Columns Jan 21, 2010 at 4:00 am

Coin Toss


Love you Dan!!!
What creative fetishes :) Who knew???
Brian, I thought that was pretty good advice, all things considered!
All I can say for HAC is... In the same situation, I'd probably be feeling the same way. Sympathies, love.

Still, it may be nothing. It may be a silly crush. But the thing about silly crushes is, if you can work through it (and want to work through it) together, they don't have to be destructive.

Besides... who knows. Maybe you have similar voices. Lol.

That said, don't stay in a relationship that has brought such painful insecurities to the forefront unless it's worth it.
One thing that occurs to me with HAC is: how similar are her and the Other Woman's names? I have two friends named Hailey and Taylor, and though they appear to be completely different names, the predominant "A as in Gray" in the middle causes me to mix them up terribly. They are two very different people with very different personalities and appearances, and yet I get their names mixed up just because of the sound!

Just a thought I felt worth sharing. Keep up the good work fellas!
Hey FED,
I've been in starving hell anorexia land, and eventually I got back to normal eating land again. One of the big keys was a very sweet, supportive and caring boyfriend. This guy was sensitive and never pushed me to do anything.
I think that the things this guy wants to play with you with are kind of insensitive, given the mental state you're coming probably from. Be bold enough to tell him no, especially if you think what he's suggesting will be a trigger for you. And also, be bold enough to leave him if he's pressuring you. Have the self esteem to know that you *are* beautiful, and not fat, and not ugly, and that a better guy to help you and support you really will come along eventually.
*hugs* hon, anorexia land is no fun. I've been recovered for several years, but I still avoid triggers like the plague.
Best of luck!
FED should also come clean to her FWB about her issues with pregnancy play. She doesn't need to get into the details of why, but being honest that it makes her uncomfortable and she doesn't want to participate should be enough.
Hey Dan, the Red Cross isn't a very good organization. It is not efficient, does not have a good reputation in the places it has recently helped, and is not established in any one community, so it can't transition a situation back to any semblance of normalcy with the input of local people.

It is much better to give to an organization that has been working in Haiti for a long time with many international affiliations, a strong reputation, and a powerful connection to the country itself. I recommend Partners in Health, which is somewhat famous for being a particularly successful organization in the graveyard of development projects that Haiti has long been.

Please donate at:
HAC, I've been there. Happily married to the love of my life. But there was an incident once with her best friend. Terribly embarrassing.

I walked up behind her and kissed her on the back of the neck, thinking she was my girlfriend (now wife). They look very similar from behind, having the same hair, skin tone, body shape, taste in clothes, etc. We were both horrified, but got over it.

I should add that I had just gotten up off the couch from a totally wicked weed/wine/beer marathon session. Could inebriation play into your boyfriend's brain farts? If so, do you consider it a problem, or is it ok if he gets fucked up? Cut him a bit of slack, but if you think he's really got a thing for her, then do something.
As someone who has worked in non-profits for years, I strongly recommend donating to Haitian through an established relief organization rather than the Red Cross. The Red Cross is famous for accepting donations for specific disasters (9/11, Katrina), then keeping the money rather than channeling it to the immediate disaster. It is not a government organization, and there is very little oversight. I worked for/with several people who worked for the RC and I could tell you stories that would make your hair fall out. Your Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, what-have-you local church should be able to direct your funds in such a way that they will actually get to those in need in Haiti. The Salvation Army is also a good organization for actually using the disaster money for the disaster victims, as opposed to handing out 6 and 7 figure salaries or letting the funds sit indefinitely in the bank, accruing interest...Not trying to foist religion, just trying to get the funds to the folks who need it.

And for the best response to Pat ROBertson's comment, see…

Thanks for everything, Dan!
That link to the ROBertson response should be…
What about Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontières? That'd be my first pick.
"But I stand corrected: Munches are for everyone. I should've checked with a regular munch-goer, and someone really ought to punish me for screwing this up. Any takers?"

And just how much would I need to donate for this privilege, and to whom? Somewhere, there are legions of gay male/queer-friendly female tops who need to clean their pants after that invitation.
If anyone else hadn't already, I was going to mention it: About 2/3 of the money going into the Red Cross vanishes into the organization for "overhead" or "expenses" and is never seen by anyone who actually needs it. A trusted acquaintance of mine used to work for them and has shared some pretty specific numbers (I think he might have said that no more than 37% actually goes to the people being helped by the Red Cross, but don't quote me on that).
My advice to HAC would be: I don't know if your boyfriend loves the other woman, or even cheats on you with her, but he better find out why he says her name instead of yours. It's not your business to come to terms with this hurtful habit. It's his business to make himself stop, and if he can't do it on his own, he should see professional help. (I'm not recommending a full psychoanalysis, just a little help in getting this worked out.)
Letterman had a woman from th World Food Program on...they set up a link for donations.…

