Q: I want a dog. But a guy I am dating told me I shouldn’t get one since dogs watch you having sex. Is that true? He says he’s dated guys who had dogs before but stopped dating them because of it. I don’t care so much about that. I can find another guy. But do dogs really watch the naughty times of their owners? Because that might freak me out. P. Nolan via instinctmagazine.com
A: Dude, you don’t need a dog, you need a clue. Whether the owner is on the treadmill, the toilet or the boyfriend, the dog will watch. It’s what dogs do. And if that messes with your head, allow me to introduce you to the cutting-edge concept of “door.” With “door” technology, one can place the dog on the other side of the “door” from you, and then—still with me?—shut the “door.” To any politician reading this column, let me just point out that this is what we get when we cut back on education funding.
CRUISING FOR A BRUISING Q: I never thought my boyfriend was taking advantage of me, until now. We were invited to go on a cruise with friends. He accepted the invite and said, “Let’s book it!” When it came time to put down a deposit, he went MIA. We have talked about money before, and I’ve always been comfortable paying more because I make more. But paying a cable bill or buying the groceries or a dinner out is much different than footing a bill for a 10-day cruise around Europe for two. I’m pissed that he just assumes I’ll pay this, and I don’t know how to bring it up—especially while I’m angry—without starting a fight. Thomas V. in Fort Myers, FL
A: Oh, my. Give a queen an inch and he’ll take a cruise! Dear one, you are correct: Your boyfriend’s a jerk. But who allowed him to get to this point? You, darling. So the first step is to acknowledge your part in this sitch. Next, get past your anger. Your resentment is justified, but that’s not gonna help you have a civilized dialogue with a productive result. You’ll need to remain sane, especially when he doesn’t, and that will require you not going to your Anger Place. Once you’ve got that in control, be very clear about what you need from him and what you’re willing to offer. If you can calmly stick to your guns, you’ll be able to maintain composure when he tries his usual tricks of pushing your buttons. And let’s face it, he’s learned those buttons well or I’d be answering someone else’s letter here. So when he rants, do not rise to the bait. It may take several tries. But once the conversation happens, make sure both of you leave with a clear understanding of each of your expected financial contributions and all parameters about money. Then, when he tries to go back to the old familiar ways (because he will, it’s human nature), it’s up to you to—lovingly—call him on his shit. Otherwise it all goes back to where you are now. In any couple where partners have a significant difference in areas such as finance, age, physical ability or time at home versus time away, it’s imperative that the needs and responsibilities of both men be addressed, communicated clearly, agreed upon mutually
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and respected. Bon voyage on that cruise!
MANUAL LABOR Q: How often is too often to work your own…stuff? I masturbate four or five times a day, and when I admitted that to a friend, he laughed at me and said I needed to get out more. I don’t need to get laid, but I do need the relief/pleasure more than most. And sometimes I just like to do it alone. Is this normal or am I a little off? Drew via instinctmagzine.com
A: “Normal” is not the same as “normative.” For instance, being gay may be completely normal for you and me, but in terms of the general population, it’s not normative. The amount of yogurt-throwing you’re doing, while perhaps far beyond what’s normative for the rest of us, may be perfectly normal for you. So let’s get beyond our fears about not being exactly like everyone else. Whether you’re pumping out pudding or crocheting, the questions for deciding what is too much remain the same: Does whatever activity I’m doing (log-flogging, religion, Angry Birds,) interfere with the rest of my life? Am I missing work or appointments? Are bills going unpaid? Am I doing it in inappropriate places? Are my relationships suffering? If so, that’s when it has gotten (you should pardon the expression) out of hand. Until then, slap that monkey silly. That said, if you interrupted your reading of my column to go rub one out, then yeah, that’s too much.
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