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Wedding Party

November 2, 2011

I am marrying a man with two children—a boy and a girl—and we want to include his children in our wedding party. My best friend and maid of honor happens to work as an escort. You and I agree that prostitution should be legal and that sex work shouldn't be stigmatized, Dan, but the ex-wife of my fiancé disagrees strongly. She somehow deduced what my BFF does for a living, and now she has told my fiancé that she will not allow her daughter to participate in the wedding if my BFF is the maid of honor. She says she does not want their daughter to think that being a prostitute is okay. His ex-wife will not budge. I am furious that this woman would have me remove my oldest, closest, most important friend from my wedding party. What say you, Mr. Savage?

Too Angry For Cute Acronyms

I say it's disturbing that your fiancé's ex-wife isn't demanding that both her children be removed from your wedding party. Not because I agree with her—I most certainly do not—but because I firmly believe that someone who's being a dick about something is obligated to be a logically consistent dick.

If tossing rose petals in the presence of a known prostitute—known to her, not known to her daughter (how on earth would her daughter find out?)—is going to pollute her daughter's tiny mind, then bearing rings in the presence of a known prostitute is going to pollute her son's. If this woman believes that appearing in wedding photos with a sex worker will result in her daughter one day doing sex work, why isn't she concerned that her son will one day hire a sex worker? Or do a little escorting himself?

This woman is trying to screw with you, TAFCA, otherwise she would've yanked both kids. But this is the kind of issue that could land your fiancé back in court—if his batshit ex decides to really push it—and a sex-negative judge could tear up your husband-to-be's custody agreement and place limits on his (or your) access to his children, all because his new wife is BFFs with a sex worker. So you're going to have to give way, TAFCA. But I think you should drop the kids, not your BFF, from your wedding party.

And while you might be tempted to tell the kids to go ask their mother why they're suddenly out of the wedding party—thereby making her the bad guy—take the high road and come up with an explanation that makes sense to the kids and spares their feelings... if, you know, these kids were actually looking forward to being in your wedding party. There's a small-but-not-insignificant chance that your fiancé's children will be relieved to be left out. As much as they may like you, as much as they may approve of your relationship with their father, TAFCA, a child can feel under pressure to play a public role in a divorced parent's second (or third or fourth) wedding. Since children—particularly small children—may not feel comfortable saying no, lest that "no" be misinterpreted as disapproval of their parent's new spouse, I believe that smart parents and smart stepparents-to-be should err on the side of not asking their children to toss petals, bear rings, or make toasts.


Over a year ago, I broke up with my girlfriend of two years. I let the whole thing drag out way too long and made a lot of bad choices, and hurt her a lot more than I needed to. Three months after it was over, I broke contact with her. Six weeks later, she started calling me, but I didn't respond. One night around then I was in my basement bedroom at about midnight. She started calling me and I ignored the calls. Then I heard a knock on my window. I came outside, and she was next to my bedroom window. She came at me and started screaming. I could smell alcohol on her, and she started choking me. She spent that night in jail, having been dragged off my front porch by two policemen, but not before kicking in a window. The last communication I had with her was an e-mail in which I told her not to contact me again or I would put a restraining order on her. It's been about a year now, and I find myself wanting to contact her again, to say something like "I'm sorry that I hurt you." I want to know if she's okay, if she's on a good path, etc., but I don't want to be her friend, or even see her in person ever again. When is it too soon to contact a crazy ex?

Wanting Après-Resolution

Never, WAR. Never is too soon to contact a truly crazy ex.

If you're concerned about how she's doing, ask a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend or lurk on her Facebook page like everybody else. But if what you're after is some sort of absolution for the excessive hurt your "bad choices" caused her—choices you didn't elaborate on in your rush to get to her faults—then you're not really motivated by any genuine concern for her well-being, WAR, just by a selfish desire to ease your guilty conscience. Either way, no good will come of contacting her. Let it go.


I'm gay, been gay for years now, and I want to be with a man as a life partner. My problem is that I honestly don't enjoy anal, but I like my boyfriend to be dominant, the man, the boss—however you want to define it. Is that just plain weird? Will I find a man?

Worried About My Ever After

The results of a study recently released in the Journal of Sexual Medicine might interest you, WAMEA.

Researchers from George Mason University and Indiana University asked nearly 25,000 gay and bi men about their last sexual encounter with another dude. "Of all sexual behaviors that men reported occurring during their last sexual event, those involving the anus were the least common," Joshua G. Rosenberger, one of the study's authors, writes. Fewer than 40 percent of the men surveyed fucked ass or got their asses fucked during their last sexual encounter. "There is certainly a misguided belief that 'gay sex equals anal sex,' which is simply untrue much of the time," Rosenberger says. (Most interesting data point: Gay and bi men have "immense sexual repertoires." Researchers documented more than "1,300 combinations of activities." Most concerning data point: Only half the men who reported having anal intercourse the last time they fucked used condoms. Many of these men are, presumably, in long-term relationships, and may not need to use condoms. But high HIV-infection rates among gay and bi men prove that there are lots of guys out there who should be using condoms and are not.)

Back to you, WAMEA: Some of those gay and bi guys studied might have had anal sex the second-to-last time they got it on, or were looking forward to anal the next time. But we know from other studies that there are lots of gay and bi guys out there—some estimates put it at 25 to 30 percent—who never have anal sex. They just don't dig it. Your mission is to find a dominant, manly, bossy man with whom you're sexually compatible, i.e., a bossy top who wants to fuck your throat, your fist, your clenched thighs, your Christmas ham—whatever—but not your ass.


Confidential to Everybody: Watch this: tinyurl .com/3eowo9l. Do this: tinyurl.com/4yntf8f.


Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

mail@savagelove.net

 

Comments (160) RSS

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1
RE Confidential:

Three days? That looked like felony assault and battery to me. What does it take to get charged as an adult in Chillicothe?
Posted by Schmed on November 2, 2011 at 9:30 AM · Report this
2
Another great column, Dan.

BTW, I live in NY State (formerly in NYC, now Central NY) and I love the stuff they publish in The Stranger. I used to follow Dan Savage in the NYC Village Voice, but they dropped the column a while ago. It's OK with me; otherwise, I may not have found The Stranger.
Posted by Gay Movie Fan on November 2, 2011 at 9:39 AM · Report this
3
Right on with your advice to WAR, Dan.

When you're the one who did the dumping, contacting your ex after a bad breakup to ask how she/he is doing is a classic douchebag move. She doesn't want to be your friend either, or ever talk to you again. Move on.
Posted by Amanda on November 2, 2011 at 9:41 AM · Report this
saxfanatic 4
There's an error in tinyurl .com/3eowo9l due to a superfluous space. Try tinyurl.com/3eowo9l

Posted by saxfanatic on November 2, 2011 at 9:43 AM · Report this
5
re TAFCA,

It's not clear that the boy is the ex's. If the wedding is during hubby's custody time, he should consider ignoring the ex.

Of course, this has nothing to do with bff, it's all about ex gettig another whack at hubby.
Posted by Hunter78 on November 2, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
6
I'm trying to type out advice/commentary for TAFCA . . . . but everything I say comes out preachy. And it's divorce - if the exwife's being this big of a bitch now, you're in for a long hard slog with this woman. Grin and bear it? Get used to it? Tell her to fuck herself?

Ok don't do that last one. But this is just the beginning.
Posted by Canadian eh? on November 2, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
7
Concerning the woman with the fiance's crazy ex wife: honey I've been there. This woman will use her kids against you and your fiance as long as you let her walk all over you. I say stand your ground and keep your friend and her kids in the wedding because they are all important to you and you want all of them to share in your big day. She has no good reason to keep their daughter out of the wedding. stand your ground.
Posted by Nikki in MN on November 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM · Report this
saxfanatic 8
Sorry for venting my pickiness without first saying that the advice to TAFCA was splendid.
Posted by saxfanatic on November 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM · Report this
9
The whole TAFCA question started off as sort of the Platonic Ideal of a boring-ass Dear Abby-type question. Wedding, people getting all picky and weird about guests, over-attention to meaningless details, etc.., yawn. But then there's the whole Savage-ish twist, swooping in and saving it from banality. A prostitute! Non-hysterical talk of sex work! The phrase "logically consistent dick!"

So glad this exists in the world!

jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.co…
Posted by inbed http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.com on November 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
10
If TAFCA and her fiancé have to drop the kids from the wedding, the explanation to them must not be, "Ask your mother." For what could the answer be?

"Because your father's new wife is friends with a very bad lady, and we're not friends with people like that, are we?"

The ex may be tempted to drop that turd in the wedding punchbowl anyway, but don't let's ask for it.
Posted by Steve T. on November 2, 2011 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 11
Fantastic advice from Dan to TAFCA. I would go a step further and say that as a general rule children should not be asked to participate at all in their parent's subsequent weddings. As a child I went through this process. Even though I knew my mom was crazy and irrational with her hatred of dad's new woman, it still sucks to have to stand beside the new couple knowing your presence is causing your mother intense pain.
Posted by Tim Horton on November 2, 2011 at 10:13 AM · Report this
shw3nn 12
You say there is a chance that the kids don't want to be a part of the wedding. Maybe there is more to this letter that wasn't published but, isn't it possible that the daughter told the Mom that she didn't want to be in the wedding and the Mom said, "I'll take the blame for that. I'm the ex, I'm to be hated anyway."

Like speaks to like so, it's not a fair sample, but all of my divorced friends put their children first in every way, even by being desperate to protect the relationship their kids have with their father by any means necessary.

That does happen. There are women who come out of divorce with that attitude.
Posted by shw3nn on November 2, 2011 at 10:14 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 13
My dad had my brother, sister, and me involved in his wedding no. three (of six for those keeping score at home) when I was about 5. It was not a comfortable experience in any way - even at that age, I could tell that we were there for window dressing.

So I'm in agreement with 11 and others - use this as an opportunity to let the kids off the hook. Assuming you're not royalty, you don't need a flower girl and ring bearer to get married.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on November 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM · Report this
gttim 14
I am going to go with the adult wedding. In fact, all kids should stay at home. You can have a little "wedding party" with the kids later- just you, your husband and them.

You really want to stand up to exes whenever you can, but this is probably not the time. This could bite you, since the BFF is a sex worker. Call the bluff of the ex. In fact, if your husband-to-be has visitation that weekend, he should turn it down completely. If there is one thing many exes do not want on their free weekend, it is to get stuck with their kids. Calling the bluff will make her think long and hard about pulling that shit again.
Posted by gttim on November 2, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
troyguy2 15
To the lady who's getting married with the BFF Escort and the Crazy Fiance's Ex...

