Email Question 2: Electric Boogaloo

I got another email question!  I’m totally not sure if it’s a troll email or not, but here it is, and here’s my answers.

 

Q: Okay so I’ve been great friends with this girl and she considers me as her best friend..
I fear if I’ve been friendzoned already for I have feelings for her..

She cares a lot about me..
I do care a lot about her..
The thing is I fear if I ask her out, it might spoil our friendship.
So please I need your help..
What to do?
A: First thing you do, emailer friend, is to never use the verb “friendzone” ever, EVER again.  Everything about that term implies that the only goal of being in any sort of relationship (including a friendship) with a woman is sex, and that makes you kind of a douche.
The second thing you do is go back and read this.  I think it will help.
The third thing you need to do is make a list, and on one side put all the great parts about being friends with this lady.  Do you do fun things together?  Can you talk about a ton of stuff?  Great!  Now, what’s the only thing you’re standing to gain from turning this friendship into something else?  If the only thing you can come up with is “sex”, then you need to decide if trying to get sex from this friend of yours is worth the potential spoiling of your friendship.  You also have to brace yourself for the mad amounts of awkward if that goes awry.
Please, don’t consider the only goal of being friends with a girl to eventually end up boning her.  That’s horrible and isn’t worth anyone’s time.  For real though, you don’t want to end up like that guy.  If you have genuine feelings for her you should tell her, but if all you think you want is the sex, don’t do it.
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From Dating To Friends

Hey y’all!  Hope you’re about to have a spectacular Christmas.  Or, I hope you had a swell Hanukkah.

Anyway I realized that I should check my email more often, because an intrepid young reader sent me a message with a really good question in it!  Names have been changed to protect everyone involved.

Q: “Greetings!

I read two of your posts, Survivng the Friendzone and Nice Guy Syndrom, and was wondering if you had any advice for going from Dating to just being friends. You see, I was dating this girl for almost a year, a big milestone in my eyes, and a few days ago she broke up with me, 11 days before that 1 year anniversary. She brought up some very valid points, and after a day to mull things over I was okay with it. Thing is though, im still having a few problems it seems. The problems made themselves apperant when we went to the mall to hang, as friends, and I notices a love mark on her neck. Nothing too big, just a single one, nothing near what I’d given her on multiple occasions, yet it still brought up a good bit of jealousy mixed with depression. When we talked about it, she said its what I should expect now that we were ‘just friends’. Not in a mean way though, and it was a very valid and logical point. Yet…even after that I was still jealous of this unnamed man I didnt know. Any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated, even if it is just that I need to get over it and accept that she’s not mine anymore.

Sincerely
Treble Hoof  (Jeffrey ********)”

 

A: First I’d like to say sorry about the breakup, but well done on handling it like a mature adult.  Validating reasoning for your former ladyfriend ending your relationship is actually a pretty big step.  Don’t forget, though, that it doesn’t count as validation unless you can actually for serious feel and mean what you’re thinking or saying about it.  And really, this part will take some time.  After you’ve for-sure come to terms with what she said, you can use those reasons to try to be a better boyfriend to the next lady who comes along.

Now, to the meat of your issue: she very obviously still means a lot to you, but she’s also apparently doing some sexytime-related things with another human being, and this can be really weird.  It can feel a little lot like she’s already found your replacement.  This isn’t always the case, though, because women are actually also prone to rebound flings with people, too.  I’m gonna guess that she is also hurting and that’s the way she’s dealing with it.  Granted, there are other possibilities that are a lot more hurtful to think about, like “What if she was cheating on me with this dude?”

Well, the good news is the cheating part is no longer your problem and you don’t need to address it with her, because your relationship is over.  The sucky part is that this could impact your friendship.  If you want to remain actually friends with her, and not nice guy “maybe we can get back together” friends, then you have to actively decide to let that possibility of her having cheated on you go.  I would caution against asking her outright about it, because if we’re all wrong and she wasn’t cheating, that’s going to make things awful and your friendship will definitely be weird.

The only way to deal with jealousy is to admit that you’re jealous, and that it bums you out.  There’s not some magic method to getting rid of it, but if this is something that seems very difficult for you, I would encourage you find a therapist or trained professional (or trusted parent/guardian) to chat with about how you’re feeling.  Since you mentioned some depression, perhaps the professional would be a better idea.  What is super important with the jealousy and sadness is that you don’t try to squish them down.  Give yourself room, preferably by not seeing her if you can, and let yourself feel sad about the end of your relationship and the possibility that she will be with other people.

