SL Letter of the Day: There Are Two Sides to Every Story

Comments

1
My hubby the therapist says, "You attract as healthy as you are."
2
Uh ... yeah. That dissertation-length letter doesn't make the LW sound crazy at ALL.
3
There's a lot less healthy gay men per your definition of healthy
4
My favorite part of this letter was the passive-aggressive story sharing in #8. That was awesome.
5
@4 Yeah, big time. I'm surprised every member of their writing group except the two of them hasn't quit.
6
#9's "I'm gonna make him jealous and it worked...at least it did in my head" was a close second.
7
Two episodes into the SLLOTD Red Shirt Series, and I'm hooked.

The ball's in your court, PID. Don't let us down!
8
@2 Yeah by the end of the second paragraph I was like, "So this guy is seriously claiming that he's *not* batshit?" smh
9
Oy. Straight guy needs to run.
10
@5 Would you quit? I wouldn't!

"I wonder what batshit guy #1 is going to say this time? I hope it's a story berating another ex-girlfriend while secretly having a brown antic vacation."
"Yeah, and then batshit guy #2 is going to tell a bitchy story about how his advances are rubuked."
"Doesn't it make you uncomfortable?"
"Not in the least. They're both batshit. This is better than a movie, and its free!"
11
Straight from the highschool relationship school of thought we are all trying to forget, WCIBALG comes to drag us back into that hell.

-He wears the same clothes
-He looks at me longingly
-I write him romantic and erotic emails to alleviate my stress

Gag unto me, I am going to try and toss this all down the memory hole.
12
Isn't it interesting how some people can be out-gay and super well adjusted for twenty-plus years but still come across as having the emotional maturity of a thirteen-year-old who's dotting her i's and j's with little hearts?
13
Best line: "at several points throughout the conversation, he cast his head down and became taciturn." Man, don't you hate it when they become taciturn? Reminds me of Willow telling Buffy: "I, too, know the love of a taciturn man."
14
RUN from closeted, conflicted or - worst of all - straight guys. The only thing worse than the pain now will be the exponentially worse pain later.

A good friend of mine spent most of his 20s living with a straight guy with whom he was in love. Ridiculous. He wouldn't even go out clubbing with me to, I don't know, meet and fuck actual gay guys, but rather stayed in staring longingly from the couch. To the extent that straight guy's girlfriend would go out with me and have a bit of fun because she was bored at home. Eventually she saw the light and legged it.
15
God, this LW reminds me of my super abusive ex. All the stuff about how he tried to leave the "closeted" guy but it was just too hard and, "I've done so with others in the past, but in this case, I'm uncertain why I can't." That's like word for word what my ex used to say about me when we would break up and get back together. He wants Closeted Guy to take responsibility for his actions when LW can't even own up to the fact that he's choosing to run after a mess.

Also, LW, if you're reading: all the psycho-analytical stuff. THAT IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM OR RESPONSIBILITY. Sure, maybe this guy is messing with your heart and that is shitty. Maybe he is a closet case and a mess. Figuring out why he is so, what his coping mechanisms are, and how he needs to fix it are the things a therapist does, not a boyfriend/friend who wants to be a boyfriend. It may be WAY EASIER to remove this person from your life if you stop acting like his behavioral and mental patterns are your personal responsibility. They're not. Let it go. You'll be less stressed and come across as less controlling and batshit in the process.

Oh and of course all of this is being sent to Dan (in great detail) out of *concern* for all the LGBT folk that Dan implied were batshit and dysfunctional by mentioning that sometimes gay guys are batshit. Dude, you are not helping your case with this letter. Seriously.
16
If any of what this week's LW says about last week's LW, then I'd say these two are made for each other.
17
I meant "If any of what this week's LW says about last week's LW is true,..."
18
If anything this letter bolsters the advice running through the last comment thread to stay the hell out of writers' groups.
19
Zoom out to reveal the two men, identically dressed, sitting alone at a table, the entire writing group.

