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February 15, 2001
We are a male/female bisexual couple facing an ethical dilemma. We've been together 10 years. He's a gorgeous, well-built man with a strong sex drive. I'm a beautiful woman with a normal sex drive. I have also been HIV-positive for 12 years. He's negative. We would really like to explore his bisexuality together and have been advertising for a bisexual male partner.
Here's the problem: I'm uncomfortable disclosing my HIV status. I'm also uncomfortable not disclosing my HIV status. My partner doesn't think we should tell people. His arguments are: 1. Anyone responding to an ad like ours must be aware that they're having sex with strangers whose disease-free status cannot be assumed. 2.We always insist on safe sex. 3.The risk of a man contracting HIV from me--with my undetectable viral load and while we're using condoms--is virtually nil.
We ran a hot ad for a year that was open about my HIV status. It didn't get a single response. A subsequent ad that said nothing about my HIV status got dozens of responses. We told the three men we met through our non-disclosing ad that I was HIV-positive during our initial meetings, and all three declined to play with us. Since I mostly agree with the three points listed above, I'm having a hard time standing up for full disclosure. Do you see a way out? And if you think I should disclose my HIV status to nearly anonymous sex partners, what's the least socially awkward way? "Hi, I have HIV!" isn't a good conversation-starter and doesn't seem to turn people on.
You described your problem as an ethical dilemma, and so I forwarded your e-mail message to a specialist. "The pesky thing about ethics is that sometimes doing the right thing means you don't get what you want," said Randy Cohen, author of the Ethicist, an advice column that appears in The New York Times Magazine. "Your boyfriend's rationalizations--I hesitate to call them arguments--are unpersuasive. I'm afraid you must be truthful with your potential partners, even if that turns them into potential-less partners--should 'potential-less' happen to be a word. It may well be that anyone responding to an ad knows there is risk, just as anyone buying a used car knows that they may be cheated, but neither assumption justifies deception.
"You do have some options," the Ethicist continued. "You may be vague in your initial ad, but you must not be deceptive. It's certainly true that running an overly candid ad may not get the results one hopes for. That's why savvy advertisers stay away from words like 'carcinogenic,' 'artery-clogging,' and 'Kevin Costner.' You too may keep a discreet silence about what has proved to be your off-putting quality, i.e. your HIV status. But you absolutely must disclose this to your partners before sex.
"When you reveal this information," the Ethicist concluded, "you may use all your powers of persuasion, telling these men what you've told us, and making your case for safe sex with you. But we are each entitled to decide who we have sex with, and that means we're entitled to all the information needed to make that decision."
I'm sure this question is way too boring for your column, but... I go out to eat. The waiter is sexy. I want to ask him out, but I'm not sure how to do it. Good-looking waiters must get hit on all the time, and the really good-looking ones must get sick of it. What's the best way to pick up a waiter?
Your question isn't boring, CP. In fact, I'm extremely pleased you sent it in. A couple of months ago, someone asked where the best-looking waiters in Chicago work, and I invited people to write in and nominate some of Chicago's best-looking waiters. Figuring I'd earned an afternoon on the phone chatting up cute waiters after churning out three--three! cunnilingus columns in three--three! weeks, I called some of Chicago's best-looking waiters and asked them how to pick up a waiter.
According to Ginger Ropp, the manager of the Dellwood Pickle on Balmoral in Andersonville, her waiter Greg is every bit as good-looking as my readers described him. Unfortunately for me, Greg was away on a singles' cruise when I called, and I couldn't talk to him personally. "But he's cute," Ginger said. "He has absolutely beautiful eyes and a sweet personality." Ginger's advice about picking up a Greg? "Well, the best way to pick up a waiter at the Dellwood is to write your name and number on the tablecloth."
One reader insisted that the waiters at Medici on 57th in Hyde Park are the cutest in Chicago. "Yes, some of our waiters are pretty damn cute," said Kim Hayward, a manager at Medici, who wouldn't let me actually speak with any of the cute waiters. "There are also a couple of really cute bus boys, too. Mario and Alvaro are the fine ones, in my opinion." Kim's advice for someone interested in picking up a particular waiter? Get a job working in the restaurant. "I don't see a lot of our waiters going out with customers. We all tend to go out with each other."
Chris Pappas at Mia Francesca on Clark in Lakeview is another of Chicago's best-looking waiters. Chris wasn't at work when I called--but his green-eyed girlfriend was. "He's half-Greek and half-Irish, and he has these ice-blue eyes," said Katie Lockwood, who also waits tables at Mia Francesca. Her advice for people who want to pick up her boyfriend? "Don't act desperate. Don't make a fool out of yourself. Don't beg Chris to lift his shirt and show you his stomach." How many times has Katie had to watch women and men attempt to pick up her boyfriend? "Too many times," Katie said, "too many goddamn times." Katie is a bitter, bitter woman--lucky, but bitter.
Almost in despair of actually speaking with one of Chicago's cute waiters, I called Clarkes on Belmont and asked for Bryn. A 24-year-old film student, Bryn has waited tables at Clarkes for six months--and he was at work when I called! And he could come to the phone! "I'm gay and single," said Bryn, "and I've gone out on a few dates with people I met at work." His advice for guys who might want to pick him up? "Just be young."
I would like to add something to the response about keeping the twat nice, neat, and clean. It goes both ways. I was married to a man who would wear his shit-stained undies all day and then pull out his cock and expect me to suckie suckie. He wouldn't shower first because he thought sex was dirty... so why shower just to get dirty again? So all you men out there who wonder why we don't suckie suckie: Get a whiff of yourselves. And no, I am not still married to Mr. Dirty Diapers. I'm now with a wonderful guy who washes his beautiful cock daily and wears clean, fresh undies--if he wears any at all.
No Suckie Suckie Dirty Dickies
I'll ask all the straight guys out there to keep themselves clean, NSSDD, provided you promise not to call giving head "suckie suckie" ever again. Ever. Is it a deal?