Savage Love

Dramatis Personae

Comments

1

'Eat a live frog firked thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.'

2

Jesus what an asshole that guy was anyway to use you like that, BLAH. You're better off without him in your life.

3

I bet almost all porn actors/actresses have problems finding a partner that's not looking for the fantasy.

In the second letter he writer mentions the guy stopped mid session to answer a call from the girl friend. Why would he need to get dressed to do that?

4

@4 Asking the real questions.

5

Dashing@3
In case she wanted to switch to a videocall. Successful deception calls for great attention to detail.

6

BLAH: One sign that you have a healthy level of self-awareness is that you are questioning yourself and your behavior – you say “I have played events over and over in my mind.” That's understandable, but stop doing that. It doesn’t seem like you did anything to take advantage of your friend. He treated you horribly and you’re well free of that relationship.

One thing though? Don’t play the “he was drunker than me” game with yourself. He mixed the drinks, you drank the drinks, and you were both drunk enough to do something that you regret.

7

@6: I should have written, "don't play the 'who was drunker than whom' game with yourself."

8

BLAH: Your ex-friend is going to wake up every morning and be the same douchebag he was the night before. Not being able to own his shit makes him a shitty person. He's stuck with that.

And while you got drunk and then messed around with him the first time, the subsequent times weren't an accident, so you should own that. An apology to your ex-friend's ex-girlfriend would not be out of line.

9

@aidenxxxward: I've dated a couple of porn actresses.

One was a well-know professional. She was so concerned about being objectified that no fun could be had. She came by it honestly: she was constantly objectified, and hated it. There didn't appear to be a workaround. And she was a vegan.

The other was a semi-pro. She had watched a lot of porn, and could perform really well. The catch was that she never carried cash or credit cards. I dated her for several years.

10

BLAH- Dan is right, you were indeed taken advantage of, but you’re not off the hook just yet. After all you could have said something like, “I’m really flattered and would love to do this, just want to make sure it’s ok with Jessica.”

So yes, you may have lost two friends, yet you’re much better off with at least one of them. That said, you should offer apologies to the former gf since you were still responsible for what happened regardless of who initiated. Homosexuality and blaming aside, the situation is not much different if any at all than the bf got involved with a female housemate and friend.
You may vaguely allude to having your own recollection of events, but don’t tell your story right away. Wait until you rebuild some rapport, and she indicates she wants to hear it.

11

I'm not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure sending an adult's own dick pics back to them (without threatening to send to others) isn't a crime under revenge porn or any other statutes.

The thing to avoid is any kind of threat or extortion.

If the allegations continue, BLAH might hire a lawyer to see what his options are as far as a libel/slander lawsuit.

12

BLAH didn't mention how he responded to his friend's nude photos and drunken love declarations. Let's speculate!

13

[As with so many things (being HIV+, being trans, being kinky, being polyam, etc.), when you tell a guy you do porn, Aiden, you're telling him one thing he needs to know about you—but his reaction will tell you everything you need to know about him.]

Possibly, but not necessarily. Plenty of people take a Big Reveal well and later show themselves to belong on the AH list or MF list for entirely different reasons. As a side line, there seems to be an invited inference that a neutral response makes one an AH/MF. It seems unhelpful to frame it as its almost never being the case that two people just aren't a match without one or the other being grievously at fault.

14

@1 WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations yet again, curious2, on scoring our highly and hotly coveted Savage Love FIRDT! (firkt) honors, leading this week's comment thread. Savor your ongoing glory and bask in the glow. Understand, however, that by scoring FIRDT! honors you forfeit receipt of the following Lucky Numbers for this week (i.e.: should you land on the Lucky @69, the numerical award will go to the next commenter afterward at @70 or later. All is fair in Savage Love Land). :)

14

If LW2 and GF2 were close, then he did violate the friendship. The letter reads more as if GF2 were more or merely a friend-in-law. If the couple had simply broken up for reasons of their own, I have no sense that LW2 would have stayed on cordial terms with her. He can certainly apologize to her as his hostess whether they were real friends or just friends through XF2. But he's much better off without both of them. This is a well-known and heavily choreographed dance, and it's almost never a solo.

As Mr Savage mentions, this sort of thing has been around for ages. There were magazine articles about a low-key version two decades ago - straight-presenting men would get flirtier and flirtier with gay friends until a gay friend finally made a move, letting the poor victimized straight retreat into virtuous modesty, claim that it's impossible to be friends with gays because we're all such predators who don't respect heterosexuality, etc. This letter is varsity level. She may or may not be complicit, but, if she isn't, she's willing to reward clearly bad behaviour. The apology XF2 and GF2 deserve would be along the line of, "I'm sorry I let him seduce me." For the sake of LW's character, he may want to be more gracious.

The main lesson is not to get flirty with straight friends and to shut it down if they initiate. It usually turns out badly and they almost never deserve it.

15

@2 jack chandelier: Agreed and seconded re BLAH.

16

BLAH, I'm sorry that happened to you.

17

Griz shall return shortly after some late night flicks. I officially turned 28 years a U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran today. BOO-YAAH!
First on my film agenda is Top Gun, followed by Good Morning, Vietnam, Private Benjamin, A Few Good Men, and, because it was filmed back in 1959 just down the pike from where I had been stationed, Some Like it Hot. By the sea, by the sea, by the beau-t-iful sea......
Bring on the red wine and dark chocolate! :)

18

Aiden Ward could date other porn performers/sex workers, or he could date asexuals. But unfortunately, being objectified and sexualised is part and parcel of the career he has chosen. Just like I occasionally get a boundary-challenged acquaintance sending tax questions to my personal Messenger at 8:30pm on a Saturday night. >:-(

Agree that BLAH should apologise to the girlfriend. Agree also that he was playing with fire by staying in the home of someone who had openly flirted with him but who he knew was not available. A learning experience for him. BLAH's closeted ex-friend is in denial not just of his sexuality but of his responsibility for his own cheating. (Dan, this isn't just something that happens to gay men. People of all genders and orientations get themselves drunk to have plausible deniability for initiating sex they know they'll either regret or be shamed [by themselves or others] for having. But I don't think either of these guys regretted the sex -- they just regret getting caught.) He isn't gaslighting you; he isn't misremembering; he's making a lame-ass excuse. You know the truth -- both of you.

BLAH, you're better off without this guy in your life -- and hopefully you can recognise similar red flags if you meet other guys like him in the future. And gracefully turn down invitations to stay with them during pandemics and/or drink with them while their girlfriends are out of town. Lessons not just gay men, but anyone who likes men, learns in their life.

