Friday, April 6, 2012


First Loves, Breakup Guilt, and Rainbows Painted With Watercolors

I've just found out that my very first love is pregnant. I found out through my bff, who is also pregnant. Back in the day, before I knew that these feelings I had for First Love meant I was queer (duh), we three were a posse. First Love and I don't have contact anymore, except through bff. I am not planning to be pregnant or have kids, and I'm fine with that. I'm also totally in love with my male partner, and have no regrets about giving up things I love about being single, including ladies. Nostalgia, but no regrets. But I've been feeling a bit restless the last few months. I have enough experience to know that it's not really about anything (it feels hormonal, maybe?) so I'm just waiting it out. But restless + I do miss ladies, romantically + First Love + everyone is pregnant but me! They have a special club and I'll always be the uncool kid (leftover issues from posse-times) = FEELINGS.

I don't need any advice, as such. It's fairly minor and I'm dealing fine. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that First Love will always, always give me FEELINGS, and that's fine. The baby thing, too. None of these feelings are real, true, me-right-now feelings. They're more road-not-taken, amorphous feelings. But I don't want to let them spill over into now-me's life, and I really don't want to convince myself that I am not happy with my lovely partner, etc, for no real reason. I just wondered if you had some commiserations or words of wisdom for me, because I think not-talking and thinking about it will make the feelings a bigger deal. And I've reached the limit of how much I can talk to my partner about them, and I think it's going to start making him feel vulnerable. Usually I'd talk to my bff, but I just can't about this one. So ... internet lady friends! Can we talk?

It is profoundly weird when your exes start getting married/having kids/otherwise launching Operation Grownup, isn't it? Even if you've known for years that you and she were never going to end up running toward each other in a field of daisies while Ingrid Michaelson performs an impromptu acoustic set, finding out that she is making an actual life-long commitment to another person/fetus can leave you seriously disoriented. It's kind of like there's this parallel universe where things worked out between the two of you, and then all of a sudden that universe collapses. And you're like, “Why is this bugging me so much? I didn't even live in that universe in the first place.”

You pretty much have your head correct about this whole situation: you love your partner, you're happy with the choices you've made, and you recognize that any path in life necessarily leaves you with options you did not pursue — and, occasionally, a feeling of “what if?” about where those options might have led. You don't sound like you're on the verge of leaving your partner, getting yourself accidentally-on-purpose knocked up, or burning down your house and fleeing to Bolivia. You're just having some fairly normal emotional reactions to realizing that you're an adult and there are some things you probably won't get to do. It's fine, everyone goes through it.

Just because it's normal, though, doesn't mean that your only option is to cowgirl up and wait it out in silence. You're unhappy, and that sucks, so let's try and find a way for you to be happier, okay? I really think you should reconsider ruling out your BFF as a confidante. Especially since you're trying not to unload all this onto your partner (which seems reasonable, as an ongoing monologue about your FEELINGS for someone you used to boink is likely to leave him with some FEELINGS of his own), you could use a non-Internet person in your life to whom you can spill your guts. I know it's hard, since she's part of the issue that's weighing you down, but she's your best friend and she loves you — she'll hear you out. Just don't make it into a blame thing, like “you guys went and got knocked up at the same time and you didn't even invite me.” Stick to those ever-useful I statements — I feel left out, I feel nostalgic, I feel like if I don't eat some pussy in the next five minutes my brain is going to melt out my ears. Maybe she'll have some useful advice, maybe she'll just listen. Either way, I suspect it would be good for you to get all this off your chest in a face-to-face way.

Whether or not you decide that's an option, the Hairpin is here for you! Commenters, what have you got? Encouragement, sympathy, Internet margaritas? Go! (And then come back here and read the rest of the column, please. I work so hard.)

I'm a straight girl with a crush on a trans guy. This question is still very hypothetical, as I haven't actually, er, spoken to him or anything, but he's friends with some friends of mine so it's not inconceivable that I may have a chance to flirt with him at some point in the future (I have seen him dance shirtless however, my GOD dancer boys are hot. Anyways).

So I guess I have two questions, the first being the most important. I am very attracted to this guy, but I am a little unsure of whether I could ever be totally sexually satisfied in a relationship where there's no penis involved (my sleuthing among friends has suggested he's had surgery on his chest area but not the nether regions, no idea whether he intends to get the 2nd surgery or not). I am totally down to experiment with strap-ons or whatever else there is and see if I could be happy with that, and I think it's definitely possible. But I'm worried about what would happen if it turned out I couldn't be sexually satisfied in the relationship. I can imagine that for a trans person, getting intimate with someone only to be told 'sorry, you're great but your junk just ain't doin' it for me' could be really devastating. Would I be a total asshole to pursue him if there's a chance that might be what happens?

The second question, I feel embarrassed to ask and I hope I'm not being totally ignorant, but ... how DO trans guys who haven't had surgery generally handle sex? If there is any 'general' answer? Are they for the most part comfortable having the genitalia they were born with stimulated, or do they avoid it? All I have to go on in this realm is a trans guy friend who mentioned in passing that him and his girlfriend were mostly pegging, but I have no idea if that's typical or what.

