recently, the tailor asked me, “To which side do you dress?” I looked at him, dumbfounded. I think I stammered a bit. But, what did he mean? I’d never heard of this before. Not wanting to appear totally stupid, I said “to the right” because I’m right-handed. I guess I need to work on improving my gay wardrobe, huh? Just call me clueless.
Rob in Washington, DC
A: Not sure what you mean by “gay wardrobe,” Rob. Personally I find I’m just as gay wearing a tie in a church as I am wearing a cock ring in a sling. But on to your letter. When putting on pants, most of us have the habit of pushing the penis and testicles to one side or the other of the crotch seam. Therefore we hang, or “dress,” to the right side of the seam or to the left, whichever we’ve grown to find more comfortable. A good tailor asks that so that he can make the corresponding pant leg a bit looser, usually around 1 ½ inches. And if you need more than that, I hate you. But almost everyone “dresses” to the side of their dominant hand, so, Rob, you actually did get it right by, ahem, instinct.
Q: When my older sister and I disagree, we’re usually able to compromise and come to a solution—until now. Mom died two years ago, and now Dad needs a nursing home—or so say my sister and her husband. Dad is a proud man and has practically begged not to be placed in a nursing home. I’m with him on that. Sis and I are both in our 40s and live equally close to Dad. He’s still fairly capable of taking care of himself. My sister and I could work out a schedule to assist him or even hire a part-time nurse, but she’d rather just put Dad in a place he doesn’t want to be. Our situations are similar in that we both make okay incomes and have partners and no children. What to do?
A. Grady in Pacoima, CA
A: Both my parents went through this end stage of life and they’re now partying with three out of the four Golden Girls (although check the papers—it could be all four any day now). Since you’re clearly a caring man, I’ll give you and your sister the number one question that guided my brother and me in making all decisions large and small: When they croak—because eventually they will—will I look back and be okay with what I did or did not do? Apply that to how you deal with your sister, too, because the last thing your dad needs is for his final years to be spent watching his children both become bickering bitches. Another thing to remember (and this may be affecting your sister) is that when you’re in an emotional situation, it’s easy to feel you’re trapped into either-or decisions. The reality is, almost all things are negotiable. If you and your sister get to an impasse over things, seek out a neutral outside party, such as a conflict-resolution service, to help you make decisions. Keep Dad the focus of your decisions and always make him part of the process. It’s not about you or your sister. It’s about Dad. Consider how you’d like someone making these kinds of life decisions for you without your input. And finally, remember to breathe. Dealing with aging parents is one of the most difficult jobs we will ever have. If you’re not careful, you guys could be at each other’s throats at precisely the time you need to come together.
Q: Have you ever heard of an otter? I’m not into labels in the gay world, but apparently I’m an otter. I’m told this by nearly everyone I meet. I’m embarrassed that I don’t know what that means, so I never ask. I’m surprised Instinct hasn’t schooled me on this.
Derek N. in Tallahassee, FL
A: Instinct hasn’t schooled you on this because we, too, think the labeling thing is limiting and therefore ridiculous. The term “otter” is part of the gay bear parlance. While a “bear” implies a furry man who is larger and usually weightier, an “otter” is a furry man who is thin. While it can be wise to know how others see you, it would be foolish to buy into it too much. For instance, as a “bear” I will use the label when it works for me, but I don’t think of it as anything more than niche marketing for the moment. I flatter myself that I’m a helluva lot more than a hefty hair ball, just as I’m sure you’re much more than a fit fellow of fur. Just because other people have a need to pigeonhole you doesn’t mean you have to play along. My advice? Forget labels and otters and bears (oh, my!) and concentrate on being delightfully delicious Derek.
HAVE A QUESTION FOR JOEL?
Ask away! E-mail him at
Article continues below...
... written by superseoer,
March 13, 2011
... written by NIKE AIR FOAMPOSITE ONE,
May 27, 2012