CRAZY MAN 1
Thank you, that was a lovely piece, Karen. My piece is titled "Isn't it Obvious I Want You Inside Me?"

CRAZY MAN 2 purses his lips and flutters his eyes
Ooh! Sounds like another one my girlfriend will like. Please continue.

CRAZY MAN 1
Stop copying me! You're smothering me! Kiss me! DON'T TOUCH ME!
20
::puts on the same color shirt as MacCrocodile::
21
Agree with Dan that this is a lesson you're supposed to learn by the time you're 19- if someone doesn't "like" you back, then you're supposed to go find someone who actually does. Mixed signals always mean no. So my vote is that both of these guys are crazy, although probably not clinically insane or in need of medication. Plus, they're both obviously trying to manipulate the situation to cover-up how stupid they both have been acting. And not to mention, they've now dragged in an entire blogging community into their ridiculous, sophomoric melodrama.

The reason there are two versions of the same story that don't make any sense, is b/c they're both attempting to sweep details under the rug. The guy who seems possibly closeted may or may not be gay, but he's probably unwilling to admit that toying with his gay friend's emotions makes him a real jerk-it's a power trip for him. In a way, he's probably responsible for stringing his gay friend along, b/c he even admitted that it strokes his ego. On the flip side, you have the gay guy who is unwilling to admit that pursuing someone who could be confused about his sexuality is self-destructive.

Summary: They're both responsible for their own stupidity and 7th-grade-girl drama. However, as a girl who successfully navigated the 7th grade and grew up to be a reasonably sane adult, I know that a lot of guys never understand this type of thing till much later in life. So perhaps, this really isn't as fucked up as it looks from the outside.
22
This reminds me of the time when I was convinced that a boy I liked did in fact like me back because we both wore #11 on our respective soccer teams.

I was 13 yo.
23
This guy has been in a significant amount of therapy. Way too much shrink code.
24
I can't believe some of you are ignoring the obvious love this supposed straight man has for the letter writer. See, one week he wore a red sweater, and the next week this dude wore a red t-shirt! Case closed.
25
The big question is: which one is Tyler Durden?
26
I would love to see this "case" played out like a vintage People's Court episode, with Dan as Judge Wapner. "The (closet) Case Of Writer's Cockblock" or something. Perhaps if the two litigants agree to sign a waiver and let Savage Love's decision be final.

This is grad-A entertainment, Dan, and it's not lost on anyone here. Keep it comin'!
27
@25: I'm thinking more along the lines of High Tension.
28
The clothing thing reminds me of something that happened in college. Some Gay rights group put up posters all over campus, "Prove that you are Gay by wearing blue jeans on Thursday", because, after all, no one wears blue jeans on campus. I was amused by how many people didn't wear jeans that day.
29
They're obviously both homos and are meant for each other. Even though they'll never do anything about it, each for their own entertaining reasons. It'll be like one of those Greek urns that the closeted English romantic poets that I had to study in the second semester of my freshman year were always going on about. Go for it guys, and be sure to send us the poems.
30
Misanthrope @10--what is a brown antic vacation?
31
I went out for coffee. Did the letter end yet?
32
God this thread is priceless.
Dan you really showed some restraint on this one but luckily the commenters didn't.
33
Holy Cow.
34
#25, BIGGER QUESTION: WHICH ONE JACK TWIST?!
35
It's like Xmas came early around here.

I'm beginning to love this trend, started about a week ago: one half of a crazy couple writes in. Hilarity ensues. Then the other half weighs in . . . and the crowd goes wild.

Let's keep it going. I hope to hear from all the people that the 23-year-old from the week's column won't consider going on a second date with.
36
its sad for both. crazy or not, each is having a human experience. all the cut and run and crazy name calling is fun because its not you.

too bad they can’t just go back to doing the things that worked and they each enjoyed about the relationship. friendship is priceless.
37
Dudes both have issues.

