Q: I'm a 27-year-old gay man. I had a really great first couple of dates with a guy, so for the third date I invited him to stay over. I cooked a nice dinner, we watched a movie, and we had a lovely time in bed together. In the morning, we had another romp. At one point, he was rimming me, and unexpectedly, unintentionally, I farted in his mouth a little. His reaction was along the lines of, "Ew! Ewwww! Ew!" Mine was along the lines of trying to apologize through uncontrollable laughter. I said, "C'mere," and pulled him in to kiss me, and we finished with what I thought was minimal awkwardness.
Later in the day, to be cute, and even perhaps start a long-term shared joke, I sent an e-card that read, "I'm sorry for farting in your mouth." I then left town for the weekend, and when I got back I tried to get in touch with him. He sent the following text message: "i'm not sure about this. yr a sweet guy but i'm dating some other people ... i just can't have farts in my mouth. i think i would have handled it a bit more respectfully."
Is a sense of humor about the inevitable off-color moments too much to expect? I mean, this was one-strike-you're-out, not even a chance to talk it over. He dumped me over text, for fuck's sake! Good riddance, I suppose. But did I really handle this wrong? —Flatulent Anilingus Result: Termination
A: You handled this beautifully, FART — that's why you got dumped via text message.
They don't cover this in sex ed, I realize, but the average idiot knows there's just one thing a person wants from someone who's just "unexpectedly" farted in his mouth, even just a little, and it's not an e-card. It's a lengthy, abject, mortified, immediate and heartfelt apology. And after a rimmee farts — a blessedly rare occurrence — it's the rimmer's response that sets the tone for what comes next. Your guest was horrified and disgusted. When you saw his reaction, FART, you needed to take your emotional cues from him, make your apologies and reassure him that it wasn't intentional, and express genuine remorse.
Instead, you laughed in his face, pulled him in for a kiss, and sent him a flip e-card. Basically, you did everything you could to give this guy the impression that you're either an inconsiderate asshole incapable of reading another person's emotional cues, FART, or that you may actually be into farts — or worse — and that you intentionally farted in his mouth. I would've dumped you too.
Yes, a sense of humor about those off-color moments is not too much to expect. But no relationship progresses to the laughing-off-the-fart-in-your-mouth stage, FART, until after — long after — you've demonstrated to the person you're dating that you're a fundamentally decent, considerate person, worthy of their time and affections.
Q: Every so often, I have to fight the urge to contact an ex-boyfriend from college. It didn't end well (I cheated). It's been more than a decade (more like 15 years) since we last spoke. I'm happily married, have two children, and live in a completely different part of the country now. Yet, I feel sad that we don't still know each other. The reasons for the indiscretion are complicated and include, among other things, stupidity and youth. (Also the fact that the indiscretion involved a different ex-boyfriend who begged and pleaded for one final hurrah — and then I told the then-current [now-ex] boyfriend that it was forced, which it wasn't, which the then-current [now-ex] boyfriend rightly didn't believe.)
I know my reasons are selfish: I want to explain myself; I want to move on; I want to be forgiven. But if he wanted to be in contact with me, he would be. And yet, like a crazed idiot, I still hold out hope that someday he'll contact me or that we'll bump into each other. Should I contact him? —Can't Let Go
A: You should suck it up, CLG.
It's killing you that someone out there might hate your guts (with cause), might think you're scum (because you behaved like scum) and, we can safely presume at this stage, is content to have you out of his life (otherwise he would've looked you up on Facebook by now). This bothers you because you're not scum, of course; no person is defined by the two worst mistakes she ever made. (I'm referring to 1) cheating and 2) making a false accusation of rape. What would've happened if your then-current [now-ex] boyfriend had gone to the police? Or taken the law into his own hands? [Thank God your then-current (now-ex) boyfriend didn't believe you.])
I don't think you should contact him, CLG, not until you're a little more interested in what you could give him (a long-overdue apology) and a little less interested in what he could give you (absolution).
Q: My wife and I divorced three years ago. Six months ago, I began seeing a good friend of my daughter's. I knew this was dangerous territory, but I really liked this girl. A month ago, we decided to take our relationship public. My daughter reacted poorly. She did not demand that we break up, but she did let me know that our relationship made her uncomfortable. And she was rightfully upset about some personal information my girlfriend had told me about her.
During the past four weeks, my daughter has gradually edged my girlfriend, formerly a close friend of hers, out of her personal life. She has also begun to spend less time with me. She tells me she does not want me to have to choose between her and my girlfriend; although, if she stops spending time with me, that's exactly what she's doing. I know she's upset. But I'm a grown man, and I just want to be happy. And in spite of the age difference, my girlfriend makes me very happy.
What can I do to make my daughter more comfortable with my new relationship? —Father Doesn't Always Know Best
P.S. The information my girlfriend shared about my daughter was the name of a young man she was seeing and that my daughter had recently purchased an expensive dress. My girlfriend hardly told me that my daughter was doing something truly dangerous or wrong.
A: It's nice to know that your girlfriend manages to make you happy "in spite of the age difference." Too many late-middle-aged men succumb to despair in the arms of their much-younger girlfriends. Anyway ...
What can you do to make your daughter comfortable with you fucking her friend while her friend blabs to you? Nothing. Your daughter may eventually become comfortable with your relationship, FDAKB, but there's nothing you can do to artificially force up her comfort level. And while emotional blackmail — "My girlfriend makes me happy, but I will sacrifice my happiness for you, darling, if that's what you want. ..." — may result in your daughter spending more time with you and your girlfriend now, her resentment at being blackmailed will do irreparable damage to your relationship with her over the long run.
So just shut the fuck up, Dad, stop whining, and continue to enjoy the girlfriend in spite of the age difference. Then go apologize to your daughter for 1) keeping the relationship from her for so long (your daughter may be losing sleep over things she told her friend before she found out you were fucking) and 2) the invasion of her privacy that already took place. Then give your daughter the space she needs and the privacy she has a right to.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org