One thing that might work well is asking her to give you a bit of time to do this.  It’s a pretty rough thing to do, but if you make it clear that you do want to be her friend but need time to take her out of the “girlfriend” part of your brain, I have a feeling she will be understanding.  And if she isn’t, maybe you should reconsider being friends with her in the first place.

I hope this was at least marginally helpful!  And hey everybody, I can always be reached for more personalized advice at gaygirladvice@gmail.com


How to: Not Talk To Gay People About Sex

Do any of you have something that really just grinds your gears and gets you every time?  I happen to have a lot of them, and if I were to list them all it would require more time and dedication than I could ever hope to expect from any of you.  Consider this an act of mercy that I’m only focusing on one moderately upsetting thing for today.

I had this particular thing in mind for today, because it happened to me last night.  Sometimes being gay can really stink, and a lot of those times happen when you’re interacting with other (mostly heterosexual) people.  One of those interactions I despise is when someone decides it’s a good idea to ask The Question.  You’ve probably encountered it, either in a movie, with friends, hell – maybe you’ve even asked it yourself.  The Question is, for me, as follows: “What do 2 girls, like, DO, y’know… In bed?”

It’s almost always followed by lots of nervous giggling on the part of the asker.

There are a couple of responses that I use for this question, and the one I pick depends upon how well I know the person asking me, and how much I want them to not hate me.

In this case, I was at a bar, so I was able to be all, “I haven’t had enough tequila for this talk”, and that seemed to work pretty well.  (Other fun responses are things like, “Let’s go find out” and “Please shut your face”, but my favorite is, “Well that depends. Are we sleeping or fucking?”)
I’m not a particularly private person.  I’m loud, kind of annoying, and really obnoxious.  I’m outspoken about a great deal of things.  And yet, this one single question leaves me feeling utterly flabbergasted.  I really think this is a prime example of straight privilege, because nobody asks a straight couple what THEY do in bed, right?  Because everyone knows.  But apparently asking gay folks is not only a) super appropriate and acceptable but 2) going to give you an answer to apply to every gay person ever (because we’re all the same, duh!)

I was told that I handled the question like a champ, but I’m still really riled about it.  I also told the particular asker to check things out on the internet.  It’s a wonderful place and there are TONS and TONS and TONS (etc. etc. ad nauseum) of resources on how two ladies might get it on.  Betcha you’ll never guess what happened next.

“I FEEL DIRTY DOING THAT.”

But you feel perfectly alright asking someone you don’t know very well TO THEIR FACE about their sex life?

It would be completely different if this person were asking me about things to do to make one’s sex life more interesting.  I personally feel I have a lot of really brilliant sexytime ideas, and since I’m obnoxiously outspoken, I find very little shame in sharing them.  This, however, was a whole ‘nother scenario.

The moral of the story this week is pretty simple: don’t be an ass.  I don’t care if you’re drunk, I don’t care if you once asked a gay person in a pride parade and they answered.  I’m a different human being, and you should fucking respect that.

We’ll be back for regularly scheduled shenanigans later on.


How to: Love Yourself the Right Way

HELLOOOOOO!

I’m breaking my hiatus because my hiatus is stupid and was imposed for no reason other than I was a little bit on the lazy side.  It’s true, dear readers.  I neglected you because I was bumming around playing video games.  And, y’know, college.

For my first post back, I wanted to talk about something that’s very near and dear to me, and that I take very very seriously.  Surprisingly, it’s not sex (although that’s a close second).

I want to get into what it means to love yourself.  I don’t mean the corny self-help book style of patting yourself on the back or giving yourself affirmations daily or anything like that.  I mean this on a deeper level, because I think “loving yourself” is a very subjective act.

***TRIGGER WARNING: EATING DISORDERS, SELF-HARM AND DEPRESSION***

For me, loving myself has many meanings.  It could be treating myself to a large iced mocha on a rough day.  It could be that extra five minutes in the shower.  I may be crazy, but sometimes “loving myself” means doing another set of a lift at the gym, because loving myself and pushing myself sometimes get conflated.  Sometimes I give myself an extra ten minutes of sleep before work, and that’s loving myself.

