It seems to me that this is a blight on modern relationships. Women want to get phone calls from our significant others because it lets us know we are cared for, but men seem to be indifferent, even after it's been brought up and discussed. Are we women asking for too much? Or are men being thoughtless?
-- Give Me a Call
I've been racking my brain for hours, GMAC, in a desperate effort to recall if I have ever -- everevereverever -- received a question that interests me less than yours. I get a lot of really insipid questions from people about piddling bullshit, and yet the only letters I can recall that even come close to yours are the ones that pour in from straight women worried that their boyfriends or husbands are secretly gay. Here's a sampling from some of those actual letters (and my actual responses):
"He likes to wear bright colors. Is he gay?" (No, he's not. If he liked sucking my cock, maybe.) "My boyfriend really gets off on eating my ass, which he'll happily do for ages. I enjoy it, and he certainly enjoys it. But I worry: Is he gay?" (No, he's not. If he got off on eating my ass, maybe.) "My husband has a really close male friend. They go to games together, and sometimes even to the gym. Are they gay?" (No, they're not. Sometimes even straight guys go to the gym.)
OK, GMAC, on to your letter: Straight women want to get phone calls from their significant others because it lets them know that they're cared for, but straight men seem to be indifferent to making those kinds of calls, even after it's been brought up and discussed. So are women asking too much? Or are men being thoughtless? Can't the answer to both questions be yes?
Yes, straight women are asking too much. Stereotypical straight men, as every woman knows, don't like to gab away on the phone. A straight guy would rather show you he loves you by, say, fixing your car or coming all over your face. If you're attracted to straight guys, a lack of initiative in the phone-call department and the occasional facial are part of the price of admission.
Yes, straight men are thoughtless. Stereotypical straight women, as every man knows, like to get little calls, you know, just 'cause. If straight guys were more thoughtful it might occur to them that a direct correlation exists between the number of little calls a girl gets and the number of facials she's willing to sit still for.
Finally, GMAC, do me a favor. If you ever find yourself dating a guy who calls you constantly just to let you know how much he cares, please don't write me a letter like this: "He's always calling to check in, ask me how my day is going, and tell me he loves me. He's so considerate, Dan! Do you think he's gay?" Because we both know the answer to that question is yes.
I'm 19, in the army and in the closet. My best friend, call him "Basra," works with me and is exactly my type. Since we're in the army, we're pretty close. We sleep in the same room, we take joint showers, etc. I've sent him a few signals -- as much as I dare, because I'm afraid to expose myself in case he isn't gay. He's also sent some signals, but that's probably just wishful thinking.
I have no idea what to do. I can't stop hanging out with him because we're in the army, and I can't risk exposing myself to him because if he isn't gay he'd probably tell his friend "Baghdad," who would beat the crap out of me.
-- In Love Yet Afraid
The awareness that my advice, if bad, could get you killed, ILYA, is kind of inhibiting. If I order you to send less-subtle signals and it turns out that Basra isn't gay, and Basra tells Baghdad, then I've got blood on my hands/keyboard. Even if Basra is gay, how can we be sure that only Basra will pick up on your less-subtle signals? In those communal showers and sleeping quarters, I imagine less-subtle signal sending could get you guys both killed. So I'm going to punt.
A lot of dudes in the armed forces read Savage Love for the freak factor and I'd like to invite you guys -- gay or straight, homophobic or homophile -- to weigh in. What the hell should ILYA do, guys?
The intro to your column about losing your virginity -- it went into the birth of Jesus -- was craptastic. Did you have to go there? Did you have to degrade Jesus and Mary?
Before you write me off as a Fox News-watching, Wal-Mart-shopping, Bush-supporting Bible thumper, please note that I am a liberal Democrat living in a blue-collar city in a blue state. I voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry. But I also try to live a Christian life. Your statements were sacrilegious. Jesus and Mary deserve a little respect.
-- Your Friend
I don't see how it's disrespectful, degrading or theologically incorrect to point out that if Mary was a virgin when she conceived and if you don't buy off on the Virgin Birth (the idea that Jesus somehow passed out of Mary's uterus and down through her vaginal canal without disturbing her hymen), then Mary's hymen broke when the Kid was born. Isn't the whole point of the Jesus Thang that He was the Word made flesh? And if Mel Gibson can portray His death in detail so gory it bordered on the pornographic, how can an aside about the mechanics of His birth be off limits?
And finally, to Rob in Albany who felt my aside was proof of my intolerance and hypocrisy: Joking about Christianity isn't evidence that I'm intolerant -- hell, I'm perfectly willing to tolerate Christians. I have never, for instance, attempted to prevent Christians from marrying each other or tried to stop them from adopting children or worked to make it illegal for them to hold certain jobs. I don't threaten to boycott companies that market their products to Christians, and I don't organize letter-writing campaigns to complain about Christian characters on television.
It would indeed be hypocritical for me to complain about fundamentalist Christians who've done all of the above to gay people if I turned around and did the same thing to Christians -- but, again, I've done no such thing. Intolerant? Hell, I'm a model of tolerance! Oh sure, I joked about the Virgin Birth because I think it's silly and sexphobic. And I'm free to say as much, however unpleasant it is for some Christians to hear.
Fundamentalist Christians, for their part, are free to think homosexuality is sinful and unnatural, and they're free to say so, however unpleasant it is for me to hear. But fundamentalists aren't willing to just speak their piece, Rob. Nope, they seek to persecute people for being gay, and that's where their low opinion of homosexuality -- which, again, they have an absolute right to hold -- transubstantiates into intolerance.