Not sure what percentage of your donation gets to the victims, but it's got to be better than the Red Cross's stats.
dear FED--

do what you can to avoid triggers--taking care of yourself if the most important thing right now. I struggled with ED for years, and for the past three have been "recovered"--but I still, like @6, avoid triggers like the plague. I can deal with them better now than I could a few years ago, but if you're a scant month into recover, you should not be flirting with the edge like that. If this guy respects you, he should respect the boundaries you set. Being GGG doesn't mean you have to do *everything.* Good luck!
If FED can't stand up for herself or at least steer an IM conversation to something she enjoys talking about, I would gently suggest some serious counseling around setting boundaries and self-esteem. Often people with anorexia have control issues, and eating is the one thing they know they can control with an iron fist. Ultimately, the disorder controls the sufferer - what a slap in the face! I've always been at the other end - fat - and I think I've suffered less than my anorexic sisters and brothers because I have an amazing sense of self-esteem (most days!). FED, I wish you well. You can be sexy at any weight, but "healthy" and "confident" are the best attractants, outside of pheremones!
"FWB" does have "friend" built right in, there. If you can't trust him something that's a huge part of your choices and mindframe right now, I'm not sure he's the right partner for any kind of sex play that requires... trust.

Also, for HAC: I kept calling my sister in law (joined the family in 2005) by my dog's name (joined my family in 2006) for a solid year. They didn't sound that much alike, either. I have no idea why I was doing it. I really like my sister in law, and I eventually managed to stop. If he looks horrified every time he does it, just laugh. If he gets defensive and says you're the one with the problem, dump him.
Brian is a flaky fuckup. A coin toss for this situation? Ludicrous.

Good thing Scott Brown didn't win that contest.
Also: where is Brian that a vending-machine can of Coke only costs 75 cents? Criminy! It's like a buck and a half everywhere I look.
You tell someone that their fetish freaks you out (and is potentially VERy DAMAGING to your psyche!) by being upfront about it. Being GGG does NOT mean sacrificing your health, mental or otherwise.

I'm a person who has trouble with keeping names straight (I've called significant others,both mae and female, by my brothers' names on occasion!) It means very ltitle other than that we happened to be having a conversation that was similar to ones I'd had with my brothers inth e past.
Given those circumstances, however, the fact that your boyfriend's slip-ups involve "I love you" should be a bit of a red flag...
I think FED should definitely (a) seek counseling, if she's not already, and (b) come completely clean to the FWB, because if these are his fetishes, it's essential that he knows exactly how they effect you. It could be that he's got plenty of other kinks and he'd gladly switch things up if he knew how triggering these are. If he's not more concerned about your health than about his weight- and eating-related kinks, then dump him ASAP.

You don't mention how long you've struggled with anorexia, but you might know that the longer you go without attaining recovery (or at least help), the worse your chances of ever fully recovering. I started restricting back in middle school, and due to clueless parents and therapists, things got out of hand and I had to be hospitalized several times. I didn't fully recover until I was out of college.

Playing around with triggering kinks just seems too dangerous, in my experience, to try so early in recovery. Your long-term health and your *life* aren't worth that risk.
I was the girl whose name was getting mistakenly said by my male friend to his wife instead of saying his wife's name. It was very uncomfortable for me, too. He always said it was because the names "sounded" the same in his head,(Helen/Lisa) but ultimately, that was not really the main cause. We just got too close to each other. He finally confessed to me that he was more emotionally anchored to me than I realized, or than he should be as a married man, and that he felt more connected to me than to his wife. I've since considered chronic "slips" like that to be a good indicator of where someone's heart is, if not his brain.
"vore" play? wtf?
Vore play often involves the fantasy of being tiny and crawling into and/or being crushed by the vagina... not always about eating. Can be swallowed alive by something other than a mouth.

Not that I'd expect many of your experiences with vore to involve vaginas, Dan. ;)
Charity Navigator gives the Red Cross three stars (out of a possible four), which suggests it does not suck as hard as some commenters suggest. However, Charity Navigator also has a long list of four-star charities that are involved in Haiti. AmeriCares looks like it is one of the most efficient, but there are many others.
Just use a fake belly made out of something edible. That will fix everything. Like a giant filled pastry.
So HAC could consider that her BF does have romantic feelings, and they could all get along. I'm surprised Dan didn't bring up the possibility of an open, honest relationship between the three of them. It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.
That said-my brothers often call me by their wive's names but I doubt they're harboring romantic fantasies. At least I really hope they aren't.
All I have to say to HURT and CONFUSED (bad english and all) is: Aint NO WAY in HELL..." DTMFA already.

