Savage Love

By Dan Savage
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 26, 2011

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Q: I’m sitting in my lover’s San Francisco apartment. I flew out here to spend five glorious days with her. We connect sexually (she’s a Dom stone-butch top, I’m a queer femme sub), we connect intellectually, and we make each other laugh. I’m head over heels for her and for this city, but she’s literally twice my age. In no way does this bother me. I’m so proud to be with her. But she frets that she’s too old for me and it isn’t fair to have the feelings we do. I cannot let myself utterly fall for this woman so that she doesn’t break my heart when she says we must part as friends, but I know she feels conflicted. If I have to just walk away from this with a slew of great memories of a loving introduction to the greatest city on earth, there are certainly worse things. But I wish I could convince her to at least let us have a chance. How can I do that, Dan? What on earth can I say?

Lost In Fog Everyday

A: Start with the cliches—“Age is just a number,” “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow,” “Someone’s gotta change your diapers”—and finish with a grace note: You love her, and you want to be with her, and you hope you’ll always be close, whatever she ultimately decides.

That said, and forgive me for this, LIFE, it’s possible that although this woman is what you want, you’re not what she wants—for reasons that have nothing to do with age. She may be pointing to the obvious age discrepancy because it’s a convenient, face-saving out, a way for her to pull the plug while sparing your feelings.

So a word of warning: If she wants out and cites age, you may be tempted to press your case—and you should, up to a point—but press your case too far, and she may wind up telling you the inconvenient, face-squandering, feelings-spearing truth.

Q: I’m a bi male in a long-distance, long-term, and hypothetically poly relationship, and I’m going to a speed-dating event soon.

Our relationship is “hypothetically” poly in that my boyfriend and I have not had a third in a few years. I’ve had a couple dates in that time (with both guys and girls), disclosed, introduced them to my boyfriend, etc., and done everything a good poly boy is supposed to do. I didn’t end up dating any of them, just from lack of personality/sexual compatibility.

I’ve never been to a speed-dating event before, though, so I’m not sure about protocol. I think that bringing up bi/poly would make the whole five minutes (or whatever) about that, and I’d really rather talk about mutual interests etc. Sexual orientation is a rather overdone topic to me, and talking about only that wouldn’t let me figure out if I’m even interested in the other person. I’m not embarrassed by it at all (I’m completely uncloseted); I’d just rather talk about more interesting things.

So should I disclose during a speed date that I am (1) poly and/or (2) bisexual, or should I save it for a follow-up date?

Speed Disclosure

A: I tried to contact a few speed-dating businesses but couldn’t find one with a contact phone number on its website—and that fact, coupled with the Mountain-Dew-swilling-teenager-on-MySpace quality of the sites themselves, kind of makes commercial speed-dating services look a little tawdry.

Anyway, SD, disclosure is called for when a routine, obvious, and logical assumption is incorrect. Since most people are straight, the onus is on the gay person to come out. Since most gay people aren’t morons, the onus is on members of GOProud to identify themselves before getting disrobed.

Other speed daters are going to make the reasonable assumption that you are (1) single and (2) gay or straight, depending on whether we’re talking about a gay or straight speed-dating event.

That said, SD, due to prejudices beyond your control—biphobia, polyphobia—you may omit the bi/poly info about yourself on that first five-minute date. But you’re obligated to disclose before a second date is arranged. Not to spare the women and/or men you might wind up dating from the unspeakable horrors of going out with a bi/poly dude, but to avoid wasting time on women and/or men who can’t handle it.

Q: I am a 19-year-old straight male who is only attracted to chubby girls, though I myself am rather skinny. It took a while, but I’ve learned to embrace this. However, the problem I seem to have now is that the girls whom I find attractive don’t think of themselves as attractive, and that is a turnoff for me. Despite what seems like constant effort on my part to raise my exes’ confidence in themselves, they never got any better and the relationships always ended. I’m not exactly bursting with confidence myself, either, but I tried my best to be a loving and supportive boyfriend. Yet time and time again, their images of themselves somehow seemed to actually turn worse, not better. I attribute a lot of their initial insecurity to the media, but I can’t help but believe I somehow screw up and exacerbate it.

Troubled Horndog In Need

A: You’re young and you’ve accepted your attraction to bigger girls, THIN, and that’s great. But the girls you’ve dated—presumably close to your own age—are doubtless still struggling with all the shit that’s been thrown at them about their bodies. To grow confident about something that caused you a lot of pain—to say nothing of being with someone who’s attracted to you in large part because of that something-that-caused-you-pain—can take time.

That said, THIN, if all the bigger girls you’ve dated emerged from your relationship feeling worse about themselves and their bodies … you might be doing something wrong. Were you treating your girlfriends like human beings and talking about their bodies in a way that made them feel attractive? Or did you treat them like fetish objects and talk about their bodies in a way that made them feel disgusted with themselves—and with you?

Q: I’m a gay college student who’s into bondage and kink. I’m also very involved with the Episcopal Church and want to become a leader in my church. I don’t think that my predilection for bondage and my desire to pursue ordained ministry conflict, especially because I am fairly monogamous. Is there a conflict?

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