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 met a guy online. For the past eight weeks we’ve been talking constantly, over chat and email and on the phone. He’s even called me at 3 am (sober!). The problem is, we’ve never met in person. A few weeks ago I told him I was going to a specific bar with some friends and out of nowhere he said he might stop by; he never did. The following week he mentioned he was going out, but wouldn’t commit to where. This weekend I finally just got the courage to ask him if he wanted to hang out; he said that sounded cool but his little sister was coming to town for the holidays. I’m confused, because his actions tell me he’s politely blowing me off, but on the other hand he constantly wants to talk (he would happily talk for at least an hour or two a night) and bashes any guy I am interested in. Is there any chance here, or has that ship sailed? — Feeling Like a Fag Hag to a Straight Guy



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Dear Feeling Like a Fag Hag,
     This guy’s not giving you priority on his social calendar. Understandable, you’ve never met. Who wants to meet for an evening of halting conversation when you can stuff your face in front of the TV or meet a friend for a relaxing dinner? First dates are easy to put off.
     What’s less understandable is all this hot-and-cold: I like you. I don’t like you. I like you enough to play pretend-relationship but not enough to do like normal people, which is get off the goddamn Internet and go out for sushi. Either he’s got a girlfriend, is worried he’ll find you unattractive or he’s the biggest flake in all the world. Notice how none of these have anything to do with you.
     Be confident that you handled this one as well as you could, and then go ahead and blow him off. Obviously homeboy’s confused about something, and it’s not your job to help him solve it. Next time you’ll put less front-loading into your relationships and try to get to the meeting stage a little sooner.



Dear Miss Information,
     I’ve been on a few good dates in rapid succession with someone I met on a sexually themed dating site. Before our last date, I reread his profile and came across something important that I missed the first time. He wants his playmates STD-free. Issue is, I have herpes. We have kissed and exchanged a few hot emails. While I’m hot for him, I am not one of those heels that don’t disclose. Do I tell him and hope that my sparkling eyes, nice rack, and raft of medical info will change his mind? Do I not tell him and steer him into friend territory? I enjoy his company and could see us being friends. Or do I walk away with nary a peep? Hot for Germaphobe


Dear Hot for Germaphobe,
     Good for you for being so cool about disclosure. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone approached STDs with the same kind of maturity and guts? Instead we engage in magical thinking (I’m sure I’m fine, it was just that once) and make juvenile jokes (Q: What’s the difference between love and herpes? A: Herpes lasts forever).
     If it were up to me, I’d tell him. You have a common affliction and you made an unintentional oversight. There’s no reason to turn tail and shuffle away like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. You’ll look rude, and he’ll drive himself bananas wondering what he did wrong.
     I do have to level with you: the likelihood of rejection is pretty high. Not only does he specifically say that he’s looking for someone STD-free, he also doesn’t want a serious entanglement. That would (for most people) be one of the primary reasons for sleeping with someone with an STD. You’re willing to deal with the bad (herpes) to achieve the good (a long-term relationship and all its perks, like emotional intimacy and the chance to play snuggle bunnies at night).
     I would bring along that medical info and tell him about the wide range of sexual activities available, starting with low risk and working up to high. Give him time to think about it; don’t expect him to answer right away. If your self-esteem is in limited reserve, be it because of herpes-related rejections or something entirely unrelated, you might want to keep it platonic and try your luck with some other guy. Like I said, your odds aren’t terrible, but they aren’t terribly good, either.

Dear Miss Information,
     A while back I wrote you about a professional relationship that had the potential to get serious. It did. We’ve been together five months, but lately I’ve been feeling indifferent. We have a strong and supportive relationship going, and I don’t want to cast that aside. I’m not anxious to go back to dating, either. This is my first serious relationship in four years. I just haven’t been feeling attracted to my girlfriend these days. While I thought it was just a culture clash between her upper-middle-class yuppie background and my punk-rock, art-terrorist sensibilities, things have just gotten "old hat." She’s let her appearance go, and we spend less time in art galleries and more time with her sniveling, bland family friends.  Her solution to my indifference has been to buy sexy lingerie and plan a night of romantic sex. But I’d rather just skip the rescue sex and get back to what our relationship used to be before we turned into our parents. I don’t want to pack it in, but I’m not getting what I need. How can broach this topic? Paint Me Indifferent


Dear Paint Me Indifferent,
     Do you read The Atlantic, Paint Me Indifferent? Probably not. Too bullshit mainstream media. Not "art-terrorist" enough. Anyway, they ran an article a few years back about a scientific study which claimed to predict with 90% accuracy whether a couple will get divorced. The number-one bad-marriage omen? It wasn’t infidelity. Money trouble? Low self-esteem? Chronic flatulence? Nope. It was partners who rolled their eyes while the other partner was talking. It’s also known as contempt, and it sounds like you’ve got a healthy dose of that toward your partner. It’s good you’re acknowledging it now, before you move in together and start looking for rings.
     I would wait for a lull in the fighting and tell her a toned-down version of what you just told me. I know you’ve got a lot of gripes, but see if you can confine it to three or four major areas. Don’t do all the talking — make sure to ask how she’s been feeling about the relationship as well. Whatever you’re bitching about, you have to make it actionable. If you want to start going to galleries again, you need to get the Sunday paper and rip out the listings. Same with her. If she complains that she never sees her friends, she needs to set up a "friends night" and be its ongoing enforcer.
     You might also want to consider spending a little less time together. That prospect might make you a little insecure at first; there’s a tendency for couples to cling when they’ve been fighting. That’s too bad, because what you need is the opposite. The old-hat stuff is a sign you guys have gotten too intense, too early. Back up a little. The first few months of a relationship are supposed to be fun.
 

 


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