Q: I did something kind of stupid recently. I’m wondering if there’s any way that I can recover and save my relationship. About a month ago, my boyfriend and I decided we needed to break up. It was mutual, painful as it was. I went out one night with some girlfriends and I had A LOT of gin and tonics, and I met this guy. We danced and were kissing and flirting (that’s all). He asked me out for the next weekend. I was happy to have a distraction from the pain of the breakup, even though I still missed my boyfriend.
So, the date. This new guy turned out to be NOTHING like I thought (he was crazy weird) and during the night my boyfriend texted me that he missed me. While the new guy was in the men’s room, I texted back that I missed him too. Somehow that exchange made me very sad, so I ended up getting really drunk again with the new guy, and invited him back to my apartment. We were kissing on the couch when all of the sudden my phone rang – it was my ex downstairs wanting to come up! It was such a mess. The new guy left, my ex figured out that I wasn’t alone and left too, and omg, catastrophe. They may have even run into each other in the parking garage. Neither is speaking to me now. What can I do? – Heartbroken
A: First off, I must share that I’m writing this column sitting in the waiting area for a CVS Minute Clinic. More specifically, I’m crammed on the floor against a rack of greeting cards because there are only FIVE FREAKIN’ CHAIRS for patients during cold and flu season – only the busiest time of year — and three of those five are taken up by a magazine-reading mom and her two kids, one of whom obviously needs a refill for his Ritalin, because I can hear end cap displays tumbling down as I type, and the other of whom hasn’t been taught how to COVER HER MOUTH WHEN SHE COUGHS. And the friggin’ pharmacy phone is ringing off the hook. And everybody, including myself, is hacking like we’ve just been dusted with Agent Orange. And I just noticed that there’s an enticing display of walking canes within easy reach.
All of which is to say that if I’m even snarkier than normal this week – or if you see a report on the news about a seemingly normal young woman arrested for assault with a cane in a Minute Clinic waiting area – you’ll know why.
So, lookit, Heartbroken, I’m afraid the best I can offer you, since you’ve already tried to explain things to your ex-boyfriend (emphasis on EX), is to not answer the phone next time you’re sucking face late at night. That, and ease up on the G&Ts.
Q: I’ve been living with one of my closest girlfriends for several months now. We met four years ago and have been in the same social circles since. Living together has revealed some behaviors I don’t approve of. She frequently brings home men, which wouldn’t be a serious issue – except that they’re rarely single. She sometimes becomes invested in one guy and says he’s going to break up with his partner but it never pans out. It’s hard to be sympathetic to her constant complaints about being single when all she does is bring home men who are taken and probably bad news anyway. To top it all off, I know many of these men – and their girlfriends. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable and has shed light on a side of her that I dislike strongly. I care a lot about our friendship and I’m afraid her poor judgment is going to keep her unhappy, drama-ridden and single. How do I confront her? — Concerned Non-Prude
A: Close friends living together are like that poem about the little girl with the curl on her forehead: When it’s good, it’s very, very good, and when it’s bad, it’s horrid. Or something. What I’m trying to say is that too bad you didn’t know the cardinal rule about roommates before bunking up with this girl: Close quarters can wreak havoc on even the closest of friendships.
But maybe you can use your history in your favor. Say you’re seriously concerned about seeing this behavior — that she deserves so much better than meaningless one-night stands with guys who don’t respect her. And I’d have to disagree that constantly hauling men home isn’t a serious issue. She’s obviously low on self-esteem, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she lets these guys get away with whatever they want between the sheets (i.e., not covering up their love stick).
If that conversation seems too difficult, then approach it from the roommate angle. You’re sharing an apartment, not a brothel, and you shouldn’t have to worry about a parade of dishonest dudes traipsing through your shared space at all hours. Whatever you do, I’d advise against signing another lease with her.
Meantime, you might want to consider extracting yourself from the social circles you and your randy roommie have been running around in. Even for a non-prude, they don’t exactly sound healthy.
Q: Recently, at the gym, a guy mentioned he needed to see a massage therapist. Thinking of a friend who is a CMT, I recommended her. He immediately said, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been to her. She gives you a lot more than a massage.” Another guy piped in and agreed. I was shocked. I tried to verify that they were talking about the right woman. It seemed they were. I did not mention she is my friend. I’ve known her for more than 10 years. She’s married with kids and is absolutely one of the nicest people I know.
I’ve started avoiding those guys because we all know how men like to talk and maybe there was nothing to it, but unfortunately, I have also started avoiding my friend. When she pops out of her office slathering on Chapstick, I am thinking terrible things and it’s hard to face her. She wonders what’s wrong and I don’t want to tell her. This can’t go on. How can I clear the air? — M.
A: What can’t go on? Your friend possibly giving massages with happy endings, you keeping her in the dark that people are talking about her massages with happy endings or the awkwardness that’s resulting from it all?
Well, I’ve got news for you: It’s all sure to go on unless you either, ahem, swallow your judgmental feelings or spit them out and get everything on the (massage) table with your friend.