The fact that he has said those things so many times to you means that these are things he ROUTINELY says to her.
I agree that Partners in Health is a better choice for helping Haitians that the Red Cross. I donated to them a few days ago, and the emails they are sending me detail the work they are doing, and the situation in Haiti. Paul Farmer started PIH to get Haitians the help they need in TB and HIV treatment. His TB protocol has been adopted in many countries, and shows better results than other ways of treating TB. PIH health care professionals are on the ground running, b/c they are already established in Haiti, know the culture and many ARE Haitians!

Look it up and donate!
FED needs to stay the hell away from things that threaten her mental (and in this case, physical) health. Be GGG when you're all better. Until then, you need to take care of yourself. Get rid of anyone who wants vore-play or pg-play while knowing you have "issues" with food. For real. And yeah, you need help, so get some - why go it alone?

As for HAC, and I'm not proud to say this, but that 'I love you (insert female friend's name here)' would make me apeshit. I mix up my husband's name occasionally with other people's, but never after an 'I love you'. I'd be willing to let that one go, but it would raise a red flag. Furthermore, since it seems to be openning up the floodgates a little bit, I would be flexing my muscles on this one. He needs to get his woman's name effing straight. I don't care if he's the type of guy who mixes up names (which HAC didn't mention him having a history of) or the names sounding similar (which HAC didn't mention being a possible cause). All it takes is a little effort on his part to not accidentally (ie, thoughtlessly) say something that would hurt his girlfriend's feelings. I don't think that's asking TOO much.
@19: "If he looks horrified every time he does it, just laugh. If he gets defensive and says you're the one with the problem, dump him."

Right on. If it bugs you, keep telling him to try harder. You're not wrong to feel hurt.
I have four guys in my life who have very different names and very different personalities, my husband, my brother and two sons. When I start calling for one I frequently have to go down the whole list till I get to the right name with a lot of J..R..P..E..etc. I'm voting for the slip of the tongue.
Also, to Fed, DTMFA, I get the sense that he's playing on your issues intentionally to torture you.
My husband's name is Dan. My dad's name is Dad. Whenever the family is together, I mix them up. Everyone laughs at me, but no one thinks I'm into my dad.
I come from a largish family where my parents never could get our names straight, often going through the whole list before they got the right one, so I have a lot of sympathy for HAC. (Some will say that it's different for a parent to call one child another child's name since parents are supposed to love their children equally and therefore there is no implied disrespect; I can only say that when the family got a dog, the dog's name joined the list.)

However, I do think that Brian got one thing right when he said that it appeared that HAC felt threatened by her guy's female friend. HAC should realize that the real issue here isn't the inability to get the names straight, but rather whether her guy's friendship is unhealthy to their relationship. It could be unhealthy even if there is no sexual relationship, or even sexual attraction, between her guy and his friend, for example, if they are so emotionally close that it doesn't leave sufficient emotional room for him to form a strong inimate relationship with HAC, or at least as strong a relationship as she wants.

I would not have a problem with my partner having a close friend of my sex as long as it was clear what the primary emotional support and intimacy was between my partner and I. If that wasn't the case then the relationship might still work for some people but it wouldn't for me.

HAC should look at the big underlying problem and not the minor symptom. My parents' trouble with names is a non-issue (except as a joke) for my siblings and I because we are confident that our parents love us as parents should. HAC obviously doesn't have the same confidence, although she needs to decide if that is her problem or her guy's. Perhaps the best way of looking at it is that it's a problem for both of them if they want to stay together and they need to work on it together

Actually, the vagina is the one hole that isn't considered vore. Going in that way is unbirthing.

When not otherwise specified, vore is presumed to involve being eaten in the traditional sense. To no surprise, almost all instances of vore is done through roleplaying, typically online.

Oh, and since Dan thinks he should be punished:

(Releases giant, unpopable, balloon animal which runs up to Dan.)


(Watches the balloon puppy romp around with Dan in its belly.)
When you have these "winners" write your column for you, it just makes me appreciate the genius of your advice that much more.
On mixing up names. It is also possible that he is mixing up names because he is trying so hard not to. If he sensed your discomfort the first time, his mind may be thinking, "Don't say Jane, don't say Jane, don't say Jane" and then Jane is the first thing that comes out.

This happens to me all the time.

It's a pretty common phenomenon and seen in Tourette's too.…

It's kind of interesting to read about.

