Savage Love Letter of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up

Comments

1
Hey Dan, since you're a lover not a fighter, can you pick a champion to fight for you (a la Game of Thrones)?

Maybe you have some martial artist readers/fans near Kansas City, MO who'd love to mop the floor with Mr. Toughguy? Maybe you could organize a cage match for charity?
2
Neo means "new". So neo-Nazi means... new Nazi. That still makes them Nazis.
3
Careful Dan, if you use inflammatory language someone might "dismiss" you. I love how conservatives cling to the core idea of political correctness (use the least offensive language) while simultaneously condemning it.

That's "Mr Nazi"
4
For the last commenter, the use of "Nazi" as an umbrella term was discussed in detail in an excellent article by Teen Vogue (never thought I'd say those words together): http://www.teenvogue.com/story/white-nat…
5
The Charlottesville Nazis where chatting, "Jews will not replace us," so I really don't understand LW's comment. I think when people are chatting such slogans while marching behind swastika flags we should be able to take them at the their word and at face value and call them Nazis.

Nazis in Germany didn't open up death camps in the 1920s, they organized and marched, only after later did they take over the German state and being a process of restrictive laws and persecution, before deciding extermination camps.

When we say, "Never again," I think we should mean, never again, and that means taking a stand when people are organizing and marching under the Nazi umbrella.

As for the misguided belief that American Nazis aren't focused on Jews, I think you should check out the publications of Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which can disabuse of that notion.
6
an aging musical theater queen

Unlike Mr. StraightPride, I live in Seattle and have seen Dan Savage live and in person. Dan's got some serious guns on him.

I'm not saying that you should fight, Dan. But you could probably defend yourself well if you did! No sane person wants to be on the business end of those fists (to the face).
7
The most glaring issue with the gay guy fantasy, is the implied deceit. Then the fear of emotional explosions. Or are the rules for gay sex somehow different. And men wonder why women run when they hear they are bi.
8
@7 cont.* why some women run..
9
Lava @ 7 - I would say the rules are different for men, be they gay or straight. As I've always said, a man only starts to feel like he's cheating on his partner the second time he has sex with someone else (i.e. with the same person, not the second time he has sex with other people).

The first time, it's just sex, and many, many men don't think there's anything wrong with that if they can get away with it. (Obviously, there are exceptions: some will fill guilty the first time, others, never.)

That's why I would say the "The easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else" saying from the other thread rings truer for men than for women. It's just sex - no big deal, no emotional attachment, not even necessarily an act of revenge, but an easy hormonal release, and an ego boost as well.
10
Ricardo. So that's the trick. Too easy. I get that this man's friend's fantasy is pretty hot, it still has to be off limits because wife and kids. As soon as kids involved, big stop sign. I would think. Doesn't fit the two hot gay men in the hotel room, finally touching each other. Just insist he tells his wife first just like the LW told his husband. No deceit on either side. Talk to this guy sure, and tell him what a jerk he is. Not only did he not have the courage to fess up all those years ago, he's causing trouble all over the place now.
11
Lava @ 10 - "Not only did he not have the courage to fess up all those years ago, he's causing trouble all over the place now"

You hit the nail on the head - courage is what he's lacking. But if he's had his cake all along and now wants to eat it too, from his viewpoint, he's probably thinking that it would be unwise to come out before he's even dipped his toes in the uncertain waters of bisexuality to see if he likes it. He might lose everything he holds dear and be ostracized by his entire community (or so it always seems before one comes out). Remember: the LW moved out of their red state, but not his friend.
12
"Challenge accepted;" not "challenge excepted." You're accepting the challenge, not making an exception for it.
13
@12: That's a message to Dan and The Stranger's copy editor, not the original letter writer.
14
@11, Ricardo, then why pick a man to test the waters with, that he has deep feelings for? Go test with someone else, not stage this big psychodrama. And yes, he stayed.
15
So #gostraightpride wants to prove his straightness by getting trapped in a big old sweaty cage with America's most prominent queer sex advice columnist? I presume he will insist upon traditional Greco-Roman rules, sans clothing, like the true warriors of yore.

Me thinks that Dan might actually get his ass handed to him in that musical theatre throw down.
16
Lava @ 14 - Precisely because it's someone who will go away. It's safer. If he tries it with some local guy, the whole town might learn about it.