Just Lie. Tell her "fine, she's out of the wedding party", and then its set. Go ahead with your wedding, have your BFF in the wedding party, and deal with it afterwards. Problem solved.
Posted by troyguy2 on November 2, 2011 at 10:58 AM · Report this
16
Re: TAFCA -- The only way that Mom should have any leverage in this situation is if the wedding falls during her custody week and she is using that fact to withhold them if she doesn't get her way. If so, just tell the kids that Mom wants her custody time and leave it at that. Mom will have to be the one to contradict an otherwise perfectly innocent and rational (albeit selfish-sounding) excuse with her crazy talk. For what it's worth, if she intends to use the BFF-is-a-bad-woman tactic to tarnish the relationship, don't believe for a minute that it will stop after the wedding day.

If the wedding is during your custody week, go along meekly with Mom's demands leading up to the date -- meaning imply that the kids will not stand up, but don't pass custody back to her -- then ignore her (or not as you see fit) on the actual date. She really has no say in this except for what you grant her.

That said, it if were me, it would be a lot simpler to omit them and have the wedding party be all adults. As long as you haven't already involved the kids, it's completely simple. If they've already been invited to participate, however, you have to find a way to discreetly disinvite them. Doing it in a way that requires the ex to be the bad guy is preferable. Given her tactics, she already IS the bad guy; she should be prepared to own it.
Posted by avast2006 on November 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM · Report this
17
WAMEA could look for a dominant bottom. Being dominant is less about the acts performed and more about the attitude and how they are performed. Just a thought.
Posted by EricC_DC on November 2, 2011 at 11:05 AM · Report this
18
I think some of you are missing that there are a *lot* of places where prostitutes are very much looked down upon. The ex really could file for a change in custody arrangement based on the fiance not providing a safe, positive environment for his children. (I disagree with this argument, but she certainly could try it in family court.) Even going to court to answer the claim would be a pain in the ass, and he could lose. He really could lose access to his kid over this, depending on what judge he gets.

So Dan's right. Is this the hill you want to die on?
Posted by clashfan on November 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM · Report this
19
@14: My read on the ex in this situation is that she will be only too happy to take the kids for the weekend, especially if by removing them she casts a shadow over the wedding. I don't think pawning them off on her when it's your custody week will work as a means of calling her bluff to discourage future shit.

Also, and sorry to repeat myself, but I think it is important to note that the BFF being a sex worker is the sort of thing that an angry ex could take to the court AT ANY TIME, not just over the wedding party. I don't believe that Mom will be placated by taking the kids out of the wedding party. She will continue to use this to fuck with you as long as she is able to. If the threat of court action has you cowed now, be prepared to back down again and again and again.
Posted by avast2006 on November 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
20
@12 In that case she shouldn't use the prostitute as a reason.

Now it is 'either the prostitute or my daughter has to leave' while in your case it would be 'my daughter will not participate', so I am afraid it is not a nice mom who stand up for her daughter but a hateful woman who wants to spoil the fun.
Posted by Tetsuo on November 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
GQbd 21
#12 has a good point. There is always a bunch of emotional shit swirling around weddings as well as divorces so when you mix the two it's not shit on shit, it's shit squared. Without open communication between TAFCA, her groom and his children everyone is just thrashing about in the dark and there is no way to know what's going on or who is going to be hurt.

My main complaint about Dan's advice is that I did not see it involving consultation with the groom. Yeah, grooms are suppose to traditionally just show up and shut up, but there is a danger of resentment if the bride does not get his buy in (and vice verse) on whatever is decided.

Posted by GQbd on November 2, 2011 at 11:22 AM · Report this
22
The only problem with Dan's advice to TAFCA is when he says "I think you should drop the kids, not your BFF, from your wedding party" - he doesn't seem interested in addressing the unpleasant tsouris that could arise when this "advice" is brought to the attention of the groom, aka the children's dad. Isn't it likely, or at least possible, that he'd prefer to have his kids in the wedding party than her F, regardless of how BF she is? And wouldn't that result in a huge unpleasant conflict between bride & groom?
Posted by wayne on November 2, 2011 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 23
I think Dan's advice to TAFCA is right on. TAFCA, if you're reading this, if you want the kids to be part of you & your new hubby's life, you're gonna have to do some grinning & bearing it. I myself would not follow the suggestions of people saying they'd just lie to the ex - she'll hear about it after, & is that really the pattern you want to set for your married life - OR the example to give to those 2 kids? I'd talk to the kids, see how they'd feel about not being in the wedding - I also bet they'll be relieved - & keep your BFF in.

This is, however, something the ex can hang over you at any time, so you should have the hubby make it clear to her that the BFF & the kids won't be crossing paths much, to ensure your future happiness with this guy.

Damn you America & your sex-negative attitudes!

& WAR, leave your ex alone. Obviously you drove her a little bit crazy, whatever you did. Let it go, let her heal.

Dan, you are totally aces this week. Thumbs up.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on November 2, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 24
21 & 22 BOTH raised the point I'd meant to put in but hit post instead of edit. How important the children being involved in TAFCA's wedding should be a factor. But weigh it carefully against how much like a Gorgon the ex will be over it.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on November 2, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
25
To TAFCA; just tell the mom that you hired your best friend as a nanny, so she's no longer a hooker. Problem solved.
Posted by Texans on November 2, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
26
Mothers and/or fathers who make a catastrophe out of their divorce injure their children grievously for the rest of their lives. Take note.
Posted by yesyesImonewhoknows on November 2, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
27
@21,22: Don't worry about the groom not having been consulted. Almost certainly the ex was communicating directly to the groom, who now has to play referee between the crazy ex and his fiancee.

I do agree with Dan and others that there is a good chance the kids would prefer not to be involved in the wedding. Being a participant conveys an impression of approval by the participants. First, they may well not approve (this is likely the person who broke up their family). Second, they probably have a keen sense that they will be hurting their mother by appearing to take sides.

FWIW, my bet is that the son isn't the child of the ex, so the ranting about sexual double standards is well taken on general principles, but probably moot in this case.
Posted by avast2006 on November 2, 2011 at 11:56 AM · Report this
28
TAFCA - I concur with others, if it's during his periods of care and control, then it's TS for the mom. She can try to bring a motion to prevent the children from being involved in the wedding, but unless it's a pagan wedding and the children will be sacrificed, no judge will care what the maid of honor does (a non-escort wedding party member may always end up hooking up with another party member). The court will in all likelihood hammer the mother so hard on costs for trying to prevent the children from benig involved with the new wedding of their father and his new partner. (disclaimer, I am a Canadian divorce lawyer - your laws and milage may vary)
Posted by Cdn_legal on November 2, 2011 at 11:59 AM · Report this
29
Great Advice to WAR. It's often hard to distinguish what we want to do to assuage our own guilt and what we want to do for the other person, particularly when it's a really ugly breakup. I kind of needed to hear this myself, for slightly different reasons. Here's to avoiding douchebaggery.
Posted by shedumpedmebeforeIcoulddumpher on November 2, 2011 at 12:06 PM · Report this
30
When my father remarried, which was 13 months after leaving my mother, one month after the divorce was final, substantially before the annulment came through, and to the woman noticeably closer to my age than his (I was 16), my 13-year-old sister was in the wedding party and to all appearances happy about it. She's not noted for her sensitivity. I refused to be in the wedding party, but was forced to attend, and sit in a front pew, where I sobbed miserably and noisily throughout the entire thing, thoroughly embarrassing my father. This wasn't deliberate; I was traumatized by the divorce, and by details like being mistaken for my stepmother's older sister.

I eventually ended up estranged from my father for fifteen years. And I still can't stand that bleach-blonde, silicon-boobed, over-botoxed bimbo. Or, for that matter, my sister, whose propensity for treating my mother insensitively kept right on going through her own wedding.

So yeah, might want to leave the kids out of it.
Posted by Susan on November 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this
31
I'd recommend that WAMEA build up his skills in areas that might appeal to potential dominant partners. Learn how to mix drinks (and demonstrate early on with his date's favorite drink); learn to give professional quality massages; get a good job so the two of you can live comfortably; do your best to stay in excellent physical and mental health. If you're a catch, you'll have more choice in partners, and will probably be able to find someone who isn't keen on anal.

One other tip: if you say, "I like to be dominated, but I don't like anal," some fraction of men will think you are saying: "Fucking my ass is a great way to dominate me." So if it's a serious limit to you, be crystal clear about the consequences if your partner pushes past your limit.
Posted by EricaP on November 2, 2011 at 12:08 PM · Report this
shw3nn 32
@20 What we have is TAFCA's version of her fiance's version of his conversation with his ex wife.

It's not hard to imagine the ex saying she won't allow her daughter to participate, citing the BFF as the reason (because she would have to have some reason) and thinking that would be that. Then, by the time it gets to us...

I'm just saying it's a possibility.

21 is exactly right. This is murky business. Everybody's gonna have some big feelings.
Posted by shw3nn on November 2, 2011 at 12:10 PM · Report this
33
What's a Christmas ham? I mean, is it just, you know, a Christmas ham? Or is it some delightfully nasty hip sex thing I don't know about (there are many of those)? And yes, I know that fucking an actual Christmas ham might well be delightfully nasty.
Posted by turtlemilk on November 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
34
How old are the children in TAFCA's letter? Other than referring to them as a boy and a girl (as opposed to a young man and young woman, or as teenagers), there are no clues. Dan's advice is good, but it would still help me picture the various scenarios if I knew they were in the 3-5 age range or in the 10-12 or in the 16-18. Knowing would help me get a handle on whether they really would like to be in the wedding party.

But then, I don't understand the whole thing from a different vantage point. I don't get the whole need-a-maid-of-honor/ need-a-fluffy-white-dress/ need-the-kids-to-dress-up sort of wedding in the first place. For a second wedding, and it's obviously his second, I'd say the classy way to go would be to go to a justice of the peace just with the witnesses, then throw a celebration daytime reception-barbecue with no delineation as to who's the closest friend/maid of honor.
Posted by Crinoline on November 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Report this
35
That study published in the "Journal of Sexual Medicine" is really interesting, where can we found the list of the "1,300 combinations of activities" ?

Oh and the podcast was so funny this week :D !
Posted by Amour on November 2, 2011 at 12:41 PM · Report this
36
Re: Researchers documented more than "1,300 combinations of activities."

Really? Just how large are the groups these men are having sex with?
Posted by cockyballsup on November 2, 2011 at 12:45 PM · Report this
37
WAMEA, maybe you just haven't had the right anal in the right mood. I never really liked it until we discovered that my partner licking and nibbling my neck and ears for a few minutes turns me from a top into a raving anal slut bottom. The same thing happens when coming down from having smoked some pot.
Posted by cockyballsup on November 2, 2011 at 12:50 PM · Report this
38
I wholeheartedly agree with #34. Second weddings with all the hoopla strikes me as ridiculous. Saying in front of everybody and your kids, no less,the whole "'til death do us part," etc seems a little embarrassing, doesn't it?
Posted by aeros66 on November 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
39
About WAR - if you actually cared about your exes feelings, you wouldn't - or shouldn't - have completely broken contact after three months. If you wanted to know how she was doing, you would have answered her calls before she showed up at your house. If she isn't over you by now, asking how she's handling a breakup that happened a year ago is only going to bring back old hurt feelings, and possibly more craziness. You made the decision to cut her out of your life when you first ignored her call.

That said, I don't agree with 3. Having just been dumped, I do want to be friends with my ex. I agree with Dan - it's probably better to inquire through third parties, than directly ask your ex how they're handling things, but if you wait too long, they'll assume you want nothing to do with them. Especially if they try to reconnect and you ignore them.
Posted by ROC on November 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
40
Dan's advice to TAFCA was excellent, so the only thing I have to add is this: The problem of who gets to be in the wedding party, the sex-worker-best-friend or the children-of-the-groom, disappears when you drop the expectation of a wedding with a walk down the aisle, a wedding party, and a fluffy white dress. Skip the sex positive aspect for a second, and just look at this as an etiquette problem. Americans are in love with wedding productions. We pay attention to filling roles. Someone has to give the bride away, and then we struggle what to do when the father isn't appropriate to fulfil that duty for some reason. The mothers of the bride and groom get to argue over dresses. We stratify our friends by deciding who is a good enough friend to be a bridesmaid, who gets the top position as maid of honor, and who merely rates an invitation but doesn't get to wear flowers. Don't get me started on A list and B list invitations.

This is a 2nd wedding for him obviously. Why not skip the theatrics? Go to City Hall for a marriage certificate. Choose anyone you know for the witnesses. Throw a barbecue-celebration later in the week for your friends and family. Want to entertain more formally? Fine, throw a formal reception, and hire a band. But leave off the aisle, the matching dresses, the flower girl, the ring bearer, and the maid of honor bit.
Posted by Crinoline on November 2, 2011 at 1:04 PM · Report this
El Bruce 41
What exactly is "fucking someone's Christmas ham" a euphemism for? I'd never heard of that technique.
Posted by El Bruce on November 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM · Report this
42
WAMEA - I'm going to second the advice from cockyballsup. In my experience, anal can be REALLY good and REALLY bad, but it rarely falls in the middle. And much of it depends on the skill level of the top. If you've only tried anal a couple of times, you might want to think back on the experience level and attitude of the guys who tried topping you before. Some guys, especially young guys, just don't know what they are doing. Selfish jerks don't care to or bother to take their time and do it right.

Now, it is entirely possible that you just don't like it and never will. But I've known more than a few gay guys who thought they didn't like it after a few tries and loved it once they tried it with someone who knew what to do.
Posted by Tom Winter on November 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM · Report this
43
Never contact the crazy ex ever again. It won't bring closure for either one of you. If you feel that you in some way provoked her to the point of emotional distraught that she did something out of character, opening that wound again won't help her. What you need to do is learn from your mistakes (even if she was the crazier one you still have to acknowledge your own mistakes) and don't do what you did to her to anyone else. Leave the ex alone. Dragging it out is more cruel than letting it be.

No good will come of talking it out. It's going to come across as selfish and controlling. It's also completely co-dependent. It's selfish, because you're not thinking about how it would make her feel. You're thinking about your own guilt and you want to hear her say that you didn't do anything fucked up- if you feel guilty even after she went berzerk, then you probably did do something fucked up. Just man up and accept that you made some mistakes- that's what happens in relationships. People make mistakes and there's a huge learning curve.

Also, you are not responsible for her coming to your house and getting arrested, no matter how much of an asshole you were-I've dated some real assholes who really hurt me and did fucked up shit, but I never went to anyone's house drunk or damaged any property or physically attacked anyone. I just took my sorry ass to therapy, which is what she should be doing- but that's up to her to do, b/c she's a grown-up. You don't have to fix anything for her.

What she did is on her and what you did is on you. But under no circumstances should you contact her ever again. You don't need to console her- that will only make her feel needy and pathetic. You don't need her to get her approval to move on. Just learn from the past, which is what every body else has to do also. You're not special. What's done is done and move on.
More...
Posted by just move on on November 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM · Report this
44
Wait a minute . . . now she shouldn't have a wedding at all? When did this come into play? Why shouldn't she have the wedding she wants?

Ceremonies and rituals are important. I'm unclear on why LW should just shove that all aside.
Posted by clashfan on November 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM · Report this
45
Re: WAR -- If you really did treat her badly (especially if it was badly enough to drive her to that level of despair), then there is no way you can reestablish contact at this point without looking like you just want to pick off the scab and dig around in the wounds with your fingers, just to see what you can stir up. Do both of you a favor, and leave her the hell alone.

Do like Dan says, and do a little online lurking, if you need to settle your own conscience. But do NOT initiate any sort of contact, direct or indirect. I.e., no getting a friend to mention to her that you were wondering how she is and hope that she is doing okay. Mutual friends can look out for her best interests and report to you, but your name should stay strictly buried.
Posted by avast2006 on November 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this
46
Thanks again, Dan, for another great column!
Holy SHIT!! WAR, have you ever seen the movie, "Fatal Attraction"??
Okay, you've made some poor choices, and admittedly hurt someone you once loved, but Dan's right--cut the ties and move on!
I'm so much better off living my life and having absolutely ZERO to do with my Ex-From-Hell. I recommend you do the same.

@33 & @41: It sounds like a crude slang term for female genitalia :
vagina / clitoris / uterus/etc. (see Dan Savage's reference to vagina / clitoris etc. described as "canned hams dropped from great heights").

I know---I don't really see my pussy being compared to a Christmas ham, myself. Makes me wanna heat up a frozen dinner instead!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM · Report this
47
....and yet I'm still laughing my ass off over Dan's "shitting eggs" comment. Go figure.
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 2, 2011 at 1:53 PM · Report this
48
Can we not vilify the TAFCA mom? I am a stepmom myself, and if my stepson's mom expressed discomfort about this setup, and he were at a sensitive age, guess what: I would not put my stepson's mom, or him, in this position. I'm also not surprised mom is extra sensitive about her daughter. Of course similar concerns apply to boys, but we don't know what ages, other factors are at play here. And girls are as a group particularly vulnerable in many communities: the stats on sexual abuse, pre-teen girl-on-boy blowjob parties, and boob jobs before they have college tuition covered...I don't blame her for wanting to stay especially engaged with her daughter's exposure to sexuality in the big world outside.
Because we're a progressive audience, it's easy to slap down the mom for being intolerant and controlling. But that misses the point: TAFCA is getting married to a partner who has children. So she's about to become a mom herself (though she refers to them as "his" children...). And that means putting the kids first, not creating stress for them if it can be avoided. She can draw boundaries and set priorities so her own needs get honored. But if she expects her needs to come above the kids', it's going to suck for everyone.
Posted by 40yearsinthedesert on November 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM · Report this
49
40Years, I'm not sure we're on the same page. How would the kiddo find out what the BFF does for a living? I don't think she's going to wear a stripper outfit to the ceremony.

I don't think kids' needs should always trump adult needs. LW wants her best friend to stand for her at her wedding. There's nothing wrong with that. I agree that the kiddos should not be subject to age-inappropriate discussion of sexuality in general, and of prostitution in particular. But there's no evidence of that going on here. Mom is making a power play.
Posted by clashfan on November 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 50
@44 - "Wait a minute . . . now she shouldn't have a wedding at all? When did this come into play? Why shouldn't she have the wedding she wants?"

Because the wedding she wants probably comes at the expense of the children (think of the children!). Look, it goes against every moral fiber for me to judge people for their actions, and perhaps I still have a chip on the old shoulder for having gone through this situation (Susan @30 - your post made my day, are we related?). But once you are marrying someone with kids, especially young kids, your need for your ideal wedding comes second to the emotional well-being of the kids that resulted from the first "till death do us part" union.

Posted by Tim Horton on November 2, 2011 at 2:19 PM · Report this
51
@50, how are you getting that: "Because the wedding she wants probably comes at the expense of the children"?

We have zero evidence that the kids here are traumatized at all. We don't know how long Dad has been split from the kids' mom(s). We don't even know how old they are.

If she sees the kids as props or show ponies for Her Big Day, then yeah, she's behaving badly. If she wanted to include the kiddos to help them feel like part of the family, but they want out of the ceremony, then she (and Dad) should let them off the hook. But nowhere do I see anything that says the kids are actually bothered by any of this.
Posted by clashfan on November 2, 2011 at 2:40 PM · Report this
52
@37 / 42 - I agree with you about anal, but I think he's entitled to take it off the table while dating. I think he's smart to look for someone who doesn't demand that of him. Over time they'll build trust in each other, and maybe anal can be an occasional fun treat. Or not.
Posted by EricaP on November 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM · Report this
GQbd 53
I too would like to know what is meant by "fuck . . . your Christmas ham" (is that anything like boning the ham, or cutt'n the ham, or gett'n a slice of that ham, or making the ham squeal like a pig?) but I'm afraid that Dan may have meant it literally and I can't see going there. Besides, my counters are too high and my kitchen windows look out on the neighbors, and vice verse.
Posted by GQbd on November 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Betty Cracker 54
But Dan, if the bossy top man fucks a Christmas ham, wouldn't that be too much like fucking a >GASP< woman!?!
Posted by Betty Cracker http://www.vennesund.no/ on November 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM · Report this
55
Hi TAFCA,

I used to be a card carrying Naturist, but stopped when I had kids. Why, you ask? Because of "The Good Mother", and being in MA (despite the marrying equality aspect, we still had blue laws till recently, and being attacked by the child protection agency types is not an option.), I wasn't going to risk ANYthing. That was when the kids were young, and I was crazier protective. So I can see being cautious around the ex. Now I have teenagers, and stress body acceptance WITH clothes. There are times and places when choosing your battles makes sense, and others when you turn it into a future win (akido style). I would suggest your battle should be whether the kids attend the wedding, and win the long haul. The best revenge would be a nurturing and fun future as a family, despite the ex.

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on November 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM · Report this
56
I love when people get all enthusiastic about getting married. Seriously. It's so romantic that two lovebirds act like they're desperate to have the ceremony.. especially if they're not particularly religious or whatev.. That they do it for LOVE!!! But, man, this kind of sh** (TAFCA) SOOO turns me off of ever wanting a wedding or any hassle associated with marriage.
Posted by feelme? on November 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM · Report this
57
@48: what clashfan said in 49. The only way that I see Daughter even finding out what BFF does for a living -- particularly in context of the wedding itself, as if there is going to be some huge traumatizing reveal at the event -- is if Mom makes a stink about it.

Nor is it reasonable to claim that the wedding itself is going to be some sort of life-changing role-model event for Daughter. It would be one thing to object to BFF constantly hanging around the house and acting trashy. But at the wedding? Oh, please. BFF is probably going to be on her best behavior -- certainly for the duration of the ceremony, for god's sake, and chances are very good that will be the daughters only exposure to BFF during the whole day.

Sorry, but no. Choice of maid of honor is about as personal as it gets. Mom/Ex is trying to fuck with Bride's prerogatives, where she has no business interfering. At best, she is sincere but irrational. At worst, she is being dishonest, vindictive, and manipulative.
Posted by avast2006 on November 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM · Report this
58
It says something that when Dan wrote "...your Christmas ham...", I thought, "that's a new one. I wonder what anatomy THAT refers to."