I would very much appreciate your advice on this matter, so that the next time I see him I can with confidence proceed to awkwardly attempt to flirt with him and find out if he has any interest in putting his face on my face.

You haven't ever spoken to him, but you've already got your friends asking around after the contents of his boxers? Girl, I'm concerned that you're Fredding out a little. Your imaginary relationship with this guy has gotten way ahead of reality. Take a few deep breaths. While you're doing that, try to come to peace with the possibility that the fantasy you've built up around this guy might not in any way resemble the person he is in real life, so you don't end up caught by surprise and resentful when (if) you actually get to know him.

Also, I hate to come out of the gate scolding you, but I'm not super comfortable with the idea that, because dude is trans, it's fine for his friends to hand out personal information and medical history to anyone who asks. Our culture just loves to deny trans people their privacy, often on the basis that otherwise they would use nefarious means to “trick” people into dating/sleeping with/using a public restroom at the same time as them, and it is bullshit. A person's specific genital configuration is something that only needs to be shared with his (actual, not prospective) romantic or sexual partners — disclosing to anyone else should happen at his discretion or not at all. His gender and body are none of your business unless he decides they are. If you intend to pursue this guy romantically, it needs to be with sensitivity and respect. No more snooping, okay? I'm sorry for being hard on you, but I really am on your side — I want you to get the cute boy, and you'll have a better chance if you don't make a big fat deal about his gender. I'm just trying to get you laid, darlin'.

On to the specifics of bumping and grinding: this is your basic good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that I can't tell you how your crush wants to get down. The good news is that there is a whole thrilling, surprising, slippery world of possibilities waiting to be explored. There are no hard and fast rules for what trans people like to do in bed — they are every bit as sexually diverse as cis people, and just as likely to have unexpected kinks, hangups, or moles. He might have a strap-on, he might not. He might want to have his bits fondled, he might not. As you do with any new sex partner (right?), you should be prepared to roll with something that's new to you, to speak up if you feel uncomfortable, and to make sure he's comfortable every time you want to go further. It's often standard practice among trans people and the people that love them to ask “What can I touch?” the first time you get somebody naked, which is an excellent idea and should really be adopted among all the people, everywhere, at all times. There's no reason to assume that you know what kind of sex someone wants just because you know their sex, gender, orientation, or favorite Hunger Games character — sleeping with someone new should be a process of discovering each other, not hauling out the same moves you used on your ex.

Should you in fact work up the nerve to talk to this boy, and (fingers crossed) end up doing some horizontal makeouts, you should either a) ask him what he wants or b) tell him what you want. If you're more or less in agreement, go from there. And, if you do hook up with him, and it turns out that the lack of a flesh-and-blood penis is a dealbreaker, it's fine to just say “You're great but I don't think we're compatible,” and move on. The problem is not his junk, it's just that you two aren't clicking. If you are clicking — if you're giving each other amazing orgasms and can't keep your hands off each other — then his vagina is simply not going to be a problem.

Also, you should check out this poem by my friend, the talented and gorgeous (and single, lllllladies) Gabe Moses, entitled “How to Make Love to a Trans Person.” It is so lovely.

A few months ago I realized that I was really super attracted to one of my girl friends who I knew was also attracted to me. I'd never been attracted to a lady before, so I talked to my boyfriend (it's probably relevant to mention that we were in a long term, long distance relationship) about it and he encouraged me to pursue things with her physically. I was very confident that it wouldn't come between the two of us, and since he was the one who initiated the talk about me pursuing my friend I figured he was genuinely okay with it too.

I talked to my friend about how incredibly sexy I thought she was. She'd already picked up on my vibes (before I even realized that I had vibes) so it was no shock to her. The first time we slept together I heard a click in my head. The click said, "Hey you! You should have been doing girls all along!" It took me about a month and a visit to see my boyfriend to realize that I was not a 3 on The Kinsey Scale, but somewhere around 5. I'm a deliberate person. I think about things from every possible angle before I make a decision. But with this there was no decision to make. Of course you, A Queer Chick, you already know that.

So I talked to my boyfriend about it and we broke up. We'd been together for almost three years and two of those had been long distance. We put a lot of effort into keeping our relationship going and we saw ourselves together for the long haul. I know this break up has been really hard on him. I feel terrible for hurting him. I still love him very much and still see him as one of my best friends, but the thought of sex with a guy makes me feel obligated and very panicky and, if not a little grossed out, generally perplexed. If it weren't for his understanding and support during the time I was discovering my queerness, and in fact for how comfortable he helped me feel with my own body and sexuality during our whole relationship, I don't know when I would have realized that I am gay. He's helped me with this amazing life changing realization, and all I've done is break the heart of someone that I deeply care about. I feel like scum. I keep trying to think of a way to have done things better. I guess I can't change the way I approached things now, but is there anything I can do to make this easier on either of us? We talk pretty regularly through text or e-mail. It's hard to enjoy the shiny new lesbian part of myself, or anything really, when I know he's hurting and it's essentially my fault.