But also because it's the guy he's been fantasizing about for so many years - he's already mentioned the L word... For a lot of people who are starting out in the world of unconventional sexual expression, the idea that they would only do "this" with someone they love (and not just lust after) makes it less... dirty?

If you've had to deal with the backward mentality of you backward town all your life, if you never had the courage to break away from that, even though you've always known you were somewhat different, you still internalize that mentality and consider yourself like they would all consider you if they were to find out. So when you pretend that it's actually love, not mere curiosity or - god forbid! - lust, it becomes a bit more acceptable to you.

It's his way of allowing himself to finally have a same-sex experience, by choosing a situation where it's unlikely that there will be any blowback. By not telling his wife, he's not burning any bridges. By choosing this old friend who's back in town for a short while, it's easy enough for him to make an excuse for why he spent the night out ("we were out partying all night, we went to such a spot and I fell asleep drunk there, blah blah blah"), and pretty soon the old friend will be gone and no one will be able to ask him to corroborate the story.

Of course, he's all doing that unconsciously. Like those Republican politicians getting arrested in airport toilets.

17
Unconsciously you think Ricardo. Hopefully the LW will help him bring it to the surface then, so both of them can approach this with care for all concerned.
18
Dan, why not challenge Mr. "I think your a punk" to a grammar contest?

I know, I know, shooting fish in a barrel and all that.
19
Jellob @15: I came here to make a snarky comment about the obviously closeted Kansas City and his wrestling fetish, but you said it all. Well done!

Ricardo @9: I think you mean "some men think the rules are different for them." Women know that one fuck can in fact get you pregnant. There are no freebies.

But I think you're right that for (most) women, the combination of pregnancy possibility and slut shaming mean casual sex isn't as casual emotionally as it is for (most) men, which is why the "get under someone else" strategy can backfire.

I think "Challenge Excepted [sic]" missed one point. The right-wing parents can blather all they want while the left-wing child simply puts their metaphorical fingers in their ears and silently plans the donations they're going to make. And who says this child needs money from their parents? That's a bit ageist. If this person is in a financial position to donate to charity, I'd say that biased assumption is probably inaccurate.
20
Ricardo, you know I love you and from reading your posts, you stay a long way away from pussy. Some men are tempted, and they have to deal with us then, us women. I get the patriarchal meme that has men still, after All This Time, having no real self control. And I call bullshit.
Once children are on the scene, it's a game changer. I hope this guy gets back to us.
21
BDF @ 19 - I actually mean that men don't think about those rules. Not before acting, at least.

Lava @ 20 - It's not that they don't have self-control, it's that they just don't care that much.
22
"My suggestion is that she instead make small donations to lots of liberal organizations, $5 or $10 at a time, and do it in her family's name. Give them all the information, e-mail and home address and everything so they are firmly on the donation rolls. Then watch as these organizations sending them thank you's and sending flyers and cards hitting them up for more donations."

Back in the early 90s, some friends of mine signed up the head of the College Republicans on campus as a lifetime members of the Communist Party USA.
23
If the 7-year-old is into Rosebudding, the parents have every right to be concerned. Otherwise, you might want to change the KINK link.
24
Meanings of words evolve, and words that evolve with a specific sense are constantly reassigned to express meaning in anothe context. The fascists marching in Charlottesville weren't literally Fascists either. They aren't members of the Italian Fascist movement born after World War II. We get that 'fascist' has a broader meaning. Likewise, they're not literally members of the German National Socialist Party which has been outlawed since 1945. But we understand that nazism is a doctrine, like fascism, socialism, communism, evangelicalism, mercantalism and monetarism, that exists despite the destruction of any original movement that created it.

The fact that they added anti-Islamicism to antisemitism is irrelevant to 'disqualifying' these idiots as nazis. Do you think Hitler *didn't* think Muslims/Arabs were a subject race? I'm pretty sure if there had been a big Islamic community in Berlin in 1939 he would have found an excuse to send them to the camps.

The normal rules are gone. Normally calling someone a 'nazi' would be crazy hyperbole. But it's not. They are nazis. We need to call them what they are.
25
The dueling code of 1777 decreed that the challenger was to choose the type of weapon used, so it is only fair that Dan chooses how the challenge works. However, this rule could be sidestepped if one of the parties was unable to wield a chosen weapon, or swore that they had no knowledge on the use of said weapon.

