormented,
     The former. And P.S.: Make some new friends.

Dear Miss Information,
     Whenever I make love to a woman, the noises she makes get me so turned on that I end up coming quicker than I’d like. I’m trying to teach myself to delay my ejaculation, but the noise factor still sets me off. How can I enjoy the responses I get while maintaining control? Audibly Impaired

Dear Audibly Impaired,
     Moans and groans are an orgasm trigger. That much we know. How to last longer without turning your bedroom into a monastery? A more difficult question. I would continue with the home-schooling method and see where it gets you. Remember, every penis is different and no two members learn the same way. There’s a multitude of methods and theories out there, so keep experimenting if what you’re doing isn’t working or you’ve hit a plateau.
     If you haven’t done so already, talk to your bed friend about your tendency to “show up early” for the party. Maybe she can keep her oohs and aahs to a minimum until you’re both ready for the capital O. If that doesn’t sound appealing, you could also try using music to mask the sounds. (Not recommended: Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Peaches, Prince.) If you really want to do it up, indulge in some role playing and give the silence a starring role. Why are you two being so quiet? Is it because you’re a librarian and you’re going at it among the stacks? Is she a sexy MILF and you’re the gardener, getting it on while hubby watches sports downstairs?
     Once you’re through, do a post-sex recap and talk about highlights and lowlights of the event. More silence means a higher possibility of miscommunication and you don’t want any of that. You’re going to find your groove, Audibly Impaired. You just need to keep working at it.

Dear Miss Information,
     My ex refuses to return the stuff I left at his apartment. It’s been two weeks. The items aren’t expensive, but they have sentimental value. He won’t return my calls or emails. What’s the best way to handle him? Missing Something

Dear Missing Something,
     In 2002 my entire record collection was thrown out by a jilted ex — everything from Thriller to my parents’ Beatles and Bob Dylan. I can’t say I blame him. After all, I did make out with his roommate/best friend. And even though the ex and I were broken up when it happened, I still had no excuse, so my vinyl bore the brunt of his revenge. From this, I learned an important lesson: How you act after a breakup is just as important as how you act during one.
     First, ask yourself if you really, desperately need these goods. “But that stuff is mine! I own it!” All right, fine. It’s yours. But is it really worth prolonging a stressful situation just so you don’t have to repurchase The Big Lebowski on DVD? Funnel that emotional energy into therapy instead.
     If you’ve determined your stuff is truly irreplaceable and you must, must ask for it back, send him a polite email that lists each item you’re missing and offers different options for their safe return — drop-off at a neutral location, exchange through a friend, etc. Who knows? He may be resisting because he’s freaked about you being in his house.
     Whatever you do, don’t use the email as an excuse to go on and on about the sentimental value attached to each item. He’s sounds like he’s mad and isn’t going to hop on the Poor You train anytime soon. "They’re special to me” is all you need to say. If you do all this and he’s still resistant, have a lawyer friend draw up a letter and send it via certified mail. That usually grabs the attention. Or consider taking him to small claims court. Let me know if you meet Judge Judy. I want an autograph.  


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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com