I hate to tell you this, but there is exactly one thing you can do to make things easier on your ex, and it's going to make things much harder for you. You know that texting and e-mailing you've been doing on the regular? Yeah, you need to cut that shit out.

Someday, my wonderful new-minted fellow queer chick, you are going to be in a relationship with someone you love deeply, and she is going to smash your heart to smithereens out of fucking nowhere. It will be brutal. You'll walk around in a daze. And then that person, the one who has just destroyed you emotionally and left you a hollow, insomniac, wine-guzzling, sad-movie-watching shell of a human being, will tell you that she wants to be friends, and can we grab coffee and chit-chat later this week? So you'll brush your hair and stare at your dead eyes in the mirror and force yourself to smile and pretend like you're not screaming on the inside because being in the same room as her is better than nothing at all, even if it does feel like ripping off a scab over and over again for a solid hour. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Your breakup was hard for you because it took away a source of stability in your life and left you with all these icky feelings of guilt, but it didn't break your heart. You still have basically the relationship you want with your ex-boyfriend: you're close, you talk, he supports you emotionally, and you get to have sex with girls! What's not to like? But you have to realize that, if he was in love with you — and it sounds like he was — being friends right now feels to him like being repeatedly hit in the face with a sock full of “this is what you will never have again.”

There is nothing you can do that will remedy the pain you've already caused him. This doesn't mean you should torture yourself forever — you did the right thing for both of you by ending it when you realized you weren't satisfied. Still, the only thing you can give him at this point is the time he needs to heal. He is probably never going to tell you to stop texting him, because he wants to be close to you in any way he can, no matter how painful; that's why, horribly and unfairly, cutting off contact has to be your job. If the two of you are ever going to have a real friendship, you've got to let him get over you, which he's not going to do if you're talking every day.

It's going to hurt like a bitch in the short term, but I really think what you need to do is tell him that you both need space to process your breakup and that you shouldn't talk for some specified length of time — say, three months. Then stick to it. Resist the urge to email him when you've had a bad day, or text him a picture of the guy with ridiculous hair at the coffee shop. This will give you the chance to have some fun and hook up with some girls, which is your Constitutional right as a newly-out homo; and it will give him the chance to mend his broken heart in peace.

And when the interval you've agreed upon is over, you have to wait for him to get in touch with you. As the more-wounded party, he gets to decide how much of a relationship he wants the two of you to have, and on what timeline. That may mean he calls you in three months and fifteen minutes, dying to tell you about his hot new girlfriend; it may mean he texts you in six months to say “what's up”; and I'm sorry to say it may mean that you never hear from him again. He might decide that he won't be able to rebuild his life if he's constantly being reminded of what he's lost, and if that's where he ends up, you need to respect it.

Here's hoping he thinks it over, decides you were never really that hot to begin with, and you two can be best buddies again.

All right, A Queer Chick, I got one for you. I'm 99% sure that my sister falls somewhere on the GLBT spectrum (we're both in our late 20s, if that's at all relevant). I've always thought she leaned more towards being attracted to women — I guess it's one of those things you just know? And after being exposed to stories of trans youth, I'm startin' — to wonder if a lot of the behaviors she exhibited growing up were actually more signs of her having gender identity issues. Either way, wherever she identifies on that spectrum is fine. But she's never said anything to me or my family, despite how openly okay we are with it. Growing up, my mom was one of those artsy hippie people that actually had like rainbows painted with watercolors with diversity sayings written underneath them. And while I think I have slightly better taste in artwork, the apple didn't fall far from the tree here, and I show it and talk about it pretty openly. Seriously, you'd be hard-pressed to find a household more accepting of a gay family member than my immediate family.

The thing is, my family is pretty small and none of us are that close. We all have our separate lives and are physically together for about a couple hours a year (partly due to geography). I talk to my sister the least out of any of them because she's one of the most miserable, unpleasant people I know. She's constantly negative, criticizes everyone, has anger management issue, and is generally an emotional drain on everyone. And I'm starting to wonder if those two are connected, that maybe she doesn't feel like she can be herself or that she's uncomfortable in her own skin, so she's lashing out or pushing people away?

Now, I'm a big believer in that it's her own decision when and to whom she comes out, and if she's not ready to tell other people or maybe because she's not comfortable with the information herself yet, that's fine. And my role as a supportive family member is just to make the environment as accepting as possible for her when (and if) she's ready to come out. But after years of sharing GLBT advocacy articles on our overlapping online social networks and talking about my gay friends, I don't know what else I can do. And if her coming out of the closet and being comfortable with who she is will make her a more pleasant person, man, we could all really use it. So, my question to you, A Queer Chick, is how can us straight allies help our closeted friends and family feel comfortable enough to come out? Is it ever really appropriate to send her an unprovoked private message on Facebook just saying "Dude, seriously, it's okay if you're gay or if you're not! It makes no difference either way!" because someday when I'm drunk, I just might do it.

Oh my God, sweetheart, I know your heart is in the right place, but please do not do that. Don't. Do not. That thing you are considering doing? It is definitely not a thing you should do.

