Gentle Readers: If there’s ever been any doubt about how seriously I take my responsibilities, this column should lay ’em to rest. Not only am I sharing my advice-giving duties with a co-adviser this week — note the dual byline, above — my co-adviser, Jill Corral, is paying to play. Last year I agreed to auction off a chance to give advice in my column. What can I say? I’m a sucker for charity and the auction raised money to feed the hungry during the holidays. Jill Corral, a lovely Cuban-American lesbian from San Francisco, was the highest bidder. Eleven months after the auction, Jill and I finally met up for lunch on a sunny Saturday afternoon, knocked back a few drinks, and dug through the ol’ e-mail inbox. Below you’ll find Jill’s advice, my critique of her advice, and a letter grade for each response.
Q: I went on a date last week with a smart, beautiful woman. The conversation was engaging and there were sparks. Then, she divulged that she voted for Bush. Now I don’t know if I can go out with her again. To be Republican is one thing. To vote for Bush, that’s just irresponsible, immoral and uninformed. Is it wrong to not date someone because they voted for Bush? —Bachelor Uneasy Seeing a Hot Bush Supporter
JILL: This “smart, beautiful” woman is a time-release asshole — picture your future life with your pork-barrel paramour: hot summer nights of wine, engaging conversation … and Sean Hannity. Apartment leave-behinds of pretty red panties … and Ann Coulter’s I Know You Are but What Am I. And is that a ‘War on Iran: Yes!’ sticker I see on your hybrid in the near future? Run, BUSHBS, run!
DAN: Not bad, Jill. You lose a couple of points for not acknowledging that some men and women are happily partnered with people whose politics they find revolting. While I agree with the gist of your advice, I would’ve qualified it by pointing out that entering into an LTR with a Republican would not only keep dinner conversations interesting, it would also keep hate-fucking on the menu, a sexual option that isn’t typically part of an LTR. Finally, I will have to knock off a few more points for the gratuitous use of alliteration (“pork-barrel paramour”?), a literary device frequently abused by amateur and/or inept advice columnists. (For truly horrifying examples of alliteration abuse, see Time Out New York “sexpert” Jamie “Butt Rasta” Bufalino’s totally terrible, repugnantly repulsive, criminally crappy column “Get Naked.”) Grade: B-
Q: I am a lesbian, completely sexually satisfied when I have sex with women and never sexually satisfied when I have sex with men. However, when I masturbate, the only thing that brings me to orgasm is thinking about men. Does this mean I’m not really a lesbian? Is there a way to get more turned on when thinking about women? —Messed-Up Masturbator
JILL: First, let’s nail down a definition for lesbian (mine): Are you a woman with the fever for the flavor of a girlie? You’re set. Just because you pet a few puppies on the sidewalk does not make you any less a cat person. Plus, I don’t think you can mess up masturbating unless you fall out a window or ruin your best bunny suit or something. There’s no shortage of chain-walleted, barber-shorn, Pabst-swigging lesbos out there who not only J.O. to boys but actually bed them. Boy-toys may be the last exciting forbidden frontier for jaded lesbians. Sex clubs? Yawn. Three-ways? So ’90s. You’re a man now? Great, let’s go grab some nachos. But flipping a frat pledge? Deflowering a peach-fuzzy sk8er? That’s Now, that’s Wow. And let’s not forget the burgeoning lez trend of high-volume fag-porn rentals. Who cares — you like what you like. Enjoy.
DAN: Again, the alliteration is problematic (“fever for the flavor”). But you redeemed yourself, Jill, with that “ruin your best bunny suit” line; your subtle reference to furries is not only hilarious, grasshopper, it’s also delightfully sly. Readers who get the reference will feel like they’re in the know and readers who don’t will nevertheless enjoy the mental image of lesbians masturbating in bunny suits. Plus the gist of your advice — you like what you like, don’t stress over it — is precisely the advice I would’ve given. A-
Q: I’m a lesbian in a committed relationship, but looking for a bit of specific action. I’d like to hire another woman to dominate me. The idea of hiring such a woman, just for me, actually turns both of us on. So time to hire a pro, right? But I looked on the Net and am not finding much for a woman in Seattle looking to pay another woman to dominate her. I guess I could join some local SM clubs, but I’m severely busy with my career right now and don’t have a lot of time to wander around in leather pants hoping to attract someone. Any recommendations? —Can’t Buy Me Love
JILL: I went to an expert for this one — Greta Christina, editor of Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients (Greenery Press, 2004) and longtime sapphist. Greta says, “I have yet to run into a female sex worker in any part of the country who would be appalled or grossed-out by the prospect of a female customer. Most of them enjoy it, for the change of pace if nothing else. You will have a wider selection in big Babylon-like cities like San Francisco or New York; but anywhere there are escorts, there’ll be escorts who’ll work with women.” Thanks, Christina. Some other rules to trick by: good manners, good hygiene, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. No pushiness and no haggling. Make sure to emphasize that you’re in it solo, as most girl-inclusive requests involve couples.
DAN: Wow! It’s only your third question, Jill, and you’re already punting! Not that there’s anything wrong with that; dragging in a guest expert is a time-honored advice columnist trick, pioneered by the late, great Ann Landers (at whose desk I’m typing these words), and it’s one I use regularly. Using a guest expert demonstrates two traits all good advice columnists share: 1) a becoming humility (by using a guest expert you’re showing your readers that you don’t consider yourself the final authority on absolutely everything), and 2) an ability to cash a paycheck even when you didn’t do any of the heavy lifting in this week’s column. Then, like an old pro, Jill, you wind up your response with useful tips of your own, proving to your readers that you’re not phoning this one in entirely. Nice job! A+
Well, that went well! I have to admit that I feared it wouldn’t — I was worried that auctioning off the chance to co-author a column with me would result in some bat-shit-crazy crank seizing control of the column for a week. But Jill gave such solid advice that some editor out there really ought to give her a column of her very own. (Are you listening, Tony?) In fact, this went so well that I’ve agreed to auction off the right to co-author a Savage Love column in 2005. (Apparently the dough raked in by auctioning off my column last year wasn’t enough to end world hunger.)
If you would like to bid on a chance to co-author a Savage Love, send me an e-mail and I’ll send you the link to the anti-hunger charity’s auction Web site. (Act now — the auction ends at 5 p.m., Dec. 17.) Thanks, Jill! And good luck!Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org