by Dan Savage
I was recently seeing an alpha-male type—Ivy League grad, big executive, loud laugh, etc. He found me on a website, one thing led to another, and he was showing me pictures of him in his ex-girlfriend's panties!
We went out for the first of many coffee dates and it ended with me putting my hand down the back of his pants and feeling a silky thong! We made plans to meet for some actual dress up. Girly Boy stood me up! A couple of times! I got annoyed, but I put up with it because his apologetic e-mails were so abject—and filled with new dirty pictures. We eventually planned a whole Sunday afternoon of him cleaning my house, me putting makeup on him, and a grand finale of him eating me out on the couch. And he stood me up again!
I come to my point now: I gave him my FAVORITE black thong and push-up bra at our last coffee date. He then supplied me with a hot selection of pics that got me very excited for Sunday fun. But Sunday fun never happened! He didn't even call! All I want now are my panties and bra back! I told him to mail them to me and he HASN'T. This is my favorite set of underwear! I KNOW he's parading around in them and thinking, "I won!" Typical alpha male! How do I get my panties back?
Lost My Favorite Panties
By threatening to create a YouTube slideshow using the pics Alpha Male already sent you, LMFP, or by threatening to e-mail the pics to email@example.com. Or, hell, go with a retro, low-tech threat and tell him you're going to print up fliers and drop them over Nazi-occupied Europe. Not that you should do any of those things, LMFP, but his willingness to mess with your head—all those twat-teasing e-mails, all those flirty coffee meetings, all those dates for play that he broke—gives you carte blanche to mess with his head.
Finally, LMFP, alpha males in lacy panties don't do anything for me personally—seriously!—but your letter aroused my professional curiosity. Panty thieves have been in the news lately; a few were busted recently and chucked into the cable-news meat grinder. These guys tend to be dweeby in the extreme, i.e., the kind of men who can only collect women's panties by stealing them. I would like to lay eyes on the pics of a panty collector alluring enough to seduce multiple women—I guarantee that you're not the first—into parting with their favorite panties and bras. I promise not to drop his pics over Nazi-occupied Europe.
I'm a bisexual woman married to a wonderful man. However, his father is a homophobic asshole. For seven years, I've bitten my tongue. Recently, I decided to speak up. In an e-mail, I asked my father-in-law to be just a bit more sensitive as I am bisexual. The point was completely lost on him. He asked my husband whether he knew that I was "gay before we got married" and denied that bisexuality even exists. My father-in-law also feels that I was trying to "censor" him. This is having a really negative effect on me, bringing up the shame I felt when I first came to terms with my sexuality. I know that I need to distance myself from such a negative person. He is an asshole. My husband is supportive of my feelings. But how do I protect myself and still be a part of this family? I was a self-confident, GGG, kinky nympho, and now I'm feeling really insecure and I cry each time I try to have sex. How do I get over these feelings?
I Hate My Father-In-Law
One asshole relative managed to unravel your self-confidence, destroy your sex life, and turn you into a weepy bag of slop? Toughen the fuck up, IHMFIL. There's an anti-gay pogrom under way in Poland, homos are being executed in Iran, and gay men and women are being lynched in Jamaica. You've got one asshole relative and you're melting into a puddle? Please.
Focus on your wonderfully supportive husband, your non-asshole relatives, remind yourself that it could be worse, and give your father-in-law a chance to come around. Most asshole relatives do.
And in the meantime, here's how you get over these feelings: Make up your mind to stop being ridiculous. Your father–in-law is an asshole, without a doubt, and after putting up with his shit for seven years, you had an absolute right to say, "I'm bisexual, asshole, and I don't appreciate your asshole hateful, bigoted statements about queers, you dumb asshole. Knock it the fuck off. Asshole." But if your self-esteem is so fragile that anything less than an instantaneous 180 on your father-in-law's part was going to utterly destroy you, IHMFIL, then you should have kept your mouth shut.
Hurting people is always wrong, Dan. Your advice to LAFFS seems to show that you agree. You told 17-year-old LAFFS not to fuck his father's new wife because of the problems it would create between him and his father, should his father find out. But then you advised SLINORLA, a married man, to do what he knows would upset his wife—masturbate while his lesbian avatar has sex with female avatars in Second Life—which would potentially create problems in his marriage, should his wife find out. Explain.
Where's The Consistency?
Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, WTC—and lesser advice columnists. But I shall attempt to justify my seemingly contradictory advice:
The odds of LAFFS's father discovering his new wife's infidelity and his son's perfidy—and their mutual… what? step-incest?—is much higher and the consequences are infinitely graver. Once they start fucking each other—if they didn't start fucking each other in the time that lapsed between LAFFS hitting "send" and his e-mail landing in my inbox—the dad is likely to pick up on none-too-subtle changes in the way the stepmother and stepson behave around each other. The emotional dynamics of their relationship will be so altered—how calm, cool, and collected would you have been at 17 if you were fucking your father's wife?—that he would have to be dead not to realize.
SLINORLA, on the other hand, isn't having real-life interactions with Second Life avatars in front of his wife on a daily basis. His "betrayal" is confined to the computer; it is masturbatory—much closer to porn consumption than adultery. Men who have promised—usually under duress—to stop looking at porn get caught looking at porn every day. And what happens? A new promise is extracted, all is eventually forgiven, and things return to normal, i.e., the husband goes back to looking at porn but is more careful about concealing it; the wife goes back to pretending that her husband doesn't look at porn but appreciates his renewed efforts not to get caught. SLINORLA will be in trouble if he gets caught, not in divorce court.
The same can't be said of LAFFS. If he starts fucking his stepmother and his father finds out—and his father will—it will not only be the end of his father's second marriage but also result in a lifelong estrangement from his father. For LAFFS, WTC, the wrong is more wrong, the chance of discovery is greater, and the consequences more devastating. So the advice is different.