But this LW writer definitely needs to grow up and move on. Dude whether this guy is simply a tool who loves your attention, a befuddled friend whose signals you have misread, a deep-in-the-closet case who can't come to grip with his feelings for you, or an evil manipulator who enjoys toying with you, it doesn't matter. This isn't a mystery you will ever solve, and you don't want to see what you'll see when you turn the rock over anyway. Move on and get away from your morbid, compulsive obsession.

You're not his boyfriend. You're not his therapist. You can't fix this. You are a big part of the problem, and you are way too dramatic, by your own letter's recitation of your actions and feelings. Gay dude, heal yourself. By cutting off contact with this guy.

You're in love. That's why breaking it off is painful. But be a goddamn man and do it. Dan is right. This guy doesn't love you in any meaningful useful healthy way, regardless of whether there is a tortured inner core of gay knows what.
38
@ 35 - That would be brilliant, especially if they all say that they'd never be caught dead going on a second date with him!
39
The heart wants what it wants... which is why, sometimes, for the sake of the rest of you, you have to slap the heart down like the fanged, restless beast that it is.
40
Yeah, this letter might be longer than the 7 page Stephen King book review that Paul Constant references in the slog post above. Though this is surely much more entertaining.
41
Why are you all so sure this LW really knows PID? My money is on two completely separate writing groups, each with a gay man who loves too much, a gorgeous man of mystery figuring out his fashion sense, and other minor characters. Go on, prove me wrong.
42
@37 "Love"? Nah, call it by its true name: Obsession.
7. I started expressing my romantic and erotic feelings to him by email as it alleviated the stress of being around him.
Wow! Such a unique psychological method of handling the situation.

I'm SMH so vigorously I may get whiplash. So I'm just going to back away ... and RUN.
43
HE is right! Him and only him! And he will prove it with a letter so massive, loaded with so much incontrovertible evidence, that we will have no option but to plead, "You win! The sheer mass of your case defeats even the possibility of retort. You have the last word! We can't deny the truth of your case in the face of such an exhaustive study."

It reminds me of the crazy conspiracy theorists who go on and on, full of conviction and self-importance, burying us with details until we have to admit that we agree with them.

Which isn't to say that this little soap opera isn't great. It's awesome. (They're definitely in a writer's club, with such lengthy, narcissistic, melodramatic letters.) Who knew there was so much meaning, outside of street gangs, in the color of a shirt?
44
@41 You might be right.

"Happy writing groups are all alike; every unhappy writing group is unhappy in its own way."
45
We need to get stampedes together with these two.
47
"My only theory is that I have a pattern of zeroing in on distant hints of attraction and trying to draw that out because it parallels the way my father withheld his love for me behind a wall of neglect and emotional abuse."

You don't say.
48
@milkshake: Why are you all so sure this LW really knows PID?

Oh, I think it's more sinister than that. I think PID and LW are actually the same person - an aspiring author writing a novel about an eccentric gay man who falls in love with a man of ambiguous orientation, and who both end up playing out their conflict-ridden courtship over the internet via a renowned sex advice columnist.
49
STOP it STOP it. For the love of god both of you just STOP IT.
50
He does TOO like me, Dan!! And here's the "evidence" (points 1-20 of dubious and overlapping anecdotes).

By the way, WCIBALG, you're a bit of a dick for presenting your so-called evidence to "several gay and straight friends and health professionals." I believe you're fibbing if you're implying that they support your point of view, especially the health professionals (who are taught to not give super-secret medical opinions to biased third parties, especially without examining the patient in question). And what does "he's struggling" even mean? For someone who wants to be a writer, some of the words you use are strangely ambiguous or wishy-washy.

@48, I LOVE that.
51
@30 brotastic apparently spell checks as brown antic.