But the question still comes back to: is he avoiding saying the name because he's seeing her or because he doesn't want to hurt you.
Dan, is there any place on the internet where you have collected a sort of summary of your views on stuff? Like, as a long time reader, I have a sort of general sense of where you'll stand on things like monogamy (nearly impossible!), pornography (healthy!), kink (GGG!), and a number of other things. I also tend to agree with you on a lot of these things. You are a much better writer than I am a talker, and as such I wanted to be able to show people (friends, a potential girlfriend, whatever) a professionally written explanation of why these things are so obviously true in my mind.

If this sounds really daunting, I'd also just appreciate it if you or someone could find me the column / podcast where you explained why and how "what are you into?" is such a great question, as a friend of mine was complaining the other day about how awkward it was to bring up spanking mid-coitus.
Suggestion for a charity to support for Haiti: The Episcopal Church Emergency and Development Fund. The Episcopal Church has been supporting Haiti and has had contacts there all along. So giving to them would do two things: Support a GGG religion and get $$ direct to where it is needed.
@HAC. I've been known to call the boyfriend by the brother's name and vice-versa. No, there's nothing scandalous there; I just hang out with the both of them a lot. So, although I know that it hurts when another woman's name is the tagline to "I love you." I really do think this could be an innocent slip-up (unless you have another reason to believe otherwise).
HAC my BF sometimes slips and calls me by his ex-ex-gf's name. The first time he did it he was mortified and coulnd't stop apologizing. I could not have cared any less. Slip of tongue...brain fart...big deal!

It still happens every now and then and only with this particular ex-ex-gf and I still don't care and he still gets all upset (it's rather funny honestly). I think maybe 4x or 5x have been after a quick "I love you" and I honestly haven't given it a moment's thought. I'll put that down to being 100% confident and secure in him, myself and us.

So from my point of view, it appears you are already insecure about something else in the relationship (perhaps his female friend). You need to address that and stop dwelling on the slip up with names. That is not the issue.

And finally, this may not be in line with the Sisterhood, but if you have no other complaints or concerns other than he occasionally calls you someone else's name, then do him a favour and leave already. I would NOT be comfortable with my partner holding slips-of-tongue against me or otherwise getting in a tizzy over something so simple. So again, examine why YOU are so insecure about this.

Good luck!
I had the name slip up happen with my former boyfriend. Every time we visited one of my really good friends (whom earlier in life I was convinced I would marry), I'd start mixing up their names. It didn't mean I loved my guy any less, but probably did stem from the romantic feelings I had had for the other guy.
Though there are at least a few reasons one develops anorexia nervosa, the fact that pregnancy-play was a trigger for FED reminded me of my own history with anorexia which was caused by a social fear not always acknowledged in association with the disorder. I'm not trying to psycho-analyze FED or offer a cure but perhaps sharing my story can be a cogent facet to the fractured looking glass she's looking through right now.
My own anorexia began to appear when I was on the verge of puberty. By denying myself sustenance I was able to successfully delay most signs puberty by about ten years and avoid what to me at the time was the mortifying transmogrification of maturity (what a healthy person might have called blossoming into womanhood.) Though I was comfortable being admired for boy-like androgyny, being regarded as sexy for any feminine aspect of a physique which threatened to develop, would send me back to the pool for a hundred more laps (unlike Michael Phelps, swimming made me too tired to eat.)
Why did I not want to be a woman?
There may be a few reasons why a person does not want to develop the sex they are born with, mine was not a transgender issue. Mine was a misogyny issue. This was difficult to recognize because I did not feel like I hated women. Rather I hated the idea of being a woman and I feared the restrictions that being a woman would place on me. Emblematic of the greatest restriction of all is procreation; being pregnant, having breasts.
From a clinical standpoint I can now be regarded as fully recovered. I eat normal portions, and I actually enjoy having a feminine figure, but it wasn't until my forties that a man could express to me his pregnancy fantasies without my loosing all interest in him over it.
I've called my husband by both my sister's name (which sounds nothing like his) and my cat's name (both start with the same letter). I'm pretty sure I don't feel the same way towards my sister and my cat as I do towards him. However, it always happened in the course of lighthearted, non-meaningful conversation, not after saying "I love you." I wonder if context really does mean something in this situation? To me, it seems like it would be a lot harder to mix up your SO's name with the name of someone you don't "love" when you're pointedly telling them you love them.
" Often people with anorexia have control issues"

@ FED,

You finally found a fetish I had not heard of.

