Meatballs and Basketballs

Q: I’m a 24-year-old vegan woman. I’m pretty strict about it, which means no meat whatsoever, no animal products, although I very occasionally will have some fish. I choose this lifestyle mostly because of health reasons but also because of the worsening state of the livestock industry (don’t EVEN get me started on this). I don’t wear leather or fur but I’m more lax about that. The problem is that I’m recently dating a guy, casually. I like him a lot BUT (can you see where this is headed?) he … eats … meat. My last boyfriend was a vegetarian and I was too, but since then I’ve decided to go vegan because it’s a better diet for me personally. It’s been more than two years since I’ve been serious with someone.

I don’t want to rule this guy out already, but I know this is a major difference. We’ve not been out for a meal yet, just drinks and coffee dates and walks and stuff. From what I’ve seen I want to get to know more, though. Can this work or should I just end it now before we get attached and realize it can’t work? – Veggie-Gal

A: Since I cherish a big honkin’ T-bone as much as your new dude probably does, here’s what my adorable friend J., who’s going on her sixth year as a plant chomper, with nary an issue dating carnivores, has to say: “It’s like being a Democrat in a Republican state — you have to get past it. It’s like you would miss out on a lot of friends, and things in life. It’s just closing yourself off to people who only believe what you believe.”

Although she’s not vegan, J. makes another good point: Would you want somebody to write you off just because you are? “Some people have really good reasons for eating meat. Maybe they were brought up that way, or they think that’s how humans are naturally supposed to be,” she adds.

So why not see how you react to this meat-eater in his natural habitat; i.e., over a meal? Assuming you avoid a place like Fogo de Chao (although I hear their salad bar rocks), a dinner date should be a good litmus test for whether you can stomach a romantic relationship with a non-vegetarian (vice-versa for him). And remember that this is a prime issue that can underscore two of the three C’s crucial in a solid relationship (compromise, communication and copulation).

But if the mere thought of kissing someone whose teeth frequently sink into juicy burgers makes you gag, I’d say just go ahead and bag it now and take your tofu over to www.veggiedate.org. This dating website caters to vegetarians, vegans and raw food freaks, er, followers, and maybe there it will be easier to find someone who loves roughage as much as they love you.

Q: This time every year, my boyfriend and just about every male person he’s ever met turn into complete zombies over anything that isn’t related to March Madness. I don’t understand it. He gets every game on television and sometimes misses work to watch games. I’m gung-ho for having passions in life, but I don’t remember being so obsessed by anything that I couldn’t function without it. He pretty much ignores me for the month, but the rest of the time I’d classify our relationship as fairly strong. I do love him, but just not so much in March. Any advice for a girl who can’t stand college basketball or what it does to her man? – I Loathe Layups

A: Your letter reminds me of a dear group of friends I met in Texas and a tradition we started. Every March, a couple I was close with, both huge Kansas fans, would take time off work for the tourney. Everybody gathered in their living room, aka “Bracketville,” with games on multiple TVs 24/7, and brackets, bets and beer flowing nonstop for weeks.

It was glorious. But then, I dig March Madness. Still, not so much that I ignore my significant other for a month (hey, a gal’s gotta get some, right?), so I can see how somebody who doesn’t even like college hoops would feel pretty miffed.

Even so, I think you’ve got some slam-dunk (couldn’t resist) options here: 1) Plan a long vacation with girlfriends or to see family in March. 2) Pick your own month to be obsessed with something (“Spa September” has a nice ring to it) and let your bf see how it feels to be on the receiving end. 3) Pop yourself a beer, sidle up to him and enjoy the view. (Those blasted BYU boys knocked off my Gators in the first round, but holy cow, they looked delicious doing it – too bad they’re already out.) Your guy just might appreciate your interest, whether it’s legit or not – and who knows where that could lead (a sexy romp on the couch, perhaps?).