I didn’t always used to have such positive outlets for how I felt about myself.  Sometimes I still don’t.  I used to think that loving myself meant doing everything I could to be skinny like girls are supposed to be.  I didn’t do the greatest job of taking care of myself physically, and it took a toll on me in a way that I couldn’t notice back then.  When I got positive comments, I felt like I was flying.  It reinforced what I was doing (which was not consuming food), and it felt damn good.  When I didn’t get positive comments… I wasn’t very nice to myself.  I punished myself, and to this day I am extremely ashamed of this.

I don’t know when this changed for me, and I can’t promise that it will, because nobody can do that.  (If only…)

It turns out that I’m not actively trying to make you cry, and I’m definitely not searching for compliments or pity.  I want you to be aware that this acceptance of self is a process.  It’s a journey and it’s hard.  So, what does this have to do with you?

You never know where somebody is coming from in life.  You don’t know if that chubby kid goes home and tries to eat right and maybe has some other problems.  That weird quiet dude doesn’t need you to point out that he looks like he hasn’t washed his hair.  People are so acutely aware of their flaws, they really don’t need to hear another voice chime in and repeat them.

One of the most important things that happened when I started realizing I was worth more than cuts and starvation was that I became a nicer person.  When I was better to myself, I felt better and I passed that on to the rest of the world.  I’m not trying to be preachy and I’m not trying to brag about how great a person I am – I still have flaws, and maybe you have a different reason for being mad at the world.  It’s okay.

There’s that old adage that says, “you can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself”.  I know it’s not healthy to base your worth on your relationship status.  However, I think there’s a very fine line between the healthy and unhealthy aspects of that.  For me, finding that awesome girlfriend of mine made me a great deal happier.  I’m about to sound EVEN LAMER (as if that’s possible at this point) and tell you that she has made me want to be a better person.

I wanted to share my experiences and opinions with you about this stuff for awhile, and I’m still not sure I managed to do it without sounding all “hurr durr look at how great my life is now”.  It’s important to remember that you ought to be kind to yourself.  Self-respect and self-worth are terms that get tossed around a lot, and it’s easy to get lost in the myriad definitions.

Take a good, hard look at what you view as loving yourself.  Does it harm yourself, physically or psychologically?  Does it harm someone else, physically or psychologically?  It doesn’t have to be a productive thing, necessarily (my coffee/chocolate consumption is hardly productive and mostly just delicious).

Be good to yourselves.  I think you’ll feel a lot better.


How To: Survive The Friend Zone

Hey look, I’m not dead and I haven’t quit on you kids just yet!

I had to take some time to figure out what I should cover here and what sort of things would actually make a good blog post.  And now, here I am.

Today I want to talk about the friend zone.  It’s that magically awful place you get stuck in when the friend you like doesn’t want to take your relationship to that next level.  The friend zone is almost invariably the worst possible place to be, going from responses I got from friends and the representations that appear in mass media.

Let’s start with a definition.  A friend zone is what one is placed in when the object of their affections says, “No thanks, but we can still be friends”.  There’s really no easy way to be in the friend zone, and that seems to be the root of the problem with it.  It’s not easy so we don’t want to do it ever.  It would totally be way easier if that person who friend zoned us would just say “Okay” and date us, right?  More on that in a minute.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys being rejected.  This goes for my friends who are actors, even though they put themselves in that position an awful lot.  However, there is a difference between being rejected and being put in the friend zone.  Being rejected means being dumped, thrown away, told you’re not good enough at all for someone or something.

My friend Aim made a really good point – if someone puts you in the friend zone after an awkward advance, that means they want to stay friends.  And that means, by extension, that they value your friendship enough to endure the awkward post-advance times with you.  Isn’t that an important thing to talk about?

It’s important to remember that when you’re thinking, “UGH why won’t he (or she) just DATE ME ALREADY?”  Because friendship is a valuable thing.  Remember that time I talked about Nice Guy Syndrome?  Nobody owes you a sexy relationship.  Nobody even owes you friendship, which if you think about it that way, makes friendship seem that much more valuable.

A concept that seems to go hand-in-hand with being friend zoned is that of oneitis.  This is where all you can think, talk, write, or worry about is that one person.  It’s easily confused with love, and even though I’m supposed to be this big oracle on relationship things and love and advice, I’m not entirely clear what the boundaries are here.  I think that, if you aren’t having feelings reciprocated, you need to take a step back and seriously think about your life and choices with regard to that particular person.

