Q: Dexter is the hottest neighbor a guy could ask for. You’d think that would be a dream come true, but poolside and in my apartment complex he’s stealing all the attention that I used to get! Is wanting to simultaneously fuck his brains out and have him evicted wrong? Or am I just being a bitter Betty?
Josh in Hollywood, CA
A: Yes, and yes. Congratulations—you’re no longer the hot fish in the little pool, which means you can now stop preening and grow. Darling, no matter how pretty/rich/butch/hung/smart/fill-in-the-blank you are, there will always be someone who is more so. This is the Universe telling you and your wack ego it’s time to let go of the outer bullshit, and look inward—and that’s a good thing. Seriously, if you’re only seeing yourself as the local hottie, you’re missing all of the much more interesting, worthwhile and rewarding parts of who you are. Joshie, all the outer stuff will go eventually—looks fade, money dries up, dicks go limp. You better have something else going on that’ll last past all that. By taking the time to get to know and honor the deeper Josh, you’ll move past “bitter” and into “better.” Yes, it’s hard work. And, yes, it sucks at first when you find out just how shallow, foolish, hurtful and ugly you are—I say that because I’ve been there myself. But once that’s brought out into the light, you start changing, improving and growing into the fullness of who you are. A lasting confidence emerges that will stay with you, and nobody—no matter how pretty, ripped or girthy—will be able to outshine that.
Q: I’ve been reading your column for years, and I really enjoy it. So thank you. But don’t you get tired of answering the same lame-ass questions over and over? I’m not insensitive, but some of these guys aren’t exactly asking groundbreaking questions. How do you answer the same question 700 ways from Tuesday?
A. Fuller in Nashville, TN
A: By remembering that, for the person who’s asking the question, it is groundbreaking or he wouldn’t have taken the leap of faith to write to a total stranger with a public column and overweening attitude. I figure if the poor guy’s that desperate, his question probably isn’t lame-ass to him. Plus, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to hear the same thing over and over until I finally get it. You know, things like, “Gee, maybe I am the best person I know how to be and not an abomination after all,” or “As long as it works, maybe I should care less about the size of my dick and more about the scope of my life,” or “For the love of God, Joel, there is nothing in Urban Outfitters that’s gonna fit you.” Perhaps it all goes back to when I was a budding butt pirate in Nowhere, North Carolina, and I didn’t have anyone I could take my own embarrassing questions to. If I can provide that service for young guys today, if I can be for them the wise gay daddy-uncle I wished for but never had, then it makes up for the pittance I get paid for this column. Well…almost.
WWJD—WHAT WOULD JOEL DO?
Q: Who do you go to for advice?
“Just Curious” via instinctmagazine.com
A: Well, it’s been difficult since Dumbledore died. Fortunately, though, I have spent considerable time cultivating a circle of good friends who are smarter, deeper and wiser than me. Most of them are older than me, but many are years or even decades younger. My friends are kind, caring, authentic, challenging, forgiving, generous of heart and patient with my pigheadedness. They are as spectacularly imperfect as I, and we spend a lot of time laughing our asses off about that. Of course, my favorite friends are the ones with Jacuzzis who don’t mind when I clog them up. (Hey! I’m talking fur, not that!). My spouse is also a fantastically grounding touchstone. I heartily recommend collecting quality people like this who are ready to be your cheerleaders as well as taskmasters, who are unthreatened by your sobs or successes and who love you fiercely enough to tell you the truth. Even if that truth is, “Honey, you need contact lenses and a bathing suit, because that’s my mother with you in the Jacuzzi.” Stillness is important because I also pay attention to my inner voices (the ones that say, “Be discerning,” not the ones that say, “Order more pie”). And if all other guidance fails, I still have my Magic 8 Ball.