Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: A toddler doesn't come out, a Tinder date slaps, a teen clicks on sexy vacation pics, and an implausibly complicated situation ends with a completely bogus question. Also, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
I appreciate your answer to OOOPS — spot on. I am a strongly pro-choice straight man, a married father of one 22-year-old young woman. And I strongly support OOOPS's choice. Please tell her that if she needs to start a GoFundMe or something, that she'll have a contribution from me to help her and her child get a start on their lives together.
Also regarding OOOPS:
I, like you, will avoid the whole abortion question, but…
“A man impregnated me.” While this may have some technical correctness, I think they may have had sex and as a result of that sex she become pregnant. It may be a subtle difference, but I think it's a significant one. “A man impregnated me” sounds like she was asleep or somehow unwilling. More importantly, I think its bullshit in this day and age for two consenting 30 somethings to become “impregnated.” Did they not know how it works? If she is 30 and this is her first pregnancy, one must assume this wasn't her first rodeo. It's these kinds of scenarios that give “choice” a bad name. It's her choice to do what she pleases with HER pregnancy, but she made many choices prior to being faced with this choice.
Condoms break, birth control fails. But I should've called out the passive language... and I agree with my readers who poured into the comments thread to say that abortion was the best choice available to OOOPS. But I wasn't comfortable pushing abortion on someone who had already ruled that option out for "religious and moral" reasons. But, yeah. Still the best choice here.
Have to say I was shocked at what you didn't say to Not A Heartbreak Helper. In the middle of the Lauer-Weinstein-Rose-Trump-Franken-Conyers you didn't add that anyone seeing their behaviour at work could either a) get him in serious shit, or b) undermine her and other women who speak up. I get that her kink is her kink, but at least not pointing out the irony that she's toying with getting caught while we're trying to fix the problem when people are caught seems a big miss.
Also for NAHH:
I agreed with your advice to NAHH, but something she could do to verify the open relationship is ask him to have his girlfriend make a short video saying they're in an open relationship, specifically for him to show people he sleeps with. Maybe the girlfriend wouldn't be willing to do so for other reasons, but it could help some couples.
That's a good idea — but how someone could make that video with a woman who isn't his girlfriend, or he could keep the video on his phone after his girlfriend asked him to close the relationship. Not a perfect solution, but neither is relying on the word of a person you just started fucking — about their relationship status, STI status... or anything else, sadly.
Regarding that sad and SOAPY handjob that didn't happen:
I read your column and am a fan. Your response to Sexless Over A Perplexing Year did not take into consideration the fact that the writer's girlfriend may be having physical issues regarding sex e.g., 17-45% of post menopausal women experience pain with penetration due to vaginal dryness. Perhaps you should have mentioned there could be a physical issue and recommended to the writer to have an open sexy discussion with his girlfriend to offer different modalities of having sex that both could enjoy. They may be an older couple.
Everyone could be something they didn't think to mention — older, younger, alive, dead. And you overlook the fact that SOAPY already proposed a non-penetrative option: a sad and soapy handjob on his birthday. His girlfriend couldn't even be bothered with that. And while a medical issue could account for her lack of sexual desire, there's no patch or pill or shot that's gonna fix "I love you, but I'm not in love with you." (Well, MDMA might help — but it's not a longterm solution.)
On the Lovecast:
I'm writing in because I take issue with the way you responded to the trans man who called into the Lovecast back in mid-November. I felt when the episode aired, and continue to feel, that neither you nor Buck dealt compassionately with his feelings of disappointment and despair. This appears in the broadcast when you claim that he is calling in to complain. I agree with you that expecting gay men to recognize, and especially be sexually interested in, a trans man who appears to be a cis woman is unrealistic. It's not impossible, just really, really unlikely, and it's unreasonable to expect it to happen all the time. But I don't think that talking about wanting this to happen, and trying to find ways to make it more likely (like calling in to ask your advice on how to do that), makes someone a complainer.
This letter comes from a really personal place for me—I'm also a gay trans man. Unlike the caller, I use hormones and have had top surgery. Like the caller, my decision to do so comes more from wanting to be myself in the world in a particular way than from wanting other people to perceive me as a gay man. I'm happy with my body, the way others perceive me, and my ability to be taken seriously by other men as a sexy, appealing man. But I remember how painful it was before I transitioned to flirt awkwardly with other men when it had never occurred to them that they would be interested in me. It felt like rejection, but worse—because rejecting someone implies that it's occurred to you that you could say "yes," and that's why you can tell them "no." I wasn't even being recognized as someone you could say "yes" to.