And take heart that it could be worse. At least he’s not obsessed with something like War of Warcraft. Or skanky chicks covered with tattoos (you suck, Jesse James).

 

Misadventures Down Under

Q: I’m 27 and I have a problem. I haven’t told any of my friends about it because it just doesn’t seem appropriate, but I need some answers quickly. For about three months I’ve been seeing a girl, one that I really dig. More so than anyone I’ve met in a long time. We’ve gone slow, almost agonizingly so, with the physical stuff. (Which is fine and created some nice build-up.) But… I went down on her for the first couple of times recently and she smelled… not right. The first time I thought maybe she didn’t shower that day. The second time… well, it was worse.

Now I don’t know what to do. I feel like we have connected well emotionally but I have no idea how to bring this up. I don’t want to break up with this girl over this but I also don’t want to miss out on an exciting part of our sex life. Oh yeah, I don’t know if it matters, but we’re already exclusive. Any advice? – Downtown and Downtrodden

A: First, thanks for sharing. From the female perspective, it’s always lovely to hear about young bucks like yourself who believe c-lingus is good, squishy fun. That – and your considerate, mature attitude about a delicate dilemma – already have me feeling pretty good about the direction you’re headed, both figuratively and literally.

Telling a woman her lady bits aren’t up to sniff, er, snuff in the odor department is never an easy conversation, I’ll give you that. But there are a few things you can do to make it a little less agonizing. First, don’t break the news in bed; she’ll combust from embarrassment. Pick a time when you’re both relaxed (and maybe buzzed) and start by saying how much you like her and how happy she makes you. Then tell her that, as difficult it is to say, you’ve noticed an odor south of the border and you’re a little concerned. Say you want to make sure everything is ok with her health-wise. (A little Gynecology 101: A strong or unpleasant vaginal odor often means an infection, which is easily taken care of with a med that has a “zole” suffix. But without treatment, infections can lead to bigger problems, which is why she should get checked out.)

Of course, your gal may be in the fetal position from mortification by this point, which is when you reassure her that you love her body – all of it – and really want to share this intimacy with her. Give her a kiss, pour her another glass of vino and move on.

If that conversation seems too daunting, then go for a less direct approach. Suggest enough baths or showers together before sex, and there’s a good chance she’ll eventually ask you about it. You could also withhold the tongue lashings until she brings it up, but that’s a little on the dickish side.

Finally, it’s critical to remember that, like Baskin Robbins, women come in lots of tasty flavors – some of which you’ll find more appealing than others. If your gal is OK medically, then you’ll either have to live with her natural scent or keep coaxing her into those pre-nooky showers to enjoy the Big C. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re following suit with the hygiene, ummkay? There’s nothing worse than a guy complaining about his gal being not quite so fresh when his own twig and berries are muskier than an outback marsupial.

And remember that, sometimes, it’s the guys who need to scrub up before anybody goes down. Read on for a hilarious letter that serves as a seriously important PSA – Pubic Service Announcement.

Q: Not really a question but word of caution. I was at an all-day beerfest recently with my friends and girlfriend and decided after a ton of beers to challenge the cook at the bar we ended up at to bring me the hottest wings he could make. I would eat them all! [The waitress] brought them out and I jumped right in and finished them off. I was sweating and knew I was in for some trouble but I got them all down and was pretty proud of myself.

Back at our hotel my girlfriend and I started to get busy, and we got to the point where I went “downtown” and that’s where the trouble began. After about 30 seconds, she jumped off the bed like she was on fire and ran screaming for the shower. I ran after her and she just screamed “wing sauce” and pointed to the affected area. I guess that wet wipe at the bar didn’t quite get the wing sauce off my fingers and I forgot about the sauce that must have still been on my goatee! So after she washed off and calmed down we laughed about it, but be forewarned and don’t make the same mistake I did! — Wingman

A: I think my hoo-ha just scarred itself over imaging the pain, Wingman, but thanks for sharing. Guys, torching your gal’s vag with the remnants of hot wing sauce is NOT the way to make her scream in bed. So, if wings are for dinner and your girlfriend is for dessert, make sure you thoroughly wash up before getting down, lickety-split, to business.