Most romantic comedies fall into this trap of romanticizing oneitis and demonizing the friend zone.  It’s really not a healthy way to portray these things.  First of all, your feelings may not be returned for some very good reasons, and you should probably find a friend to tell you exactly why.  Second, out of the hundreds of thousands of people you see in a day, what makes that one person so special?  I’m not advocating writing out any sonnets Shakespeare-style, describing your supposed heart’s desire or anything.  However, I do recommend making a list of things you know about the person you want to get with, and making a list of things you like in a person.

This takes some serious honesty on your part.  Don’t gloss over any flaws to make the other person seem better.  They’re never going to see this list.  What are the things you don’t like in a potential partner?  Does this person have any of those qualities?

Curing oneitis and surviving the friend zone are two totally different things.  The good part is it’s possible, but the bad part is that they require a brutal level of honesty that can usually only come from a close friend.  In my experience, this gets dicey when the person friend zoning you (or who is the target of the oneitis) happens to be your best friend.  Your best bet is to get down and dirty with the honesty, talk it out, and then decide if your friendship is better than any potential romantic relationship.  With a little luck you’ll get through it.

 

Send any questions to gaygirladvice @ gmail.com, or find me on Twitter!  Thanks for reading


How to: Talk About Sex

Hey!  HEY YOU GUYS!  So remember that one time I wrote about kinks, and about how some people give crappy advice to people when they come up?

My girlfriend and I went out to eat the other day, and I picked up a copy of The Onion.  In the back, they run Dan Savage’s column, Savage Love, and  as I was reading this particular issue, I noticed that people seem to 1. have a disturbing love for this book, 50 Shades of Grey, and 2. apparently have no idea how to talk to partners about sex.  Savage’s response to one of these women actually made me pretty annoyed, and almost angry.

And then, as if things could not get any more timely, a close friend of mine said that he and his partner were having some issues in the bedroom.  I did the, “Well, did you talk about it?” line of questions, and he kept balking, talking about how he did not want to hurt his partner’s feelings, how he didn’t want to cause trouble in the relationship, blah blah et cetera.

Talking about sex is a lot like talking about kinks.  The biggest difference is that usually, sex is not quite so shame-ridden as kinks can be.  There’s a larger number of people having sex in general, versus however many people might share a kink.  With a difference in numbers and with “everybody doing it”, you’d think it would be a hell of a lot easier to talk to one’s partner about sexytimes, right?

Well…. No.  It’s not.  And it’s not easy because of the reasons my friend brought up.  Hurting someone’s feelings probably is going to make you less likely to get sex from them, at least in the immediate future.  This isn’t necessarily a fact, but if you make someone feel bad, like, say, where sexual prowess is concerned, it doesn’t seem likely that that person will turn around and go, “Okay well how about we fix that RIGHT NOW?!” (however if you do have a partner like that, you have won at life)

Telling someone they’re not doing sex with you right is really difficult.  There isn’t a way to sugarcoat it, but there are a few ways to make it less awful for everyone.  You can always go with the direct approach.  Being as straightforward as possible and saying, “Look, this is something I have noticed in the bedroom and here is how I want it to change, can we work something out?” leaves practically no room for losing.  A similar way of getting your point across is by, in the heat of the moment, saying something like, “Hey, you know what would be hot?  If we ___________”, and then you let them know what you want.  This works especially well if it’s asking for a tweak in a sexy routine, e.g. who gets to be on top?

Another thing that works pretty well is a nonverbal approach.  If it’s a matter of one partner not getting off (and this being a problem), take some more direct control, if you know what I’m saying.  Move the other person’s hand to where you want it, and see where things go.  If they don’t go the way you want, either try again or talk it out.

Now, these tactics are all contingent on one thing – your partner agreeing with your suggested change.  If this does not happen, then a few things need to happen: you have to figure out how important this change is to you, you have to be absolutely certain your partner understands this is an important thing, and/or you have to start reconsidering your relationship with this person.

But wait – why did I bring up Dan Savage?  Because his advice sucked.  And why did his advice suck?  Because, if you go and read the third letter of the link above, he suggested that a 43-year-old housewife use a time machine to solve her problems.  I know this has a little more to do with kinks and fetishes, but a lot of Savage’s advice to women seems to be to DTMFA (dump the motherfucker already), especially if they are writing to him about their sex lives.