Read on for more back-and-forth with readers about my advice for SLINORLA—a man who is, one reader points out, doubtless having "lesbian sex" in Second Life with other middle-aged married men pretending to be lesbians.
You don't need yet another editor, but I thought you missed a subtle point in SLINORLA's letter. There's nothing wrong with his Second Life existence, or what he does in it. And it's sad that his wife can't be more understanding of his needs and supportive of his hobby. The point you may have missed, though, is this isn't a little white lie to keep the peace. He's not covering up the fact that he was the one who didn't replace the toilet paper roll before she visited the shitter. She has made it clear to him that she considers his actions adultery and she'd probably leave him for it if she knew. While we may not agree with her, they both deserve to be with someone who treats them with the proper respect they both deserve, but neither one seems to be exhibiting.
Frozen But Free To Disagree In Fairbanks, Alaska
I don't believe SLINORLA's wife truly regards SL wankery as the moral equivalent of adultery, FBFTDIFA. It's much likelier that she dropped the "A" bomb—"That's adultery! Case closed, conversation over!"—to win an argument that she knew she would lose on its merits. She's become more sexually conservative over the years, and less GGG. And her husband has fantasies, some of them pretty bizarre, that she isn't interested in accommodating, fantasies that make her uncomfortable.
But guess what? There's an outlet for him to explore those fantasies. And so long as SLINORLA follows the rules he's laid down for himself—he won't form a partnership in SL, no emotional relationships with other avatars, only goes on SL when the wife's not at home, doesn't spend time in SL when he could be with her, their shared sex life doesn't suffer—exploring his fantasies on SL doesn't harm his wife in any way. Yet, the wife declares this outlet out-of-bounds and ends all discussion by labeling SL wanking as adultery.
And why would she do that? Because SLINORLA's wife feels threatened—not by the wankery, FBFTDIFA, but by the existence of her husband's fantasies. By declaring SL wanking adultery, by disallowing it, SLINORLA's wife is attempting to will his fantasies away, to erase them. That's unfair, irrational, and controlling. SLINORLA has a right to his fantasies, a right to an outlet, and the right—we all have the right—to work around his partner's irrationality with a little gentle, loving deceit.
My husband and I walked the SL sex road, and I think you missed the mark. Honestly, whether or not it is adultery doesn't matter. The real issue as I see it is this: SLINORLA said that he loved his wife twice in the letter, but he spent the rest of the letter screaming that he doesn't give a flying fuck about her feelings so long as he is getting what he wants.
My husband included me on some of his SL adventures, in the "18 and over" worlds. Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm insecure, or maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but it really hurt me to think that my husband would rather fulfill his sexual desires with a cartoon than with me. I told my husband this, and he stopped. I didn't nag or scream or pout or try to make him feel like a 2-year old. I didn't order him to give up SL, or even to give up the SL sex. If he wants to keep doing it, I won't be able to stop him, and he knows that. He chose to stop because, in addition to loving me, he respects me. Odd, I know.
I don't know anything about SLINORLA's wife. Maybe she's a controlling, emasculating bitch. Maybe she woke up one day and looked at SLINORLA's potbelly and thought that she would vomit if she had to have sex with him one more time. I don't know. But you can't tell me that she doesn't sense on some level that her husband is hiding something from her.
Well, TW, it sounds like your marriage is more functional in some ways than SLINORLA's marriage. I'll betcha it's less functional in other ways, however, because all marriages—all relationships—are mixed bags. Different couples have different strengths and different weaknesses.
And I don't see how SLINORLA's love for his wife can be called into question simply because he finds her frustrating in other ways and, like all of us, wants what he wants. You wanted your husband to stop messing around in SL, and you got what you wanted. (Or you think you did, at any rate.) It's possible to love and respect someone and hide something from them, too. Like I said in my original response to SLINORLA…
"This is a marriage, not a deposition. You don't have to tell your wife the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. No marriage—no civil union, no domestic partnership, no semiregular hookup—would survive long if each partner made a full confession of the previous day's minor betrayals at breakfast."
The letter from SLINORLA really angered me, Dan. It's just sickening how many men there are pretending to be lesbians on lesbian dating sites! Most of the time, it's easy to tell who they are, because if you ask them to talk on the phone they refuse. But I had one guy try to disguise his voice! It's very violating. I know people lie on the internet all the time, but to think that guys are getting off on our attempts to find potential mates, it's sickening!
Tired Of Imposters
Are lesbians really trying to find potential mates on Second Life, TOI? Gawd, I hope not. And is there a better way for men that fantasize about being fantasies to indulge themselves? It's not a personals site; it's a place where people create alternate personas, right? If you're going there expecting people to be "real," well, you have bigger problems than straight men pretending to be dykes.
Your advice to SLINORLA was to have fun fucking anyone he wanted in Second Life, while lying to his unsupportive wife—with whom he has "a normal sex life," though she is "more conservative" than she was 15 years ago (which sounds absolutely normal, too). I would, however, note you missed the opportunity to point out that the hot lesbian avatars SLINORLA is bonking are most probably other real-life 42-year-old married men like himself. That might cool his passions.
Life Is Absolutely Real
Man, I pity folks who regard the narrowing of sexual possibility and pleasure as a normal component of a long-term relationship. My boyfriend is less sexually conservative than when we met 13 years ago, and so am I. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Still, your point is a valid one, LIAR. Most of the hot lesbian avatars SLINORLA bonks are probably other men. But if SLINORLA's wife was down with a little lesbo-on-lesbo role-play action—if she was GGG and not DDD (dour, dismissive, and disgusted)—SLINORLA could explore his fantasies with the wife, not other married men in Second Life.
A new Savage Love podcast is available for download every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.