Video Killed the Softball Star

Q: The other night I was out with a few of the boys drinking beer after our softball game. There were four of us and “Tim” went to take a leak when his phone rang. Since he left it on the table, I was just going to answer for the hell of it. Someone, I’m not sure who, recognized it wasn’t Tim and hung up. But since the phone was lit up, someone prompted me to look at the photos to see if we could catch any of nude girlfriends. And since we had been drinking, it seemed like a logical next step.

Suffice to say, we were not ready for the onslaught of nude and pornographic home movies and photos. It appeared Tim had been very busy. For one, I didn’t know he was such a player, and secondly, that he was a movie buff. And why the hell didn’t we know about any of this? We set the phone back down in plenty of time not to get caught, but now we are all more curious than ever. Is there a way to broach the subject with him? We would like a screening of some of his photographic handiwork, but how do we raise the topic without him knowing that we were rooting around on his cell phone? – Curious Pals

A: You didn’t know about any of this because apparently Tim, dumb as he was to leave his phone unattended, is wise enough to know that his buddies are a bunch of nosy, horned-up voyeurs.

But … assuming his co-stars were willing subjects (if not, all you pervs should be ashamed) … and I still can’t believe I’m really writing this … it seems to me you have a couple of options. My first suggestion is to approach Tim one-on-one. Even if he has an ego bigger than Simon Cowell’s, this is subject matter that goes far beyond ass cheeks in the locker room, and he’s probably more likely to share with one person instead of an entire table of beer-swilling teammates. Just tell him, straight up, what happened. Depending on his reaction, you can either 1) let loose with the “attaboys,” mention you and your gal are thinking of making a movie yourselves, ask if he has any tips and cross your fingers he’ll give you a play-by-play demo; 2) apologize profusely and drop it altogether.

The second option is a variation from above, and it would be more difficult to pull off — but copious amounts of alcohol would help. Try bringing up the sex-movie-making as a post-game convo – again, maybe say somebody is going to give it a go with their gal — and see if Tim shares anything. If so, grand slam. If not, you can just wait for the next time he leaves his phone unattended to send yourself the clips and pics.

Finally, softball doesn’t sound like the right sport for Tim. Has he tried his hand at golf?

Q: “Curtis” and I have been dating for over a year and have decided to get married, probably next fall. This is a first marriage for both of us and he is everything I want — a very successful lawyer, good looking and will make a wonderful father. I watched a movie last night called War of the Roses where the husband is always dominating the conversation and suddenly I realized this was us! When we are with friends, he always does all the talking, even when I initiate the conversation. And if I tell a joke, he interrupts and ends up telling it himself. When I asked him why he always talks so much around friends, he says because what he has to say is important. The funny thing is, when it is just the two of us he is entirely different, sometimes hardly saying a word at dinner. I don’t want to bring the subject up again but it is very annoying. – What Now?

A: What now? Some questions you should ask yourself: Do the majority of Curtis’s conversations follow this all-or-nothing scheme? Does his holier-than-thou attitude carry over into other aspects of his personality? Do think there’s a possibility you “don’t want to bring up this subject again” because you’re afraid of his reaction? If the answer to any of those is yes, then I wouldn’t so much be annoyed as terrified at the thought of marrying this man.

Since it sounds like you haven’t set a date yet, I encourage you to forget about wedding plans for now and see if you can honestly picture a happy life with someone who, from here, appears to be an arrogant boor who doesn’t see you – or anyone else – as his equal. He pontificates like an evangelist around friends, but you’re not even worthy enough to speak to? Please.

In other words, it’s time to stop focusing on Curtis in terms of everything you’ve always wanted – and start thinking instead of everything you’ll get in a life shared with him.

