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 in an unusual situation. I model nude for artists in open studio group sessions. I’m very attracted to a man who has been drawing me for about a year. We make friendly conversation and smile at each other on occasion, but I would really love to date him. I wish he would make the move, but he may fear being perceived as a creep. Should I ask him out? I’m worried I may be perceived as equally creepy. — Conflicted!



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Dear Conflicted!,
     The only way you’ll be perceived as creepy is if you stand too close to his easel with your robe open and tell him he really captured the essence of your labia. Barring that, you’re safe to ask him out. Indeed, you almost have to. He’s not going to spend an hour staring at you nude and then invite you out for tapas. He’s way too worried about looking like an opportunist. Or a pervert. Or an oppo-pervert, like that Girls Gone Wild fuckface.
     In a way, it’s too bad. You kind of wish everyone could meet in this setting. No tension or apprehension when you take off your clothes. No explaining about the eagle holding the Celtic-knot butterfly on your lower back. The question of whether someone will like your body is pretty much moot — they answer that question by showing up for the date.
    The studio set-up provides a great excuse to talk to him, so use that to your advantage. Ask him about his favorite artists, or where he bought those high-end pastels. Or tell him you’ve been jonesing to catch an upcoming exhibit but just need a kick in the ass to go. If he has one tiny dab of perception on his palette, he’ll know what you’re after.
     You could also work the opposite angle by asking for his input on your performance. Did you hold that pose long enough? What’s his favorite/least favorite position to sketch? What are his pet peeves about models? Well, gosh, it’s getting late, and you didn’t mean to keep him with so many questions. Why don’t you continue this conversation later, over coffee?
     At the end of the day, a job is a job, and asking someone for a date is always going to be tough. Don’t let the finer details of the circumstances scare you. Focus on the advantages, like how picking out a first-date outfit will be a breeze considering he hasn’t seen anything in your closet.



Dear Miss Information,
     I need your help. I have been on a dating spree with several different women. None of them believe it’s exclusive. I’ve decided to focus on just one and stop seeing the others. As far as I know, none of these ladies are seeing other people. I met them through friends or people at my place of employment. Do I tell them I’ve been dating someone else, or is that more than they want to know? I want to be considerate. Burning bridges is my worry. — Multiple Choice


Dear Multiple Choice,
     Hats off to you for wanting to do what’s cool and proper. Normally I’d say the less information the better, especially for a casual dump. People are better off not knowing their hair looks funny or that you’d rather sit through Citizen Kane with a bladder infection than hear them talk about their stupid fucking trip to Europe. However, these women are unusual in that you met them through friends and people at work. The social circles overlap, which makes it more likely you’ll be caught in any fibs or little white lies. There you have your burning bridges.
     That’s why I think you should tell them the truth. Here’s a sample speech to get you started:
     "Hi, ____. I know we’re still in the early stages of getting to know each other and we haven’t had that talk about being exclusive. The truth is, I’ve been seeing other people, and it’s starting to get more serious with a particular person. This has been a difficult decision, since I really enjoy spending time with you, but I’d like to see where this new thing goes. I think you’re a great person and I hope we can remain on friendly terms."
     Obviously this reads a little formal, but it hits all the basic components: introduction, rejection, reason for rejection and positive reinforcement. You’ll also notice that it’s open-ended — not all of these women will want to be friends and you might feel the same. You don’t want to make the offer of friendship unless it’s sincere, and that offer will be better informed by the way they react. If they hurl invectives and call you an asshole, then friendship is probably not a possibility. But give it time. Many people act angry at first but mellow once the initial hurt wears off. One of my good friends is an ex who swore he’d never talk to me again. I let him know I was there if he changed his mind, and eventually he did.

Dear Miss Information,
     I started having sex again with my old high-school sweetheart. Incredible, knee-weakening, take-your-breath-away sex, although the relationship is long distance so it only happens every couple of months. He really likes pulling my hair, and he says he fantasizes about it when I’m not around. It kind of freaks me out — it seems caveman-esque and weirdly aggressive. I don’t mind the feeling, although I can’t say I like it either. Should I just let him have his fun and not sweat it so much? — Rapunzel

Dear Rapunzel,
     I think it means he likes pulling your hair during sex. It’s a pretty common fetish, I don’t think you need to analyze it. In fact, I’m more interested in analyzing you and the way you’re feeling toward this guy. Maybe you’re not into the hair-pulling because you’re craving more of an emotional connection. Rough sex requires trust. There’s the obvious kind of trust (knowing that you won’t be left tied up in panties and a ball gag for your male roommate to find, unless that’s part of the scenario) and the less obvious (believing your partner truly respects you and that his intentions are in line with yours). I’m not surprised if you don’t feel this way about an ex-boyfriend who’s an on-again, off-again beau.
     If it bugs you, don’t let him do it. If it’s the physical sensation that you don’t enjoy, maybe he needs to know that big handfuls usually feel better than small clumps. He should also be tugging right up against the scalp versus the end of your ponytail. And you guys should definitely decide on a safe word or non-verbal signal for when he’s getting too rough. A lot of people get squirmy at the thought of planning that kind of thing out, but what’s worse? An awkward but brief discussion, or yelling, "ouch, you asshole!" during intercourse and watching his erection scurry away like a frightened rabbit? Trust me, you don’t want that to happen. I’ve had personal experience with this one.
     You might also like it more if you’re in control. Tell your boyfriend he doesn’t make a grab for your hair until you say so. Keep your hair tied up and then undo it when you’re ready for him to get more aggressive (damn, just writing about this is making me wish I had the patience to grow my hair out). If you don’t undo your mop at all, well, that’s how he knows you’re in the mood for a more tender sort of lovin’, so he best turn the lights low and put on some Hall & Oates.  

 


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