Sometimes autocorrect is smarter than you suspect.
52
Dear God in Heaven! A closet-case addict. Shades of my youth when I fell for my very, very very married basketball coach whom, I swore, was giving me the go ahead, taunting me, toying with me, making me crazy. He even touched his knee against mine on the school bus when we were returning from a basketball game and - get this - he acted like nothing happened! And that day he kissed his wife right in front of me I just know he was trying to wordlessly push me away without letting her catch on to our molten hot love. I know he has an inferno inside because when I looked into his sky blue eyes as I sat beside him in the driver's ed. vehicle with three people in the back seat, I felt faint and realized he was trying to make me feel that way by having me drive us around in circles on the football field parking lot. He was so brutal but no doubt, it was just a matter of time before he pressed his body against mine sealed our love with his hot kisses.

53
This guy basically confirmed everything in PID's letter. He should have signed himself "Bunny Boiler".
54
Jesus Christ. My teenager makes more sense than this when he tries to explain his dumb ass decisions.
55
It's fascinating to see someone with no idea that all the rope he's slinging about is going relentlessly around his own neck.
56
I think "4" should be the new standard: Anyone who complains about an ex will be assumed to have no interest in ex's entire gender.
57
18/41/44: Perhaps this is every writing group.
58
Does sound like he's had a lot of therapy. If so, Is he better off with all the therapy he's had? Was he crazier before?
I feel sick for him, though. I remember those thoughts of obsession
That just will not leave you alone. So exhausting. Sad face.
59
Dear WCIBALG,
you are obsessed.
60
I personally will sent $10.00 to any member of the writing group who will send their perspective on this, as long as they match the word count.
61
@ 47 - And how does he know his father had love to withhold? Because his father wore shirts of the same colour he did?
62
"NO NO NO I'M NOT CRAZY! I WILL PROVE I AM NOT CRAZY BY WRITING A LONG, INSANE LETTER! There, see how sane I am?"

Both of these idiots are probably making the writing group hell, and they both probably need to leave, but if anyone needs to leave more it's this guy. Inferring all this crap out of thin air is completely demented. EVEN IF THIS GUY IS RIGHT and the object of his affection is a total deluded closet case who is sending highly encoded signals, the correct response isn't "harass him," the correct response is "well isn't THAT weird" and go get a REAL BOYFRIEND WHO CAN COMMUNICATE LIKE A GROWNUP.
63
LW: "I mean come one, he shops at Gap just like me... that has to be a sign."
64
"I'm not crazy! LET ME WRITE YOU A 5000 WORD ESSAY DETAILING HOW NOT CRAZY I AM."
65
How is absolutely anyone taking this guy seriously? The content shows that he's a nutbar, not matter how much effort he puts into sounding sincere.

Dude has a girlfriend, acts uncomfortable when you put the moves on him, 12 paragraphs about "the Signs" you've been given makes you look schizodelusional. Case closed. Stop finding yourself fixating on boys who don't want you like some hollabacking bus stalker.

"When I told him that I would probably have to end our friendship because I was so distracted and my work was suffering"

This isn't a "friendship" because you don't care for him, he doesn't care for you, and you're just keeping up appearances and doing the equivalent of whining that you're in the "friend zone".

Move on with your life..
66
Wow. And people are always going on about how lesbians over-talk/think things...

67
@ 45...no, both of them ARE stampedes.
68
He really wants me but cannot overcome this Obstacle, but when he does, our love will be forever and deeper and hotter because he wanted me so much that he overcame the Obstacle just to be with me! Oh, look, he chose that table and that seat in the dining center so that he can steal glances at me; the Obstacle stands no chance!! Omg he went to the same campus movie that I did because he knew I would be there; it's only a matter of time!!! My friends saw it too!!!! (And not because they're humoring me in the hopes that I'll get the fuck over it already. "Oh please god not another Magic Bullet dissection on the possible interpretations of the smirk on his face when he said, 'Sup?'")

Yikes. College masturbatory fuel alert! Poor LW. I think he's hooked on the buildup of it, specifically the anticipation that he will finally be proved right. Instead, I think he should tell himself, much like the mixed signals = assured doom, that even if the guy did come out, nothing will ever come of them as a couple. Their dysfunction as friends is proof of that.