When Weird Is (And Isn't) Ok

Q: I’m noticing a trend, and I’m hoping it’s more on the universal side, rather than me just dating a bunch of weird girls. First off, I’m pretty clueless with what goes on inside the heads of women. And secondly, mostly, I just don’t care – as long as the steady stream doesn’t go dry. As I and the women I date get older (30s), I’ve noticed bedroom habits that are more unique. The latest one seems to hold her breath for so long that I think she’s going to pass out, and I can just imagine trying to explain that to some EMT. I’m not that perceptive, but I never used to notice girls being so weird in the sack in their 20s. Is this just females coming to grips with what they need to do to achieve climax? And do I have stranger bedroom times ahead, as women get older and more in tune with what makes them tick? -– What’s Up?

 

A: First of all, count your blessings: You’re getting laid regularly, and it’s certainly not dull. Not a bad problem to have.

So, the weirdness between the sheets, you ask. I think several factors are at work. We women – thanks in part to the Samantha Joneses of the world – have become more sexually liberated in recent years. You’re right that with the whole age/empowerment schtick, we’re more aware of our bodies and what works for them. And yeah, sometimes the results could be seen as kinda bizarre. As of late, yours truly finds herself laughing hysterically – something I always thought sounded psychotic — at the critical moment.

You may also remember a recent column about a guy whose recent gal treated him like a chew toy in bed, and your letter isn’t the first I’ve gotten about auto-erotic-asphyxiation, which is basically using oxygen deprival to heighten sensations. (It can be deadly – remember INXS frontman Michael Hutchence? – so I strongly encourage setting some ground rules with the breathless babe.) Although you may not care what’s going on in women’s heads, why not just ask what’s going on with their actions? At the very least, things might seem a little less “weird.”

Finally, Romeo, that stream of women, “weird” in the sack or not, might not be going dry anytime soon, but crucial areas of our anatomy certainly do as we age. So don’t freak out when your luvahs start busting out enough lube for a Slip ‘N Slide.

 

Q: How do you start … over again? As I watch my parents hit 50 years of marriage in 2010, I’m wondering how to get back into dating after divorce. Never thought I’d be in this “category,” but … I filed over a year ago, and I still feel completely weird. My buddies are all about “getting me back in the saddle” so to speak and that isn’t my goal.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love the action but I’m not that jerk who wants to just take it out on women for the sake of it. I loved dating and relationships with my girlfriends — I love having someone to enhance my life and being able to offer that back. So, I must hit the “reset button” on what I thought I would be doing here in 2010. I still know how blessed I am that we didn’t have kids and I didn’t start building on the land I purchased. I’m embarrassed I am divorced -– I’ve never failed on anything I wanted to do in life and this is a catastrophic failure in my mind, especially compared to my family (not one divorce on either side – see “black sheep” — at least feeling like it). So how do I “get out there”? -– Ready for Summer

 

A: Lovely readers, this is another one of those times when the behind-the-scenes edits can tell the story better than anything. This guy accidentally wrote “many moons ago” next to “a year ago” when he was talking about filing for his divorce. So thanks to his non-self-edit, we have a clue into some skewed logic, which I hope to straighten out.

With something as monumental as divorce, a year is by no means “many moons.” You took a vow you thought would be for life, and it didn’t turn out that way. So give yourself a break. Feeling weird after just a year isn’t that long with respect to something you planned on being forever. You’re mourning a loss, and that always takes time.

Furthermore, no doubt that watching your parents celebrate such a glorious milestone has you viewing your situation in an even harsher light. But enough with the “catastrophic failure” and “black sheep” stuff. I’m sure you learned heaps of life lessons from this experience. And I highly doubt anyone in your family is giving you the stink eye. So ease up on yourself. When you’re ready to date again – and you will be, I promise – you’ll know.

And I love the hint of optimism in your sign off. Forget about getting back in the saddle, and instead focus on dusting yourself off via the sunny patios, sundresses and delicious promise of the seasons to come.