Confidential to Wasted in West Oak Lane:
Without casting aspersions on strippers/exotic dancers, clearly this woman views her relationship with you as a business venture and not a romance. That she accepts money and gifts, gives you the occasional ride home, and is always happy to see you at her shows are not indications that she loves you or ever will. She may like you fine, she may enjoy your company, and she may even enjoy the sex, but she isn't interested in you the same way you're interested in her--and she never will be. What should you do? Lower your expectations, enjoy the time she elects to spend with you, and don't lose your head. If you can enjoy this relationship for what it is--business--there's no reason to end it. If you can't, stop attending her shows and start looking around for a slightly less exotic woman, one who's interested in you for you and not you for yours.
Confidential to Millennial Anxiety:
Think about it: DNA samples can be taken from hair, saliva, gum scrapings, fatty tissue--just about anything your body is made up of or produces. So even if Bill Clinton had had a vasectomy, there would still have been enough DNA on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress for Ken Starr's purposes.
Confidential to Mute Pussy:
Unsurprisingly, after your letter ran I got a lot of offers from men interested in tying you up, no sex expected or required. One was even a med student like you. If you want me to forward these letters to you, send an SASE.
Confidential to Nora Ephron:
OK, so Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail owns an independent bookstore, the Shop Around the Corner, threatened by a huge, soulless chain, Fox Books, owned by Tom Hanks's character. Meg bemoans the homogenization of American culture, fretting that American cities are losing their character and texture as predatory corporate chains wipe out human-scale, mom-and-pop businesses. OK, I'm with you, Nora. But if that's how Meg--or Meg's character--feels, why does she get her coffee at Starbucks every morning? And why is AOL her Internet service provider?
Confidential to Chunky:
If that was her "period" you swallowed, you can certainly "get sick off it." That's blood, dope, and swallowing someone's blood is a pretty good way to catch whatever they have, from HIV to hepatitis.
Confidential to I'm So Nasty:
Yes, yes, you're a freak and a nympho.
Confidential to Gay Men in Vancouver, B.C., Especially Gay Men at the Dufferin:
Unless you're plucking your eyebrows to break one freakishly large eyebrow into two reasonably functional ones, there is no excuse to pluck your eyebrows. None.
Confidential to Gay Men Everywhere Else:
Give drag a rest. All fields need to lie fallow from time to time, and considering how much we've overfarmed drag in the last few years, we need to give it a rest or we risk killing it. A few old queens could be grandfathered in--RuPaul, Dame Edna, The View's Star Jones--but the rest of us should resist the urge for the next 10 or 20 years.
Confidential to Wondering:
Nipple stimulation can make your nipples tougher and more prominent--depending on how you're stimulating them and with what. But nipple stimulation doesn't make "male breasts develop." Certain diseases and disorders can cause men's breasts to swell, however. If you're concerned about your brother's comments, go see a doc.
Confidential to Larry Flynt:
Whatever terrible things you may have done in your long life--the photo of a woman in a meat grinder, the born-again Christian porn, the Tiffany lamp collection--nailing speaker-to-be Bob Livingston for being a philandering, adulterous hypocrite redeems you entirely. For Christmas this year, I got all my friends subscriptions to Hustler, and I'm eagerly awaiting the Flynt report. Keep up the good work.
Confidential to Henry Hyde:
I'm putting ten dollars a week in a savings account. When you're up for reelection in 2000, I'm giving half to any Republican who'll challenge your slimy ass in the primary and the other half to the Democrat who runs against you in the general.
Confidential to Missing His Action:
However good-looking he is, however great in bed he may be, however lovely his tits are, you would be an idiot to take him back. I appreciate that he's pretty, and I appreciate the seminude photo you enclosed to prove how pretty he is. Those are some very nice tits. But he lied about his background, his job, and his education; he took your money; and he gave you an STD. The guy's a manipulative loser who gets through life on his looks. He chose you because you are, as you put it, "so out of his league, far beneath him looks-wise." If you were his equal, you wouldn't be so easily manipulated. You're much better off with a dumpy boyfriend who loves you rather than a looker who doesn't. Have a farewell fuck (without telling him that's what it is), take a lot of pictures (without telling him you intend to send me copies), and masturbate to his memory until someone better, if dumpier, comes along.
Confidential to Straight Couples on Fertility Drugs:
If you can't hack "selective reduction," put down the goddamn fertility drugs! Adopt or live without. If I see one more "octuplet update" on CNN or listen to one more criminally irresponsible mom and dad claim they couldn't abort a few fetuses because "only God can make that decision," I'm gonna have a stroke. If it were up to God, you wouldn't have kids: God made you sterile. And God wasn't shoving all those man-made fertility drugs down your throats. And a note to the media: the abuse of fertility drugs doesn't merit the kind of awestruck, miracle-of-birth, we're-rooting-for-them-tiny-babies-as-they-fight-for-life coverage lavished on the Houston octuplets. You don't fawn over heroin users and crystal-meth addicts, do you? Well, don't make human-interest heroes of men and women who abuse fertility drugs.
Confidential to Shoe Me the Way:
You might be able to persuade her to indulge you by leading her through a cost-benefit analysis: putting on other women's old shoes doesn't cost her much in time and effort, and she stands to gain quite a bit in passion and "wild lovemaking." Wearing her daughter's shoes, however, may make her feel creepy; perhaps it strikes her as vaguely, I dunno, incestuous? Obtain some sexy old footwear from outside her immediate family and your luck may change.
Confidential to Whom It May Concern:
Could someone explain to me the connection between roller rinks and Christianity? Whenever my boyfriend and I are in a small town somewhere, we like to go roller skating for the Xanadu of it. In addition to Celine Dion, invariably we're subjected to Christian contemporary music, and there's always "What Would Jesus Do?" merchandise--bracelets, buttons, T-shirts--for sale at the concession stand. I don't get it. When I was 12 years old (in 1976) and hanging out in roller rinks, they were for bad kids. Stoners and rockers with tight jeans, bad attitudes, and feathered hair hung out at the roller rink. Jesus-freakazoid kids, when they did venture in, had the crap kicked out of them. What happened?
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.