And he literally meant the part of the pig served on Dec. 25th.
Posted by Robin in SoCal on November 2, 2011 at 4:49 PM · Report this
59
Dan's right. Our society is in a very screwed up phase right now. We feel angry, confused, and we don't know where to turn or what to do. But we do know we want to whack somebody. So we look around for situations where the concept 'child' and the concept 'sex' are somewhere in the same area code. If they are, then we offn go royal apeshit.

Remember the poor schmuck in WI was it? who fantasized about fucking little boys? He never talked about it, never did anything about it, and kept alla this safely locked in his pervy mind -- and in his hard drive. It didn't matter. As soon as the thought police found it there in a search for something else, they locked him up and threw away the key. And hardly anybody said otherwise: who wants to defend a pedophile?

That's exactly what will happen here some day. Even if there's no excuse, the mother will one day make one up. Or more likely someone close to her will convince her to do so. Pretty soon they'll come for Dad and his bride with a mob bearing torches and pitchforks, and a DA who swears Dad wants to turn his kid into a streetwalker.

Absurd? Unjust? Yep. Look at all what's happened here over the last 12 years and just try to call this cautionary note alarmist.
Posted by Token Straight Old dude on November 2, 2011 at 4:50 PM · Report this
60
Dan's answer to WAR was excellent. An example to illustrate. This one isn't from my own experience. It's from a friend's. They broke up 30 years ago. He contacted her surrounding a school reunion. She agreed to meet him. After all that time, and though she was happily married, he began the whole "I never forgot you" schtick." She knew enough to get up and leave. When people are too crazy, keep away.

That said, when people aren't too crazy, it is possible to maintain friendships after some time has passed. I felt ill-treated when a man ditched me. I didn't go crazy on him (though I did write some naive we-can-still-be-friends letters). A few years after the ditching, he contacted me with a heartfelt apology that's still meaningful to me. We've kept in touch over the years, and I think he's a good guy, not perfect, but a decent person. I credit him with making sure I didn't become a bitter woman who is sour on men. I'm able to see them as whole people, maybe a little flawed, but not essentially out to hurt me.
Posted by Crinoline on November 2, 2011 at 4:53 PM · Report this
61
"WAR" is just wanting to get off on the drama. If we consider that we ALL create what we have in our lives then he did, indeed, create the situation and instead of growing the fuck up and having a healthy relationship with another human being, he wants to get a cheap thrill off of seeing someone else in misery. The guy is an asshole, no matter what defenses he chooses to use to lie to himself and attempt to convince the rest of the world how "normal" he is. Ha, ha, ha, ha.. No, love, the "crazy" one isn't the ex. It is YOU, my dear. No such thing as a "crazy ex" and anyone who tells you they exist is just arrogantly putting themselves on some self-created elevated plane. It is almost always MEN who refer to women as "crazy exes." Hmmmmmm, interesting. I can bet you that they weren't "crazy" until they spent time with these men. I just went out with a man who kept referring to his "crazy ex" until, finally, I said, "look, why in the world do you even ATTRACT those sorts of people? I don't know anyone like that and my friends and I treat each other with dignity. Sort yourself out." He high-tailed it out of my life. Whatever, dudes.
Posted by Frederica Bimble on November 2, 2011 at 5:07 PM · Report this
62
there is a special place in hell for parents who use their children as pawns in a divorce.
Posted by little_kitten on November 2, 2011 at 5:08 PM · Report this
63
@7: Clearly, you have no experience with crazy ex wives and custody of children.

Neither do I personally, but I know plenty of people who do, and believe me, the last thing you ever want to do is "stand your ground". Because just like Dan says, all it takes is one judge who agrees with the crazy ex wife, (and women are usually the ones who get custody of children even without BFFs who are prostitutes) and suddenly he has no custody rights whatsoever, unless he spends years in court fighting to get it back.
Posted by gromm on November 2, 2011 at 5:19 PM · Report this
64
Ms. Bimble, the woman showed up drunk at his place at midnight, choked him, kicked in a window, and had to be carted off by the police. That smells of crazy to me.

I do agree that WAR behaved badly himself, and at this point is in it for the drama. If your larger point is that our society has created a 'crazy ex-girlfriend' meme when more frequently, it's men who are stalker abusers, then I agree with that also. I just think that this particular woman acted pretty crazy herself.
Posted by clashfan on November 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM · Report this
65
WAR - message to ALL of you men out there who simply "end" relationships by ignoring phone calls. Grow. the. hell. up! Take those few minutes to tell the person YOU chose to have for a relationship "why" it's over or at the very least, do your best to leave it in a dignified manner. I can remember how many times some asshole young man in his '20s would just ignore me like I didn't exist when he'd decided he was going to move on. These sorts of actions just show the world how much of a kid you are and also should be a clear indication for you to understand that YOU are not ready for ANY sort of relationship. Who in the world put that memo out to dull men that "ignoring her when she phones will send her the message that it's over." That's not how it "works," kids but it IS a recipe for burnt properties, broken windows and black eyes. For me, nowadays, I don't give ANY man my number unless they behave like a friend for at least a few months. People used to say I was "harsh" because I told young men, back in the day "why" I didn't want to see them anymore but guess what? They had the chance to either look at themselves and say, "so that's why I can't keep a girlfriend" or to simply ignore the reasons but they KNEW and that was all that mattered. They were treated with dignity and respect. I, and alot of women, will tell you that ignoring another human being as if they don't exist is FAR more "harsh" then just telling another human being straight up what's what. I'd rather hear the truth than wonder "what the hell did I do?" WAR needs to get over his shit and get some friggin' therapy to sort out why he feels a need to control everything in his surroundings. Asshole.
Posted by Frederica Bimble on November 2, 2011 at 5:28 PM · Report this
nocutename 66
@65: Nothing in WAR's letter says he ended the relationship by ignoring phone calls. He says that three months after the relationship was over for real, he stopped contact with her, which is different. By his own admission, he let it drag on longer than he knew he should have, which was no doubt painful, but he doesn't sound guilty of the behavior you're charging him with.
Posted by nocutename on November 2, 2011 at 5:53 PM · Report this
67
@64 For the win!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM · Report this
68
Ms Erica@31 - The second paragraph is spot on. The first doesn't necessarily have anything off in it, but it's started me on my usual downward spiral into lamenting this really distressing tendency to fetishize straight men as a collective. I used to think in reply to such things that we could do better, but it increasingly seems not to be the case.
Posted by vennominon on November 2, 2011 at 7:30 PM · Report this
xjuan 69
To WAR: Stay away. Resolve your drama some other way but don't contact your ex. If you need to put an end and take off some of the guilt you carry, write her a letter... and burn it! But don't get close to her. Ever again.

To WAMEA: I can imagine many gay men wanting to be dominant precisely to get what they want up theirs. I believe stereotypes are inconvenient, and top-dominant is one of those. Come on! It's 2011 already!

Posted by xjuan on November 2, 2011 at 7:43 PM · Report this
xjuan 70
Regarding kids in second weddings, thank you for asking. Now I know. Next time I will ask our girls to come as guests, as it should be. In this case, I agree with Dan too.
Posted by xjuan on November 2, 2011 at 7:43 PM · Report this
71
I don't mean to be on her side really, because she's pulling a bitch move, but isn't it possible that the ex wife doesn't want her kids, the ones that came out of her body, hers hers hers, personally involved in her ex hubby's wedding to the new wife, her replacement? That's not an entirely hard to understand sentiment. She's playing it out wrong, because she can't say "I just don't want you to be happy" to her ex-husband, and is being a bit crazed about it taking it out on the new wife, but it's an understandable sentiment. Hubby could ask the ex what the cover story should be for pulling the kids out of the wedding - telling them "Your mom thinks it might be a little much to ask, too much pressure on you guys, a little inappropriate" would probably be a fair statement everyone could agree on including the ex-wife, would put whatever blame there is on the proper person, and take the kids off the hook. Sounds a bit better for all concerned, resolves things without being terribly accusatory, keeps the BFF in the wedding, and doesn't give the ex-wife the fight she's looking for. The kids will still be there, I'm assuming she'd have mentioned if the kids were totally banned from the wedding.
Posted by gnot on November 2, 2011 at 7:55 PM · Report this
72
Ex wife also might object because it is in fact a little unfair to ask the kids to be in the wedding. They still love their mom. Probably still miss when they were a family together. Not exactly looking out for their needs to have them be in it.
Posted by gnot on November 2, 2011 at 7:58 PM · Report this
73
Regarding children in weddings, whether it be a first, second, or what have you...don't have them. Especially if they are toddlers. All the weddings I've attended have had children in them, and none of them went well. The idea of subjecting children with the attention span of a puppy to silently participating in a long, boring (to them) ritual is rediculous.
Posted by TnDan on November 2, 2011 at 8:21 PM · Report this
74
I'd like to know where people get the idea kids shouldn't be included in second weddings. That goes against absolutely everything any psychologist has ever said about the subject. In fact it's often suggested to give the kids special jewelry and have some sort of "family vows." And most kids I know with decent parents are dying to be in the wedding. It's fun and they get to dress up. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a MoH or flower girls at a second (or more) wedding. For all we know this is a simple backyard affair playing dressup in the best sunday dress. And so what if it's not? Not everyone swears "till death do us part" anyway.

Also, the LW is perfectly right to refer to the children as HIS. They are NOT hers and they are NOT going to be hers and she will NOT be their mother. She will be a stepmother. It makes for much better relations when everyone is damned clear about their roles.

While the rebel in me wants to say "stand your ground" and the mother who coparents with her ex politely agrees this is mom making a power play there's just one little thing not sitting right here...

How did mom find out BFF is a sex worker (and why on earth are LW and her husband to be not staunchly denying this)? She "managed to figure out"??? WTF? What clues were dropped? I'm thinking that mom figures if she noticed, her daughter may as well. And I'm thinking that if the mom figured it out, BFF might be closer to skank than the nice polite member of society who happens to mix PTA meetings in her busy day of BJs than we at SL might be thinking.
Posted by wendykh on November 2, 2011 at 8:45 PM · Report this
75
It seems that the bride-to-be has bigger problems than the wedding. She had to either drop her friend or drop her fiance, for good. A stepmother with a prostitute for a best friend is an enduring invitation to custody problems for the groom-to-be, and treating the best friend as unwelcome in perpetuity isn't being much of a friend. I can't see how the LW can, for the wedding or for her future, have both people in her life.
Posted by One or the other on November 2, 2011 at 9:19 PM · Report this
nocutename 76
@74:
Why should the fiance and the lw have to "staunchly deny" the allegations that the BFF is a sex worker if she is? If they do, and the mom can prove they're lying, it's awkward as best, and if those that are talking about the father losing his custody over this are right, then the being caught in a lie about this issue wouldn't look good.
I agree with you that it would be preferable if the kids could take part in the wedding, in that it shows that dad isn't replacing them in his life and heart, but adding to them, but this is one of those battles he may not want to fight, because there's no clear winning.

Maybe I'm being overly naive, but has he tried talking to the mom, calmly, rationally, one-to-one in person, with enough time to really discuss what's going on?
Maybe he should give that a try. If mom still won't let daughter participate, they can come up with a consistent response to the kids, at the very least.
Posted by nocutename on November 2, 2011 at 10:31 PM · Report this
77
It seems that no one is commenting on Dan's URL posting. It's appalling that a gay kid was beaten up AND that the school only gave the bully a three-day suspension. One news article on the subject mentions that the kid who filmed the it might have been because of all the attention her video brought to the school district (or possibly because she was supporting the bully in some way). Either way, please, please see it for yourself at http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive….
Posted by DCKathy on November 2, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
78
That should have read "the kid who filmed it was disciplined: possibly because of all the attention her video brought."
Posted by DCKathy on November 2, 2011 at 11:15 PM · Report this
79
@68 - fetishes are weird. They are cultural, obviously, and they change over time, but affecting the angle & momentum of change seems difficult.
Posted by EricaP on November 2, 2011 at 11:29 PM · Report this
80
@74

"In fact it's often suggested to give the kids special jewelry and have some sort of "family vows."

I don't care what any fucking psychologist might say - I seriously doubt that any would have global advice of THAT nature - if anyone had tried to do "family vows" with me and either of my vile stepfathers, I would have spat on them.

I was thankfully not included in the first ceremony - too young - and for the second, I was old enough to recognise it for the travesty it was. No thank you, pretending that everything is peachy-keen when it patently isn't is NOT psychologically healthy.

If the kids are old enough - over, say, 7 - they should be ASKED whether they would like to go to the wedding. If they seem keen, then ASK if they want to be PART of the wedding. It should be done without the faintest hint of any obligation, and in fact a suggestion that they could go on a special outing with the other parent instead would make it crystal clear.
Posted by Trix on November 2, 2011 at 11:40 PM · Report this
81
Just wanted to point out:
For the ex boyfriend to lurk on his ex's Facebook account, her Wall privacy settings have to be "Public", in which case she is allowing anyone to lurk (or hasn't bothered to understsnd new FB settings).

He can also see some of her comments/posts if they have some mutual FB friends and she has some view settings for, "Friends of Friends" to see.

If all of her account is set for view by "Only Friends" and he isn't one, (which I assume he is not) then he can only lurk if one of her Facebook Friends allows him access to that "friend's" account. This is disloyalty on the part of her FB friend and (in my opinion) constitutes stalking on his part.

Posted by Xweatie on November 2, 2011 at 11:49 PM · Report this
82
Anybody else wondering if basement bedroom, WAR still lives with Mom and Dad and is such a loser he hasn't managed to find a new girlfriend? Now he's missing the sex and even an ex he drove crazy is better than nothing, if she'll have him back.
Posted by xweatie on November 3, 2011 at 12:02 AM · Report this
83
@60 Crinoline: Thank you for sharing your deeply moving story.
I can relate, too, in a similar way of dealing with letting go after a bad relationship. I have moved on, and while still single by choice, it's not due to bitterness or clinging to past hurts (I did that for too long!). I now live the joys of simply being single, on my own, and finally at peace.
All the best!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 3, 2011 at 12:33 AM · Report this
84
Ms Erica@79 - I still haven't recovered from that recent gem, "They're out because they can't be in." That really started me thinking that this particular case may be hopeless, with only an irrationally exuberant belief (which I do not possess) in The Rising Generation And Its Possibilities to offer against despair.
Posted by vennominon on November 3, 2011 at 3:40 AM · Report this
85
@61, have you ever been involved with someone who turned out to be bipolar? I have. Crazy ex-girlfriends exist. Your comment is so far from reality that I'm inclined to think you are someone's crazy ex-girlfriend yourself.
Posted by notfromaroundhere on November 3, 2011 at 3:46 AM · Report this
86
61-- One of the first signs of "crazy" is random quotation marks all over a disjointed paragraph. Keep away from people who do that. It's likely schizophrenia.
Posted by Crinoline on November 3, 2011 at 4:45 AM · Report this
87
TAFCA strikes me as potentially a bit of a strong-armer. I recall Hilda Rumpole's theory that people tend to keep marrying the same person, which one of Rumpole's clients did literally rather than figuratively.

I'm left with too many questions. Whose idea was it to include the children, and how did the other party take it? How did the children themselves really take to the idea, and how old are they? What's TAFCA's relationship with the children really like?

What does the fiance think about BFF's profession and the stigmatization of sex work in general, and why does TAFCA not mention this? I wouldn't bet on this, but I could easily envision TAFCA in some discussion early in the relationship making it painfully apparent that no boyfriend of hers would not be sex work-positive in whatever guise she deemed correct, and the future fiance deciding it wasn't worth a disagreement. At any rate, it does interest me that his opinion isn't noted. For this I am torn between guessing that his opinion doesn't matter to her and guessing that she's fudging over a sense that he's not really so thrilled about BFF's escorting himself.

Are the two women both happier relating only through their go-between, or is the arrangement basically being driven by one and conceded by the other? If they can't even meet and converse about it between themselves, how did they get to a point of including the children in the first place?

Looking ahead, has TAFCA prepared herself to show the appropriate deference to the ex regarding parenting when future differences in values arise? If she hasn't and presently doesn't, will she be on the opposite side of the circle when her children's stepmother inflicts the same on her? Or at least could she avoid trying to justify the turnaround by trying to make it about her (always) being right on the issues in question?

I foresee future letters to other advisors.
More...
Posted by vennominon on November 3, 2011 at 6:46 AM · Report this
88
Crazy exes do exist. I, fortunately, went from crazy to sane ex following my last dumping (I've used that sanity exercise many times since).

I think having kids in a wedding ceremony is a great idea, IF the ceremony is short and at least one adult is dedicated to caring for them for the duration (hey, you want a front row seat???). Having a dedicated, non drinking, adult for the reception is a great idea as well (ditto having a dedicated caretaker for the elderly as well; in my family an EMT on standby for dancing injuries is almost a given).

Remember, the wedding is the start. You can include the kids in your plans whenever you want afterwards.

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on November 3, 2011 at 7:17 AM · Report this
89
Dan was right about WAR keeping his distance. Since WAR glossed over his contribution to the demise of the relationship, we'll never know the whole story. Was the ex gf justified in her behavior? Of course not.
Almost 2 years ago my ex and I ended a 7 year relationship. After that long, it was hard for it to be amicable. He thought that we could somehow be friends, but in my eyes we had both done things to each other that while we may have been able to forgive to move on with our lives, would be hard to forget. But I at least had the guts to say to him- "I can't have contact with you. It's just not a healthy decision for me right now." Much better than the ambiguity of ignoring phone calls.
What I hope for WAR's ex is that she see a counselor. Doesn't have to be forever, but at least to help her sort out her feelings constructively so she can move on. I spent a good year working with a therapist to figure out my new identity post 7 year relationship- and now I'm able to give my best in all of my relationships- romantic, professional, etc.
WAR needs to realize that sometimes we do things to other people that we deeply regret. Dwelling on it probably won't solve anything but keep bringing up the hurt for the ex- if he wants to know how she's doing, he should stick to Facebook stalking or asking a friend. If WAR is truly sorry for what he did, he'd take the high road at this point.
Posted by ThinkOutLoud on November 3, 2011 at 7:37 AM · Report this
90
Dan you're my favorite, but really, the advice to LW1 is just wrong.

Someone's getting screwed, treated unfairly and possibly having their feelings hurt in this scenario - either the best friend, or the children who, through no fault of their own, can no longer participate in the wedding.

It's crappy to hurt the best friend, and tempting to stick it to the intolerant ex through the kids' disappointment, but the kids should totally win here and get to be in the wedding.

In part because they're children and won't be able to rationalize or understand the situation in the same way an adult would. The best friend can have hurt feelings, yet understand rationally why the situation has to suck the way it does and get over it. Little kids likely don't have those skills yet and will just feel left out and very hurt, with no understanding of why. It's crappy to do that to a kid.

Also, and probably most importantly, the LW has to make a go of creating a family with these kids. I can think of little that would torpedo that effort more than excluding them from the wedding.
Posted by Legiswriter on November 3, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this
91
TAFCA should just tell her fiance's ex-wife that she is mistaken: her friend isn't a prostitute, and she has no idea how the ex-wife got that impression. Crazy ex-wife lady doesn't deserve honesty in this.
Posted by MichelleZB on November 3, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
92
Legiswriter, I think you're missing that it's the girl's mother who is pulling the kid, not the LW. Any disappointment the girl feels is on the mom, not on LW. I don't think the LW should take the blame for that decision or the fallout from it.

I also don't think that every little thing has to be about the kids, all the time. This woman is allowed to have her best friend as her maid of honor.

MichelleZB, I don't know if lying here is the way to go. That might only compound the situation if it ever does come into court.
Posted by clashfan on November 3, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
TroseProse 93
Love your advice to WAR! I've had lots of ex's and so have my friends and they come back and it's all about THEM. "I" miss you. "I" want to know you're OK. "I" want you to forgive me.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you used the words, "a selfish desire to ease your guilty conscience".

And besides, the only way to truly ease a guilty conscience is to forgive yourself!
Posted by TroseProse http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Rose-Prose/214018118637755 on November 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 94
Excellent choice of letters and responses, Dan. Of course, TAFCA's letter raises lots of questions. How did the ex find out the BFF is a sex worker? Do they all live in a one-horse, one-hooker town, so that her identity is impossible to conceal? There's just too much unsaid about that issue.

I personally do not think it's appropriate for his kids, no matter whether they're young or old, to be made to participate in their dad's next wedding. [Reading some of the letters above has shown just how awkward and unpleasant it can be. And, really, offering the kids special jewellery (aka bribes) for the kids to participate goes against the concept of eagerness to be a part of it. In this case, I'd even sympathize with the ex (but certainly not her reasoning or gender distinction).]

As far as the kids are concerned, he could have been made to look like the bad guy in the breakup (the ex's behaviour certainly suggests she might be up for that), and to have them be a part of the official ceremony where they may be enticed to think of the other woman as their "new" mom too is not a good idea at all. Getting to know the kids and to interact with them should be entirely separate from the wedding.

I also think that TAFCA is entitled to all of the hoopla she's ever wanted in a wedding; just nix the flower girl and ring bearer. When it's just adults, it's usually the best man's job to hand the rings over.

Once they're married, TAFCA and hubby are going to need to figure out how to present a united front against any other intrusions from the ex into their new life together. It may not be a pretty sight.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on November 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM · Report this
95
TAFCA here. Thanks for the advice. I really love my stepchildren. They're amazing kids, and I didn't want them to feel left out of their father's wedding because I never want them to feel as if they've been left out of his new marriage. My fiance wanted them to feel included too. It never occurred to us that they might not want to participate in the wedding. As it turns out, my stepson doesn't want the responsibility of being the ring bearer or the scrutiny that comes with the job. His mom - the same ex-wife - remarried less than a year after she divorced their dad, and she gave both her kids big roles in the wedding, which my stepson hated but felt guilty telling her. Now he's walking down the aisle with his grandparents and happy to be watching the ceremony from the pew. Thanks for helping us avert that disaster, Dan and Sloggers.

