Dear Ms. Behavior,
A while back I met a man online who said he had trouble meeting other men. It seemed like we had some things in common, so we kept in touch by email and phone over a number of months. He lived far enough away, so I felt safe talking to him without worrying about him wanting to get close to me; he just didn’t sound right (sane) when we Skyped. But he happened to know two unhappy lesbians in my area, so he started visiting. When I met him at the lesbians’ apartment, the tent from the previous summer’s trip was sprawled out in the living room. The apartment smelled like dog poop and urine. I shoveled my way through the living room to get to the sofa to sit down. I tried to smile and be polite, thinking “people live differently and I should accept it,” which I didn’t.
Anyway, my “date” turned out to be so needy he covered me like a dense slime and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to be nice and tell him I didn’t like him “that way,” which didn’t work. I e-mailed him and I told him I didn’t want anything to do with him. I was then sent the “Fuck You” e-mail, followed by several more attempts at correspondence. I finally moved, changed my phone number and blocked his e-mail; I think I’ve finally gotten rid of him.
I wanted to share that story because I learned something valuable. I should have run to my car at the first scent of dog poop in the Lesbians’ apartment.
Actually, your first hint that things wouldn’t go well was that your prospective date did not sound sane over Skype. If you felt safe only because he lived far away, why did you have any further contact with him?
Ms. Behavior is alarmed by how many of her readers ignore obvious hints. They say things like, “I suspected he was psycho, unethical, and had bad hygiene on our first date. When we broke up six months later, I knew it was true because he broke into my apartment, stole all my money, and left his smelly clothing on my bed.” Hello? What happened to that first hint, 180 days earlier?
As for the lesbian tent and the dog’s bodily fluids, there is an obvious explanation. In cool weather, plenty of sporty lesbians secretly camp in their living rooms and play a game with their dogs, pretending that they are in the great outdoors.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
My ex-boyfriend Barry showed up a drunken mess on my doorstep last weekend. He was reeking of booze and raving like a lunatic. His wife (that’s right, wife) and he had had a big public drunken brawl and she kicked him out. I put down my book, threw an extra log on the fire, made a pot of coffee, and let him stay the night on the sofa. I felt sorry for Barry, although I’ll admit I was thankful all the while for being spared this drunken drama on a daily basis. The thing is, after he left the next morning (of course he went back to his wife; he always does), I felt upset and anxious and kind of depressed. Should I call him and tell him that his actions do have consequences? I think he should know.
Barry won’t stop showing up at your house like a drunken mess just because it makes you feel anxious and depressed. Drunks are a bit more self-centered than that. Remind Barry that one of the benefits of your break-up is that you don’t have to play Florence Nightingale anymore. (His wife doesn’t either, but she’ll have to figure that out for herself.) The hard part for you will be sticking to it, but if sympathetic friends turn him away when he’s “reeking of booze and raving like a lunatic,” Barry may some day seek help for his problem.