Q: I have a cousin with whom I am very close. He recently proposed to his girlfriend. I have several issues with this, but the most important one is the fact that everyone who meets this young man thinks he's gay. (I don't know how the girlfriend hasn't seen it.) When I told my friends he was engaged, their jaws dropped. Everyone said, "But he's gay!" He's admitted to me that he did "play for the other team" in college and every once in a while he mentions that he has a "man crush" on so-and-so. I've been out with him, and gay men will comment on how handsome he is, how they're sure he's gay, etc. I love him to death and I don't care one bit that he may be gay.
I'm curious what you think. Was "playing for the other team" just a phase? I don't think so. Unfortunately, I think he's just trying to "fit in." My brother and I think he will end up getting divorced or be completely miserable for the rest of his life. This is his first serious girlfriend and the first girl he's lived with. Should I take my boyfriend's advice and just butt out? Thanks. —A Concerned Kousin
A: Yes, yes: butt the fuck out — right after you speak your piece to your cousin, and right after you've slipped his fiancee the URL for the Straight Spouse Network's website (straightspouse.org) and copies of former New Jersey governor Jim "I'm a Batshit Crazy Gay American" McGreevey and his ex-wife's dueling memoirs.
As for "playing for the other team" at college, ACK, that can indeed be just a phase — but for women, not men. Heterosexual and homosexual women, if legit scientific research is to be believed, "tend to become sexually aroused by both male and female erotica, and, thus, have a bisexual arousal pattern," according to the results of a 2003 study conducted at LUG-infested Northwestern University. Men, on the other hand, prefer erotica that plays exclusively to their professed sexual orientation. Which means, of course, that female sexuality is a fluid and male sexuality is a solid. Or something.
And ladies? Pointing out your fluid sexuality isn't an insult. It's a compliment — hell, it's a freakin' superpower.
As for the girlfriend's inability to "see it," there's always a chance that she has seen it, ACK, really seen it. We do have to entertain the possibility that the girlfriend has seen her fiance, your cousin, with a cock in his mouth and dug it. There's a chance she could be one of those women who likes gay porn so much that marrying a mostly gay or even an entirely gay person represents the fulfillment of a dream.
Oh, and speaking of the mostly gays ...
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston claim to have found the "Achilles' heel" of the virus that causes AIDS. Their discovery could lead to new and more effective drugs and treatments.
Or, you know, not.
We've been down this road before — HIV's Achilles' heel located, targeted, hopes raised, and then ... it's back to the ol' drawing board. So let's not run out and stick our asses in the air just yet, boys. And remember: Even if we do one day have a vaccine or a cure for HIV, re-creating the gay communal-sewer sex culture of the 1970s is a very bad idea. One important take-away lesson — one of the top lessons — of the AIDS epidemic should be this: Given the right conditions, new sexually transmitted infections can emerge and kill you and all your friends.
Remember, kids: Straight people should have more sex (and more sex partners) than they do; gay people should have less sex (and fewer sex partners) than we can. Balance, balance, balance — oh, and anal sex is not a first-date activity; use condoms for anal sex with casual partners to protect yourself from HIV and other STIs, known and unknown; and lower your inhibitions the old-fashioned way (therapy and beer) and stay the fuck away from meth and meth users.
Q: I put a profile on an online dating site some time ago when my job moved me to Florida and I didn't know anybody down here, but I soon forgot about it. Recently, a girl contacted me via that old personal ad, we exchanged pictures, and she told me she was overweight. In the pictures she didn't look that big and I chalked her comments up to female insecurity. Less than an hour ago we met for the first time and she was huge. I told her as politely as possible that I felt her pictures were misleading, that she was bigger than I expected, and that I didn't think it would work. I felt (and still feel) like total shit.
Dan, help me. Am I a bad person for this? I want to go slam my head in a car door! —Fretting About Traumatic Situation Obsessively
A: Sending out misleading photos is a no-no, FATSO, precisely because it leads to hurt feelings on all sides. Misleading photos are unfair to the person misled — it places the person in an awkward position — and sets the sender up for emotionally devastating rejections.
So long as you were polite and direct — and I'm taking your word for that, FATSO — you're not a bad person even if her feelings were hurt. There are men out there who are open to big women or into big women — the bigger the better — and she can avoid hurt feelings in the future by e-mailing accurate photos and attracting the attention of men who actually find her attractive.
A Note to My Readers: Half the mail at Savage Love HQ now arrives with qualifiers like this one: "I'd appreciate receiving your advice via e-mail. Please do not print this in your column. Thanks. :)"
The person who wrote the above at least had the decency to include it at the start of his letter. (And the indecency to use an emoticon.) It's extremely annoying to read a long, involved letter about a fucked-up, complicated problem and — after composing a little advice in my head, or looking up some stuff, or sending a query to the appropriate expert — stumble across a "don't print this!" in a P.S.
I don't mean to be bitchy (that comes naturally), and I frequently write folks back who ask for a little private advice, but come on, people. I'm an advice columnist, not a therapist in private practice. My e-mail address is at the bottom of the column to solicit questions for future columns, not because I need something to do in my nonexistent free time.
Sometimes I do feel an urge to offer advice to fuck-ups with messy personal lives outside of the context of the column or the Podcast. But that's what family reunions are for. But what the hell:
Confidential to Rick in Austin: It is indeed rare for two men to meet and fall in love while each is banging half of a pair of male twins. (Or were you sleeping with two different pairs of twins who shared an apartment when you took that fateful trip to the bathroom? It's unclear from your letter.) And, no, having a Hare Krishna brother shouldn't impact your love life, karma-wise, any more than having an English professor brother has impacted mine, classics-of-American-literature-wise. You're welcome.Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage