Before we get to an answer—an answer, NRFTG, not my answer—a brief note. I feel deeply honored every morning when I open my laptop and see the huge number of e-mails that poured in overnight. You, my readers, share the most intimate details of your lives with me, you open your hearts and pour out your hopes and your fears, and you often attach pictures. (Pics of your hot boyfriend? Good. Pics of your mysterious genital rash? Bad.) I am always deeply humbled by your trust. A sacred bond ties an advice columnist to his readers and I would never do anything to violate or weaken that bond.
But once a year I do allow a complete stranger to rummage through your e-mails, pluck out a few letters, and give this advice business a whirl. Meet Eric Rescorla. He paid somewhere in the vicinity of the high-mid-to-low four figures for the privilege of taking my advice column out for a spin. The money went to charity (www.farestart.org), and I didn't let Eric keep copies of your e-mail addresses or any of the photos you enclosed. (That's a hell of a rash you've got there, Doris In Dallas; go see a doctor, would you?) Eric is a computer security specialist who lives in the SF Bay Area and so, like me, is completely unqualified to advise anyone about anything. And here's his advice for you, NRFTG.
"Let me see if I have this right: You're offering your boyfriend what's probably the number-one straight-male fantasy and he's bitching because it's not spontaneous?" asks Eric, rhetorically. "Basically, there are two possibilities here: (1) Your boyfriend is too dumb to live. (2) He's sincerely worried that you just want to use this threesome as an excuse to fuck other women, and based on your letter, it sounds like you've given him some reason to.
"That said, seeing as much of the purpose of the exercise is for him to fuck other women, it's hard to see that he has any grounds for complaint on that score. So, either way, he's pretty much a moron and should grow up, quit whining, and enjoy the threesome."
I'm a 23-year-old gay male. And while I am social, I don't really hit the clubs or find myself surrounded by other gay guys, so I don't have many dates and I haven't been in many relationships. Aside from the internet and clubs, where would you suggest I go to meet some guys? Should I just suck it up and throw myself into the scene?Eager To Meet
"I'm straight so I don't know too much about meeting gay guys in particular," says Eric. "But in my experience, meeting partners in general is pretty much a matter of sucking it up and going for it. Or you could do what I did and buy the right to meet a middle-aged gay sex columnist in next year's Strangercrombie auction."
Hmph. I have to take exception to Eric's advice for ETM. I don't consider 34 to be "middle-aged," for starters, and for enders I'm a married sex-advice columnist who happens to be gay, not a gay sex-advice columnist that ETM here could have for the price of a Savage Love guest slot. But I'd be happy to introduce you to some of my young, single, gay friends if you make the winning bid next year, ETM.
I am writing because I recently found out that my dad has a problem with online porn. My dad is clueless with technology, and he leaves tracks all over the computer, never deletes his history, opens every popup ad, etc., and it is really fucking up our at-home system and embarrasses us whenever someone else uses the computer.
He's not just an occasional user, either. This is multiple times a day, every day. I tried to brush it off until my sister walked in on him looking at—not jerking off to, thankfully—an X-rated video. On Christmas Day, right before dinner. In the computer room, which is in the main hallway of the house, with the door open.
So, what do you think? Do we ignore this? Get a filtering program? Send him an anonymous message?Concerned Older Sister
"Finally a question I'm qualified to answer," says Eric.
"If your dad wants to cover his tracks on the computer, there are a bunch of solutions. The best is always to get a totally isolated computer, but that's a fairly large investment. You can certainly make your father a new account on this computer, but that won't stop viruses and you still have to worry about him leaving files around.
"I'm assuming you're running Windows and what I recommend here is virtualization software. This is software that lets you run a 'virtual' computer on top of your real computer. The virtual computer has its own copy of Windows, its own browser, and its own virtual disk. Your dad can do his porn surfing on the virtual machine and can even set it to reset itself whenever the virtual computer is restarted, so there's no need to worry about leaving tracks. It takes a little technical sophistication to get this working, since you need to install Windows on the virtual machine, but once it's running, any idiot can use it. There are a number of vendors of virtualization software, but I recommend VMware because you can download a free version of VMware Server for home use. Also, if you're running the business versions of XP or Vista you can download Microsoft's Virtual PC for free.
"But based on your letter, COS, I wonder whether he's just technically clueless. It doesn't take a computer expert to realize that watching porn in the main hallway with the door partly open carries a real risk of discovery—which may actually be what he wants. However, given that this is embarrassing you and your family, I don't see any alternative but to confront him and tell him he needs to do a better job of hiding his habit and that you're willing to help him with that. I'm sure that will be excruciating, but probably a lot less bad than walking in on Dad jerking off to internet porn."
That concludes this very special, guest-authored, all-for-charity installment of Savage Love. You can read more advice from Eric for Savage Love readers at www.thestranger.com/savage/eric, and Eric blogs/rants daily at www.educatedguesswork.org.
Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.