@ HAC,

Big family, multiple people with the same name, absent mindedness, sound alike or rhyming names. My mother can't keep my name straight half the time. The worst case I'd ever seen was a high-school teacher who insisted for half the year my name was "Erica", when it is absolutely nothing like "Erica" in anyway. "Erica" apparently sat in the same seat all last semester.
@46: Exactly, right? How many people here giving their examples of absent-minded parents/SOs are talking about situations when they're saying "I love you"? How hard is it to keep that kind of emotion straight? I have conversations of all types with all kinds of people, so yeah, names might get mixed up, but "I love you" is a fairly exclusive club.
I just can't get over a can of soda costing 75c! We all know who's getting screwed in this column.
The name switching guy...
The context is what worries me. If it were just, you know, "where's the remote?" then that's different. But the important question is, has she seen any other evidence troule? Say, him not wanting her to hear his phone conversations with said friend. Or the two of them laughing too hard at each other's jokes. You can often see a thing like that, once you stop being determined not to see it. And if there's nothing to see? Then get over the name thing, correct him teasingly when he screws up. If you are wrong and he's cheating...well, it'll come out. It's not a secret that can be kept forever.
Coin toss is a scientific way to solve problems. It is mathematically fair. All you need is a coin, it's easy, and a tad bid faster than rock, paper, scissors.

Perhaps this should be considered more seriously for future advice.

I thought the coin idea was a fantastic metaphor. A way to say "it's fate, chance and out of your control so don't worry about it". Brilliant advice!

HAC- don't read too much into it. I have ONE daughter and i find myself calling her my sister's name, her brother's name , or anyone else's i may have had a fleeting thought of during the day.
HAC - A while back, one of my bosses was a friend (along with his wife). He was giving me instructions one day by cell phone while driving and ended the call with, "I love you, bye!" Naturally, I started giving him grief as soon as he got back to the office and he had zero recollection of saying it. He was just distracted. These things happen. I'd say on it's own it's not enough reason to ruin a relationship.

And doesn't anyone else think FED's "friend" with the vore fetish is getting off especially BECAUSE she has an eating disorder??
To HAC: I agree with all those here who have pointed out (1) when your husband slips up and calls you someone else's name, it is always the same person's name and that is worrisome. It's not a mix of his mother's name, his sister's name, or the cat's name. He doesn't go through a list of relatives or people he hasn't seen in years. Those examples have NO risk of becoming sexual if he's not careful. With your husband however, it's always the same female friend, that is not good, and (2) it's even when he's saying intimate things like, "I love you." This is not a casual phrase. It is NOT easy to slip someone else's name into THAT phrase. It's as if he has said it to her many times before. That is very worrisome.

Plus, you are clearly defensive. What other clues have you spotted?

If he has developed feelings for this friend, why don't you have a direct conversation about it. See if he has been finding it difficult to bond with you for some reason, or if he's getting too connected to her and may be about to cross a line, if he hasn't already, and needs to back off her. You're married, you get to ask these questions and negotiate these kinds of boundaries together.
Any Takers (on punishing Dan)?

You bet. Get your ass over here, Dan and I'll spank you through the wall. ;-)
Oh and about FED: she needs to stop courting people that challenge her food-related insecurities. Make no mistake, she is the one perpetuating this. If she really feels it is dangerous to continue this relationship, she should stop at once, but what I believe is that she is seeking out ways to feed into (bad choice of words) her "-ism". The whole "vore" thing is like bloody handwriting on the wall. I suspect this unfortunate soul will heed no advice and continue her IM flings with this man to the point that it makes her sick with worry, and sicker with her "-ism". SAD.
@HAC: i have been in the same situation as the dude, been in a long relationship and started seeing someone else on the sly when things got too comfy and boring. i would purposely say the other person's name to gauge a reaction from my boyfriend because i was too chickenshit to break things off with him because we had been together for so long and didn't want to hurt him. i'm not saying this is the case, but it seems weird that he says the other girls name in the context of saying "i love you"
I too have worked in humanitarian aid for many years in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. I agree -- do not give to the American Red Cross -- they suck and they are conservative. Medicins Sans Frontieres suck too, and they are progressive (and arrogant). I'm not religious, so have a visceral reaction to religious charities, although Catholic Relief Services often does great work. I'd go with the mainstream agencies, such as CARE, Save the Children or Oxfam. They know what they're doing and will ensure that over 90 cents on your dollar gets to where it needs to be.

And Dan would love to punish you. Just say where and when (in Africa now, but will gladly cross the ponds for the opportunity).

HAC, uttering a name isn't as powerful as those fantasy/SFF novels would have you believe and slip-ups aren't as Freudianly important as the therapists tell us.

I have 3 kids, 1 husband, 1 dog. I routinely mix up the names of all five of them. In fact, I'm more likely to get the name I want wrong than right. Ha, ha, big joke around here. Even though I find my inability to grab at the right name annoying, everyone else thinks it's "cute" which is a blessing, I guess.

But here's the important bit: I've never slept with my kids or fed my husband dog food. I've never had the urge to put a leash on any of the humans (it's not my kink) so it's never like I mix their identities, just the pesky names.

