STEVEN WEISSMAN

Disliking the female gender came slower to me than it did to most girls I know. Through all of elementary school, my best friend was a girl. She was a grade ahead of me, and when I joined her in high school, I was so excited. That was the year I was really introduced to the wonder of the backbiting girl-clique. Over the next four years, I developed a deep and abiding mistrust of girls. I've never had an incredibly close girlfriend, never felt that "grrrlpower" that Oprah and her ilk speak of. For the most part, I try to avoid women.

So when my brother married you six years ago, I was a bit withdrawn. But over the next few years, I slowly began to trust you. I have more in common with you than my own super-religious sisters. We like the same music, the same movies, the same books. You're funny and smart and nice. We share the same parenting theories. So I didn't think I was doing anything wrong last November when I confided in you about some delicate marriage issues my husband and I were going through. When my husband got upset at me for confiding in you, I insisted that you were trustworthy, that we had nothing to worry about. I told him that I had to talk to somebody, that I needed outside feedback.

I have been paying for that trust ever since. Thank you for telling my husband's coworkers details about our sex life. Thank you for discussing our questions about my sexuality with them. Thank you for contributing to the work gossip to such an extent that my husband had panic attacks on a regular basis for a while. I'm sorry that you've completely and utterly reinforced my lack of trust in women. I know who I can confide in: my husband, my therapist, and my notebooks. recommended