19

Venn @14: "The apology XF2 and GF2 deserve would be along the line of, "I'm sorry I let him seduce me." Ooh, I like it! Both apologises and gets across what really happened. This letter illustrates that the deplorable phenomenon I alluded to last week -- person blames the third party and forgives their cheating partner -- is indeed not gendered. I agree it doesn't sound like BLAH and the girlfriend are close, though they probably did get pretty close during the pandemic. She'll discover her boyfriend's true nature soon enough.

20

Nocute @16, yes. BLAH was complicit but he was used and discarded, AND he's being blamed, which sucks all round. Hugs, BLAH.

21

Ms Fan - Sure, they probably did become friendly. And blaming the third party when cheating occurs does preserve the vanity of the victim, who can avoid admitting to having chosen a proactive cheater.

As for GF2's finding out XF2's true nature, even if (and this is an IF of elephantine proportions) she had absolutely no idea of XF2's possible interest in men, she still had clues. She knew how much XF2 drank, and what he was like when drunk. It was doubtless tempting for her to close her eyes or tell herself something soothing. One can understand that. But at best she chose to believe at face value something she had data to know was questionable.

The best case I can make for GF2 is that L2 reminded me of Crooked House, in which a 76-year-old widower married a 24-year-old waitress and seven or eight years later hired a young conscientious objector to tutor his two minor grandchildren. His wife and the tutor had a romantic (likely not sexual) affair. His adult granddaughter took the position that her grandfather sensed his wife's need for a bit of anaemic romance in her life, and he provided her with a nice, tame outlet. GF2 might have thought LW2's proximity would do XF2 good, perhaps even that there would be a mild flirtation. She didn't deserve this to happen, but she's chosen her side, and this, curiously, tells LW2 everything he needs to know about her.

Couple-single housemate dynamics can get quite interesting. In one way, the pandemic may have helped, as it meant that the single would have a much less active social life and everyone would know what to expect on that front. Here, though, it may well have been unfeasible for LW2 to leave after XF2 started getting flirty.

In my experience a straight friend's getting flirty usually dooms the friendship. Unless the straight's interest is truly thin and he's grateful for being rebuffed, it tends to escalate if there's not at least a hint of reciprocation. One can walk the tightrope of, "You're attractive but you're straight," for a while, but, when the original initiative came from the straight friend, vanity tends eventually to demand more.

22

First, the usual disclaimers. For newcomers, I'm a straight monogamous woman who somehow became a regular commenter for reasons I'm still trying to remember. I hadn't known that gay leaning straight men will come on to their gay friends and blame them for it. Learn something every day. On the part of straight humanity everywhere, I'm sorry.

Now the advice. What about speaking your truth? Write to them both.

I've lost two friends. I'm sorry. That's not sorry because I think I've done anything terribly wrong, but I miss you. I'm sorry it worked out this way. When Zachary first started sending me dick pics I should have been extra wary, should have known to be on my guard. When he began getting me drunk when Alexis was visiting her folks, I should have turned down the first drink. I should have known better. I was naive. For that, I deeply apologize.

And yet, I wonder if it could have turned out any other way. Zachary with his curiosity that was going to be satisfied somewhere, Alexis with her jealousy, all of us in that pandemic hothouse with no means to settle conflicts. It was going to blow up somehow. I'm sorry it blew up the way it did.

I remember you fondly. Maybe some day down the line we'll get together (not for drinks!) and reminisce about old times. Until then, good luck in all your endeavors, romantic, sexual or others. I remain,
BLAH

23

@ Griz #17: "Nobody's perfect." One of the best final movie lines ever.

24

Venn @21, I agree it's likely "Jessica" (stealing CMD's pseudonym) is in less denial about her boyfriend's sexual orientation than he is. Perhaps she's less fussed about having a bisexual boyfriend than a cheating one. The commentariat would no doubt advise her to DTMFA, or at least make admitting his true orientation a condition of forgiveness. What I meant by his true nature was his being the initiator, rather than a helpless victim of gay friends' irresistible charms. The Savage Love ending to this story would involve Jessica forgiving BLAH, encouraging her boyfriend to come out already, getting tested for STIs, and pondering moving forward in a now ethically open relationship. The romcom ending would involve her ditching the boyfriend and going for a cocktail night out with BLAH, where they bond over the ex's duplicity and become best pals.

25

Porn dude - you should be able to find a support group for that.

26

@18: Good point for Aiden. I've known a few people "in the business". And one way or another, they seem to come to the conclusion that only a fellow performer can understand all the issues involved with separating one's professional and intimate lives. Particularly with the amount of emotional baggage the general public attaches to sex.

27

Fichu @22,

Nice.

+++ +++ +++

BiDanFan @24,

I wonder if Zachary’s “true nature” is alcoholic. That’s harder to overlook than bisexuality. Alexis might even blame BLAH for taking advantage of poor Zachary’s unsteady mental health.

Maybe Alexis and Zachary are both alcoholic and very protective of their “normal” face, sensitive to anything that might interfere with passing, and mistrustful of outsiders.

No, this is not in the letter. It’s just possible. People are more likely to understate than overstate their own and their friends’ drinking, and the dynamic I describe is not uncommon.

Anyway, even if that dynamic is not at play, I’d suggest that BLAH learn warning signs around alcohol and other substance abuse. He doesn’t sound like someone who actively steers clear of it. (Disclosure: my personal irrational prejudice is that someone who drinks heavily after the age of 25 doesn’t have better, alternative coping skills and is trouble. Befriend with caution and good boundaries.)

28

@ACummins 27: It did seem to me that BLAH has some sort of issues around alcohol. He almost seems to be jujitsu-ing his friend's excuse for the drunken hookup by insinuating that it was he who was the victim of someone more experienced with alcohol, thus the somewhat indignant "he mixed the drinks!"

29

Those of us who narrate "Romance” audiobooks (which can range from sweet actual romantic stories with no sex scenes to full-on hardcore erotic literature) face some of this as well. If we "come out" to family, friends and lovers, we have to deal with their judgements and biases. Fans contact us and assume we are who/what we narrate, etc. It can, on rare occasions, get a bit stalker-y for some. It can also be an even wonkier disconnect - that crazy hot 25 year old sounding male narrator might be a middle-aged father of 4 with a severe case of Dad-bod in reality. (Yes, Dad-bod,happily, is a turn on for some, I know.) For the most part, those of us that do this are grateful to get to put more love, lust, and sex-positivity out there in the world, and to get paid to do it...we also get to wear personas or sexual identities that we may not (or may not always) wear in real life (or at all times IRL) or explore "places" we had not before, which is all pretty damned awesome, but it does have its drawbacks sometimes.

30

Venn @14
I agree with Fubar @8, CMD @10 and BiDanFan @18 that LW2 should apologize to GF2. I agree it sounds like he was closer to BF2. (In more ways than one!) However, he referred to her as a second friend who he lost. Also, she agreed to his staying with them during the pandemic, when he probably had fewer options.

