Q: If a bear falls in the woods, do I hump him? Okay, seriously. I'm going camping with a group of guys over Labor Day weekend. We all know each other through this one couple, so we're not all friends—yet. One of the guys is this hot bear-stud I've been fascinated with for a year—from afar, because he was partnered. I wanna jump his bones, but he and his boyfriend only recently broke up. Is he fair game, or should I not risk complicating what's supposed to be a drama-free weekend?
George K. via instinctmagazine.com
A: Get to be his friend first, Georgie, and try not to let him see you drooling in the process. Get him to like you by asking him about himself and being utterly enthralled with whatever he blathers. (This'll also make him think you're brilliant for having such excellent taste—go figure.) Use that information to discern whether he's ready. Before attacking him like a leopard pouncing on wounded prey, take this camping opportunity to learn about each other. If it goes well, you should have a date scheduled by the time you return to civilization. Or get the ball rolling earlier by checking each other for ticks.
Q: If you had to choose between the love of one man for the rest of your life and your friends' love, which would you pick? Don't analyze me. I'm asking you.
"In A Tight Spot" via instinctmagazine.com
A: Are you seriously telling me what I can and can't do in my own column? I can't decide if that's adorable, annoying or just totally hot. Are you this toppy with your friends and lovers? No wonder you're in a pickle. (Boom! Analyzed!) You signed yourself "In A Tight Spot"—and I'm guessing you don't mean in the good way—which tells me the stress from your situation is causing you to see only two options. But that's a false duality. Most people who have a spouse also have friends. Most friends are happy for their buddy who finds true love. And if you're talking some kind of unhealthy, dysfunctional situation where your spouse demands you give up your pals or your friends all threaten to cut you off if you take up with a man you love, then it's time for either a less controlling lover or new, more loving friends. Even starting over from scratch on both sides would be better than giving your power over to this situation.
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WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
Q: Why are readers pouring their hearts out to you? What gives you authority to dole out advice anyway?
Adam Allen via instinctmagazine.com
A: I love confrontational questions! Especially when it's a much bigger question than the asker is aware he's asking. What gives me the authority, Adam? The same thing that gives mavens and movie stars, reverends and rabbis, politicians and popes their authority: NOTHING! Which is to say, no one has authority over you except the authority you allow them to have. Yep, we hand our power over to men in dresses in front of congregations, to people who arrive in limousines and sometimes to people with magazine columns. Ask yourself, "Who or what am I giving my power over to and why?" Everyone does it, but it's important to be aware of when and to be discerning about it, because most people aren't worthy of your tender trust. Which brings me to the other part of your pithy if huffy little letter. I believe people pour their hearts out to me for several reasons. They've read the column long enough to know that, for all the sass the editors insist I throw around, I'm sincere in my replies. Why? Because, God help me, I care about you, Adam. (I might care more if you weren't so confrontationally pissy, but we all have bad days.) I also think people can tell I have a modicum of life experience (53 years, thank you). I've been around the block a few times, enduring years of therapy along the way, and been in a relationship long enough (30 years) to have committed and repaired the kinds of damage most people write in about. If résumés are important to you, then I'm a workshop leader, retreat planner, author, speaker, mentor, certified spiritual director, and none of that matters—except for the fact that I do my best to be worthy of your trust by giving the most loving life lessons and effective advice I can. For you, Adam, that would be to get your hands off your hips and around a double martini. Life's too short to be so snippy, my dear. Cheers!