This is kind of unacceptable.  It’s funny that he has no problem talking to some cops about semi-public (male) masturbation, but when a woman wants some advice on bringing her husband into her experiment with BDSM, he dropped the ball.  The answer is not to go back in time and not dump the weird kinky guy she may or may not have dated twenty years ago.  The answer is to talk it out.  Bring up reasons she wants to try it.  Say things about how hot BDSM might be, give the husband an out and say, “Let’s just try it a couple of times and see if we like it.”

The one thing I want you all to take away from this is to not be afraid.  The absolute worst-case scenario of getting dumped because you want to improve your sex life with that person probably will turn out to not be a worst-case scenario.  And who knows?  Your partner might even surprise you, agree, or say, “I’m SO glad you brought this up!  I was wondering about this!”

Don’t be afraid to talk about sex!!!!


Soapbox: Gay Marriage Edition

Alright, so in case you have been living under a rock lately, you have probably heard that Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama have both publicly voiced support for same-sex marriage.  After that, Jay-Z and even the NAACP have endorsed marriage equality.

I bet even he’s heard, though.

After all that has happened and all that is being said, I have some feelings about it.  How could I not?  It’s a big deal.  It’s a massively huge ridiculously big deal, to be more precise.  And it effects my life in a very direct way.  So if you don’t want to read about my feelings and issues with all that’s going on, I advise you to stop now.

A lot of friends of mine on Facebook posted links to the video of President Obama describing how he came to this new attitude toward gay marriage, explaining this evolution of sorts.  Unfortunately while his words were really heartwarming and it was awesome to hear the President of the United States, while in office, say outright that he wants to allow folks like me and some of my best friends to marry our partners…. I didn’t feel it.

I know.  I know.  I feel like such a terrible American!  How could I, noisy obnoxiously gay lady that I am, not be celebrating with glitter, rainbows, and unicorns like the rest of the population that is okay with gay marriage?

It’s a combination of things.  First, it has brought out some of the worst in people.  Some people that were very vehemently opposed to gay marriage have gotten even worse.  North Carolina passed its stupid Amendment One, which bans everything except marriage between a man and a woman.  What’s tragic and stupid about this, in my mind, is that gay marriage was already illegal in North Carolina.  This just added that into the constitution of the state, while also dumping on straight couples who wouldn’t really go for a traditional marriage.

By making this announcement prior to the November election, the President has potentially pushed away voters that like progressive things but not gay marriage.  I’m just really, really nervous about this.  I think that it’s all going to be okay, given that the other presidential candidate is big jerk bully Mitt Romney.  Speaking of which, have you read about some of the crap this guy has done?  Seriously, what a d-bag.

Perhaps what is worst about this is people like this pastor.  I know he’s probably voicing a minority opinion here, and I know that he’s only got like three people agreeing with him on that video… But it hurts.  I don’t like the vaguest notion of locking up any group of people, let alone a group of people to which I belong.  It makes my skin crawl and my stomach cramp to know that there’s a a guy like this saying things like that, and to know that there are some humans who will actually listen.  Pro tip: If you want to not be considered an asshole, don’t suggest rounding up and jailing all the “queers”.

None of this, though instills in me the need to fight, to push, I don’t have this feeling like I am actually supported or that marriage equality is actually supported by my President.  They’re just words.  I do not mean to belittle what is a large step forward – that would be naive and unfair.  I don’t think this is a moment to celebrate.  Instead of cracking some champagne and enjoying this moment – undoubtedly a big moment, at that – I find myself becoming more the angry lesbian caricature.  I guess it’s in part because I felt shortchanged after the 2008 election and the Prop 8 insanity that happened is happening in California, but also in part because there were some people who straight-up (no pun intended) told me that I should be glad this first step was taken.  There were a few comments that had the, “Isn’t this good enough for you” tone, and I resent that.  It did nothing to make me agree and be happy.  It felt condescending and super straight-privilege-y.  Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

If I could give you one bit of advice, in all this ranting I’ve done, it’s this: don’t tell people that this is good enough.  Don’t tell people that they can stop asking for it because a man in an office said some pretty words.  Instead, look for a local chapter of PFLAG or GLSEN, make an It Gets Better video, just don’t make empty promises.

Something less depressing will probably be in the next post.