I do have to keep my mouth shut during sex. Don't want one of the kids running in saying "why are you calling me?"

BTW, it's a family trait. My sister, brother and mother do the same thing. My sister's theory is that we have verbal dyslexia.
WTF is a "pansexual trans man"

muli sexual pre/post op chick dude?

Just askin'
HAC, I'd like to talk to you about the year my ex-boyfriend used the wrong gender pronoun in reference to me (he instead of she). That was also the year he started calling his girlfriend (now wife) by my name and me by her name. That was all sorts of weird. But it was just strange wiring in the brain he eventually fixed.
Brian's a twit. Coin toss? Srsly? That's fucked up...

HAC, your BF needs to man up and knock that shit off. You need to make sure he knows how much it bothers you when he calls you by this other woman's name. Then he needs to tattoo your name on his hand or whatever it takes to *call you by your real name*. It's possible he's got a thing for this girl, but not so much of one that he'd leave you for her. It's not like he's never going to find another person attractive ever again now that he has you. If he can't be honest with you about it, that's a bigger problem than just confusing your names. I think you need to tell him it's not the end of the world if he finds her attractive but *still* needs to call you by your real name.
Support the American Red Cross? Not until they change their homophobic unscientific policies and allow gay men to donate blood. When they decide to put science ahead of prejudice, then they may be worthy of our support. Until then, my money is going to Doctors Without Borders. Shame on you Dan!
Here's something FED should think about: did her "friend with benefits" evince a strong interest in fetishes centered around eating and body expansion before or after he found out that she had issues with food?

If the answer is "before," then he's probably just an oblivious and/or insensitive guy with some very obscure fetishes, who's so happy to have found a GGG partner that he's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and worry about her psychological well-being. But if the answer is "after," then it seems possible that there's something more sinister going on here -- that what FED's "friend" really gets off on isn't vore or pregnancy, but messing with a vulnerable woman's most painful insecurities.

The Red Cross isn't a perfect charity by any means (I ultimately chose to donate to another earthquake relief effort), but they're not the ones responsible for the ban on accepting blood donations from gay men. That bit of institutionalized homophobia is courtesy of the US FDA, which passed a regulation in 1983 classifying men who have had gay sex at any point after 1977 as "unsuitable blood donors." The regulation is still in place, and the Red Cross (like every other blood collection agency in the US) cannot legally accept blood donations from gay men.

In fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly petitioned the FDA to end the ban on gay male blood donors, but so far with no success.

I regularly donate blood to the Red Cross, and I strongly believe that every qualified (from a health standpoint) blood donor should do likewise, even if it means lying about your sex life.
hello Dan
I sent you and email with my concerns now I dont know how to get the response cause I didnt include any info about myself
FED: as a pregnancy/belly/expansion fetishest myself, I want to warn you, this is a dangerous relationship for you! While I do not know the guy you are seeing, or exactly what you have told him ("I have issues with food" does not sound the same as "I was recently starving myself to death"), it still concerns me that you are seeing someone who fetishizes eating. While the fake belly is a safe/sane way for him to work out his fantasy, if it makes you upset, it is bad for your recovery. Because the idea of you eating/being swelled up/being heavy turns him on, that will be part of your sex life. He may even believe this is helpful, because he is "accepting you", but the reality is that it is unethical for voreophiles/pregfans to mess with girls who have distorted body images. It can border on being predatory in fact. Safe, sane expansionists should break it off once they find out the girl has weight issues. That he won't raises serious alarm bells.

In short, get a shrink, stay away from the expansion scene. We don't want to see you hurt for the sake of our fetish :(
I love the acronym DTMFA, dan.
About a month after my BF and I started dating, he called me by his ex-gf's name. He was mortified and apologized over and over until I finally said, "it was a brain fart and it's okay. I'm not mad - let it go." And then the next night when we were going to bed, I wore my name tag from work just so there wouldn't be any more awkward moments. When he laughed and laughed I knew he was the man for me.

Once is an accident. And it's NOT the same as your mom calling you your sister's name at all. Where there's smoke, there's fire. DTMFA.
I'm one more person from a big family whose mom would routinely run through every child's name -- and the pets'! -- before she finally got to the one she meant. I've got it, too -- I routinely mix up my students' and siblings' names unless I'm really concentrating, and I spent one year calling my partner of 5 years (at that point) by his best friend's name -- and I am neither attracted nor close to said best friend. Just a weird neural misfire.

So I'm seconding (thirding? whatever) the "forgive him if he looks horrified" advice. If my partner hadn't realized it was unintentional and laughed it off (for a whole year!), we would have missed out on the 5 great years since then.
someone really ought to punish me for screwing this up.

Any takers?