Here's the problem: you and your sister are not close. You don't particularly like her, and you don't particularly talk. It sounds like you have valid reasons not to like her, but that doesn't change the fact that you are not the person she turns to when she has worries. If I were your sister, you'd be way down on my list of people to come out to. Assuming that she is struggling with some kind of secret, whether it's orientation, gender, or something else entirely, she's probably in no hurry to hash it out with you if she perceives you as unsympathetic or disinterested.

If your sister is queer, and you push her into coming out before she's ready, she is likely to resent you for it. She will feel pressured, invaded, disrespected — because demanding information she doesn't want to give you yet is pressuring, invasive, and disrespectful. Sending that drunken Facebook message could make her go “Oh my God, you're right, I'm a total lesbo, it feels so good to get it off my chest!” But there's a much better chance that it will do long-lasting damage to your relationship. Deciding when to come out is intensely personal, and forcing her into it could cause wounds that will take years to heal. Not to mention that if she's not queer, she will probably be less than amused by your attempt to diagnose her sexuality.

The best thing you can do, if you ever want your sister to feel comfortable coming out, is try to improve your relationship — reach out to her, call more often, make an effort to be part of each other's lives. If you don't feel like this will be worth your while, that's fine, but it's the only way you're ever going to be privy to what's going on in her heart/vagina. Your sister already knows that you like and accept gay people. Now you need to show her that you like and accept her.

Previously: Femme Baldness and "INEXTINGUISHIBLE PASSION."

Lindsay Miller knows everything (and is now on Twitter!). Do you have a question for A Queer Chick? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock

140 Comments / Post A Comment


Your advice is always so good because you have serious, not sentimental, empathy. THANKS!


impressed by this post@n

Reginal T. Squirge

More like Operation Fuckup.



Operation Pretend?

Reginal T. Squirge

Also, regarding the "cut that shit out with your ex" thing: Three months is nothing.

I haven't seen mine in over a year and a half and I still haven't blinked. Some of us are fighters.


@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Seriously. I disconnected with my ex in 2008 and we will probably never talk again. It just happens.

Reginal T. Squirge

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts To clarify, I meant that I'm the one still wanting something (everything) with her. The way I wrote that makes it seem like I've cut off the ex.


@SheWhoReadsInSkirts Yes. Years. Years!

But now I find myself on the other side of the equation. Breaking off contact with my ex (which was more of a gradual, and therefore painful, process) was great for me. But now, five years later, I sort of want to send him an email. A hey-what's-up-how's-your-life email. I think about this periodically. I'm 99.8 percent sure it is no reflection on my current happiness, and more to do with residual morning for the fact that this person who was once such a dear friend is now not in my life whatsoever.

Is this a no good, very bad, terrible idea?


@meatcute Yeah. I mean, I've totally been there and done that, but yeah. Bad idea.

Not that it will stop you, if you're anything like me. Bad ideas are so convincing!


@Emby Okay. I needed to hear that. If it ain't broke, why fix it?


@meatcute I had a not great breakup with an ex, with really bad post-breakup nonsense (he broke up with me when he moved because he "didn't want to do long distance," promptly started dating someone else who lived in my city). After that I cut myself off and stopped talking to him after a huge blowout. He also did some shitty stuff to some friends of his, which didn't really super affect me at the time but gave me another reason to hate him (ratted them out to campus officials about pot).

A few years later something reminded me of him and I felt the same way (not pining for him, just wondering how he was). So I sent him a quick email. It did not receive a reply. So then I did feel kinda bad.

I mean, there was the chance of a positive response, a negative response, or no response. So in retrospect, a 2/3 chance of something that would make me not feel very great was a bad gamble.

The good thing is his friends who he got busted, who were originally his friends and I was "just the girlfriend"? They became my friends and are not friends with him anymore. And they're way cooler than he ever was anyway.


@mustelid Yeahh. I dated a guy for about 8 months, and it was way way way too serious, which eventually made us break up (Like, him: we need to get married RIGHT NOW!" me "Fuck no!" him: "AHH!" me: "I think this isn't working" him: "Yeah, me too".) Anyway, the breakup was mutual, but it had also been a long distance relationship, and we decided to have a communication hiatus, and I would email first if we were going to start emailing.

I emailed four months later, no reply. He had deleted facebook. I had no idea what was going on. A year after we broke up I found out through a mutual friend that he was MARRIED.

It was... surprising. And not necessarily upsetting, because I know the girl and she is super awesome and wayy better for him than me, but I was a bit sad that he didn't let me know.


@Emby Agreed! I've been on the receiving end of that email and I can tell you that it did not brighten my day one bit. Granted, this email was from the Most Evil of my exes whose behavior to me during our relationship was so horrible that even now, 9 years after we split and 6 years after I last spoke with him (it took a while for me to work up the strength to enforce the No Contact Rule), I can at times feel its (bad!) effect on my relationship. But! I know most exes aren't evil and I am sure y'all aren't either and I'm probably having a knee-jerk reaction to "Contacting exes from out of the blue" because Evil Ex actually emailed me just the other day to say he's in my town for the weekend and he wants to get together with me to catch up. [I've ignored every contact attempt he's made in years so I don't know what makes him think I'd actually want to SEE him, grumble grumble.]