Move on, dude. Making your case is mere documentation of desperation. Of accumulated hurts curdling into obsessiveness. Your scenario is very similar to that "He's Just Not Into You" stuff: it doesn't matter why he isn't confessing to you or, for that matter, fucking you. All you need to know is that he isn't doing either.

And, lastly, whether closeted or not, I think folks who maintain this level of intimacy and regular contact with a "friend" that they know is pining for them are ego-stroking assholes best avoided.
69
Has anyone considered that this may be an elaborate double-fake? I mean, they're a) so ridiculous, and b) so close to one another. I wonder if the joke's on us.
70
@48 and 69... it's possible that we're being put on, but it's just so compelling and juicy I'd rather believe it's true. I'm dying to hear from someone else in the writing group.
71
This had better continue as a serial drama on "As The Slog Turns." My sphincter is all apucker in anticipation of episode 3, Make-up Sex, Sort Of. If only we had video the fashion police here could point out where they went wrong wearing a shade of red that clashed with the drapes. Or whatever.
72
They are both guilty as charged. If LW#1 is really not gay, why is he still in the group after a year and why does he write Dan for advice? That tells me that LW#2 is right in his perception of #1 being a closeted case. However, #2 is not totally sane if he wants to pursue such a lost soul. They'll both keep on going, despite all we say. They can't fix each other, we can't fix them. The show must go on.
73
@72: It's not necessarily a gay writing group; it's a writing group. In case you haven't noticed, lots of straight people write to Dan for advice.
74
I would love to know how broadly the standards are drawn for the clothes to be deemed "mimicking" each other. We already know a sweater and T-shirt can be considered basically the same thing! "One week I wore SHORT SLEEVES, and the next week he also wore SHORT SLEEVES even though it was chilly out!", "I wore shoes and the next week he also wore shoes even though he USUALLY wears flip-flops in the summer", etc.
75
Just think, 13.7 billion years of unguided cosmological and biological evolution, we have come to this pair of letters. If that doesn't prove there is no god nor a point to the universe, whatever could?
76
"I have never developed an attraction to a guy (even if out) who didn't show signs of reciprocal interest."

Really? Never? Not once? Well then, sir, you are a better person than I. And, for that mater, everyone I know, for we have all at one point in our lives or another had an unrequited crush.

Methinks the lady [no disrespect intended; just quoting, man] doth protest too much!
77
FINE! You've convinced us. Your logic is simply irrefutable. He is gay and in love with you, so now he has to be your boyfriend! If he argues or tries to resist, send him to us and we'll let him know that you broke it down so perfectly (and remind him that he was once TACITURN), he can not possibly say no. Congratulations to you both!
78
Oh damn it. I just realized--last week a coworker was telling me the grisly details of her most recent one-night stand and, well, at the time I thought I was being somewhat quiet because I was a little uncomfortable and also I had the flu, but now I realize that really my behavior can only be described as taciturn. Also, I'm sure I've worn the same color shirt as her at least twice.
My husband is NOT going to like this, and neither is she (I'm pretty sure she's only into guys) but what can we do?? NOTHING.
79
@ 76 - "I have never developed an attraction to a guy (even if out) who didn't show signs of reciprocal interest."

Signs of reciprocal interest, like wearing clothes of the same colour, I suppose.

It's easy to make such a statement when you have a tendency to imagine signs of interest where there aren't any.
80
reminds me of the time i had a crush on elvis. me a poor black boy living on the south side of chicago..i just thought if there was ever a way i could just meet him, he'd realize that every song ,every movie, every romance,every adventure was the preamble to our undying love..
and this in 1964...
*sighs*
...good times..
81
It's possible that the straight guy is indeed a closeted case but the author of this letter needs to grow up and act like a man. The letter itself is evidence enough that he's being overly dramatic (Pulled Into Drama was defintely a fitting signature). I couldn't believe the content of his letter. He said he's been out for 20 years, if true, he should know better. Move on, dude because reading your letter makes me believe you had what was coming to you.

