Advice

Miss Information: I’m a college girl with unusual needs — needs that probably can’t be fulfilled on this planet. Who can I tell?

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I'm a college girl with unusual needs — needs that probably can't be fulfilled on this planet. Who can I tell?

Monster

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

Dear Miss Information,

I am a twenty-ish virgin in a college where you can't even sit in the most isolated spot of the library without hearing a sexually explicit conversation going on nearby — in other words, they are unavoidable on campus. I keep hearing people talk trash about unusual fetishes, such as furryism, rape-fantasy, and Japanese pornography in general.

I always end up feeling isolated and alone among my peers while hearing them talk that way about what people find sexually appealing, because I have loved monster-on-girl hentai (Japanese anime porn) and pornography like it for many years. I am rarely attracted to people — hell, I've been drooling over partially-decayed zombies, horror-movie villains, demons of all sizes, and tentacled beasts violating somewhat-willing girls since middle school!

Only one person in my life knows of my fetish, and she's a friend with mutual tastes. Since she is more open and honest than me, she doesn't care if she makes a lewd comment about a monster in a horror movie in front of others, but her other friends (even our mutual ones) verbally chastise her for it every time. I accepted myself and my strange tastes a long time ago, and am proud of being a monster-loving-girl, but is it something I should be open about with my friends and future boyfriends, or is it something I should keep to myself and my monster-loving friend?

Zombie Lovin' Chick

Dear Zombie Lovin' Chick,

First-off, to each their own. Tentacles do it for you? Totally fine. Monsters? A-OK.

The red flag that I see here is "I am rarely attracted to people." In the actual world, people are just about your only option. You can dress them like the undead or buy them silicone tentacles to flap around, but they're still people, and there's no way to get around that. Don't retreat so far into these alternate worlds that you miss out on actual connections with actual boys, girls, or some combination thereof. I promise humans are weirder and more complex than anything hatched on an alien planet.

Here's the thing about sharing fetishes: though there's no shame in (most of) them, sharing them will usually elicit a "whoa." With a partner, as with a friend, think about your fetishes as information they have to earn. Would you tell your assigned lab partner that you really just want to be tied up and called "Princess?" Probably not. But you could definitely tell a close friend who's established herself as a grade-A badass and an open-minded, supportive type. As you would with any sensitive information, you've just got to be mindful about whom you trust. The same thing goes for any hot nerd you drag back to your lair. If you decide to open up, do it bit by bit, and ease him into it.

The bad news is this is not the kind of thing you can spring on a random hook-up. The good news is that it's not that uncommon, and you'll certainly find someone who's dying to help you out. So turn off the computer and make new friends. It's like they say: you have to kiss a few frogs before finding a mutant frog with laser vision and fourteen phalluses.

Dear Miss Information,

I'm a twenty-four-year-old guy, a week out of a six-year-long relationship with the only girl I've ever loved. I feel like shit. I drag myself to work and drag myself home, but I'm in a fog and I don't know what to do. She and I lived together, and she's still in the process of moving her stuff out — so even once I get home, I'm surrounded by reminders that she's not there and that it's over. My friends don't know how to deal with my moping — honestly, I think it makes them uncomfortable — so they tell me I need to go out and get laid. I really can't stomach the idea at all. But I also can't tell them how badly I'm hurting, because all they'd do is buy me a beer or change the subject. I'm writing to you, Miss Info, because I'm at my wit's end. All I want to do is curl up and cry. And even typing that is really embarrassing me. How do you get over a catastrophic life change? Thank you.

Heartshattered

Dear Heartshattered,

Every cliché ever written about heartbreak is true. It takes time. It builds character. It's your party — you can cry if you want to. It sucks horribly, but you can take (cold) comfort in the fact that it's a galvanizing force, and it will make you better/faster/stronger, and soon you'll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But what about the interim?

Here's the best roadmap I can give you. For the first three-to-four weeks, do whatever you want. Pajamas by 5pm? Excellent. Marathon of Hoarders with a pint of Häagen-Dazs? High five. By week five, though, you need to start pulling it together… in baby steps. Is there something cool you never got to do that you really want to? Now's your chance. Take a cooking class, go to the library, get yourself out of the house and into the world by any means necessary. There's some degree of "fake it 'til you make it" here. Ramp up the social commitments (drinks with coworkers, movies on the weekend, dinners out) bit by bit, but schedule in down-time to check in with yourself and how you're feeling. The more attuned you stay to that, the faster your healing will be.

Do you have a brother, father, aunt, any more nurturing influence you can talk to? Beers and subject-changing have their place, but find at least one person you can lean on without judgment or fear of awkwardness. I'm flattered you thought of me, Heartshattered, but I'm just one girl with an email address (and a lactose intolerance, so you're on your own with that Häagen-Dazs). Find someone who will answer your three-a.m. calls and respect you in the morning.

A note on self-medication, too: don't do it. It will only prolong the suffering. This means binge drinking, whatever drugs you're into, and casual sex. Your friends' insistence you "go get laid" is good-hearted but pretty much the worst idea possible. The more time you spend distracting yourself, the less time you spend healing your wounds. You're going to have to do some intense self-care sooner or later, and no amount of Jäger shots or cute girls will change that.

The moral is, the most acutely shitty situations in life often engender the best change — it just takes awhile. Box up your ex's stuff, take a nap, take up Jazzercise, and move on. It will suck, but try to see it as growth, not as destruction.