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,
    I’m a thirty-five-year-old man who’s dating a twenty-two-year-old woman. We never talked about my age when we met, and I know she thought I was much younger because I look it. When she found out my real age a month and a half after we met, she backed off. I’m in love with her, but she only sees the number on my license. — Old Man and The She



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Dear Old Man and The She,
    What kind of dates are you going on where little details like “age” aren’t discussed? I’ve learned more from complete strangers about their aborted pregnancies and stalker exes while sharing a handrail on the bus. Shame on her for not asking about your age, and shame on you for not telling. By the fourth date, the following information should be mutually known: age, marital status, number of children, current job and living situation. Childhood nicknames and favorite Beatle can come later (for the record, it’s George, not Ringo).
    Maybe now she feels like she can’t trust you and maybe she’s right. Lying by omission is still lying. If you thought she might want to know, you should have told her. The age difference might also lead her to believe your relationship goals aren’t in line with hers. If she’s ready to get ultra-serious and you’re a swinging bachelor, there’s bound to be a conflict. Likewise if she thinks you’re about to propose and her immediate plans are to attend keg parties and backpack across Europe.
    See if you can get her to open up about exactly bothers her about your age. Use a soft touch, speak your piece and then back off a bit. Wait and see what develops. A lot of younger women buy into the stereotype of older men being skeevy and power-obsessed. Don’t act in a way that gives that theory credence. If she doesn’t come around, rest assured that another woman will. Next time, you’ll be more honest. In the dating game, we’re all commodities. You shouldn’t have to lie if you believe in what you’re selling.



Dear Miss Information,
    I’m newly divorced and trying to get back on the dating scene. I have children and my ex-wife is living with me temporarily. How and when do I tell the people who I’m dating about my situation? I don’t want to scare them off, but I don’t like being dishonest about it either. — Dating With A Houseful


Dear Dating With a Houseful,
    It’s amazing how many horribly complex dating situations can be explained away with a simple, “It’s not as bad as it sounds.” The real meat lies not in the lede, but in the explanation that follows.
    Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but here’s an example of an clarification that wouldn’t have me running for the nearest exit:
    “Yeah, I live with my ex-wife. I don’t sleep with her. In fact, we’re living in separate rooms. We’re not intimate and haven’t been in months. I am planning on moving out on [insert near-future date here]. The reason it can’t be sooner is [insert reason here]. I’m still able to go on dates, and should things ever progress to the next level, I’m good with going to your house or springing for a hotel in order to be intimate. Yes, it’s weird. No, I’m not comfortable with the situation either. I appreciate your understanding.”
    Should you give this spiel on the first date? Probably not. If she’s Polly Pushy and wants to know everything before the appetizer arrives, you might be screwed. Answer as carefully and honestly as you can. Don’t launch into a huge diatribe about your divorce and your feelings (good or bad) toward your ex-wife. Keep telling yourself, “I am doing nothing wrong.” You aren’t. Your living situation isn’t perfect, but hardly anyone’s is. If you’re forthcoming about your past and on your best behavior about everything else (returning calls, showing up for dates on time, not bringing up your ex in every other sentence), you’ll put your date at ease and all will be well.

Dear Miss Information,
    I’m dating this guy exclusively. On our second date, he talked dirty. It turned me on, but it also felt kind of callous. He always refers to sex as “fucking” and says that he “loves to eat pussy.” He’s been with guys, but denies he’s bisexual (he’s been in several long-term hetero relationships). He says “a blow job is just a blow job” whether you get it from a girl or a guy. Is that true? And is his dirty talk a sign of a casual attitude towards sex? — Girl Who Likes Boys Who Like Girls

Dear Girl Who Likes Boys Who Like Girls,
    First question first: Does having slept with other boys make your guy gay or bisexual? I don’t know. But ponder this: If you were a guy and the girl you were dating was possibly a lesbian, would you really be so concerned? A girl talks about her girl-on-girl encounters and everyone’s egging her on with Jell-O shots. A guy messes around with another guy and all of a sudden it’s a race to find out if he’s a closeted homosexual. The group thinking on this one is kind of fucked, so don’t listen to it. Engage in some critical thinking of your own.
    I think what you really want to know is how he’s going to act within the confines of a relationship — basically, whether he’s boyfriend material. The only thing you can do here is ask questions: What kind of relationship does he want? Monogamous, open or none of the above? Is he a chronic cheater or has he generally been faithful? Why did his last relationship end? Knowing this stuff will give you a lot more insight into his personality than assigning a label like “gay” or “straight.”
    Your second question: Does a slutty mouth mean a slutty mind? I can answer this one with a confident no. I’ve dated men who can curse a blue streak during sex, and are more sensitive than a ponytail-sporting Kermit the Frog outside the bedroom. Alternately, I’ve been with guys who act like a sweetheart between the sheets, but think a comic book with the price tag still attached is an acceptable birthday present.
    Filth-talking can be a hell of a lot of fun. A good partner will wait a while to feel you out (yep, I meant that both ways) before unleashing a torrent of expletives. It sounds like your boyfriend skipped this step. This makes him sexually awkward and maybe a little impatient and/or insensitive. If everything else is peachy, I wouldn’t worry about him being a jerk. Wait until you have something more concrete to go on, like a popped collar or a “flight of the bumblebee” ringtone.

 

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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com