*waves hand*
Hurt and Confused: Many of my friends in my younger years were guys. To many girlfriends of my guy friends, I was 'the BF's close female friend.' The relationship I had with their boyfriend was completely platonic. If you're not confident enough to deal with being in a relationship with a man who has close female friend(s), do him a favor and remove yourself from it. If on the other hand he's sending signals that he's entirely too fond of a particular female friend, do yourself a favor and find someone who's not using you or her as plan B.

That said, his calling you by her name isn't necessarily a sign of current/impending/emotional infidelity. Some people just can't keep names straight. On a regular basis, I call all of my kids (4) by one another's names - the boys/girls by one another's name, the girls by the boys' names and vice versa.

I could tattoo their names on their heads. I'd still screw them up. Frequently.

There's probably some psychobabble term for this, but whatever it is, I've got it BAD: I have called my husband 'mom' and my mother by my husband's name on multiple occasions. I've even called my (male) boss by my husband's name and my husband by my boss's name.

It's typically in those situations where you're saying something like, 'Yeah, but Bob, listen for just a sec...' but there's a more common theme: My mother, boss and husband are my 'most commonly spoken to adults,' despite that I have very different relationships with all of them. My kids are my 'commonly spoken to kids,' despite that there's a 16 year age span between them all.

Don't read too much into it. If he was accidentally calling you Justin or Mark or Peter, would you be worried that he was fucking Justin, Mark or Peter?
What a touching story! youre a great writer dan!
FED: I'd bet a quarter that boyfriend has a pretty good clue what your "food issues" are, especially if you're still rail thing. He may be trying to play "shrink."

It's possible he's trying to be "helpful" via using sex to get you to eat, and using the pregnancy belly as a way of making you feel comfortable being a larger size than you are now.

Or he's just an asshole who thinks you have some mad desire to pig out, and that your holding back is some "barrier" he wants you to break though.
Name mix-ups are not as much about what you mean to the person generally, but what you mean to that person in that moment. Like when my sister gets irritable: you are no longer an individual, you've become "the idiot who is wrecking my day". There's a place in her head for one such figure and anybody can slip into or out of the role.

It suggests a self-centered person - a person who doesn't always pay attention to the real you, but takes mental shortcuts by fitting you into prefabricated roles.
I would advise HAC to pressure him. Find out who he cares about more no matter what way he goes, and end up with either a better relationship or out of a bad one.
Munches may be for everyone but as a gay leatherman with friends in the het community I can tell you there are a lot of munches that, even though they are called "pansexual" are often attended by mostly straight people. So don't be too HARD on Dan, it was an easy mistake to make.

1+1+1 = 3

Any other questions?
I have two different women at work who call me by their husbands' name on a fairly regular basis. We are pretty close friends -- at work -- but don't see each other at all outside of work. I'm a partnered gay man. I'm flattered by the name calling, but I don't think it means anything more than that the women think of me fondly.
A better group to give money to than the Red Cross is Partners in Health ( They have been on the ground, training doctors in Haiti and doing HIV and tuberculosis care and public health in Haiti for more than 20 years! Not like these other groups that don't know what's going on and are only just getting there.
Dan Savage you rock! Greetings from Austin Texas. I have read all your books, great stuff!
Every week I wonder "how can this question possibly be answered?" and you just nail it.
I wish you and your family peace and joy.

Sorry readers to distract from the conversation.
From: long time caller first time listener.....

@FED : I'm with 32, dump the guy and find someone else whose kinks don't involve food or pregnancy. He knows that you have problems with food, and he still brings up vore and fat-suit roleplay ? It's a red flag. Do not come clean to him about your anorexia, he'll use it to fine-tune his control over you. DTMFA.
To HAC. The brain is a fucked-up thing. Yes, he may be attracted to her. He may even want to fuck her. But he is still (we're hoping) just her friend. Platonic relationships can still have an element of sexual tension to them. That does not mean that sex will take place, or anything else.

On that note, when dating my current wife, I often used my ex-wife's name instead of hers, and it was pretty humiliating. I eventually stopped doing that. The choking was getting to be too much. :)
i'm a girl with a male friend who constantly calls his gf by my name. the male friend and i aren't even super close, let alone having any crushes on each other. he just sucks at names!
@ Pat Robertson and his vile, hateful, santorum-spewing mouth -

what would Tiger's wife or your wife find texted and sexted to your personal cell phone or email inbox or any other inbox of yours?

be careful what you say old man because your god appears to have a long memory and a nasty way of settling the score sometimes...
Re HAC, I agree with #78. Sometimes it's not about the person, it's about the emotion. So if my boyfriend occasionally annoys me, but my coworker Always annoys me, then I may slip and call my boyfriend by my coworker's name IN THAT ANNOYING SITUATION.