Furthermore, the loser was at the mercy of the victor, and could be spared, killed, or anything in between. The winner also was allowed to desecrate the corpse of the loser in a way of their choosing. A popular choice was decapitation followed by the loser's head placed on a pike.

Just saying.
26
@24: Believe it or not, Hitler was personally impressed by the Islamic faith, as its history of violent conversion and conquest appealed to his sensibilities greatly. It is noted that he spoke to his wish that the Islamic faith had conquered the European continent rather than the Christian faith, as he saw it as more robust, powerful, and dominant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relations_…

It also makes sense in that both groups had the Jewish people as their #1 enemy, and both groups preached a similar kind of racial/social purity and slanted hard towards authoritarianism.

He still saw them as racially inferior, of course.
27
Ricardo @21: There's a difference between not knowing what the rules are and not thinking the rules apply to you. I think the latter is what these men are doing. Most of them certainly wouldn't be of the same opinion if it were their partners engaging in these one-off fucks. (And if they were, why not just have a monogamish relationship where it wouldn't be "cheating" anyway?)

I appreciate that it may indeed be the case that most gay men who don't consider a one-off -- presumably safe -- fuck cheating wouldn't mind if their boyfriends did it either. Certainly more than would let their girlfriends off the hook. Being gay means avoiding a lot of double standards.
28
fred2@24 you meant to say the Italian Fascist movement born after World War One, of course. The die-hard Italian Fascists regrouped as the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) in 1946.
29
@28. I did indeed. Face-palm.
30
@26. I take your point about Hitler (who was an atheist, and therefore gave not a crap about religion except in so far as it could be bent to the service of his theories of racial purity and domination). But I'm not sure I can accept what you say about Islam and "racial/social purity". Islam, like all religions, is full of flaws, but as far as I know the only major religion to have a concept of "a people" or perhaps "a race" is Judaism. People may take issue with that, but it remains the case that Judaism has never been a religion which seeks to expand beyond its existing people and bring in others. It is a religion overwhelmingly based on blood and inheritance. Islam, for better or worse, would like us all to be Muslim. It may be objectionable proselytizing garbage, but it's not racist.
31
Theo @ 26 “Hitler was personally impressed by the Islamic faith”

Beyond the theological admiration, or however one defines it, there were also practicality and setting up alliances.
Much of North Africa and the Middle East was under British and French control since the end of WW1. Some locals looked to Germany as a way to fight their current occupiers, and of course the Germans tapped in and had their own interests as well.

Yes, there were Muslim units in the SS and German army, but there were also Ukrainians nationalists fighting the Russians, Croatians fighting the Serbs, and so on.

“Jewish people as their #1 enemy” was not a common thing in the Arab/Muslim world back then. The one exception is Palestinian Arabs who already had territorial conflicts with Jews moving in, and the British mandate that allowed it. (At least at some point. Both Jews and Arabs claim the British helped the other side, and both have documents to prove it.)

It should be noted that throughout history Jews generally fared better under Muslim rule than under a Christian one. There have been restrictions and there were riots, but nothing like the magnitude that European Jews faced over the years.
32
Mr. "I think your a punk," wood ewe pleas explain watt ewe rote two Dan? Ewe say yore strait, butt eye due knot no. Ewe mite bee a reel homonym! Ewe kneed two sea a doctor, sew, aisle prey four you.

(Sorry, folks, but it has been a slow day)

@29 A face-palm for a typo? Feel free to nail any of mine, and I'll see your face-palm and raise you one.
33
Sublime @ 5
Back to Nazis… I think the word is being overly used nowadays, which might make the originals seem not as bad as they should be viewed.
34
@31 Correct. It's a mistake to force current perceptions of Islam (which are completely distorted) and it's relationship with Judaism on a world before the creation of the state of Israel. While none of the Abrahamic religions got on exactly well with each other, it was only Christianity which had a lengthy history of anti-Jewish ideology, massacre, 'ethnic cleansing', persecution and hate. Hitler's antisemitism was the inheritance of centuries of Christian antisemitism.
35
@33/CMDwannabe: Following the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1960, the term "Nazi" began to be used in the United States to describe a range of political figures, and over time became used quite loosely. Interestingly, prior to 1960, there were very few instances in which the Nazis or the Holocaust were discussed in major American publications. While its worthwhile to push back on that phenomenon, that position seems to me be inapt when were discussing actual Nazis, whether they be those who in the 1970s chose to march in Skokie, Illinois, or those who recently marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In the 1920s, few took the brown shirted Nazis seriously either, but more quickly than Germans themselves imagined, people flocked to their cause. Middle class and formerly prosperous Germans buffeted by the economic fear, as much as actual economic reversals caused by the Great Depression, led people to embrace (or accept) the rise of the Nazis. Unchecked, hate can spread very quickly, and I don't see any reason to wait and see how primed our nation is to embrace such full-throated endorsements of these hate groups.