My stepdaughter loves weddings and being a part of "big girl" things like a wedding party, which complicated matters. Until I asked my fiance why his wife didn't mind their son's involvement in the wedding party when their daughter couldn't be in it with my BFF, and he said that she wouldn't mind as much because he'd be in the groom's party and wouldn't spend much time around her. The ex-wife initially thought that having either child in the wedding would send the message that escorting and prostitution is okay - because prostitutes are still asked to be the maid of honor in their BFF's wedding, not shunned from polite society - but then decided her son would be with her ex, so she wouldn't have to worry.

So we suggested, and she accepted, to make my stepdaughter the ring bearer. Problem solved.

Thanks again, Sloggers, for helping my fiance and I ask the kids what they wanted!
Posted by TAFCA on November 3, 2011 at 12:14 PM · Report this
96
TAFCA here. Thanks for the advice. I really love my stepchildren. They're amazing kids, and I didn't want them to feel left out of their father's wedding because I never want them to feel as if they've been left out of his new marriage. My fiance wanted them to feel included too. It never occurred to us that they might not want to participate in the wedding. As it turns out, my stepson doesn't want the responsibility of being the ring bearer or the scrutiny that comes with the job. His mom - the same ex-wife - remarried less than a year after she divorced their dad, and she gave both her kids big roles in the wedding, which my stepson hated but felt guilty telling her. Now he's walking down the aisle with his grandparents and happy to be watching the ceremony from the pew. Thanks for helping us avert that disaster, Dan and Sloggers.

My stepdaughter loves weddings and being a part of "big girl" things like a wedding party, which complicated matters. Until I asked my fiance why his wife didn't mind their son's involvement in the wedding party when their daughter couldn't be in it with my BFF, and he said that she wouldn't mind as much because he'd be in the groom's party and wouldn't spend much time around her. The ex-wife initially thought that having either child in the wedding would send the message that escorting and prostitution is okay - because prostitutes are still asked to be the maid of honor in their BFF's wedding, not shunned from polite society - but then decided her son would be with her ex, so she wouldn't have to worry.

So we suggested, and she accepted, to make my stepdaughter the ring bearer. Problem solved.

Thanks again, Sloggers, for helping my fiance and I ask the kids what they wanted!
Posted by TAFCA1 on November 3, 2011 at 12:16 PM · Report this
97
95,96-TAFCA1-- How old are the kids?
Posted by Crinoline on November 3, 2011 at 12:22 PM · Report this
98
@95/96 - Awesome resolution! Bodes well for you guys being able to resolve other co-parenting issues in the future.
Posted by EricaP on November 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM · Report this
lizdini 99
Holy shit 1300 combinations!?! I guess being a straight woman means I don't have that much imagination!
Posted by lizdini on November 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM · Report this
100
This is what I wrote to the school and civic officials in Ohio in response to the video at tinyurl. Feel free to cut and paste it into any emails you might send.

The eyes of the world are on you.

If a child is being beaten up in a classroom for any reason, why is the perpetrator not being arrested and charged?
What values are your schools teaching when violence and hate-crimes are being tacitly accepted?
I am an amateur holocaust researcher. I can assure you that failure to respond adequately and swiftly to incidents such as the one that occurred in your school leads eventually to apathy and even encouragement for similar and greater incidents of intolerance and criminality.

It is your responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of your students and employees.
It is your responsibility to provide students with clear examples of unprejudiced justice and concern.
It is your responsibility to see that your students learn the true lessons from histories most noble and ignoble acts in their daily lives.

After you have had that bully arrested and charged, you should be having assemblies at all local schools to bring to life the issues of intolerance and hatred of anyone, any group, any creed.

Do it for the future, do it for the present, do it for the victims of the past. Do it because it is what the world needs.
Posted by Siddsmile on November 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM · Report this
ballard dude 101
I think Dan is right regarding the ex's ability to totally screw over the guy regarding their parenting plan. He COULD actually lose his time with his kids. If the wedding is on his weekend, of course he has decision-making ability for the kids, and the ex shouldn't have any say-so over the kids participation in the wedding. However, what if the ex has been violating the plan, not observing agreed-upon rights, and basically coercing her ex-hubby all along? Not that uncommon. The good fight can always be fought... but is this the time and place to do it?

The dad needs to be able to have his time without drama and b.s.... and he might need to legally revisit the whole thing to be able to do so.
Posted by ballard dude on November 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
102
Crinoline,

"I don't get the whole need-a-maid-of-honor/ need-a-fluffy-white-dress/ need-the-kids-to-dress-up sort of wedding in the first place."

What? No Crinolines? I'm disappointed.
Posted by Hunter78 on November 3, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
103
Dan's advice to TAFCA is spot - on. There's some really terrible advice from people who obviously have never had to deal with Family Court in the U.S. And it may be that since Dan writes from Seattle, that person is in Family Court in WA, where things that are SO MUCH MORE perverse than any question Dan has ever answered happen on a regular basis. Most people cannot imagine the violence perpetrated by the judiciary in this state against fathers.

The fact is that he is a dad, and if he is in most states, he is likely fucked, and if he is in WA state, he is really fucked -- and not in a good way. Run, run, run from this conflict. Seeing your kids over the long haul is way more important than one day. My judge has threatened to take away my kids because I write a political column. I know-- because he quotes me as he tells me he is going to deprive me of my children. I know it's unbelievable -- but along with gay marriage, Family Court is THE institution in more need of reform than any other.
Posted by LeftyRebel on November 3, 2011 at 7:07 PM · Report this
104
Dan's advice to TAFCA is spot - on. There's some really terrible advice from people who obviously have never had to deal with Family Court in the U.S. And it may be that since Dan writes from Seattle, that person is in Family Court in WA, where things that are SO MUCH MORE perverse than any question Dan has ever answered happen on a regular basis. Most people cannot imagine the violence perpetrated by the judiciary in this state against fathers.

The fact is that he is a dad, and if he is in most states, he is likely fucked, and if he is in WA state, he is really fucked -- and not in a good way. Run, run, run from this conflict. Seeing your kids over the long haul is way more important than one day. My judge has threatened to take away my kids because I write a political column. I know-- because he quotes me as he tells me he is going to deprive me of my children. I know it's unbelievable -- but along with gay marriage, Family Court is THE institution in more need of reform than any other. What has happened to me in Family Court actually highlights the need for non-sexist social reform of all institutions -- including gay marriage.
Posted by LeftyRebel on November 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM · Report this
105
RE: the confidential vid
THE ASSAILANT VIOLATED THE SCHOOL'S BAN ON SEX-BASED HARASSMENT. Think about it... If the assailant had been white, and the victim had been black, and the victim was out about his sexual preference for white women, and this infuriated the white assailant, causing the white assailant to harass the black victim and subsequently violently assault the black victim, would that be SEXUAL PREFERENCE HARASSMENT? No, that would be race-based harassment. Similarly, the reason why this assailant harassed and assaulted the victim was because of his sex. The assailant has no problem with people who have a sexual preference for men UNLESS THOSE PEOPLE HAPPEN TO BE OF THE MALE SEX. No need to press for a sexual orientation rule (not that I'm against one); apply the existing rule.
Posted by LexTremendae on November 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM · Report this
106
To those who have unregistered comments blocked: TAFCA wrote in at 95/96 with how the issue was resolved. The boy would have been with the groom's side, and not spent much time with the maid of honor, which is why Mom didn't try to exclude him. Turns out the lad didn't really want to participate (as Dan suggested), and opted out when given the choice. The little girl loves dressing up and big occasions, so slid over into the Frodo role. Now she will spend time with the groom's party during rehearsals and such, and not with the bride's side.

With a little communication, flexibility and honesty, everyone got what they wanted. Huzzah!
Posted by clashfan on November 3, 2011 at 8:19 PM · Report this
107
If the kids' parents are upset with each other, the kids are likely upset. So whether or not they want to be in the wedding, it is at this point "at their expense".
Posted by bu on November 3, 2011 at 8:32 PM · Report this
108
I love Dan, I quote him once a day at the least, but I think the advice to TAFCA shows that we should be careful about how much we project onto our kids when we make decisions about them. I was removed from my father's second wedding as a kid, and never interpreted it as anything other than further abandonment, and a signal that we kids were getting in the way of his shiny brand new life. I felt like a used car. It's just as likely that being in the wedding was reassuring and a signal to the little one that she was still important to her dad as that she secretly wanted out. She should have been asked in a child appropriate way, and been allowed to decide for herself.

That being said, Bride probably unwittingly was a big part of the problem here too. Why was her profession broadcast so widely before the event? When I invite my gay girlfriend to family events where I know that my uber-conservative inlaws will be, the invitation is extended to her, as her--not as my gay friend. I have to be conscious about not using her to make a statement about how liberal and progressive I am to the conservative jerks. She can come, or not--talk about being gay or not--bring a date or not. That is her choice, because I'm friends with her, not her orientation. Same should go for the sex worker. If she wants it out there, let her put it out there at the event herself. That's not being ashamed of someone, it's about not using their "alternativeness" to score cheap self-estem points about how enlightened you are.
Posted by dunnowhy on November 3, 2011 at 8:56 PM · Report this
109
The comments about the kids not wanting to be in the wedding struck me as a little puzzling but then, my sister and I were 4 and 7, respectively, when each of our biological parents were remarried (the weddings happened within a few months of each other). We were too young to be thinking much about the family politics and so of course we wanted to be in the weddings. I can see it being a bit different if they were teens, though I hadn't thought of that since she used "kids."

Anyway, as a child of a really messed-up divorce situation (notice how I said "biological parents" up there? yeah, I don't have much of a relationship with my bio dad anymore, and for good reason) I would say that Dan's advice is the advice to follow. Crazy, vengeful ex-spouses will use anything they can get against you and if you have the misfortune of having a conservative judge - because unfortunately, not all judges are as impartial as they're supposed to be - it'll be hard to argue against her. My bio dad regularly made shit up about my mom, just anything to try to get more custody and thus avoid paying child support. Luckily, the judge we had was on to his tricks, but we did have a few court-appointed counselors who were, say, religious and therefore more inclined to believe my bio dad because he went to church more often. If they can make an issue out of such stupid shit like that, they can definitely make a huge issue out of your BFF being a sex worker. I just wouldn't risk it.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on November 3, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
110
I disagree with your advice on WAR Dan. Having been in a couple of relationships that ended badly, I know a sincere apology can go far in healing an old hurt. His letter makes it sound like he played some mind games with her. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that she's a nutjob without all the facts and I'm guessing WAR knows the answer. And she might have an apology for him too. There's nothing wrong with making amends.
Posted by paper lantern on November 4, 2011 at 12:21 AM · Report this
111
WAMEA, Your man is out there, but Dan's post was a little too optimistic. As some of the comments here show, lots of fags are just unable to grasp your disinterest in anal.