The pain that the caller expressed resonated with me and reminded me of how I felt back then. I was surprised and disappointed by your response, because I'm used to you taking calls and letters from people with similar sorts of feelings, recognizing those feelings, and dealing with them in your usual wise and no-nonsense way. I take the trans man who called in to be expressing roughly the same sorts of desires and concerns as the letter-writer you addressed recently in "Another Lonely Kinkster": I want to have sex with people like this, I don't know how to find these people, and I feel bad about wanting this kind of sex and/or my failure to find people who want to have this kind of sex with me. The amount of time you spent analyzing the caller vs. giving him advice about his dilemma was unbalanced, compared to the amount of text you spent doing the same for the Lonely Kinkster.
Thanks for writing, and I'm sorry you felt let down by that response and your personal story and your frustration with how you were perceived before physically transitioning is touching and illuminating. So thanks for sharing — and that's meant sincerely, not snarkily.
But if you agree that "expecting gay men to recognize, and especially be sexually interested in, a trans man who appears to be a cis woman is unrealistic," and that it's "really, really unlikely" the caller will find a gay man out there who is attracted to him, I'm not sure what I could say — what advice I could give — to make that unlikely/unrealistic scenario any likelier to happen. My advice to Another Lonely Kinkster was different because there are lots of other kinksters out there — lonely and not — who could be potential matches for ALK. The advice I would give a trans male caller who presents as a cis woman and wants to find gay men to sleep with him is going to be different because, as you say, there just aren't going to be very many (if any) gay men out there who will want to sleep with him. That's why I advised him to think about dating bisexual guys, i.e. someone who would find the body he's in attractive and also tap into and be aroused by his male identity and energy. Perhaps not ideal, but realistic, likely, and pragmatic. You say I should've given some advice — besides the advice I gave him, presumably — but don't say what that advice should've been. Besides filling the caller with false hopes about a secret stash of gay men out there who are attracted to male-identified people who present as cis women... I still don't know what else I could've told the caller.
Also on the Lovecast:
Hey Dan, Love your show, been listening since 2008 I think. I'm on the East Coast, working late listening to Savage Love. Would love to write you a really extensive letter about everything that your show has done for me, but I need to get back to work. So here's the short version: Episode 580! WEAPONS OF WAR! YES! My heart leapt when you used this phrase. Okay, okay, that's weird, but we need to figure out new ways to talk about the liberal agenda re: guns and this phrase is perfect. For example the liberal politicians running for election in purple states can say "I'm not against gun ownership. I'm against weapons of war in the hands of citizens on our streets and in our cities." Or non-profits like the Brady Campaign can say "...our first goal is removing weapons of war from the civilian population of the United States."
I don't like private gun ownership in any shape or form, but the term "weapons of war" draws the line pretty effectively between a rifle intended for deer hunting and a AR15 with a bump stock. It's a baby step.
Please keep pushing this phrase, it works so well. Tell all of your friends in media. I work in branding, marketing and design—and this is the first time I've heard anyone put the debate over gun restrictions into such a concise statement. Thank you.
I'm not the first person to use that phrase!
Not every 15 year old has their own computer or tablet or whatever. There are plenty of reasons a CHILD might need to use their parent' computer. Maybe he only has a phone and the computer is the only thing that can print. Who knows. But when dad leave a file titled "sexy vacation pictures" on his DESKTOP, every 15 year old who is innocently using the computer will look. Or maybe he didn't even look but is just aghast at what it could be — maybe he thinks it's nudes or fuck pics. The letter writer had the right idea: be compassionate and loving. No need to scold a kid for his dad's screw up.
I disagree. Also for CLICKED:
Another day, another reader
telling you what to dochipping in with their 2 cents.
Just a thought: I agree with your advice to CLICKED and how they should address their boyfriend's son. If I were in that position, however, I'd totally be having a conversation with my partner. I let my wife take sexy pictures of me, and she stores them on her computer, but we do so with the understanding that 1. she isn't going to store them on her desktop in full view of anyone who looks at it and 2. she'll store them in a folder called "Taxes 2016" or "Best of Nickelback mp3s" — somewhere that someone isn't likely to peek into. Like it or not, if you own a computer, chances are someone is going to snoop. If you're going to store some sexy pictures of your partner, it's probably best to try and hide them.
Or you can ask your partner hide them for you on Instagram.