36
CMDwannabe @33. You might want to look at the history of the American Nazi Party. I encountered them in Dallas, Texas, when I was in a MLK sympathy march, during the turbulent sixties.

They had a swastika on their float with "white unite" at the center of the swastika. They were in Nazi uniform.

They were just as bad as the originals; the only difference was they did not hold state power.
37
BDF @ 27 - "There's a difference between not knowing what the rules are and not thinking the rules apply to you"

Did I say they didn't know the rules? They know them. They've heard them all their life. They just don't care much because they think the rules only apply to them when they themselves decide that they do.
38
and seem to have grown more out of an American brand of racism

*sigh* So did German Nazism of the 1930s variety. Eugenics was our baby. Our history education is fucking atrocious in this country. Here are a book and an article on the subject:

https://books.google.com/books?id=UGYfRv…

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turn…
39
John Horstman@38 Thank you for making this important point.
40
Ricardo and Fan, I knew it early on that boys had the better deal. Would have much preferred to be one, then my womb reminded me of the truth. I can see how this fantasy is such a temptation, hell I've already run it in my mind. I think I was the novice. Male erotica is very appealing, to me. All the more important than, from Dan on down, for gay men to step outside this erotic bubble and see others like wives and children have desires and needs as well and these others are connected to the story too, intimately.
41
Lava @ 40
"I've already run it in my mind. I think I was the novice."
That's poetry.
42
Ricardo @37: Nit-picking, but going back to your initial post @9:
" I would say the rules are different for men, be they gay or straight. As I've always said, a man only starts to feel like he's cheating on his partner the second time he has sex with someone else (i.e. with the same person, not the second time he has sex with other people).

The first time, it's just sex, and many, many men don't think there's anything wrong with that if they can get away with it. (Obviously, there are exceptions: some will fill guilty the first time, others, never.)"

If a man thinks the rules are that sex just once isn't cheating, that implies that he doesn't know the rule is that yes, it is.
43
Cont - But we agree, then, that it's more accurate to state that men do indeed know the rules, but many more are likely to disregard them to suit their own interests, which I'm pretty sure all of us already knew.
44
BDF @ 42 - More nit-picking: they know the rules, but the rules just don't enter into the equation at that point. It's only when they realize they do like the other person enough to want a second encounter that they remember the rules. They may then act accordingly (or not).

Basically, when guys say "it didn't mean a thing" about a one night stand, they usually mean it.

@ 43 - Exactly.
45
BDF @ 43 - By "exactly" (@44), I mean "from the second time onward", of course.
46
Ricardo @45: You're still contradicting yourself. Guys know that cheating the first time is wrong. Proof is that they'd have a shit fit if their girlfriends had a one-night stand, wouldn't they? Brusing their egos and all that. Knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway is not the same thing as not knowing something is wrong. I think what you're saying is that they know it's wrong when they do it, but they forget that it was wrong, and they don't feel any guilt until they have even a minimal emotional response, which triggers the guilt feelings.
Men are stupid, but not that stupid. "It didn't mean anything" and "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to" are not the same thing.
47
BDF @ I- "Guys know that cheating the first time is wrong. Proof is that they'd have a shit fit if their girlfriends had a one-night stand, wouldn't they?"

Have you ever heard the expression "double standard"? That's what it was coined for.

Of course, they know it. They JUST DON'T THINK ABOUT IT the first time THEY have sex with someone. They do not "forget" that it's wrong, they simply do. not. think. about. it.

"Men are stupid, but not that stupid. "

I'd say you lack experience with men. Either that, or you've been very lucky. But quite clearly, the only reason you're failing to understand my point is that you give men way too much credit.