You haven't had "good" anal, they say. You should be a top, they say.

If you're like me, WAMEA, you don't WANT to have good anal. There's something about that that's so condescending, like telling a gay man, "You just haven't found the right woman." Maybe it's true, but I know with my feelings toward anal, I wouldn't even be interested in finding out if it could be good—I don't want anything in my ass and I don't want to put anything in anyone else's ass.

Dan's statistics are encouraging for you, but don't take too much comfort. Lots of gay men will claim not to be very into anal sex, but I can testify firsthand that at least some of them are lying. Keep this in mind.

Your man is out there, though. There are billions of people, and some of them are right for you.
Posted by arcticone on November 4, 2011 at 4:32 AM · Report this
112
To those saying the marrying couple shouldn't have a fancy wedding at all because it's his second: it's obviously his second (or later), but it may well be her first. Why should *she* have to lose a chance at what may well have been something she's dreamed of since she was a little girl because the groom's already had one go-round?

If the children are old enough (12 or so), I'd ask *their* opinion about being in the wedding, possibly including a sanitized and nicer version of why this is an issue (possibly even as vague as "your mother has some concerns"--but try not to make their mom the "bad guy", I know how much it sucks to have one parent bad-mouthing the other, Don't Do That). I'd explicitly include the phrase "It's OK if you don't want to be in the wedding", however.

If the kids were genuinely looking forward to being in the wedding, and they're old enough that a judge would take their wishes into consideration in a custody arrangement, then it might be appropriate to either fight this or simply lie to the mother. Otherwise, this particular fight may not be worth the risk.
Posted by Melissa Trible on November 4, 2011 at 8:21 AM · Report this
113
And I see my comment came after the issue was resolved. Huzzah! Everyone got what they wanted! And it may be that the kids' mom *isn't* crazypants, which is always good...
Posted by Melissa Trible on November 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
114
@111, I agree with you that Dan is too optimistic re. WAMEA. I think you are also too optimistic. There may be billions of people, and some of them may be right for him, but nobody can choose out of billions of people. In most cities, you'd be lucky to find 20 single gay guys looking for a relationship and otherwise compatible in age, body type, and personality (and I think 20 is being generous here - in a smaller city you may be lucky to find 3). And for all gay guys that I know, no anal would be a dealbreaker sooner or later, and I suspect even more so for the kind of dominant tops he is looking for.

I have to say it annoys me when people give advice as if we all live in Chelsea or Boystown. Many gay sex columnists and authors do this.
Posted by cockyballsup on November 4, 2011 at 8:52 AM · Report this
115
The following has nothing to do with Dan's column and everything to do with my (negative) opinion of what's become of the standard American wedding. For me, it has nothing to do with whether it's a 1st or 2nd wedding, nothing to do with who's a sex worker, nothing to do with religion or the sexes of the participants or what little girls dream about. My objection has to do with stratifying one's friends and family.

The way it works these days is that one must choose people to play roles. There must be a mother of the bride, father of the bride who gives her away, a father of the groom, and a mother of the groom. If one of those people is absent through death, abandonment, divorce, or just a bad relationship, someone else must be found to play the role. If one of those roles would be better doubled as in the case of a step-parent the bride feels particularly close to or an older aunt/uncle, mentor, or friend the groom feels filial towards, then choices have to be made. You have to decide on who's the real or better person to get the place of honor. It's a competition.

Next comes the bridal party. You look at your close friends and decide who's the best. That one gets to be the maid of honor or the best man. If you feel equally close to 2 possibilities, you can choose and hurt someone's feelings, or you can double the role and hurt feelings again. Since the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen should be equal, you have another nightmare on your hands. What if he has 2 brothers he wants to honor, and she has a whole sorority? Other friends who don't rate bridesmaid or groomsmen's roles merely get invitations so they can all have hurt feelings about why they didn't make the cut.

Then you have the invitations. You get to decide who is a close enough friend to get invited and who learns about the party they weren't invited to from talk at work. But wait! There's A lists and B lists. You invite the people you want first. They can wonder why they weren't invited to be in the bridal party. If not enough RSVP, you can invite the B list. If a maid of honor drops out at the last minute, you can promote a bridesmaid. For the empty bridesmaid spot, you can promote an A list guest. That creates a place for a B list guest, and so on down the line until everyone you've ever known knows exactly how they rate in your esteem.

Someone will object by pointing out that she really does feel close to her parents and that she really does have a best friend she wants to be her maid of honor. As far as I'm concerned, that only makes it worse. I'm lucky enough to have a best friend. I prove that friendship daily by chatting, being supportive, visiting often, being wonderful to her children (whom I adore), and if I ever got married, I'd be pleased to invite her to a celebration. I would not put her in the position of knowing that she beat out my other close friends.
More...
Posted by Crinoline on November 4, 2011 at 10:16 AM · Report this
116
Crinoline, I agree totally. I think weddings as they are done today are ridiculous. Furthermore, the kind of asshole entitlement mentality that can justify spending $20,000 on something that useless makes me sick.
Posted by cockyballsup on November 4, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
117
@61: I'm with @85 & @86: You sound like you need serious help.
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM · Report this
118
@116 cockyballsup: I second that!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 4, 2011 at 11:12 AM · Report this
119
Crinoline, I don't think these roles are all that new. Many cultures have a best man, or similar role--it's now strictly a 21st century Western tradition. What might be different recently is that, as 1950's style nuclear families are less the norm, there are more candidates for the roles. So, yes, choices are made--sometimes the choice is to split the role, or select one person for it, or to do away with it entirely. As long as people are honest, forthright, and kind to each other, that's all we can ask. It's only a competition if people make it one.

As to invitations, well, that's always a problem with any social event--how big a guest list? Who do we invite? This is also not a new or recent phenomenon. As to inviting a 'B list' person at relatively the last minute, I agree that's tacky, but how often does this happen, really?

Cockyballsup, weddings are not useless. Rituals are important to humans, and wedding rituals especially. I don't know where you got the $20,000 figure, but--is there a magic number that would be an acceptable cost to you?
Posted by clashfan on November 4, 2011 at 12:18 PM · Report this
120
#115: Sounds like you got your feelings hurt at a wedding somewhere along the way.

Also: I haven't been to a wedding like the one you describe in 20+ years. The behavior you're describing sounds like high school drama. There must be this, there must be that. What is this "must" bullshit? Who are these people? Sounds like you've been watching too much "Bridezilla".

Posted by apoptotic on November 4, 2011 at 12:37 PM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 121
"Your mission is to find a dominant, manly, bossy man with whom you're sexually compatible, i.e., a bossy top who wants to fuck your throat, your fist, your clenched thighs, your Christmas ham—whatever—but not your ass."

I am allergic to pineapple rings, cloves, and maraschino cherries. Way to go, Dan. Make me feel more marginalized than I already do. Just in time for the holidays.
Posted by robt vesco, jr. on November 4, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 122
"I want to know if she's okay, if she's on a good path, etc., but I don't want to be her friend, or even see her in person ever again. When is it too soon to contact a crazy ex?"

So ask someone else. Never ever talk to her again directly for, preferably, the rest of your life.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
123
That's great #95/96. Nice to see you guys found a resolution that makes everyone happy.
Posted by Legiswriter on November 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM · Report this
xjuan 124
Well, never thought about it that way, cockyballsup @116. Demographics are essential. In that case, I guess, it all depends on where WAMEA lives. Should we then recommend to him to open up for new possibilities? In the end, as you say, the deal breaks either way. More important yet: there are zero dominant gays replying yes to his letter, so I guess WAMEA has even less possibilities than Dan, myself and many others thought so... I guess it is 2011 already, but it seems to be more than just a stereotype when you try to combine no-anal plus long-term in a gay relationship.
Posted by xjuan on November 4, 2011 at 1:59 PM · Report this
125
@124 yes, but you left out one part..."when you try to combine no-anal plus long-term in a gay relationship [with an aggressive, dominant man]."
Posted by EricaP on November 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
eustaceia 126
I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority on this, but I only read like 50 comments so I can't be positive. But: 15 or so years ago, I was the flower girl at my dad's marriage to my stepmom. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the new-family dynamics and all that, but I think that, BECAUSE of my discomfort with the situation, getting removed from the ceremony might have made me feel not included- like a dispensable part of my dad's "old family"- even more.
Posted by eustaceia on November 4, 2011 at 8:17 PM · Report this
127
Just checking in with Savage Love, haven't paid any attention for oh, a decade or so. Nope. Still don't give a shit.
Posted by thepontificator on November 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM · Report this
JordanNoelle 128
I was physically ill when my mom married my step dad. after the wedding I spent the rest of the night wrapped in a blanket and sleeping on a bench. To this day I remember the dress I had to wear and hate the color violet and the feel of Rayon, that was 20 years ago. Mom still thinks I had the flu, but I just hated her husband. I was too poliet to tell her I would rather spend the weekend with my dad then be in, at or around her wedding to that god awful man.
Posted by JordanNoelle on November 5, 2011 at 10:16 AM · Report this
129
"I just went out with a man who kept referring to his "crazy ex" until, finally, I said, "look, why in the world do you even ATTRACT those sorts of people?"

rofl (irony meter a flaming wreck)
Posted by avast2006 on November 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM · Report this
130
Dan, please don't eat during your pod casts. Extremely annoying.
Posted by Dan666 on November 5, 2011 at 12:39 PM · Report this
131
Dan, please don't eat during your pod casts. Extremely annoying
Posted by Dan666 on November 5, 2011 at 12:49 PM · Report this
132
Avast,

Good one.
Posted by Hunter78 on November 5, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
133
@114, One person's encouragement is another person's undue optimism, but I suppose Dan could tell me the same.

In any event, I think your estimates are a little pessimistic. Let's assume

- You're in a metropolitan area with over a million people (the majority of Americans are in one of the over 50 areas bigger than this)
- Half of people are men.
- 3% of men are gay (this is the kind of number James Dobson would give. Pro-gay people usually throw out numbers an order of magnitude higher than this.)
- 15% of gay men are close to your age (this gives about five years either direction, depending on your age)
- We only want to consider the top-10% of body+personality matches.