But when my ex had a super close but non-sexual friend-girl, he called her by my name and me by her name. Both names start with S, he's dyslexic, etc... But that didn't bother me because it was in practical conversation, NOT "I Love You ___".

AND he still sucked because his close friend-girl was #1 and I was #2.


"I'm a bad, bad man, etc., etc"

You sure are..."Brian" ;). That poor Catholicism.. Tsk, tsk. Jesus wants his inground pool back. Oh, and absolute and total bull**** for scenario number one incidentally.. Kind of you for your generosity for the priviledge of advice. Good advice. Good job.. Not bad for being "a bad, bad man., etc" ;) (whether it's your quotes or not).. (lol ;-D)
If anyone reads this far down, World Vision is another org good at getting donations to the disaster vics. They sometimes give preference to Christians as far as their services, but I don't believe that is the case with disasters.
HAC, does your boyfriend mix up other people's names? Note that all these examples people give of mixing up names involve more than just two people. If yes, then it's a brain fart, but you can ask him to try to not do it again because it hurts you. And he *should* try. It's generally polite to call people by the right name, so he shouldn't be making any excuses.
If he only mixes the two of you up, and you don't have very similar sounding names, then this is a red flag, and your suspicions are valid, especially with a phrase like "I love you." Confront him and tell him you're hurt and suspicious. If he doesn't do everything he can to alleviate your suspicions, then either he was cheating on you, or he doesn't care that much about you, and you should DTMFA.
I frequently call my son my brother's name. The names aren't similar, but I suspect they may be stored adjacent in my brainwires, filed under the category "younger male family member." I don't confuse them with each other, and I don't confuse my roles in their lives. HAC's guy's mistake may mean nothing more than having accidentally filed their names together under "women I talk to a lot."

Also, if he's near my age, he may be finding his name-recall software less reliable than it used to be. Maybe HAC should see if there's some other indication of trouble before giving up on the guy.
Last week I went to give Doctors w/o Borders $50 cos they are a cool organization. I was pissed that they forced me to pick a title, but found out they were EXTRA cool when I could choose
the following:

Mr and Mr
Mrs and Mrs
Ms and Ms
HAC --DTMFA. He ain't your brother sister husband father. $10 says he's a infatuated fool thinking about the other chic all the time and you're the door mat. Find someone whose crazy about YOU.
I frequently call my son my brother's name. The names aren't similar, but I suspect they may be stored adjacent in my brainwires, filed under the category "younger male family member." I don't confuse them with each other, and I don't confuse my roles in their lives. HAC's guy's mistake may mean nothing more than having accidentally filed their names together under "women I talk to a lot."

If he's of a certain age, he may be finding his name-recall software less reliable than it used to be. Maybe HAC should see if there's some other indication of trouble before giving up on the guy.

What @92 said.
I will never forget the day my father called my mother "honey"--in front of his second wife.

My husband, my son, and many of my close male friends have three-letter names. When I spend time with them, I mess this up. Frequently. And I have signed off with an "I love you" to all of them, sometimes meaning to, sometimes not. Truth is, I do love them all, in different ways. My husband is smart enough to know that he is always my top priority (and only bedmate), and doesn't get into childish games about who my BEST best friend is at any given moment. Instead, he seems to think it's kind of funny that I'm a dingbat. HAC might want to adopt a similar philosophy.
To add to what #10 says, yes, some of the various church aid organizations have a long-standing presence in Haiti. The director of the entire Methodist Committee on Relief died in the quake because they were already there, working to improve medical care in Haiti in general.
Has anyone mentioned that the GF of the guy who's calling her the wrong name might wanna watch and see if he's screwing up other names and words as well? There are subtle but real medical conditions that cause people to mis-say things even though they know, in their head, what they mean. I think one of them is called "aspasia". Don't dump him until you're sure this isn't a symptom of something!
HAC should try to lighten up. Name switching is sooooo freaking common, it's almost meaningless.
How many people have joked about their mom or their granny mixing up the kid's names when they call them, or even throwing in a pet's name? But no one takes that to mean she'd prefer the dog as a son. I have two young daughters, and at least a few times a week I call one by the other's name.
If the three of them are talking often, if he is conversing, saying the other girls name in innocent conversation often enough, he may just toss out the wrong name sometimes. It happens. What matters is what he consciously chooses, his actions.
one factor i'd take into consideration with the name-slip:

how similar are the names? i once had a close dude friend who routinely mixed up the names of the principal females in his life (2 best girl friends + 3 consecutive girlfriends)...but that's kind of what happens when you have an m.a., an emily, a maddy, and an emma. too many Ms make a boy's tongue a little bit crazy.

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