Here's a joke I heard a long time ago from a (male) comedian: "When a woman asks her BF/husband what he's thinking about, and he answers 'Nothing', it's true."

Women would do themselves a world of good if they would only accept that men have this uncanny ability to switch their brain off. They can do it when they're watching a game/playing video games, buying a car, or whenever they feel that they probably wouldn't like what their brain would tell them.

Trust me, I'm a guy. I know.
48
Ricardo @47: Indeed, I know the term "double standard," and used it @27. I think you and I are on the same page. They know full fucking well, they just conveniently "forget" when it suits them to. And, I may have only an eighth the experience with men that you do, but that's still a lot, and includes a number of experiences with partnered men who were genuinely conflicted about whether they should proceed. So if some men are fully capable of thinking with their big heads even when the small ones are aroused, all men should be held to the standard of not being able to claim "I didn't know cheating once was wrong" as an excuse. They may be able to switch their brains off, but they are also damn well able to switch them back on again. And if their monkey brains switch back on post-coitally, they should at least be able to realise "oops, I fucked up." People do fuck up. People of all genders.

(Personally, I've solved the problem by not being monogamous. Having one-off, or several-off, sex with someone is ISN'T wrong, so long as condoms are used and it's disclosed afterwards. Selective-brain-turning-off and double-standards problems solved.)
49
BDF @ 48 - We are generally on the same page. And I try to apply the same solution you do, although men lie, and not only to their partner, but also to their hook-ups, so it's not always feasible and I mostly opt for a don't ask/don't tell approach nowadays.

Still, I find you give men too much credit. They're no more than toddlers. You put a brand new shiny toy in front of them and they just HAVE to play with it right now. Consequences only enter their mind once they've satisfied that urge.

Which doesn't mean we shouldn't hold them accountable for their fuck-ups, as you so accurately point out. And they might be sincerely sad/shameful/penitent/apologetic/whatever and work real hard to make up for them. But this is where my cynicism goes into full gear: I doubt the capacity of most men to learn from their mistakes. In other words, the next shiny toy will have the same effect.

(And I was just teasing with my "double standard" line - I do read your comments.)
50
Ricardo @49
I find you give men too much credit. They're no more than toddlers.

Just wondering: do you classify yourself as one of those "toddlers"?
51
@ 50 - I dare say I'm probably a preschooler by now.
52
@9 Ricard speak for yourself! it's only worse-cheating the second time because you have to plan in advance for it happen. Sometimes you are out in a situation and things happen and before you know if you're fucking someone. That's still cheating, and it's wrong (which is why you hide in the first place) but it's not like you went out and planned to cheat. But the 2nd time... that's premeditated.
53
@ 52 - Yes, that's pretty much how I see it: "things happen and before you know if you're fucking someone". So it's not really cheating until the 2nd time, when it has to be planned.

Of course, that's all BS, but it's how the male mind works.

Did you misread me or were you being sarcastic? Or (insert third option here)?

54
So, what if you accidentally stuck your dick into a colleague, which therefore isn't cheating, and when you met up with him/her to tell her it was all a big mistake and you must never do it again, you accidentally stick your dick back into him/her instead? That's not premeditated either...

I agree that premeditated cheating is worse than succumbing-to-temptation cheating, but a one-off fuck could also be premeditated. See: Tinder, Grindr, sex workers, etc.

I also agree that the male -- and the female -- mind have boundless capacity for justifying the unjustifiable when it's one's own behaviour one is talking about. And that the male -- and the female -- mind is often capable of zoning out and thinking about nothing. None of these examples are specific to any gender. Amoral people exist, male, female and otherwise. Doesn't mean that their own lack of morals means they should get a pass. They should just find other people whose morals, or lack thereof, line up with their own.
55
BDF @54 - "the male -- and the female -- mind is often capable of zoning out and thinking about nothing"

I probably didn't express myself adequately. What I meant when I said that "men have this uncanny ability to switch their brain off" was not they they do it on purpose, it was that any "shiny new toy" switches it off for them automatically.

Which doesn't mean that they shouldn't be held accountable for the results of letting their brain shut itself off - by the time they're adults, they should have developped an automatic reflex to switch it back on. But there lies the problem: to be an adult, you first have to get beyond the toddler stage. And that's usually where they stop.