31

Venn @14,
Why do you say she might be complicit, and that she is rewarding good behavior?

BiDanFan @19
She does apparently blame LW2 at least in part, and he blames himself. Why are you saying she forgave BF2 for cheating on her?

She broke up with BF2 because he had sex with LW2. If she takes him back because he claims that he was too drunk to consent, that's not forgiving the cheating.

It would be buying into BF2's lies. She would be giving him another chance because she believes he was effectively raped because he was drunk.

It's unclear to me from the letter whether BF2 is trying to change her mind by blaming LW2. Or, is he making these accusations directly to LW2? Or gossiping to their friends circle?

I read it as BF2 directly accusing LW2 of taking advantage of him while he was drunk.

It sounds like the two of you read it as BF2 trying to win GF2 back?

Even if you are correct, I don't see that as equivalent to blaming the Other Person for an affair that was clearly consensual between the Other Person and the Cheater.

32

Myself @31
I think he's about 20% responsible, which is the high end for the "Other Person" in my perspective.

They did it multiple times. He "knew they were together" (presumably supposedly monogamous). He was living with them. He knew before he moved in that BF2 would continue hitting on him (being flirty and sending nudes for years).

It's still primarily BF2's fault, since he's the one who actually cheated.

33

LW2, I had a few gay men hit on me while they were drunk, years ago. It was at a gay bar. I went there to spend time with a friend who worked there, and made a lot of other friends. I told them "I don't think you would file a police report tomorrow against me for raping you, but I still think you would feel taken advantage of! That would be a really crappy thing to do to you."

Each of them seemed shocked at the very idea that I could possibly rape them. A couple of them told me later they hadn't thought of it that way. They appreciated me turning them down, in retrospect, though.

I don't think you're quite in the position of having sex with someone who was drunk, who you knew wouldn't have sex with you when he was sober, due to the nudes/etc. It's VERY dark grey area, though. Having a glass of wine with dinner, or partying with someone who has sex with you at other times, is fine, I think. If someone needs liquid courage to fuck you, don't fuck them.

34

@AntonioAmato
I don't agree with "sweet" (sex-free) romances being "real" romances. If you check out a good romance blog like Smart Birches Trashy Books, you'll find reviews and interviews discussing all styles of romance, including "spicy". If anything, the writers either think it's a matter of the reader's taste, or they enjoy the chance of showing the characterisation working in sexual terms. It's a challenge to keep the scene "hot" for readers, vaguely historically accurate, and lean in to portraying enthusiastic consent.

35

@23 Ens. Pulver: "Well, nobody's perfect." Ain't it the truth?
Some Like it Hot is indeed, a classic, and my favorite of all films directed by Billy Wilder (up there with The Apartment, from 1960; Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine), and Marilyn Monroe movies.

36

Opal @31, apologies. I missed the part where she did break up with him. Good for her. Please disregard any comments made based on the incorrect assumption that she sided with Zachary in holding BLAH responsible. I agree they are both to blame; it sounds like an "oops, I did it again" situation.

The only question I had was re BLAH's housing situation. He was staying with these friends, but was that because he preferred bubbling with them to living on his own and having no human contact during the pandemic, or because he had nowhere else to live? He doesn't mention that after the "month of drama" he was left scrambling for a new place to live. If he could have left and gone back to his own home at any time, that does make him more guilty for continuing this affair than if he felt an obligation to play along because he was beholden to Zachary for providing him with a home. (A situation which, sadly, I've found myself in before.)

Opal @33: "If someone needs liquid courage to fuck you, don't fuck them." Well said.

WoofB @34, chip on shoulder alert. Antonio didn't say that romances without sex were "real" and that ones with sex weren't. He said that some of the stories he narrates are romances without sex and some are romances with sex. I don't think he needs his job explained to him.

37

Ms Opal @30 - LW2 and GF2 sounded like friends-in-law, someone either would call a friend in a minor way but the friendship would be through someone more important to each and not someone with whom either would seek to maintain contact if either major contact were broken. Before you began posting, there was a letter a while back about which I took the position that the third in a cheating incident could be committing a separate, usually lesser, violation against the victim. Friend-in-law is a tricky category, though LW2 certainly fits the Bad Houseguest category.

38

Ms Cummins/Ens Pulver - As a lifelong non-drinker, I would be terrified to have anything to do with an imbiber.

39

Ms Opal @31 - GF2 is rewarding bad behaviour by accepting/supporting XF2's public claim.

As for why it sounds as if she could be complicit, it often is, for one thing. For another, the whole situation sounds slick. It's like the way Poirot in Evil Under the Sun picks up on the pattern of the discovery of a corpse occurring before the murder instead of after.

40

Venn @39, but the letter doesn't say that. (Perhaps I took my cue from your comments when I incorrectly concluded Jessica had sided with the boyfriend.) On the contrary, she dumped her boyfriend. Doesn't sound like a reward to me.

41

Ms Opal @31 second portion - XF2 may be trying for a reconciliation with GF2, or he may just be going down the oft-traveled Gays Are So Predatory road. I doubt it matters. He's clearly making it public and she's clearly at least not repudiating something she almost certainly has the means of repudiating. I can understand that; she has plenty of justification for loathing LW2. If I were her friend, I'd just advise her not to let XF2 besmirch LW2's reputation more that it deserved.

42

Ms Fan - She's at least staying silent, which I count as accepting. One could make the case that she just didn't want to say anything in oppostion.

43

I just realized I renamed Jessica Alexis. I did read the previous comments so it was just a slip. Carry on. The names are Jessica, Zachary, and BLAH.

44

Ms Opal @32 - That sounds about right.

Ms Opal @33 - I get an amusing image of you, like Wile E Coyote, taking out your Acme Kinsey Score Detector, pointing it at their drunk heads and seeing a row of 6.0s come up comparable to what Torvill & Dean received in Sarajevo when they performed Bolero. The difference in your example is that presumably they did not tank themselves up specifically in order to hit on you without inhibitions. You recognize this yourself when you factor in the pictures and XF2's habit of flirting. I do still think it goes to support your main point about not boinking anyone who has to get tanked to do it, but here XF2 seems much more likely to get tanked just to create plausible deniability - and I think it likely he was a lot less tanked than it appeared.

45

Venn @42: "She's at least staying silent" -- the letter doesn't say that either. We don't know what she's saying, but we do know she dumped his cheating ass, which is a good thing. If she is declining to give an interpretation of events that occurred when she was not even there, I'd deem that appropriate. We don't know whether she asked BLAH for his side or whether he offered it. I don't think we can attribute any homophobia on her part.

