Dear Ms. Behavior:
My partner and I moved into a new building. Our neighbors, Tom and Mark, invited us to their place for a dinner party. They have a fluffy little dog that jumped up all over me. I am slightly fearful of dogs, but trying to overcome it.
When they said, “Oh, he’s just trying to get your attention—he wants you to pet him,” I bent down to greet the dog, who promptly bit my face. The bite drew blood.
I tried not to make a big deal of it. I just washed it off with soap, and went on with the night. But after a while, I realized that neither Tom nor Mark had apologized.
My partner and I ended up leaving before dessert, because I wanted to go home, and wash the bite with peroxide, so it wouldn’t get infected.
Now, Tom and Mark act like we’re pariahs. They totally snub us if they see us in the elevator or the lobby. If they have their dog on a leash, they pick him up abruptly, as if I might kick him. It’s totally bizarre.
My partner wants to talk to these queens, and smooth things over, mainly because they seem to be at the hub of the gay and lesbian social scene in our building.
But I refuse to kiss their asses because they’re “popular.” I want to tell them to drop dead.
Dear Twice Bitten:
Owners of snippy dogs who bite often are deluded about them, and unwilling to take responsibility for the behavior of their nasty beasts. In fact, your neighbors may have convinced themselves that you bit Fluffy.
As for how to handle the current awkwardness, some middle ground definitely could be found between your partner wanting to kiss their asses, and your wanting to tell them to drop dead. It’s unlikely that they’ll be able or willing to “process” this event.
So, instead of your partner wasting his breath on people you don’t even like, how about just trying to be cordial as you would with any other neighbors?
If they fail to respond appropriately to your gesture of being cordial, just move on. Remind yourselves that you are not, in fact, in high school.
Don’t underestimate your ability to meet other neighbors and make friends, despite whether the Prom Queens of the building like you.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
After years of dating good-looking and self-centered men, I finally settled down with my boyfriend, because he a supremely nice guy. It’s great progress for me to be with someone who is kind to me (according to my therapist).
The problem is that we’ve been living together now for about a year, and I really don’t want to have sex…with him…at all. He’s great in every way: smart, funny, kind, successful—but not sexy.
I’m 32, and my best friend, Megan, tells me I’m crazy to let this one go. She says I should have sex with him even if I don’t feel like it. But she’s female, so she doesn’t understand fully. I’m not sure my dick will continue to cooperate.
What should I do?
Perhaps you’re a little twisted, and you only find mean and self-absorbed men to be sexy. You hardly would be alone. Our culture usually designates darkness as seductive, while earnestness and kindness are deemed to be, well, boring.
That doesn’t mean you should give up on your relationship with your extra-nice boyfriend. As a wise old friend of Ms. Behavior’s once said, “Smart and mean women are a dime a dozen. Smart and nice, well, that’s something special.” The same holds true for men.
Because your boyfriend seems to have every other quality you possibly could desire, try training him to be mean in bed, so that you finally can be attracted to him.
Tell your boyfriend about your dire need to be humiliated. Have him call you names, hide your favorite cologne, wax your balls, and beat you with a shoe. Ms. Behavior predicts that your dick will rise to the occasion.
If your therapist thinks this is a bad idea, tell her to get a life, and stop trying to fix you.Meryl Cohn
© 2011 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.