If it were me in your situation, how to clear the air would be obvious: Tell your friend – the one you’ve known for 10 YEARS – what you heard. Apologize for any awkwardness, but say that you felt she needed to know her professional reputation is being damaged. Tell her you’re sure the rumors about what (or who) is going down upon her table aren’t true, but that as her friend, you felt obligated to tell her what her clients are saying about her.
It’s up to her to figure out what to do from there: confront and/or fire the chatty clients, start focusing on reflexology or change workplaces. At the very least, maybe she’ll start being more discreet with the Chapstick.
Q: A few weeks ago I met this extremely attractive doctor through a friend of a friend. We had stimulating dinner discussion and she obviously knows her way around the anatomy. At first I wondered how she was unattached. At 29, I thought for sure, someone would have married this girl. I’ve never considered myself a brainiac type of person, but I know a few things about a few things. I don’t know if I’m being typical alpha male and trying to assert my dominance. But after about 3 weeks, I can’t seem to do anything without some sort of challenge to my authority from the good doctor.
I understand she’s had about 8 more years of education than me, but does she have to supply condescending running commentary about the way I load the dishwasher, or change the batteries on the remote? Am I sensitive of my relative lack of education, or is this hooker just showing her true know-it-all colors? I’m not even sure I want to have this conversation with her before her ass hits the curb. – Not So Hot For Doc
A: Listen, man, this chick isn’t criticizing the way you load the dishwasher or change the remote batteries because she’s an educated doctor – she’s doing it because she’s a woman. As a gender, we may be better at things like communication and picking out the perfect wrapping paper. But when it comes to nitpicking our partners, we clearly have some work to do.
I am kinda taken aback that she’s started up with the nag routine after just three weeks, though. You two should be so hot and heavy in the honeymoon phase that you could take a dump in the dishwasher and she’d barely notice, for God’s sake. So it’s understandable that you’re frustrated. And it’s safe to say her behavior will only get worse. Maybe now it’s easier to see why no one has put a ring on her finger – it never stops wagging.
Finally, she might be showing her true “know-it-all” colors, but I’d venture to say you’re offering a tiny peek at your misogynistic ones. You’re obviously defensive about all the ball-busting, but that “hooker” reference and talk of her ass hitting the curb kind of rub me the wrong way — and I’m just on the receiving end of this letter. Next time a gal strikes your fancy, stop focusing on “assert[ing] your dominance,” “authority” and knowing “a few things about a few things.” Thanks in part to “The Jersey Shore” and its testosterone tsunami, that whole alpha male vibe is more washed up than ever.
Q: Several months ago I had an affair with a married man. I know it was a bad idea, but it was great while it lasted — which wasn’t long. Trouble was, I fell in love. Then he said he wanted to end it because he was deeply in love with his wife and had come to realize how much he was hurting her. I could totally respect that, so I agreed to break it off. To my surprise, I learned he’d actually broken things off with me so that he might more easily pursue an extra-marital affair with another woman we work with to whom I had introduced him. I have done a pretty good job of putting the whole thing behind me and have since gotten a promotion.
Recently, he needed me for a reference to apply for a promotion himself and he e-mailed me the recommendation form. One of the questions is “Do you believe this person acts in an ethical manner?” I certainly don’t think he acted in an ethical manner with his wife or with me, but that is not related to his job is it? I don’t want to recommend this loser for anything, but I also don’t want my refusal to come back to bite me. What should I do? — L.
A: Wow, this guy is a triple dose of douche: a cheater, a liar and a moronic businessman, all piled into one big shit sandwich. Too bad he didn’t reveal all his foul facets before you became involved. Perhaps that would have dulled his appeal.
So, how do you make sure this quagmire doesn’t further jeopardize your career? Yes, I said further jeopardize, because I’m sure as you’re well aware, you’ve taken on a professional risk by letting a married colleague dip his pen into your inkwell. Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson.
Okay, lecture over. When it comes to this guy and jobs of any kind, your involvement is up. So treat his request like you have the affair – put it past you. Pretend you never saw the e-mail. If he’s such a colossal idiot that he brings it up again, tell him you don’t feel comfortable giving a habitual liar a recommendation for anything except a good therapist. I’m not sure how this could come back to bite you, seeing as his reputation is just as much – and possibly more, depending on how things go with your successor – at stake as yours.
Finally, as we roll into a new year, try to refrain from boning anybody else who happens to be married. Affairs almost always wind up like bad plastic surgery: ugly, painful, dangerous and entirely regrettable. (Guess the lecture wasn’t over after all.)
Q: Recently, I found out by word-of-mouth that a friend of mine’s live-in boyfriend cheated on her – maybe even more than once. I’ve seen them canoodling in the past, so the rumor appears to be true. What’s worse is the girl he cheated with is friends with the victim. And honestly, as a person very much concerned with people’s respect for each other, I really do see her as a victim in this. I drunkenly texted her the awful news once after discussing it with a friend, and luckily, it never went through. Once sober, the friend I’d talked to about it suggested I mind my own business. I agreed, but I can’t get it out of my head, especially when I see anyone involved in person. The victim and I aren’t so much friends anymore as mere acquaintances (for unrelated reasons), but I still think she deserves the truth – doesn’t everyone? — Drama Magnet
A: Take that failed text as a sign to sit on your thumbs and bite your tongue. Sooner or later – and probably sooner, judging by what you’ve described of this gossipy grapevine – the cheatee will find out about her boyfriend’s extracurricular activities, if she hasn’t already. And while you may “really” see her as the victim, what you can’t see is the guts of their relationship. For all you know, she morphs into a vengeful harpy who treats him like her personal piñata behind closed doors.