1000000 * 0.5 * 0.03 * 0.15 * 0.1 = 225

Even if we tightened it up to 1% best matches (1% is really tight. Keep in mind about 1% of Americans think Mitt Romney is an American. About 1% of men are taller than Michael Jordan.) we come up with 23 in a rather small city. If someone lives somewhere smaller than Hartford or Buffalo and are gay, certain sex advice columnists would tell you to get out, and I'm prone to agree.
Posted by arcticone on November 5, 2011 at 7:24 PM · Report this
134
@133 -- only 1% of Americans think Mitt Romney is an American? Are you including all of the Americas in your term "American"?
Posted by EricaP on November 5, 2011 at 7:27 PM · Report this
135 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
136 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
137
WAR while I really hate the way some guys deal with breakups and admire you for admitting what you did sucked and being introspective about it (how else do people learn other than &(^%ing up and trying to do better next time?), nothing excuses physical violence except self- or other person-defense from said violence. In other words, what your ex did to you was WORSE than what you did to her and you should really, really be glad to be free and clear of her. Consider you made a lucky escape. Do you understand that if you were a woman and her a man much stronger than you, you might be dead?
Posted by GG1000 on November 6, 2011 at 7:22 AM · Report this
138
Re: the wedding. She's the mom, she gets to decide whether she is ok with the sex worker being in the wedding. You should just politely tell her: "Ok, if you uncomfortable about it, I understand that the kids won't be in the wedding", provided your fiance is ok with it.
Posted by Honna3030 on November 6, 2011 at 11:02 AM · Report this
139
Despite poor TAFCA deserving the dream wedding she has always wanted (but let's be honest, who ever really gets that?), this decision should really lie with the groom. Support him, because however hard this is for the fiance it is probably infinitely more difficult for him.
She should express she wants everyone to be in the wedding, but that this decision will influence how he interacts with his children, his ex, and potentially his custody rights for the future so she will support him no matter what. That will hopefully remove this from the potential 'ex vs. fiance' battle he is envisioning. If she is really worried she may need to put her foot down and say "yes, we will limit contact between my friend and the kids but I will never cut her out of my life." But considering the groom didn't seem to have an issue with the arrangement I'd assume he doesn't see the escort friend as a moral threat.
Like basically everyone before me said: kids change the game. I was the pawn in my divorced parents' little games and no one wins.
Posted by Dynomite on November 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Robin8 140
Late to the party, I know, but just gotta say two things:

--Having worked at an AIDS service organization some years ago, I have several friends from that job who are still involved with the MSM communities in their respective cities. One, who will be pursuing a Ph.D in a related field, cites research that only about 25% of men who identify as gay do anal activities. So WAMEA is not in a strange boat at all. Two men who love each other can find lots of things to do besides asspork.
--Maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see how it's any of TAFCA's predecessor's business what any of the wedding party do for a living.
Posted by Robin8 http://shutyoureverlovingpiehole.wordpress.com on November 6, 2011 at 7:41 PM · Report this
imprintbyeileen 141
agree with 137 for sure. 126--an interesting perspective.
great advice like usual dan :)

imprintbyeileen.etsy.com
Posted by imprintbyeileen http://imprintbyeileen.etsy.com on November 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM · Report this
imprintbyeileen 142
137--amen! 126, a very interesting perspective.
great advice like usual dan!!
Posted by imprintbyeileen http://imprintbyeileen.etsy.com on November 6, 2011 at 9:55 PM · Report this
143
@127: So why'd you bother to post?
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 7, 2011 at 6:03 AM · Report this
144
Wow. I hope the bride knows how lucky she is. Turns out, the mom just had moral issues about sex workers, and was truly concerned about influence and "sending a message that it is okay"

So, rather then what seemed most likely, that the mom was an angry controlling so and so, she was able to accommodate her by rational discussion. that is great and bodes well.

But I would have to say, just a guess, that the odds of this are about ten to one.
Posted by rp on November 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
145
Hurray for the Republicans, for keeping sex alive.

Posted by Hunter78 on November 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
geoz 146
For the wedding, I agree with Dan. My ex did a similar power play - different rationale, but still about the kids being in the wedding. Various other power plays have occured over the years, and I suggest you yield on most of that stuff. I also suggest keeping a journal. Write down these things. I may never show it to my kids, but one day I informed my ex of the journal, and let me tell you, that was a real mind fuck for her.
Posted by geoz on November 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 147
@144: "Wow. I hope the bride knows how lucky she is. Turns out, the mom just had moral issues about sex workers, and was truly concerned about influence and "sending a message that it is okay""

I wasn't aware that sex worker was transmitted through proximity.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM · Report this
148
I'm always curious why people feel the need to include kids, period, in the wedding party.

Call me a little crazy, but my SO and I chose specifically NOT to include kids in our ceremony because we didn't want to deal with the wrangling issues on that day. First wedding, second wedding, third wedding, whatever. We were barely capable of handling ourselves, much less trying to watch what the hell the kids did.

I understand not everyone thinks this way, and that realistically, more people feel that the role of the ring bearer and flower girls are intended to signify future progeny, etc, etc, etc, but come on. Every wedding with kids in it that I've been to inevitably has a child meltdown in the middle of it.

I'm not entirely sure why the bride felt it necessary to divulge her maid of honor's profession to the ex-wife, or why that cat got out of the bag (or hell, it begs the question of who let it out in the first place). Truthfully, I'd be more concerned about having a former subprime mortgage broker who faked applications in the wedding party than an escort on a sheer basis of morality.

If the bride is inflexible on her choice of the maid of honor and the ex-wife is inflexible on her daughter's participation in the ceremony, I foresee lots of exciting times for this potential future family. Mainly because when the Bride matches up against the Ex, the Bride wins. And in this case, if the Bride wins, the Bride alienates her potential kids.

One just hopes the Bride and her guy handle the breaking news to the kids with more tact than they handled the divulgance of the best friend's profession to the ex-wife.
Posted by malachi on November 8, 2011 at 4:03 PM · Report this
149
@174, your comment makes no sense Are you talking about influence? That absolutely transfers through proximity. Assuming the daughter knew she was a sex worker, which is unlikely, she could perhaps influence the daughter via proximity and socializing. If the mom was worried about that, I can understand. Seems far fetched, but I could understand her feelings.
Posted by rp on November 8, 2011 at 6:33 PM · Report this
150
@145: Are you dog-panting-for-Sarah Palin nuts?? Please say you're being sarcastic here, Hunter78!
From what I've seen, Republicans want, if anything, to KILL sex (see "Abstinence-only"), unless you're solely into vanilla missionary and ONLY missionary frat-boy style.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'm not into Greg Marmalarde.

Posted by auntie grizelda on November 8, 2011 at 9:36 PM · Report this
151
OR Eric Stratten.
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 9, 2011 at 12:18 AM · Report this
152
Auntie,

Don't you think Herman Cain has brought sex back into our political discourse?
Posted by Hunter78 on November 9, 2011 at 2:08 AM · Report this
153
So glad to hear TAFCA's situation was resolved amiably!

The discussion on children's involvement in subsequent weddings got me thinking about my own experience, so I thought I'd share it. My parents divorced around the time I turned 8, and my mother came out as a lesbian soon afterward. About 5 months after my dad moved out, her girlfriend moved in (they'd been seeing each other for most of a year, since my parents had agreed before the divorce plans were finalized that they were free to see other people, but I of course didn't know this at the time). She's a lovely person, but I always resented the timing a little bit, and really wasn't too into having a step parent at all.

When I was 14, my mom and her girlfriend decided to get married (this was pre-legal same sex marriage even in Massachusetts where we live, but we're Reconstructionist Jews, and our progressive lady Rabbi was more than happy to conduct the ceremony), and worked me into the ceremony without really asking me--I even remember, at one point, my mom expressing surprise that I didn't feel "honored" to be given responsibilities. Intellectually, I was all for the wedding: they're a wonderful couple who bring out great things in one another, they were truly together for life, and they had every right to celebrate that relationship with the community. But as a not-quite-over-it 14 year old child of divorce, once the actual ceremony came, it really did feel like my mom was moving on from the part of her life where I was central, and I resented it, probably more so due to my shoehorned participation. After the wedding, I had a long talk with my dad about it and decided to start spending more time at his house and less at my mom's. The whole re-marriage was uncomfortable for me, participating all the more so.

Two years later, once same-sex partners could marry legally here, my mom and stepmother had a quiet ceremony at home, just the three of us (and a nice gay justice of the peace) to sign the marriage certificate and commemorate the state's recognition of their existing bond. That one went over fine, and I was happy to be a part of it because I felt like a valued family member, rather than a prop, and I had been invited, rather than expected to take part.

Clearly, kids are all over the place in their comfort levels and desire for involvement. TAFCA's problem was mostly resolved just by figuring out what the children in question (as well as the ex, in this case) really wanted.
More...
Posted by Another Anonymous Anthropologist on November 9, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
154
@152 Hunter78: Uh, if you're talking about typically stupid, overly media-hyped sex scandals....yes.
Otherwise, not really, no.

Are you SURE you're not just joking around?
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 9, 2011 at 4:06 PM · Report this
155
@Hunter78: By the way, I don't have a TV, and don't miss the political mudslinging.
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 10, 2011 at 1:04 AM · Report this
156
WAR is a controlling, abusive, asshole. I hope he reads this and understands that I and several of the people commenting saw right through his bullshit. Seek therapy, and quit putting yourself out there until you are ready to treat a woman properly.
Posted by MaryJane on November 11, 2011 at 11:17 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 157
@156: Good point, sounds like there's a lot of subtext missing here. He's going to contact her, no matter what.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 11, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
158
Ah... you know, if my BFF were getting married and me being in the wedding party would either mean that a)my BFF's fiance could lose custody of his children or b)my BFF's children would miss their father's wedding (if the kids even want to go; has anyone asked them?), all due to my employment in the sex industry, well, I would graciously step out of the wedding party. Grownups are supposed to be the ones to make sacrifices like this, not children. The reality is that BFF is an escort and sadly, that profession isn't exactly a well-respected one. Is that fair? No, but life seldom is. My personal opinion is that the kids' dad needs to sit down with them and ask them if they want to be a part of the wedding, or if they would rather come to the reception and celebrate the new marriage there. If the kids want to be present at the ceremony, then the bride really needs to talk to her BFF and tell her what's going on, castigating the ex for the bitchqueen skank she is. I would be shocked if the BFF didn't offer to step out of the wedding party.
Posted by neverdiplomatic on November 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
159
WAR is a manipulator. He writes in because he just wants to get Dan's blessing that it's ok to make sure she's all right. What a load of BS! Most think it's the crazy woman's fault; no one blames the manipulator who understands only too well that the most effective kind of behavior modification is providing a variable schedule of reward. WAR needs to check in with a counselor to see what makes him want to control people and the woman needs to check with a counselor to see what she can do to improve her self image and defuse the anger.
Posted by tootsmom on November 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Ethlie Ann Vare 160
In re WAR: Dan Savage, I love your wisdom but sometimes you're too damn sane. For instance, you don't consider the possibility that the pull of a crazy ex -- or the glue of a douchebag who should be one -- is often a psychological/physiological compulsion akin to drug or alcohol addiction. You can't logic a person out of it any easier than you can logic them away from a crack pipe.

But I admire you for trying :-) - Ethlie Ann Vare, author of LOVE ADDICT: SEX, ROMANCE AND OTHER DANGEROUS DRUGS
Posted by Ethlie Ann Vare http://www.ethlie.tumblr.com on January 4, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this

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