46

The letter states:
"His girlfriend eventually found out about one of the incidents. After a month of drama, he told her everything and they broke up. Shortly after he claimed that I took advantage of him and claimed he was too drunk to give consent!"
Nothing about what she said or what she appears to believe. Nothing even about to whom Zachary made this claim. To BLAH himself? To Jessica? (This claim was made after they broke up; we don't even know whether she continued to speak to him.) To their wider friends group, after they found out Jessica had dumped him for cheating? Is he trying to save face and maintain the illusion of his heterosexuality among his peers, or simply being a jerk and blaming BLAH? Questions with no answer unless BLAH joins these comments to clue us in.

47

Ms Fichu - How Dynasty. It sounds as if GF2 is more of a Jessica, but a harsh interpretation would be in the Alexis line.

48

She could conceivably be telling people XF2 is full of it in circumstances not known to LW2; that just seems not all that plausible.

49

BLAH's "friend" sounds like a real, grade-A asshole. BLAH and GF2 are well rid of him indeed, but sadly under such painful circumstances.

I am skeptical that BLAH should offer an apology to GF2. If he genuinely feels bad for screwing around with her BF (knowingly helping him cheat), then I think a heartfelt apology where he owns his side of the shit in relation to how that impacted her, that would be fine. However, I don't think he should use an apology as a sounding board for "clearing his name" in regards to the accusations of forcing himself on BF2. I feel like those are two very separate issues that BLAH needs to be sure he doesn't try to combine.

It's a horrible accusation to make against someone, and I wish we had more details. Is this ugly rumor being spread around a friend group? Or was this a desperate attempt on BF2's part to save face with GF2 (that didn't amount to much since she D'dTMF anyway)? BLAH has obviously caught wind of this rumor, but how? I say, if it's a rumor that only the three people in the letter are privy to, BLAH's just going to have to eat this one and he would do himself a favor to see it for what it is. His friend was a selfish scoundrel all around, and wasn't afraid to throw BLAH under the bus when his own poor choices came to light. This guy is a capital C cheater and a douchebag; the ugly accusation that BLAH forced himself on him is just further evidence of BF2's scumbaggery. (BLAH, he's not "genuinely misremembering." He's a self-serving asshole that you mistook for a friend.)

BLAH says "I lost two friends." And that sucks, but yeah. You fucked around with your roommate's BF. You shat where you ate. You and BF2 tanked these relationships when you chose to fuck around with each other, regardless of who mixed the drinks.

50

Also, if BLAH does apologize to GF2, he should anticipate that apology being not well-received or rejected outright. I don't know if this is an instance where reaching out to the hurt party may do more harm than good.

51

I'm a sex worker myself (pro dominatrix) and james answer to the porn actor is SPOT ON. I can't agree more. On the other hand "fetichization" also happens to anyone with a public persona (not only porn actors), be an actor, a singer or a politician. No one approaches Madonna thinking "I want to hang out with Louise that girl who loves vegetarian food and cats".

52

Mrs Fox @49-@50, good points as usual. BLAH does seem genuinely sorry, at least he does own that he was wrong to participate in the cheating. You're correct though that any apology must not be for the primary purpose of setting the record straight in who seduced whom. It seems she rightly blames them both. There has already been a month of drama; Zachary is way out of line in claiming BLAH took advantage of him, but attempting to defend himself could only serve to prolong the drama when it seems best to put this unfortunate episode behind him and move on. If mutual friends ask about his role in the breakup, BLAH should tell them that Zach isn't being honest about his lack of consent. Jessica may, indeed, prefer never to hear from either of them again.

53

I just got an email from TheStranger responding to the 1800++ responses to the survey a few weeks ago.
(Check your Spam folder.)

Much of it speaks to new Stranger coverage focus. But this might interest us:

"...most importantly, you told us you want a new website. Same. An updated desktop and mobile experience has been a long time coming for Stranger readers. This year, we’re finally making some significant changes to our site. There will be lots more to report on this front, but we heard you, we feel similarly, and we’re preparing to shake things up."

So hopefully 'changes' mean the kind of format improvements people here hoped for.

Hopefully 'changes' doesn't mean abolishing this board.

I wonder if banned trolls will remain banned, or if there will be whole new user accounts.

54

My first read of Dan's advice to LW2 was that he was playfully baiting BLAH to send these dick pic exchanges to his former friend and the former friend's former girlfriend ("yes, you COULD send those screengrabs... of course you shouldn't... but it will make you feel better.".. etc). On second read, perhaps Dan was being serious when he said that however tempting this course of action may be, it would be wrong. Either way, please don't do it, BLAH, at least not to the girlfriend (even if she is complicit like Venn says, although I agree with BDF that this doesn't follow from the letter). Don't make this woman an emotional pawn in this closet case drama with your male ex-friend. She's had enough to process, without the emotional gut punch of seeing these messages. If you need to clear your name because this is now a horrible rumour going around your friend circle, maybe mention that you ~have~ the messages, but leave it at that.

But also, are these dick pics really the smoking gun that Dan thinks they are? Isn't it conceivable that "Zachary" flirted with BLAH in the past, AND that BLAH took advantage sexually when they were drunk? I'm not saying that's what happened - I agree that Zachary sounds like a cheating scumbag with some serious issues around homophobia, internalised and otherwise. But I'm reminded of various blow-ups on Fetlife, where a woman would accuse a male top/dom of rape or sexual assault, and the dom would try to defend himself by posting screenshots of older private conversations between himself and the accuser, where the accuser was flirting or describing her rape fantasies, etc. This line of defense nearly always looks bad for the accused dom. Wouldn't be the same in M/M context? It shows someone who a) seems to think that flirting or consensual sexual interactions in the past automatically mean that all subsequent sex was consensual, and b) would not think twice about posting private conversations in retaliation. It shows someone whose first reaction to a rape/ sexual assault accusation is to push back by any means necessary, rather than consider that they may have actually harmed someone.

I think it's good that even though BLAH is "deeply hurt", he is considering the possibility that Zachary isn't lying to save face (though he probably is), but "honestly remembers things differently". I like Fichu's suggestion @22 for BLAH to speak his truth by writing to them both. Take the high road.

55

Lost Margarita @54 "If you need to clear your name because this is now a horrible rumour going around your friend circle, maybe mention that you ~have~ the messages, but leave it at that."

What I was trying to suggest @11 is that any kind of reference to the images might be seen as a threat to use them, which might, in turn, be seen as extortion by a local prosecutor.

I wouldn't mention the pictures without consulting a lawyer to make sure I wasn't inadvertently crossing some line into extortion/blackmail territory.

56

Ms Erica - An excellent point; either of the other two might well interpret any mention of having the pictures as a threat. He might be able to mention to someone other than XF2 being sent the pictures without making it clear that they are still in his possession, framed in a way that presumes the other party knew about the pictures.