PS: "and there's certainly nothing about your epic letter might lead someone to doubt your sanity"
I loved that line.
82
*wiping eyes" This is about the funniest spate of comments I have ever read thus far in anything "Dan Savage"!this column! Thanks, guys! I dunno if these two letters are all a hoax, but dayum, it's good for LAUGHS! And yeah, it would be nice if the drama continued, or if a few people from the writing group sent in THEIR opinions of the drama between these two!
83
@69: God, I wish.
84
@76: Selection bias, natch.
85
Just had dinner with some friends tonight, among them a married straight guy buddy, and it struck me that he is obviously completely in love with me. We were wearing similar-patterned shirts! (clearly having nothing to do with the fact that they're both like any shirt anyone would buy from the Gap) He kept brushing against me at the table! (ignore that the restaurant was tiny and the table had us packed in pressed up against each other) He uncomfortably looked away as I described a recent lousy sex life experience! (couldn't have been because I was just tipsy and being a lousy story-teller) I wonder how his wife is going to take it when he runs away with me.

I feel like every interaction I have with another human could be twisted into proof that they're in love with me, if I'm going to distort and edit selectively enough.
86
It was meant to be!
87
Fucking idiot probably isn't even gay, he said "why can't I eat lesbians" if he wants to fuck men, wouldn't he ask "whay can't I be a straight female?"

cos straight females sometimes fuck men. Maybe he meant he is a tranny lesbian. Are there women with pronounced adam's assholes who are gay?

this fucker has excedrin written all over his french speaking extra tall forehead and receding hairline ass
88
I cannot wait for next week's installment. Oh Dan, please tell us there will be a next chapter in this soap opera!

Taciturnly yours...
89
@42 I did call it an obsession - see end of my second paragraph at 37.

In all fairness to this LW, I do know one guy who, when he was 21 and just starting to practice his bisexuality, did start dressing like the older guy he had a crush on, though it was more style of dress and clothing brands than colors.
90
@52 I loved your story. I have been a bit like this recently, alas. Finally I confessed my attraction, to be able to get over it, it was driving me nuts. Now it's just some unrequited love slowly dying down - easier to withstand than this terrible Hope. Hope can mess with one's sanity real good...

@15 Sorry to hear you've had an abuser in your life. Good that you set yourself free. Keep strong !
91
@90 Thank your for the first sincere and compassionate words of advice to the LW.

I too was caught in the undertow of a similar situation. I knew I was crazy in the midst of it. I thought he was crazier and needed me to rescue him. Nope. I thought I couldn't just walk away. In the end, I could and I did. You, dear LW, can too. It was hella painful and deeply humbling. You will feel so much better in the end. Cold Turkey, only way to go on this one.
92
"There have been several times when I've caught him looking longingly at me or his eyes widen and his face falls, as if struck by my looks."



Wasn't this a movie with Cher and Nicolas Cage? LOOK-STRUCK
93
I started expressing my romantic and erotic feelings to him by email as it alleviated the stress of being around him. He said that even though I had "broken up" with him, I was sending him "such nice words" and that it was "really nice."

He failed to mention that he said these things through clenched teeth as he slowly backed out of the room. Look, man, if it was going to happen it would have already happened. People in the grip of desire are many things, but subtle isn't one of them. Do whatever you have to do to move on from this.
94
Best shitshow ever. Thanks.
95
There is nothing so true, so obvious, and so incontrovertible as that which we make up in our own heads because we desperately want it to be true.
96
Oh, and Letter Writer? Your telling Dan that he is not allowed to call you batshit crazy, because you are gay and calling one particular batshit-crazy gay guy crazy when it's desperately deserved might reflect badly on gays in general, is just another example of the same sort of self-serving sophistry you've been displaying the whole time. At this point I'm inclined to add "sociopath" to your list of positive qualities.
97
I think I finally just grasped the appeal of 'reality' TV! Thanks everyone!
98
Oops forgot my parenthetical: (It's made for delicious MST3K-style snarking from the peanut gallery.)