Miss Information

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Have a question? Email Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

Dear Miss Information,
     I recently met an amazing woman who is sweet, sexy and uses big words in ways that make me dreamy. Though we’ve only been dating for a few weeks, I’ve totally fallen for her. But I’m perplexed by her occasional enjoyment of cocaine and frequent enjoyment of alcohol. She admits to being a lush, which I can handle. To me, the coke use signals more serious issues. "I only use it like once a month, when I’m partying," she told me. I’ve ingested both substances at times, but I’m now twenty-two years old and more focused on love, career and relationships. Should I let her know now, before I fall in love, that I can’t commit to any serious relationship with a coke user? Or should I be more open to partying? — Not Quite Straight-Edged


Dear Not Quite Straight-Edged,
     Your girl’s into vocabulary, so I’m going to give her a new one: cocaethylene. It’s the chemical substance formed in the liver when cocaine and alcohol are taken together, and it’s one of the most common causes of drug-related deaths. While we’re on the Scrabble tip, let’s talk about your choice of the word "perplexed." I don’t think you’re perplexed, NQSE. "Worried" or "pissed off" is more like it, and you have a right to be either. Having done coke in the past doesn’t void your desire to be with a girl who’s free of the stuff in the future. I owned a pair of parachute pants in the ’80s; does that mean I have to date a guy who wears trucker hats now? (Johnny Knoxville, you’re the exception. I love you. Call me.)
     Tell her what you want, one way or the other. Suggestive selling isn’t going to cut it. Either you’re okay with her doing blow once in a great while, or you ask her not to do it at all. The worst thing you can do is say you’re cool with it, then go ballistic every time she snorts.
     You sound like a guy who’s making good choices and has his shit together. Barring the coke stuff, does your girlfriend have these qualities as well? Or is she still stuck in party-girl mode? It can be very tempting to play rescuer, especially in the early stages of a relationship. It accelerates the bonding process and makes mundane situations even more thrilling and romantic. The only problem is that it’s an uneven, shaky dynamic that gets old fast. Good luck.

Dear Miss Information,
     My boyfriend of five years and I broke up for a year and recently got back together. When we were first together we were in high school; now we’re graduating college. Our pre-breakup sex was frankly not that great. Neither of us had a lot of experience. We have a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy about the year we were broken up. But he’s obviously had sex with other people, because he’s become good at certain things, and I can’t enjoy it because I always think about how much practice he’s had. Will this ultimately interfere with our relationship? I was also with other guys — how can I introduce new things to him without him thinking the same thing about me? — Bored With Missionary

Dear Bored with Missionary,
     People get their sex tips from all kinds of sources. Your boyfriend’s new-and-improved oral-sex technique is probably the result of watching porn, not hours between the thighs of some impossibly beautiful Mensa-IQ blonde.
     Sex is an organic event. It happens differently each time. I guarantee your boyfriend isn’t thinking, "I wonder who taught her to how to fondle my balls?" He’s just enjoying the fact that his nuts are getting some attention. Introduce whatever kind of nastiness you want, the only exception being sex toys. Those you want to buy fresh for each partner.
     How to you keep yourself from thinking those jealous thoughts? You could do what I do — practice immature avoidance. Every time I think about a significant other and his ex in bed, I imagine her as a frigid bitch who shunned all sexual contact. Sometimes I add a debilitating lisp and a ceramic-clown collection. The point: think about all the ways you’re cool and these girls are not. It takes practice, but you’ll get good at talking yourself down from the ledge.
     That’s assuming you want to continue the "don’t ask, don’t tell" agreement. You could also choose to talk about what went on while the two of you were apart. Removing the fear of the unknown works for a lot of people, provided you’re both on board. You may find out the truth is not half as fascinating as you thought (maybe one of these girls really did have a ceramic clown collection). Of course, it could also backfire and make your inhibitions worse than they already are. Only you know what it’s like for you and your boy, so trust your gut on this one.

Dear Miss Information,
     I’m a successful twenty-something female ubergeek. I’ve been told that I’m attractive. I’ve had a few serious boyfriends and dated some guys short-term. But for the last year and a half, I haven’t found one guy I liked or would consider taking home. Part of the problem is that I’ve never developed affection for people easily. I’ve done plenty of therapy, but that doesn’t make the guys I meet any more appealing. Whenever I try to go out and meet new, non-ubergeeky people, I find them dull, and we don’t have anything in common. I’m not foolish enough to tell them about my twelfth-level paladin on the first date, but when they find out about my supergeeky hobbies (dude, I actually own rubber elf ears), they think I’m really weird.
     I’m not holding out for some sex-bomb doctor, lawyer or bazillionaire software mogul. I’d just like to meet — and actually be attracted to — a nice geeky boy who’s got his act together, thinks I’m special and will kill some orcs with me on the weekend. I’m really lonely. How do I turn the "crush switch" back on? — Lvl 27 SWF, LFG

Dear Lvl 27 SWF, LFG,
     I wish I had some sort of magic sword or shield to protect you from the ups and downs of dating, an enchanted spell written in unicorn blood. Sadly, I don’t. I can only give you a name for what you’re experiencing: Chronic Dating Frustration, or CDF. It’s incredibly common, and there is no cure. It’s kind of like when you go to the doctor and she says "Suck it up, sissy. You’ve got a cold."
     CDF sufferers are that smart, self-aware lot who do everything they’re supposed to be doing (proactively make an effort to meet people, maintain realistic dating criteria, conduct themselves with social grace) but still haven’t been able to make it pay off according to whatever "standard" they’ve set, usually a long-term commitment like marriage. It looks to me like you’re only doing one thing wrong: you’re not dating. Do you have to go on dates? No. But you’re the one who’s bitching about being lonely, not me. A year and a half is a long time to go without good dates.
     Start small. Make a goal to go on a set number of dates per week or per month. No long, protracted email conversations. I know you nerds would stay up until 4 a.m. instant messaging if I let you. Just find a guy who seems sort of okay and ask him out. Geek, ubergeek, non-geek, menthol or unleaded. Who cares? It may require a few dates with undesirables to rid yourself of your inertia. Look on the bright side: at least you can blog about it. I know you’ve got one of those (or six).
     P.S. What’s an orc? Can anyone tell me?


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