"As the more-wounded party, he gets to decide how much of a relationship he wants the two of you to have, and on what timeline."

so a related question, is it disrespectful to stay friends with the more-wounded party's friends? I'm saying this as someone who thought I would be the more wounded party, but I guess it turns out I'm not.

and these are people I was somewhat friends with "before" and then while together, spent all my time becoming better friends with, something that he really benefitted from, and who have by now made it clear that they want to continue being friends with me ...

but he really does not want me to be friends with them, and is being a manipulative jerk about it, and I'm at a place where if I stay friends with them, I feel like I'm still being manipulated by my manipulative ex and also a whole bunch of other people are getting manipulated in the process, but if I don't stay friends with them, I'm giving in to the manipulation, and

and they're way cooler than he ever was anyway. This has been causing me serious anxiety lately and I'm trying to "be cool" and just chill out more and just let it be the way it is, which is kind of like our friends hang out with him, and then with me, and very occasionally we have to see each other and say not a single word to one another

also he has a new gf, and I feel like ok, so great, you've moved on so can you please just stop being such a fucking dick to your friends.

eta: ugh sorry for this long stupid comment that is about somebody that I don't want to have to deal with anymore ever again or talk about ever but i don't know how to make myself feel more reasonable feelings about this whole stupid thing

Reginal T. Squirge

@redheaded&crazie I think you should try to keep being cool. If he's as much of a dick as you say he is, The Friends will get tired of him and stop hanging out with him also.


@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I agree that this is what I should be doing .. it's good to have it reaffirmed by a somewhat objective party (although of course you're hearing my biased perspective) - they are starting to get sick of things i think, i don't know if it will get to the point where they stop hanging out with him ...

i just hope it gets to a point where we can be in the same room and not have to make a big fuss about it and I think I need to be more sympathetic to the fact that he's not ready for that, and that it's not my call to make (I'm really glad I read that line of AQC that I quoted above)

being cool definitely does not come naturally to me and it's a struggle though. but I'm also blowing things out of proportion and making things out to be worse in my head than they actually are.

*deep breaths*


@redheaded&crazie Have you talked frankly to any of your friends about this? Are there one or two of them that you are closer to and could maybe have a long brunch with and say, "I know that this is awkward for everyone but I really don't want to make anyone choose between us and I don't want to stop being friends with you - what do you think?" Maybe getting the perspective of your friends might be helpful. I think if you clear the air and let them know that you don't care if they hang out with him, and you can handle seeing him once in a while, it'll be easier for them to tell your ex to stop being such a nightmare. I know that I give my friends a grace period to act like messes/jerks after breakups, but there comes a point when everyone has to be a grown up about it, and it sounds like your ex needs someone to tell him that. Good luck!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Yeah, I think 3 months isn't enough. I say at least 6, probably more like a year or so.


@roadtrips thanks! I have talked to a few of my friends about it and said basically what you've said, but after I saw your post I took the opportunity last night to talk to one of them again about it.

The message I'm getting is that they're all sick of his behaviour but don't know how to stand up to him. I think this comes from being boys and also, he can be difficult to talk to, and what else I don't know. Yes. My ex reeeally needs someone to tell him to be a grown up.

Vera Knoop

@redheaded&crazie For what it's worth, any time someone has tried to make me choose between themselves and someone else, I have chosen the someone else. I think this is a waiting game that you will win.


@Reginal T. Squirge Blerg... I broke up with my boyfriend (my choice, it was circumstancial and nothing to do with our actual relationship) and it's been four months and I still feel gutted, devastated, worthless, hopeless... Lots o' lesses. I feel like a year from now I might be the same... still not blinking. :-/


"It's kind of like there's this parallel universe where things worked out between the two of you, and then all of a sudden that universe collapses. And you're like, 'Why is this bugging me so much? I didn't even live in that universe in the first place.'"

THIS! I don't have any advice for LW1, only sympathy and internet booze, because my way of dealing with these Feelings is to run in circles inside my own head.


@nowwhat This quote perfectly describes the last two weeks of my life.

I've been analyzing and analyzing and analyzing the SHIT out of why I was affected by running into an ex and his fiancee for the first time since we broke up almost two years ago. It's been all: "Why are you having Feelings about this?! You were SO HAPPY when you broke up! You were confused and unhappy and anxious for the last half of your relationship! You WOULD HAVE SAID NO IF HE ASKED YOU TO MARRY HIM!! Do you still love him/want to be with him? No? Then WTF?!?!". I actually took to the internet to start trying to find a medical reason for my "condition". It's horrid!

It is comforting to know that this Seems Normal.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@wee_ramekin It sums up the last while for me too! This column couldn't have come at a better time for me. Go the Hairpin hivemind


@Speaking of cake, I have cake @nowwhat Ladies! I just talked to my therapist the other day, and she gave me a name for what my brain has been doing! It's called rumination, and it describes perfectly what I have been doing. I thought I'd share, since sometimes having a name for something helps to get a grip on it.

