Q: One of my best friends at college is gay. I'm a straight female and I'm in a committed relationship with my own boyfriend. We're going to be sophomores in the fall, and I feel like this is about the age where coming out to one's parents is in order. However, my friend's parents are incredibly conservative. His older brother is also gay — and when he came out, his parents immediately cut off all funding for college and excommunicated him from the family, so my friend is understandably terrified.
When his parents come into town to visit, I am sometimes asked to tag along on "dates" with him to "meet the parents." It's a free meal, so it's mostly cool with me, but it feels a little dirty to lie so blatantly to his mom and dad about how "in love" we are.
Moreover, my friend is coming to my house in California this summer. I had said I would love for him to come visit — as a friend. But his parents think he's going to be staying with his girlfriend, and they're thinking of tagging along so they can finally meet their future in-laws, i.e., my parents. I feel like this is getting way out of hand, and I'm not sure what to do. My friend is also feeling more and more cornered. How far should we take this act? —I Should Win An Oscar
A: When you feel bad about lying, ISWAO, remind yourself that you're doing a good deed — you're doing God's work — every time you pass yourself off as this boy's girlfriend. Yes, you're lying to his mean-spirited, emotionally abusive parents, two complete shits who deserve so much worse than simply being misled.
When they excommunicated their older son after he came out, they essentially put their younger son, your friend, on notice: The consequences of telling the truth would be severe. So he lies to them because — for the time being — he must.
You should ask him to do three things to secure your continued cooperation in this deception. First, he has to make a solemn promise that he will come out to his parents the day after he graduates. Second, he has to reach out to his excommunicated brother and, if his brother can be trusted to keep his secret, he has to come out to his brother. Third, he has to break up with you at the end of the school year.
The course of true love never did run smooth, as someone or other once said, so a painfully messy June breakup with his college girlfriend — right before summer break! — not only makes your friend's Potemkin heterosexuality that much more credible, it also gets you off the hook for this ill-advised summer visit. Then when September rolls around, ISWAO, you two crazy kids get back together. Repeat as necessary, i.e., be "on again" every once in a while when his parents are in town, be "off again" when your parents are in town, over summer breaks, holidays, etc.
And help him look around for his next girlfriend — perhaps a lesbian student with similarly batshit parents — because he can't expect you to be his beard for your entire college career.
Q: I am a gay male teenager. I have not yet come out to my parents (I plan to soon), but my friends know. I'm curious why I relate more easily to my straight friends and am increasingly uncomfortable with my gay friends. Specifically, I have a lesbian friend who often makes jokes about "how gay I am." When she makes these statements, I am often offended. In your opinion, are statements like that offensive (even considering the source)? Or am I still uncomfortable with myself? I am not shy, but I will admit that extreme campiness makes me uncomfortable.
Your opinion on this matter would mean a lot to me. —Lost And Disillusioned
A: It's good to have a sense of humor about yourself, LAD, whether you're gay or straight or bi or whatever. Shrug off your lesbian friend's comments if they're not funny, laugh along with her if they are.
As for your preference for your straight friends: There are a lot more openly straight kids in your life than there are openly gay kids. That means you're drawing your straight friends from a much larger pool and you're able to be more selective about the straight people you hang out with. Right now, you can't afford to be as selective when it comes to gay friends because 1) most gay kids your age aren't out and 2) gays and lesbians are a tiny percentage of the population and you won't meet lots of us until you get to one of those places where gays and lesbians clump up, i.e., large universities and big cities. Then you'll be able to forge friendships with gays and lesbians whom you have something in common with besides your sexuality.
In the meantime, LAD, don't write off all gays and lesbians everywhere as potential friends just because the few you had to choose from as a teenager weren't among your best friends.
Q: I need your help. I have entered into a period of my life where I am devoting all my mental resources toward my academics — grad school — and am not interested in dating. Thus, I bought a Real Doll so that I may enjoy fantastic masturbation during this loveless period of my life. Unfortunately, while my parents were visiting, my mom discovered it and she reacted very, very badly.
You see, my dear mother is a feminist.
She is very upset by the doll and believes that it is an indication that I have lost all respect for women. I honestly do not feel this is true at all. I view myself as a feminist, and I realize this society sexually objectifies women. But I also believe that I can masturbate with a rubber woman and have wild fantasies and then come back to reality and have respect for everyone — men, women, others. My mother, however, is extremely upset, and we haven't been able to have a civil conversation since. I am hoping you can possibly give me some perspective on this matter. —Dolled Up
A: My perspective: Your masturbatory routines — including your masturbatory aids/aides — are none of your mother's fucking business. And if your mother wants to be shocked by something, DU, it ought to be that her son-the-grad-student had $5K to plunk down on a sex toy.
Your options at this stage are pretty limited. You can apologize to your mother and tell her what she wants to hear ("You're right, Mom, what was I thinking? I'm making an appointment with a therapist now, Mom. I'm donating my Real Doll to sex-starved grad students in Africa. ..."). Or you can tell your mother to fuck off and butt out ("It's my dick, Mom, and I'll stick it in whatever I want. You remember that, 'My body, my choice' stuff, right?").
That said, DU, your claim that you bought a Real Doll so you could "enjoy fantastic masturbation during this loveless period of my life" doesn't quite pass the smell-of-day-old-spunk-moldering-in-the-lifeless-orifice-of-a-silicone-dummy test. Most guys manage to tough out their loveless periods with the help of the porn industry, their own right hand and real, live sex workers. And most guys who opt for insanely expensive, life-size, hard-to-hide sex dolls do have issues with women — most are plagued by feelings of inadequacy, not superiority — so you may want to entertain the possibility that your mother might be right.
But even if you do have issues with women — and that's still an if — they're still none of your mother's fucking business.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to email@example.com