Gentle Readers: If there's ever been any doubt about how seriously I take my responsibilities, this column should lay 'em to rest. Last year I agreed to auction off a chance to give advice in Savage Love. What can I say? I'm a sucker for charity, and the auction raised money to feed the hungry. Eleven months after the auction, I finally met up with the winner, Jill, a lovely Cuban-American lesbian from San Francisco. We knocked back a few drinks and dug through the ol' e-mail in-box. Below you'll find her advice, my critiques of her advice, and a letter grade for each response.
I went on a date last week with a smart, beautiful woman. The conversation was engaging, and there were sparks. Then she divulged that she voted for Bush. Now I don't know if I can go out with her again. To be Republican is one thing. To vote for Bush, well, that's just irresponsible, immoral, and uninformed. Is it wrong to not date someone because she voted for Bush? --Bachelor Uneasy Seeing a Hot Bush Supporter
Jill: This "smart, beautiful woman" is a time-release asshole. Picture a future life with your pork-barrel paramour: Hot summer nights of wine, engaging conversation--and Sean Hannity. Apartment leave-behinds of pretty red panties--and Ann Coulter's How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). And is that a "War on Iran: Yes!" bumper sticker I see on your hybrid in the near future? Run, BUSHBS, run!
Dan: Not bad, Jill. You lose a couple of points for not acknowledging that some men and women are happily partnered with people whose politics they find revolting. And while I agree with the gist of your advice, I would've qualified it by pointing out that entering into an LTR with a Republican would not only keep dinner conversations interesting, it would also keep hate-fucking on the menu, a sexual option that's usually lacking in an LTR. Finally, I'll have to knock off a few more points for your gratuitous use of alliteration ("pork-barrel paramour"?), a device frequently abused by amateur and/or inept advice columnists. (For truly horrifying examples of alliteration abuse, see Time Out New York "sexpert" Jamie Bufalino's totally terrible, repugnantly repulsive, criminally crappy column Get Naked.) Grade: B-
I am a lesbian, completely sexually satisfied when I have sex with women and never sexually satisfied when I have sex with men. However, when I masturbate the only thing that brings me to orgasm is thinking about guys. Does this mean I'm not really a lesbian? --Messed-Up Masturbator
Jill: First, let's nail down a definition for lesbian: Are you a woman with the fever for the flavor of a girlie? Then you're set. Petting a few puppies on the sidewalk doesn't make you any less of a cat person. Plus, I don't think you can mess up masturbating unless you fall out a window or ruin your best bunny suit or something. There's no shortage of chain-walleted, barber-shorn, Pabst-swigging lesbos out there who not only jack off to the thought of boys but actually bed them. In fact, boy toys may be the last exciting forbidden frontier for jaded lesbians. Sex clubs? Yawn. Three-ways? So 90s. You're a man now? Great, let's go grab some nachos. But flipping a frat pledge? Deflowering a peach-fuzzy sk8er? That's now, that's wow. And let's not forget the burgeoning lez trend of renting fag porn. Who cares? You like what you like. Enjoy.
Dan: Again, the alliteration is problematic ("fever for the flavor"). But you redeemed yourself, Jill, with that "ruin your best bunny suit" line. Your reference to furries is not only hilarious, it's also delightfully sly: readers who get the reference will feel like they're in the know, and readers who don't will nevertheless enjoy the mental image of lesbians masturbating in bunny suits. A-
I'm a lesbian in a committed relationship but looking for a specific bit of action. I'd like to hire another woman to dominate me. The idea of hiring such a woman, just for me, actually turns both of us on. So time to bring in a pro, right? But I looked on the Net, and I'm not finding much for a Seattle woman looking to pay another woman to dominate her. I guess I could join some local S-M clubs, but I don't have a lot of time to wander around in leather pants hoping to attract someone. Any recommendations? --Can't Buy Me Love
Jill: I went to an expert for this one--Greta Christina, editor of Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients and longtime sapphist. Greta says, "I have yet to run into a female sex worker in any part of the country who would be appalled or grossed out by the prospect of a female customer. Most of them enjoy it, for the change of pace if nothing else. You'll have a wider selection in Babylons like San Francisco or New York, but anywhere there are escorts there'll be escorts who'll work with women."
Thanks, Greta. Some other rules to trick by: good manners, good hygiene, and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. No pushiness, no haggling. And be sure to emphasize that you're in it solo, as most girl-inclusive requests involve couples.
Dan: Wow! It's only your third question, Jill, and you're already punting! Not that there's anything wrong with that. Dragging in a guest expert is a time-honored advice columnist trick, one that I use regularly. Calling on a guest expert demonstrates two traits all good advice columnists share: (1) a becoming humility and (2) the ability to draw a paycheck even when you haven't done any of the heavy lifting in a column. Then, Jill, like an old pro you wind up your response with useful tips of your own, proving to your readers that you're not phoning it in entirely. Nice job! A+
Well, that went well! I have to admit that I feared that auctioning off the chance to coauthor my column would result in some batshit-crazy crank seizing control of Savage Love for a week. But Jill gave such solid advice that some editor out there really ought to give her a column of her very own. In fact, this went so well that I've agreed to auction off the right to coauthor a Savage Love column next year. (Apparently the dough raked in by last year's auction wasn't enough to end world hunger.) If you'd like to bid go to www.thestranger.com/specials/strangercrombie. The auction runs through December 17. Good luck!