57

Ms Lost - Certainly it's possible for A to flirt with B when sober and for B to take advantage of A when drunk. The pictures may not necessarily be so much a smoking gun as a needed piece of framework. Your examples include people whom it would be reasonable to think might indulge in flirtations, with no shame attaching to either side. That's definitely not the case in L2. There's a default presumption that of course XF2 would never have any MM interest and that he. like "all" straight men, would rather have a root canal. It's all part of the pattern that Mr Savage and I have seen and heard to have happened time and again. XF2 is hiding behind his huge S and probably doesn't even have to imply that he would never have any MM interest because people are just assuming that anyway.

The letter does raise the interesting question of, when two people of conflicting orientations are drunk together, how much responsibility falls on the party of presumptive interest. I almost want to tell all gays never to get drunk in straight company.

58

At least if LW2 is ever in a situation in which another straight male friend removes his trousers, puts them on to answer a call and then removes them again, he'll know that no good can ensue and to end the encounter immediately.

XF2's flirtation, which can occasionally start out with good intentions, is the sort of thing that quickly becomes a sort of bullying, strongly similar to when gays flirt with women, which one really ought not to do if one isn't genuinely curious.

59

Mr. Venn @57: Yet women are advised to never get drunk in straight male company.

60

I reread BLAH's letter and I really can't tell what his question is or what he wants. Amended: he asks no question, but I can tell what he wants, which is to be told that none of this is his fault --and okay, mostly, none of it is. But that doesn't change anything. His friendship with both of these people is over and their relationship is, too. No one is going to re-establish a relationship with anyone based on the knowledge that BLAH didn't get his ex-friend drunk.

But I'll focus on his final paragraph, in which he says: "I am deeply hurt. I've lost of two friends—which I admit that I am partially to blame for. I knew they were together. But I don't know what to about the accusation that I forced him to be sexual without his consent. I have played events over and over in my mind and I don't understand how he could say this. He supplied the alcohol, he was an active participant, and when I asked if he really wanted to do this, he said yes. I am not sure if he is gaslighting me or if he honestly remembers things differently.

I guess to me, the response depends on WHY he wants to know how his former friend could say that BLAH forced the friend to be sexual with him. If it is to assure the (ex-)girlfriend that he was not the instigator, does that suggest that BLAH just wants to set the record straight, or is there some other reason? Because if he is able to convince the (ex)-gf that all sexual encounters were at her (ex)-bf's instigation, I don't know what will be accomplished--they're already broken up, and finding out that her supposedly straight ex-bf got his gay friend drunk in order to take advantage of him is hardly likely to make the woman take her former bf back. Perhaps BLAH thinks that this will allow the ex-gf to go back to being his (BLAH's) friend, but that's unlikely.

BLAH doesn't mention a friend group that he's worried has the wrong impression of him.

It's extremely unlikely that BLAH's former friend will say, "oh, yeah, you're right: this was completely my fault, not yours. Let's be friends again." The friend undoubtedly made those very strong drinks for at least three reasons:

Liquid courage.
Plausible deniability/evasion of responsibility (I was drunk.)
More extreme deniability/throwing his friend under the bus ("he got me drunk and
took advantage of me" or at least "I was too drunk to resist his aggressive
overtures").

But BLAH knows what he knows. He didn't get his former friend drunk; he most especially didn't get his former friend drunk in order to take advantage of him. He was naive and foolish and I guess not thinking all that clearly, but he knows perfectly well that no matter how much responsibility he bears for this shit show, he certainly didn't deliberately get his former friend so drunk as to not be able to give meaningful consent so as to to take advantage of him. Not that any of that matters: this pooch is well and truly screwed; these friendships are over.

So I'll respond to his final paragraph. BLAH, there's nothing you can do to save your reputation with these two people. Your former friend is mucking his own life up due to his internalized homophobia and panicked self-loathing. Whether his ex-gf blames you or not is not up to you and is beside the point, as she is done with both of you. Next time an ostensibly straight man comes on to you, move along. You will only be assigned the role of villain in his life story, and you don't need that grief.
Next!

61

@59 fubar: Word. Agreed and seconded. I really don't EVER want to get drunk again in male company--gay or straight.

Thanks to the return of good weather, Griz and her Love Beetle are back out and about with the top down, and on a movie kick this week. Tonight I am celebrating a celebrity birthday in particular----today actor Harvey Keitel turned 82. So, in honor of Arkansas State Police investigative officer, Hal Slocum, Griz is again watching Thelma & Louise (I'll celebrate any reason to drool over Brad Pitt!), with nachos, red wine, and dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt. Yowza!
Then, back to my Veteran's Day (May 11th as well as November 11th) film collection and Some Like it Hot. Zowie!

62

Mr. Venn and Fubar (57, 59) are getting at what I was about to say.

Which is worse?

-Having gay leanings while presenting as straight, leading on a long term girlfriend while pretending to her to be straight, and internalizing homophobia to the extent that pretending to be straight to oneself and others is all part of it.

-Getting a straight friend drunk for the purpose of engaging in sex play with him while he's too drunk/incapacitated to resist in a way that would likely meet the legal definition of rape.

I'll let y'all give your own answers and debate. I'll also skip to my own opinion: I don't like either one, but the second is abhorrent in way that the first isn't. I'm not saying that either happened exactly like I've said above. There's plenty of ambiguity both in what actually happened and in what BLAH has been accused of, but the way I've presented it is, I think, what BLAH is dealing with when you strip the story down to the essentials.

Here it is for BLAH when he asks how Zachary could say this. The first part, the part where he got himself drunk and came on to you. That's bad but excusable. That's a guy who's mixed up. Lots of guys have trouble coming out even to themselves or have trouble realizing that they're bi or curious or are trying to fight down urges or want desperately to be attracted only to their girlfriends. I'm sympathetic up to that point.

But accuse a friend of rape because it makes you look good? That's up there with unforgivable. Here's an important question. Don't know how he could say this TO WHOM Just to Jessica? That would be bad, but as long as it went no further, it's not the worst possible. However, if Jessica or Zachary says it to the larger friend group, no wonder you want to defend yourself. That's smearing your name as a rapist when you're anything but. And Zachary playing the victim "but I was sexually confused-we live in a homophobic society" gains no traction with me.

Now, BLAH, consider something. You've said that Zachary and Jessica broke up after a month of drama. You know that Zachary's moves on you were part of the drama. Now consider that it's unlikely that they were the only source of the drama. Maybe the break-up was because of Zachary's infidelity and Jessica's jealousy. That's the first thing that jumped to my mind, but from what you've told us, it could also be tied in with Zachary's heavy drinking or with Zachary's gay leanings even if he didn't act on them. For all we know, Jessica was unhappy with their sex life, and learning that Zachary was attracted to men connected a lot of dots for Jessica. Maybe it wasn't "how could you have sex with BLAH." Maybe it was "how could you let me think I was the problem all this time when really you wanted to have sex with BLAH?" That could have blown up the relationship even if Zachary had never acted on his desire.