My therapist said that when I find myself starting to ruminate, I need to "jumpstart" my brain and body. She said to hold ice cubes, or put a cold towel on the back of my neck, or eat a hot pepper, or go for a run...anything to jar my body and mind out of the circles that it will run it. She also suggested an exercise called '5-4-3-2-1'; if you find yourself ruminating, stop, and notice 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can touch and one you can taste. Then, when you finish that, identify what you feel, voice it out loud and try to say "I am feeling ______. This is just a thought, I'm going to let it go."

I'm excited to give this a try the next time I start ruminating! Hope this is helpful :).


OH MY GOD THANK YOU that was the best response to the girl crushing on the transboy ever. Excellent advice, with just the right amount of "hey now, don't forget to actually respect the dude" thrown in. All too often the whole "his body is His Body" concept gets overlooked.


@dk Yes x 1000! The whole time I was reading her letter, it bothered me that she hadn't even talked to him yet, but she knew a lot about his genital business and was asking a lot of questions about it. I feel like that's really private, as it would be for anyone else and their partner.


You really give the best advice ever.


@Anji I KNOW. I ALWAYS find AQC's advice to be THE BEST RELATIONSHIP ADVICE ever, for ANYONE, no matter what their queerness status.

sugar cubism

I have been the heart-broken and I have been the heart-breaker and what you said here is so smart.

Three months AT LEAST, though. Maybe even like 1/3 of the time the relationship was a relationship, or something?


@sugar cubism
Yep. My friends and I have a guideline for these things. In general, we think it's good to remain single for about 1 month for every year long the relationship was. Talking to the Ex is 3 months for a one-two year, and six for anything longer.
Obviously no one gets punished if she doesn't follow the guidelines, but they do seem to work pretty well


Um. "How To Make Love To a Trans Person" was one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry I've heard. Thanks for that answer.


@SheWhoReadsInSkirts Yeah, I definitely cried. Get it, Gabe Moses.


I watched it while having dinner, and cried into my curry. I couldn't even chew.


Heyyy I'm LW2, and I just realized that the way I phrased that did sound kinda creepy. By 'sleuthing' I mean I just told one friend that I think he's hot, and that friend knew about his status because he's talked about it in a public way around him (they're not even particularly close so it wasn't told to him in confidence. The guy does a lot of gender-related art stuff and talks a lot about his trans experience). I'm not madly in love with an imaginary person/stalking him. I haven't even run into him since I sent this, sadly. But now I'm excited for when I do! Thanks for the excellent answer, Queer Chick.


@monkeybrains Go find him, sleuth. And then report back!


@dk Sleuathing? Is that what you kids are calling it these days.


@monkeybrains Please do report back! It's always nice when we get to meet a LW here in the comments. Good luck!

Porn Peddler

Yikes. Hearts in good places, terrible conclusions, stop forcing queerness on your sister and speculating about that dude's junk. And wow, dude's friends are......presumptuous at best. Edit: alright just saw LW2 comment, understood. Still came off as yikes though!

LW1: Mourning the road not taken is natural, as A Queer Chick has said. My partner has never had a problem hearing about my roads-not-taken, but maybe he is unusual. Whenever I get like that, though, I need to just let myself wallow in it and drink wine and listen to sad bastard music for like, 36-72 hours (the last time I got SEVERELY like that, I laid on my floor in my big headphones BLASTING "Ten Years Gone" and CRYINGGGGGGGGGG it ruled) and then everything keeps going on around me and I get back to work and I'm fine. I know it hurts, girl! LET IT HURT.

Now I have a question to crowdsource to the queer commentariat here on the hairpin: how do y'all feel about the use of the closeted/in/out language to apply to people who are asexual, poly, kinky (I'm going for categories that are not the expected standard in terms of sexual/romantic identity), just not exactly what we generally consider "queer?" I remember hearing from a few people that "feminist coming out day" was not. good. because of the language, but now I'm wondering where it is and is not appropriate to use. I'M VERY INVESTED IN PRECISE LANGUAGE.


@Third Wave Housewife I don't think I'd be offended by anyone referring to their own process as a coming out process. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I think anyone who has a non-normative sexuality can come out as that sexuality. The issue to me with feminist coming-out day is that feminism is NOT a sexuality.


@Third Wave Housewife I think sometimes "coming out" terminology gets overused (coming out as a libertarian, coming out as a vegetarian, coming out as a fan of The Bachelor!), but also think it can be a useful metaphor. If there's an identity you claim but can't be open about it because of serious social/political/physical consequences, then I think "coming out" as that thing might be applicable. But it's very easy for the term to drift away from its anchoring in the very real struggles of the queer community.


@Third Wave Housewife I agree with the people above about the use of coming out and closeted. It should be primarily about gender/sexuality stuff but definitely has uses when it applies to something that you have to keep hidden for fear of attacked/marginalized/etc.

@Third Wave Housewife I'm actually pretty offended by straight people "coming out as kinky" and equating it to coming out as gay. It pisses me off to no end. Whether or not you want to get spanked with a paddle by a lady wearing a pleather catsuit has little to no legal similarities with my situation as a queer chick at all. And quite frankly, coming out as kinky may result in being marginalized, but often because most people tend to back away from intimate conversations about other peoples' sex lives. (Yes, I know this is an invitation for the politically kinky types to rip me a new one -- rip away, I no longer do community organizing for queer shit in this city because more often than not, straight guys will show up and claim that they're oppressed because they like kinky sex.)

