I've been going out with a great guy for about eight months. For the first time in my life, I'm in love. We're really happy together and spend every free minute together. What's the catch? His ex-girlfriend. They were together off and on for two years. They kept breaking up and then jumping each other. They couldn't seem to get it together. Then I came along. He and I hit it off in a big way, and now we're super happy. Except his ex-girlfriend won't piss off. And, to make things worse, I know when or if he and I break up, he'll go back to her: I, jokingly, told him that if he went out with her after we broke up I'd kill him. He got all serious and couldn't see where I was coming from. He is seriously considering running back to her if he and I break up!
From my point of view, that makes our relationship totally worthless. Like, I fall in love for the first time and all we can say is how blissful we are, but as soon as it's over he'll run to her? As if our whole relationship was only a brief interlude in the saga of Ex-girlfriend and my boyfriend?
Am I just being lame, or should he get over it and love me? --Teen Angel
Hey, Teen Angel:
How old are you? Fifteen? Sixteen? Do you seriously expect to be with this guy for the rest of your life? Well, you won't. With the exception of arranged marriages, very few of us end up staying with our high school sweethearts all our lives. At your age, a lot of what feels like "love" and "bliss" is merely "hormones" and "drama."
When I was in high school, Michael and Brynn were on-again-off-again lovers who managed to drag the entire school into the drama of their relationship. They would break up, date other people, and then--after confrontations in the hallways, tears in the library, fistfights at parties--wind up screwing in Michael's mother's basement again. This went on for about, oh, three years.
If you suspect you're just an interlude in the grand and sweeping passion that is your boyfriend's relationship with his once and future girlfriend, then everything isn't so blissful as you seem to pretend. If you have even the slightest suspicion you're being used the way Metro High's class of '82 was used by Michael and Brynn, then have the good sense to walk away. I wish I'd walked away from Michael and Brynn after just eight months. Break it off.
Is there any way to screen out people who violate certain minimum standards of behavior, before one invests a lot of time and emotion in them? I never put these standards into words until recently. I simply assumed--without thinking about it--that anybody would comply with them. Women I date, however (I am a het male), violate them so frequently that I have become conscious of them, and decided to write them down. They are:
1. She keeps appointments she makes with me, unless there is a genuine emergency.
2. If she breaks an appointment, she calls me at her earliest opportunity and says, "I owe you a big apology."
3. She tells me her last name.
4. She answers telephone messages in a timely manner. I don't have to call her several times to get one response.
5. If she lives out of state and we are corresponding, she keeps me apprised of her current mailing address, so that letters don't come back "unable to forward," and her current phone number, so I don't have to track her down with a series of long-distance phone calls.
6. If she decides she does not want to date me, she tells me so, rather than suddenly and mysteriously not answering my calls.
The women who violate these rules are not strangers I met once on the bus. They have had conversations with me and emphatically expressed their interest in meeting again; they have given me their phone number and said, "Call me!"; they have hugged and kissed and dry humped me avidly, praising my style. They have ranged in age from 23 to mid-30s.
I feel anyone who violates these standards comes from some morally inferior galaxy and I have no business dating them. Do you think I am being unreasonable? --Intolerant
You left one item off your list of Minimum Standards: The ability to take the hint.
1. If she continually blows you off, maybe she isn't interested.
2. If she doesn't call you after she blows you off, maybe she isn't interested.
3. If she doesn't tell you her last name (!), maybe she isn't interested.
4. If she doesn't return your phone calls, maybe she isn't interested.
5. If she fucking moves away and doesn't give you her new address and phone number, maybe she isn't interested.
6. Some people have a hard time with rejection, getting or giving. They're reluctant to look someone in the eye and say, "Look, you're a clueless fucking drip. Get away from me." So they'll try and tell you indirectly--they drop hints, they don't return your phone calls, they move away fer cryin' out loud. When these little signals pile up, perhaps you should pause before you "track her down" and ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, she isn't interested.
So she dry humped a hole through your pant leg and begged you to call her after the first date, but after sobering up and taking a shower maybe she changed her mind. Learn how to take the fucking hint, stud.
Why do het men fantasize about making love to women as if they (the men) were women? I'm a sex worker and I hear about it all the time--this fantasy appears to be quite common. I've stopped telling my clients I'm a dyke because I'm tired of breeder boys wanting to play Desert Hearts with me.
Maybe it's liberal male guilt about being the bad man. Maybe it's the paranoid fear that women have some major sexual secret that we don't tell men. I think it may have to do with the get-it-up, keep-it-up anxiety that many men have. Lesbian sex is perceived as effortless and endless. There's no penis, so what could go wrong? (Let me tell you about some of my dates, boys.) Het male ideas about lesbian sex tend to be gleaned from porno movies and zines put out by het males for het males. I am annoyed by this. Deal with it, boys! You can't be K.D. You can't even be Martina. Could we have one fucking thing to ourselves, please, without your trying to co-opt it into a breeder-prick fantasy?
--A Dyke Who Knows
This fag knows plenty of dykes who strap on dildos and go to town. Are they pretending to be men--making love to their girlfriends as if they were straight guys? If that's OK, which I'm guessing you'd say it is, what's so wrong with guys pretending they're dykes and screwing their girlfriends?
Fantasies can't be regulated, and what someone wants to co-opt in the privacy of his own bedroom is between him and the person he's sleeping with. If straight boys wanna be K.D. Lang for a couple of hours, let 'em--it's not hurting anybody.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.