63

Who is hungry for this week's luscious Lucky @69 Award honors? Tick..tick...tick...

64

@62 Fichu: Eighteen years ago I had to deal with a closeted gay man who I thought was a trustworthy longtime friend. Upon his 40th birthday he was suddenly SO panic-stricken about coming out to his doting widowed mother, siblings, and clergymen that he became desperate enough to want to inebriate, rape, forcibly impregnate, hogtie, abduct, and drag me off to the JP under false pretenses as his supposedly lawfully wedded beard. He even went so far as to go behind my back, making long distance calls to my father, as if getting my father's approval guaranteed an arranged marriage. That to me is the worst and most horrifying scenario of all---forcing someone cruelly and selfishly to live your lie of a legally binding loveless, sexless marriage.

Shit like this is why Griz drinks plenty of red, red wiiiine.

65

Aiden,
I've dated a couple of porn stars but it wasn't the porn that attracted me, it was the men. Sure the physical look was nice and all that but I was always into them for their intrinsic qualities (a shared love of cooking, a shared love of art, a complimentary sense of business when I don't have one, etc.). In fact, I'd say when I found out they were porn stars it was probably more of a turnoff. Not because of the fact that they slept with other guys for work (although I see jealousy as being problem for some guys it's never been for me, as long as there's total honesty), and not because I disapprove of porn (because I don't, I watch it myself). It's because I wasn't sure if I wanted to be that guy dating the porn star (or the model, etc.). Honestly, it was more about self-image, and can I be open and up front about it with everyone? That was my challenge and ultimately two different porn stars were worth it because they were great guys besides being porn stars, but a couple others weren't. Focus on being yourself and being honest. If there's a real connection there then I truly don't think what you do for a living matters. For the record, at the time I dated the men in question I was a programmer and then a chef and I've never been in the industry (though I did cater/craft service it on occasion).

66

Your frustration is reasonable and natural but it's also a consequence of your profession. Tom Cruise can't really complain that he can't go to a supermarket, you know?

67

BiDanFan @36 no need to apologize! I think you're right that you were influenced by Venn's take on it.

I agree that there was significant pressure if he didn't have alternative housing. He didn't mention feeling he had to have sex to stay there, or anything along those lines.

Venn @39, 41, 42, 48
BiDanFan @40, 45, 46, 52
Mrs Fox @49
Venn, I agree with BiDanFan and Mrs Fox that there's no evidence that Jessica -Alexis is aware of Zach's accusation.

Even if she is aware of it, she may not know enough to clear LW2. LW2 said that Zach told her everything. Unless he was there, he's taking Zach's word for it. She wasn't there, and didn't witness what happened.

She may be friends-in-law with the circle that they used to all belong to, and Zach got "custody" in the breakup.

68

Venn @38, 57, Fubar @59 Nocute @60 Grizelda @61, Fichu @62
I think it's tricky for any two people to have sex when they have both been drinking beyond mildly tipsy.

If they are regular sex partners, or discussed it while they are sober beforehand, it's less likely to bite them in the ass.

I don't think it really matters whether someone drinks as liquid courage or for plausible deniability. Either way, someone won't have sex with you (general sense) while sober, it's a minefield to have sex with them with alcohol in the picture.

If they specifically told you previously that they are an incompatible sexual orientation, definitely don't allow alcohol to change their mind.

69

Venn @44 that's part of why I responded the way they did. I know that some homoflexible people round up to gay for various reasons. Those include biphobia, political reasons, having attraction to the opposite gender but not wanting to act on it, etc.

Most of the ones who hit on me that way had previously told me flat out (usually apologetically) that they weren't interested because I'm a woman.

If they don't approach me while sober, I assume they don't actually mean it, and they are likely to have regrets.

I also felt it was important to make a point about consent and alcohol, under the circumstances. I'm not into casual sex, and most (I think all, but it's been over 10 years) knew that.

I have a gay friend who was a kink playpartner for a few years, and have done kink play with a few men who identify as homoflexible. But, I only played with them while we were both sober.

70

Venn @58
I didn't consider it to be bullying when gay men hit on me. I just figured it was unlikely they were actually interested. Especially on terms that I would be comfortable with!

A lot of people flirt without intending to act on it. I think they should make it clear, so they don't accidentally lead someone on.

I'm flirty,a cuddle slut, and do casual kink. So, I am super clear about boundaries with people I interact with in those ways.

I'm on the demisexual spectrum. Someone on a discussion board said once that nobody should go on a date with someone they aren't attracted to.

I replied, "that would mean I couldn't date anyone! I go on dates to find out whether or not I'm attracted to them. I have no clue ahead of time!"

71

Margarita @54, I did think that was an odd angle for Dan to take. I guess the question is who is he telling this story to? If he's spreading it round the friends group, that could cost BLAH more than two friends. It might then be an idea for BLAH to tell Zachary he'd best can it because he has proof Zach flirted with him for years, and while no, that wouldn't disprove a rape allegation, it might embarrass Zach and that might be enough to get him to cut it out. He definitely shouldn't forward them to anyone else. Recall how some fantasies are better never made reality -- revenge fantasies are definitely in that category. Might make BLAH feel a bit better to get some fantasy schadenfreude, though. That's how I read Dan's advice.

Venn @57/Fubar @59: "I almost want to tell all gays never to get drunk in straight company." Plenty of people tell women to never get drunk in straight male company. And blame the victims when those straight men behave the way Zachary is accusing BLAH of doing.

Nocute @60, my thought was that BLAH is wondering whether he -did- do anything wrong. Whether, in additional to being guilty of accessory-to-cheating, he's also guilty of violating Zachary's consent the way Zachary described. Perhaps, whether a straight identity constitutes lack of consent to gay sex, even if the "straight" person is the one who initiates it. Whether he should have been more Opalescent and turned the guy down in a hypothetical situation that didn't involve cheating. Did I really rape him, despite all these facts to the contrary? he seems to be asking. BLAH, no, you didn't violate his consent -- he's blaming you because he can't take responsibility for his own actions. Is there something you can learn from this, to do things differently in future? Sure. Just say no to closet cases.

Fichu @62, exactly. What did happen was bad enough. For Zachary to try to absolve himself by accusing BLAH of rape is horrible, arguably the worst thing he's done here. BLAH is probably wondering, how could he do this to me when all I did was consent to his overtures? BLAH, Zachary is a toxic person, that's how. It always hurts to find this out about someone you thought was a friend, and I'm very sorry.