In general, I'm kind of pissed off when people of a lot of privilege (hetero, white, cis gendered, etc) talk about coming out because I see it as appropriation. I understand that the queer community thought up this nifty term to say "openly sharing my identity for the first time and claiming it as my own, despite the potential for marginalization." But when it's appropriated for freaking everything, it frustrates me. No, you don't need to "come out" as a vegetarian, get over yourself.

Apparently I'm feeling bitter today. I know it's because someone said some borderline racist/ethnocentric/xenophobic shit to me yesterday and I'm still stewing. So yeah, between straight kinky male activists being creepers all over the queer shit that I liked and now feel icky going to and dealing with a grown-ass adult saying the typical-yet-awful/embarrassing stuf about my "weird" last name.... uggghhh.

For the record, I'm Polish-American.

(sorry, super off topic)

Porn Peddler

@S. Elizabeth I appreciate your rage, I really do. I kind of figured I'd get a range of responses on this subject and I think I really needed yours especially.

@Third Wave Housewife I'm so glad my rage is appreciated.

@@serenityfound "it's very easy for the term to drift away from its anchoring in the very real struggles of the queer community." YES THIS.


@S. Elizabeth I definitely agree about the rage-inducing nature of white middle/upper middle class cisdudes "coming out" as kinky and so on, too.

@@serenityfound I'm so glad other people have experienced that, too! I find it really irritating because not only is it appropriation and squirm-inducing, but when they come out as "I'm a Dominant Sadistic Blah Blah Blah Kinky!" they don't seem to realize that while I don't fucking care what they do in bed, I might actually be sort of sensitive to hearing about big hairy dudes advertising their ability to identify as something that might scare the living shit out of me.


@S. Elizabeth I feel like they should consider themselves allies and draw a parallel (since they are a minority subset of a dominant group) without claiming it's exactly the same. And, thankfully, I've never actually been on the receiving end of that kind of conversation! I don't know that I'd be able to handle it...


@S. Elizabeth ::raising my fist in salute to you and to this awesome comment:: seriously, eff "coming out" as kinky.


@S. Elizabeth I, too, am a fan of your Rage. Largely because sometimes I think we have the same brain.

@Xanthophyllippa I love you, too.

Vera Knoop

@S. Elizabeth Oh, so much of this. I mean, I can see a submissive man or a dominant woman claiming to be outside the sexual norm (though "queer" is stretching it), but really, Mr. Dominant Man? You're into exactly what every straight male is socialized to do, but with more leather accessories, and you want to claim that you're oppressed? Hell with that.


@S. Elizabeth people seriously do that? 'come out' as 'kinky'? wtf? why would you even need to? I mean, you could discuss kink with your friends if you had the kind of friends who discussed your sex lives. but nobody's stopping people who like 'kinky' from getting married, walking down the street holding their partner's hand, denying them access to health treatment, etc. if you want to be 'out' about it in public, well, at most workplaces you shouldn't be discussing what you do in the bedroom. fail!!!


@S Elixabeth: so, as a kinky person, I both agree and disagree with you. Being "out" as kinky can, in fact, fuck up your life. You can lose your job, lose custody of your kids, and be generalized marginalized in your community if your appetite for deviant sex becomes known (it happens in divorce hearings all the time). And people do make assumptions about the moral fiber of people who are kinky, and one could make an argument that more people being out about their kink would lessen that, and we'd all be free to fuck who and how we like without other people trying to keep us down.

Having said all that, I've never felt a need to "come out" as kinky. My parents don't know, my college friends don't know, my coworkers don't know. Because they don't need to. My friends that I've met through the kink community obviously know, and they're a wonderful part of my life. My kink is a fundamental part of my sexual identity, and I'm not ashamed of it, and I'd be honest if someone asked me point-blank (or tried to use it to blackmail me), but I don't assume that everyone I meet cares that I like to be tied up and call my boyfriend "Sir." I also don't tell everyone I meet that I don't like Reese's and I'm not a Christian, for pretty much the same reasons: it's not relevant to our relationship.
(Also, for the record, white het cis males trying to claim "oppressed" status are stupid heads)


@Blushing Flower@twitter such a respectful response! love the hairpin!

@Blushing Flower@twitter As someone who actually does a lot of work with an organization that does legal work with/for the kink and poly communities (and as someone who has ties to them, long story), I'm *fully* 100% aware of how being kinky can fuck up your life. (WHY do we not have private messaging here???) So yeah, kink stuff can fuck up your life -- your custody battles, your divorce, second-parent adoption, adoption in general, blackmail, declaring it on your government security clearance documents (won't fuck up your life, but is awkward), the risk of others thinking that your consensual activity is assault, etc. So yup, fully aware.

