Man To Man: Love Me, Love My Dog

Q: I’m not some crazy-obsessed animal person, but I do love my dog. The problem is the guy I’m dating doesn’t. He’s not mean to Max (my pup), but he’s totally cold to him and won’t even go with me when I take Max for walks. I like this guy, but is not being a pet person a reasonable deal breaker?
Shawn via instinctmagazine.com

A: That’s one for you to decide, Shawn. Some people would feel they couldn’t be with a person who didn’t share their feelings about things that are important to them—pets, politics, public sex or whatever. Others would be able to get past that. It depends on where you are on that continuum. I’d advise talking to him seriously about it. After all, if you’re sick or away on business, you’re going to want someone you know you can depend on to care for Max during that time, right? How a person does or doesn’t care for something you care about deeply could also be an indication of the kind of respect he has for you. So good luck with that. And in the meantime, consider cruising for your next boyfriend at PetSmart.

THINKING OF YOU...NOT!

Q: A little fantasy never hurt anybody, right? I have a boyfriend who I love and am attracted to, but sometimes I think about other guys. Well, one guy in particular. But nothing has actually happened. It’s all mental. That’s kosher, right?
“Mindful” in Seattle, WA

A: This is perilous because fantasies can be the “gateway drug” to manifesting realities. If it were just random guys (the bartender, the guy at Kinko’s, your pastor) or unavailable guys (from movies, say, or porn, or porn movies), it would probably be more innocent. But if you’re obsessing on one specific guy—especially one you see on a regular basis—that has the potential to be dangerous. Why? Because we have a tendency to talk ourselves into that next step (“Well, I’ll just flirt with him a little. That’s not wrong”) and then the next (“It’s not sex, just a little make-out session in the men’s room”) and before you know it you’re coming home smelling of whatever soap is in his shower. Be mindful of your boundaries, Mr. Mindful, and of your partner’s. And please, at least on Valentine’s, have your BOYFRIEND in your thoughts, huh? Jeez!

MEMBER OF THE WEDDING?

Q:  My fiancé and I have recently begun planning our wedding. While most of the people in our lives are very excited, I feel like my brother is a bit dismissive. I know he loves me and my partner, but he’ll make snide comments here and there whenever we’re talking wedding stuff, as if to suggest our wedding isn’t as important as his was. Should I say something to him or brush it off?
Pete via instinctmagazine.com

A: Ask yourself this question: If you were constantly dismissive of your brother’s wife or his wedding, do you think he’d tell you gently and politely to knock it the fuck off? Yeah, I think we all know the answer to that. Petey, you have every right to ask him (or anyone) to stop making comments that are demeaning and hurtful. Letting him know what he’s doing could even be a teachable moment for him. And if he doesn’t clean up his act, you might safely assume that since your relationship isn’t terribly important to him, he won’t mind being uninvited. That might be doing both of you a favor. Either way, though, I’d still get someone else to do the wedding toast.

SINGLE & V.D.

Q:  What’s the best way for a single homo to get through Valentine’s Day?
Glen via instinctmagazine.com

A: People put way too much emphasis on a day that was once deservedly obscure but is now manufactured, manipulated and marketed by Hallmark. If I were single I’d treat it the same way I treat any other hysterically overhyped event, like New Year’s or my mother’s birthday. I’d go to the movies, go home and go to bed early, knowing the frenzy would be over and forgotten the next day. If that’s not for you, I suppose there are two other main choices. One is to throw your own private pity party that involves self-medicating with your pals Ben & Jerry & Johnnie Walker as you sink into a downward spiral that is A) based on lies sold to you by the media and B) does no one any good. Or you could get with your single friends to declare, “Fuck this media-based bullshit that says I’m not ‘whole’ unless I have a trophy called a boyfriend,” and, instead, spend the evening reminding each other just how awesome you are, just as you are, right this minute. Besides, my single darlings, you are all my valentines!