Opal @70, good point about what a friend called "flirting versus flirting with intent." The idea of liquid courage is a tricky one. I know that I've certainly been attracted to people, but felt too awkward to make a pass without a drink or two. There's a difference between a drink or two versus being drunk. But there would be no harm in, say, responding positively to someone who was tipsily flirting with you, but putting off a hookup until some future time when they had had time to sober up and think about whether they were flirting or flirting with intent. "Instant flirt, just add alcohol" applies to me, but after I quit drinking, there was ONLY flirting with intent. If a sober person is chatting you up, you know they mean it!

72

Nocute @60, eloquently put as always.

Opal @67, my initial read was that Zachary had told Jessica that BLAH took advantage of/sexually assaulted him after the "month of drama," but upon re-reading the letter it sounds like an accusation lobbed at BLAH after Jessica broke up with Zachary.
Opal @70 FTW with that excellent articulation of the concept of flirting with intent! I have definitely gotten myself into sticky situations because I naively thought we were mutually flirting without intent.

BDF @ 71, I think you perfectly capture BLAH's question: "Did I actually violate my friend's consent?" I think he's genuinely concerned about what Zachary thinks of him, which is kind of a shame at this point.

So, you know that one "encounter" where Z and BLAH * stopped having sex * so that Z could * get dressed and take a phone call from J * ? That would have been a really rad time for both of these men to stay stopped and go "what the fuck are we doing?! This is really wrong. What would J think?" Y'all both suck for that one.

73

Mr Bar - I only say "almost" because I know the low chance of anyone's listening. But I meant any straight company, not just men.

74

Apart from being genuinely concerned about Z's opinion/recollection of events, BLAH does seem to be angling to do some damage control for his reputation. Agreed with any and all who have said above that it's entirely too late/too futile to try to launch a PR campaign with Zachary or Jessica. When you're an accessory to cheating, you don't get to control the narrative that the other two people wind up weaving about you. And I think it's exceptionally unlikely that this ugly, untrue accusation gets out to other friends. When friends ask why Z and J broke up, I don't think either would spout the "BLAH forced himself on Z" angle (it would make J sound awful for dumping Z for being sexually assaulted [right?!], and Z seems like exactly the kind of self-serving asshole to cook up a lie about how it was somehow J's fault they broke up). Or suppose Z does tell friends "J broke up with me because BLAH got me drunk and forced himself on me." I mean, just listen to that! It sounds completely ridiculous on its face. Perhaps I'm being overly generous, but it just sounds like such a thin, pathetic excuse that I would think would ring hollow to a 30-something aged friend group. "Oh no, I tripped and fell on some dick!"

75

BLAH's letter reminds me of the sort of internalized blame that women who have been raped often go through as they sort out what happened in their minds. She'll have been jogging through the park in the early morning when a guy jumps out of the shadows, overpowers her, muffles her screams and rapes her. When talking through the trauma with a therapist, she'll often conclude that there are steps she could have taken to protect herself, but none of that means that by not taking those steps she in any way invited the rape or was asking for it. Yet thinking about protective steps can help her feel more in control, can help her feel safer. All this brings out the fine between responsibility and blame. She can take responsibility for protecting herself which does not mean she's to blame for someone raping her.

In BLAH's case, Zachary got him drunk and put him in sexual situation. BLAH responded. Then Zachary accused him or gaslighted him or basically blamed him for what happened. This is where the fine line comes in. BLAH is not to blame for what happened; Zachary very obviously is. Yet there are steps BLAH could have taken, should have taken, to prevent what happened, and steps he can take to protect himself from something like that ever happening again. It sucks, but this is the world we live in.

76

Ms Fichu - I am pleased to report that, while I was socially active, in every case I knew of a gay getting a straight friend drunk in order to take advantage of him, the perpetrator was shunned as far as I could tell by everyone of my acquaintance. I'd like to say the same of all the instances of a woman's getting a gay friend drunk, but that seems always to have been less socially unacceptable. I don't recall any discussion of male consent tied to the release of that film with Mr Everett and Ms Madonna in which her character got his character drunk in order to pass off her pregnancy as his doing - though back then male consent was not part of the general consciousness.

77

Ms Opal @68 - I entirely agree. I've likely been influenced by having known two or three admitted straight-chasers who were (possibly incidentally) creepy, but I like to frame it as a question of self-respect. Don't waste one's favours on someone almost certain to regret the experience at some point.

78

Ms Opal @69/70 - Agreed about the alcohol.

As for the bullying, I wouldn't saying hitting on someone, even under the influence, would be bullying. What I was considering bullying was the sort of flirtation that takes on the aura of, "Look what you can never have!"

The sort of cross-orientational flirting that seems most acceptable would a sort of Mutual If Only of the sort between the characters played by Mr Roberts and Ms Newton-John in It's My Party; it seems the kind most conducive to a long-running deep friendship.

79

Ms Fan @71 - My point is different, that, if anything happens, everyone will play that old favourite party game, Blame the Gay. There are still troglodytes in both areas, but I'm quite sure women have made more progress than gays on the front of being believed about Unwanted Incidents.

I might, though, amend it on reflection to advising gays never to be around a drunk straight person if it can be avoided. Who knows what a drunk person might think happened?

80

Mrs Fox - We certainly agree about the trousers.

My experienced guess is that GF2 is telling friends that LW2 seduced XF2, staking out a middle position that gives her plenty of reason to hold a grudge against them both. She could even genuinely believe it, or be choosing to believe it.

I'm surprised you find XF2's claim ridiculous in general; are you perhaps influenced by the presumption that that didn't happen in this case? I could see friends of higher than usual intelligence and intuition thinking it unlikely because of their knowledge of XF2's drinking habits. But the claim in itself seems a plausible one. It does happen, regrettably.

81

Mrs Fox @74: Hahaha! Great point.

82

Venn @79, the conviction rate for rape cases is something like 6%.

83

Mr. Ven, I understand your point, but saying gay people should never be around drunk straight people is

(a) virtually impossible, if one is at a party or at some other event at which alcohol is served.
(b) offensive to the vast majority of straight people who wouldn't do anything reprehensible whether drunk or sober.

84

I dunno. When I’m around drunk people I prefer to make my excuses and leave. This applies no matter what kind of genitals they have or like. I’m just really uncomfortable.

In addition, people on T can be pushy or even violent when drunk. I’d rather not stick around to find out, thankyouverymuch.

I know this is largely a cultural thing; other people’s mileage clearly varies. But alcohol is not my culture and mostly staying away from it doesn’t seem to have made my life worse.

85

Opalescent @69 - congrats on the lucky number!

BiDanFan @ 71 - as I said above, I really don't think it's a good idea for BLAH to tell Zach "he'd best can it because he has proof Zach flirted with him for years."