Does everyone deserve the truth? In theory, maybe, but how and when to deliver it can be more slippery than a frat house circle jerk. Think about the collective damage that would ensue if men really told their wives or girlfriends the truth when they ask, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” Or, in turn, if those wives and girlfriends moaned, “Oh, yes, give it to me, you averaged-sized stud” in the throes of passion? But there are always shades of gray and differing circumstances. If this girl was a good friend and you had solid evidence of something going on, then my advice would be to speak up. But she’s not and you don’t. So make a resolution for 2010 to lay off the drunk texting before you find yourself attracting any more unnecessary drama that what already comes with this crowd.
Q: What is the deal with biting? I was recently with a woman and in the throes of passion she clamped down on my bicep like the jaws of life, leaving me with a bruise that looks like I was struck by a softball traveling at 90 miles per hour. As it was happening, I obviously felt intense pain (note: I did not use the word discomfort, as that would be horribly inaccurate … it hurt!). At the moment, I did not feel it appropriate to voice my displeasure (i.e. scream like a little girl), so she must have thought I enjoyed it as I now am the proud owner of at least a dozen bite wounds on various parts of my chestal region. After the fact, I was not entirely certain how to approach telling her I did not enjoy it. I do not want to offend her in fear that she may not reprise the experience, nor do I want her to go the opposite direction and become too tame in bed.
Also, is this a new phenomenon? Was there a recent Cosmo article that I should be aware of? This is not the first person that has bitten me. Is it possible I am putting off a “bite me” vibe? – Once Bitten
A: I’ve not seen anything in Cosmo or elsewhere about a biting trend. But perhaps this current obsession with vampires has seeped into the sack. Either way, these chicks seem, quite literally, ravenous for your hot bod. Which always leaves a man’s chest sufficiently puffed.
Problem is, yours is in danger of being punctured – not good. Plus, think about the horror of your gal(s) getting snap-happy in the vicinity of a certain appendage. If that happens, I guarantee you will indeed be screaming like a little girl.
So, lest the next romp leaves you looking and feeling like you were attacked by a pack of rabid snapping turtles, it’s time to curb all this biting – and you need to start with your own tongue. Assure Elvira you love her feistiness but not her fangs, and that you don’t relish feeling like a Doberman’s chew toy in bed. And if she gets carried away mid-romp, for god’s sake let her know it. Say something like “Whoa, easy there,” and redirect the action. I can think of at least one position (hint: arf, arf) in which a woman, unless she has Alien-like extendable jaws, would have a lot of trouble chomping her partner.
One final suggestion: Hang a ball gag from your bedpost. If nothing else, that oughta nip the problem.
Q: In lieu of going on VH1′s “Tough Love,” I have decided to seek your advice. I have never been much of a “dater,” preferring committed relationships over no-strings-attached situations. Looking back I realize I seem to choose the impossible or irrational as my mate … either distance, age, religion, citizenship, focus, or lifestyle (not sexuality) has been an issue. I find myself getting attached way too quickly and easily, which doesn’t quite match my independent character. So I need to know what is wrong with me to choose such hindsight-incompatible mates and what I can do to find what I want AND need. I have a wonderful group of friends, stable career and lifestyle, and I think that I am a “good catch” (also based on numerous comments of friends and family that “I can do better… you deserve better,” etc.). Help! — Queen of the Impossible
A: Would it help to know that when you listed each of those impossible and irrational mates, yours truly took a trip down memory lane and realized she could tick off every single one, too? A long-distance douchebag, a too-young buck and an insufferable slacker – among other winners – have all been in my bag of d— uh, I mean, tricks. Try to look at it this way: At least we’re good at picking bad partners.
And yes, it totally sucks when you know you’re self-sabotaging but can’t seem to stop. I wish I could tell you what you’re doing wrong, but trailing your every move around men doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone, and this gig doesn’t pay me near enough anyway. The only thing that did stick out from your letter – besides your honesty and intelligence – is that, much as we think we do, no one “needs” a romantic relationship. You can get by just fine by yourself – and, maybe since you’ve been part of a couple for so long, that’s a lesson you can only learn via solo time.
Also, the fact that you recognize this is an issue is a great start to break the pattern. Next time you find yourself falling hard and fast, make a concerted effort to keep it casual for a while. The red-flag incompatibilities you listed will start to surface soon enough – but if you’re already too emotionally invested, you’ll have a much easier time ignoring/justifying them.
And try not to look at your past as series of failures, but instead as steps taking you closer toward finding your king. All of this isn’t unlike studying hard for an exam and then acing it – you feel great, but you know you couldn’t have done it without the prep. And with a spanking new year around the corner, there’s no better time to get crackin.’