Dear Ms. Behavior:
OK, so, say you’ve had this longstanding thing for a woman involved in a long-term relationship. And, say it has been this frustrating mutual attraction that causes both of you to spend lots of time together, and then completely avoid each other for months at a time. Then, say the married woman moves to another city, so you’re depressed, but relieved.
But the relief doesn’t last very long, because now, her relationship is falling apart. She’s hanging around again, and it’s all extremely tempting. But you know it ultimately will be exceedingly bad.
What would you do?
Dear Stella Drama:
Never mind what Ms. Behavior would do. You are clearly a loaded gun just waiting to go off. You should find another outlet for your swollen dramatic desires before you blow your own life to smithereens. (See? Ms. Behavior can be just as dramatic as the next person, and just as capable of mixing her metaphors.)
According to Ms. Behavior’s calculations, getting reinvolved with the married woman will cause pain for at least 11 people.
Why 11, you say?
Ms. Behavior is excited by the opportunity to use her math skills: We have you; the married woman; her partner; the three therapists who will have to hear about it for the next year-and-a-half; the married woman’s two best friends; her partner’s friend (let’s hope you’ll feel too much shame to “share” it yourself); plus a couple of random people who only were trying to shop for groceries.
Love triangles are what classical theater and daytime melodramas are made of—great to watch from the safety of the amphitheater (or your sofa), but torture to experience. Repeat after Ms. Behavior: Secret love triangles always hurt.
Can’t you just read your middle-school diary to remember why this particular type of drama is ugly?
Sometimes, renting bad movies can fulfill one’s desire for turmoil. However, it sounds like you already have stepped off the cliff.
Because you’re saying that you know this situation will be “exceedingly bad,” and because you’ve gone to the trouble of writing to an advice columnist, perhaps you still will make the choice to keep your tongue in your own mouth.
But it seems unlikely, doesn’t it?
Dear Ms. Behavior:
My boyfriend, Ray, and I are planning to visit my conservative parents in Nebraska. This will be the first time they’ll meet him—or any of my boyfriends—and I’m pretty nervous about it.
The problem is that Ray recently got his chin and his tongue pierced, and he insists on keeping the studs in at all times. I know my parents have come a long way in accepting me, but the facial piercings will make them faint.
All my old boyfriends were bankers, but Ray is a guitarist in a rock band. He says that if he takes his piercings out for even the five days we’ll be in Nebraska, the holes will close up. He’s not willing to get them repierced, because it was too painful the first time.
I think Ray’s being selfish, and he should just forget about the piercings. He doesn’t realize what a big deal this is for me. He thinks I’m being ridiculous.
What do you think?
Hello? Is it 1992 again?
The world is full of nice, clean-cut bankers who wear suits, and never would consider punching holes through their face.
But if you wanted a banker, you’d be with another one, wouldn’t you?
If Ray is the man you love, let him be a rock star with a pierced face. Allow him to speak with that sexy lisp that reveals the hunk of metal pinning the flesh of his tongue. When you introduce him to your parents, be proud of who he is, what he does, and even his syllabant “s.” Or, “eth,” ath the cathe may be. [sic]
If you chicken out, you always could warn your parents about his piercings in advance. If you go in that direction, it would be best to exaggerate about Ray’s appearance. Tell your parents he has a pierced face, a shaved head with a skull tattoo, and three gold teeth.
Once they meet him, and find out that all he really has are a couple of dainty holes in his face and tongue, they probably will be delighted.
© 2010 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette (Houghton Mifflin). Signed copies are available directly from the author.