Actually showing someone else the pictures isn't blackmail (but may break laws against revenge porn). Threatening to show someone else the pictures in order to change Zach's behavior -- that sounds like blackmail/extortion.

86

Ms Cute - Again, I am a lifelong nondrinker (and nondoper), so am sure none of this is practical, just things I'd like to say. Think of my response to "The Straights" [(TM), as so many noncishet Youtubers refer to them] as similar to your occasional frustration with "All Men" (TM).

I thought it was well expressed in "N or M?" set during WWII, when Tuppence describes the anti-German sentiment among Britons that she feels herself - "'The Germans' I say, and feel waves of loathing. But then I think of boys sent off to war right out of school, or mothers waiting at home for news, or the kindly German people I know, and realize that the other is just a mask one puts on." (That's not exactly right but it's close enough.)

87

BiDanFan @71 Mrs Fox @72 Fichu @75 Venn @76, 79, 80

Venn is right that it's completely plausible for someone to get drunk, and have sex they regret or wouldn't have had while sober.

Our minds can fuck with us even if there's no ill intent. We can believe false memories.

People rationalize things, and blame others. It's possible that that's how it came in XF's drunken mind.

I believe Mrs Fox said Zach is obviously to blame because we know that he initiated the sex and drinks, not in general.

As BiDanFan pointed out, the rape prosecution and conviction rates are abysmal. We have more awareness campaigns like MeToo, but it hasn't enlightened the justice system.

I don't think BLAH committed rape by having sex with XF. However, he is partially to blame for the mess.

88

BiDanFan @71 Mrs Fox @72
Thanks! I think it's incredibly important to be on the same page about whether or not there's intent. Or, if like me, they genuinely don't know whether they are attracted and flirt to find out!

Venn @78
I don't think that's bullying, but it is rude and arrogant. I think it's more common among heterosexuals than cross-orientation.

Erica @85 thanks for the congratulations/well-wishes! I agree that trying to use the nudes as leverage against Zach could be considered blackmail or extortion.

BiDanFan I responded on last week's thread. TLDR: I appreciate your expressing your perspective in positive terms, and believe I understand.

89

@69 Opalescent: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's luscious Lucky @69 Award honors! Savor the envied glory and bask in the glow.:)
By the way, Opalescent, how is your new job? :)

Dan and everyone--please forgive me for a lack of comments on LWs (with exception of BLAH) this week. I am otherwise in agreement with many commenters, and have been catching up on reading this week's thread. Admittedly, the welcome return of my beloved Love Beetle and lovely spring weather for top down driving has also been a distraction.

WOW--and already we're getting close once again to the Big Hunsky!
Tick...tick...tick....

90

@84 Alison Cummins: Agreed and seconded. I'm not comfortable with getting and /or watching others get drunk, either. Alcohol is not a daily thing with me, either, but more of a nice accompaniment with dinner, or when I'm watching night time movies.

91

EricaP @85: No. It would be blackmail or extortion if BLAH was using the messages as leverage to get money or favours out of Zach. BLAH's reputation could be severely damaged by these lies Zach is spreading. Asking him to stop, with a side order of if he doesn't, BLAH has a way to prove these lies false, is just damage control.
Ideally, Zach would stop because BLAH asked him to stop. But we already know Zach is a person who lacks any sort of integrity. He may need a stick instead of a carrot, and BLAH has that stick.

Opal @87, it's possible Zach, with his great skill at the art of denial, has made a leap in his own mind of "I was drunk" to "drunk people can't consent" to "I didn't consent" -- and that he has actually convinced himself of this. We can't know what's going on in his mind. We also don't know who he's telling this to -- if he's not spreading the rumour, if he only said it to BLAH (possibly in anger over having been dumped), it's not a problem that needs any response beyond "wow that Zach is a piece of work, I'm glad I'm out of his orbit." The problem is if Zach is repeating this to others, whether or not he himself believes it to be true. The letter is unclear, and BLAH's question wasn't "how can I get Zach to stop telling our friends I assaulted him." So I guess debating that question is moot, for the moment.

Opal @88, I had initially expressed that perspective in positive terms. It was your reaction to it that was negative. Instead of stating your alternate view -- which is equally valid, since they are both opinions -- the way Snowflake did, you chose to attack parts of my position, spurring me to defend the logic of said position, and then you twisted my reasonable defenses of my reasonable position into bizarre indefensible shapes ("if someone said to me, 'you can keep seeing FinDommes but not this one,' that would feel petty" / "You called LW petty!" etc), because you couldn't envision yourself taking this approach and therefore couldn't bear the idea that it had any merit. I hope we can discuss differences of opinion more rationally from now on, because I respect the contributions you've been making here thus far, and I hope that goes both ways.

92

My original statement of my perspective, stated in positive terms: https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2021/05/04/57140437/savage-love/comments/100

93

More in last week's comments, @Opalescent.

94

Actually never mind, no need to beat this dead horse!

95

Ms Opal - Perhaps I've just seen more instances with an element of taunting included. Rude and arrogant is a good baseline. Thankfully how DS people of differing genders choose to torture each other is Holmes/Sun/Earth for me (in case you haven't seen this one before, it borrows Sherlock Holmes' idea that the memory is like an attic of finite proportions and not something one wants to keep cluttered with irrelevant facts, so that, having just heard from Dr Watson that the earth revolved around the sun, he would endeavour to forget it).

I did know of one time when one could make the case that victim deserved it, though I still thought it not a nice thing to do. A friend overheard a co-worker telling other women she didn't think he was really gay and she could probably turn him straight. He made a few ambivalent remarks for about a week to see if he could get her hopes up and then had his boyfriend come to meet him at the office and introduced him around.

96

BDF @91 "It would be blackmail or extortion if BLAH was using the messages as leverage to get money or favours out of Zach."

Yes, and the favor he would be extorting is for Zach to stop saying BLAH took advantage of him.

I'm not a lawyer, but at least in the US I'd suggest always consulting a lawyer before deciding to threaten someone. There may be safer ways to get Zach to shut up, like filing a libel/slander lawsuit against him.

97

Ms Erica - That sounds safer, though perhaps not affordable.

98

Mr Bar - The more apt comparison would be to a FeMRA warning her collegiate son.

My sober argument would be more along the line of calculating risks of various courses of conduct and then making choices accordingly. Level of acceptable risk is a highly individual decision. Getting drunk at all carries some risk; doing so with a straight man who's encouraged one to be interested in him carries more, as does doing so with a DS woman or SS man who's expressed unreciprocated interest. Make an informed choice and best of luck.

99

Mr. Venn: I once had an ostensibly straight male friend who, after visiting the gym, would take a sauna, and would frequently find that other men would perform fellatio on him. He mentioned it to our little friend group, and asked what we thought was up with these guys. No alcohol was involved, but I imagine a sauna must relax one's inhibitions.