BUT I think that the kink thing needs a different approach than the LGBTQ loud and proud approach. Politically, a lot of kink activists are trying to equate the LGBTQ movement with their own agenda for making kink acceptable, and I find it pretty offensive. That is because the reaction is different -- queer people were pushed to come out so that people could put a face to an oppressed group, a group suffering from systemic oppression with laws that actually discriminated against LGBTQ people. There's case law -- holdings in different jurisdictions -- that's troubling but no black-letter, written in stone DOMA or DADT style law saying "kinky shit is illegal." So the educational needs of these two groups and the outreach on behalf of these two groups need to be different, which is why the LOUD OUT-N-PROUD approach to kink identity just is not an awesome approach.

Also, nobody's going to claim sexual harassment in a workplace if I come out, even in the most conservative of workplaces. They might fire me (legally, in lots of states), but they won't claim that in sharing that information, I harass them by virtue of sharing my queer identification. However, I sure as shit would go to HR if someone at the average workplace came up to me and was like "Hi there. I like to have kinky sex and tie people up and hit them with sticks and shit." The reaction isn't because of the activity, but because it was shared and would surely make me feel really, really uncomfortable.

White straight cis men claiming oppression.... *headdesk*


I sympathize with LW4's sister. People have also accused me of being a lesbian because I didn't behave the way they thought a lady should behave. I'm sure LW4 means well, but I really think there's something distasteful about equating unhappiness/unpleasantness with closeted gayness. I have personally known people who were closeted who were homophobic and had other unsexy emotional problems. But not every asshole is secretly gay or otherwise sexually frustrated. And not every closeted gay person is an asshole, see Anderson Cooper. I don't think it helps the cause of gay rights to act as though you can only be a happy person if you're out and proud.


@needsmoresalt I just wrote a similar post that's going through. I've never been outrightly "accused" (yeesh, what a yuck term) of being a lesbian but I know that people in my little, fairly conservative town probably think I am - I never dated in high school, I'm not married/a mother yet like a good percentage of ladies I went to school with, I went to a women's college, I'm a FEMINIST (*le shock*). And, as a stubborn person who hates the people she grew up with, I can say that thinking people viewed me that way definitely didn't help my exploration of my sexuality any. Now I kind of loosely identify as queer or possibly asexual but I'm just as quiet about it as I was my assumed complete heterosexuality in high school. I'll tell people if they ask or it comes up in conversation but I don't usually offer the information willy-nilly. I think you should always be "proud" of who you are, but you don't need to tell everyone everything all the time - even if it's your family.


@@serenityfound The reason that I said that I was accused of being a lesbian is that people decided I must be a lesbian not only because I didn't have a boyfriend or husband, but because they didn't like my personality. It made me feel like it was just another way of saying that I was a big ol' bitch. Generally, I don't care what people's conjectures regarding my sexuality are. But I can definitely understand your desire not to tell everyone everything.


@needsmoresalt I didn't oppose to your use of "accused" as the fact that people do accuse folks of being gay if they're "bitches", more liberal, not on the Baby Track. It's such a weird, nonsensical ad hominem attacky thing people through out there.


@needsmoresalt This This This This This This This. So many people always "asssumed" me being gay, because I'm a tall, softball playing feminist. And I'm an asshole to the tiny redneck townies where I grew up. I'm not offended that they think I'm a lesbian, I'm just offended on behalf of lesbians that assholes think I'm representative of them?


Internet Margaritas! I'll fire up the Vitamix.


@punkahontas Man, you have no idea how badly I want a real non-Internet Margarita right now...


@Jinxie I used to work for someone who would walk around muttering, "I needa-Margarita," with that exact cadence, under her breath all day.


As someone who doesn't really discuss her sexuality/"private life" with her immediate family and also has a super-out lesbian sister, I would like to agree wholeheartedly with A Queer Chick's response to LW4. Whether or not your sister "comes off as" queer, DO NOT call her out on it. Maybe she's just super private about her sexuality/queerness/non-queerness. Maybe she's asexual and it just looks to you like she's into chicks. Maybe she's questioning but afraid/stubborn because she already feels like everyone thinks she is a lesbian and that weirds her out. Maybe it's a combination of some of all of that. Whatever her sitch is, if she's aware that your family is supportive, leave it be.

(For a minute there, I thought LW4 might be my sister and I got really freaked out. But I seriously doubt (hope) she doesn't think I'm "one of the most miserable, unpleasant people" she knows. I mean, we don't really talk but we aren't hostile with each other...)


@@serenityfound oof, yes. I've never been close to my sister, and I'm also intensely private about my sexuality with my family. When I was 14 or 15 I overheard my sister on the phone with a friend, saying she thought I was gay. It was pretty upsetting, because her only basis for thinking it was that I wasn't visibly boy-crazy the way she was, and here she was making all kinds of assumptions about my private feelings, despite never really understanding me as a person. And probably would have been even more upsetting if she'd tried to convince me it was "safe" to come out to her. Because I don't feel safe coming out to her. Not because she's anti-queer, but because we have a fraught relationship and I'm super-private about my feelings in general, and the less she knows about my intimate, personal feelings on any subject, the better. These days everyone in my family knows I'm dating men, and it's so much easier to just let them consider me comfortable heterosexual, because I just know that telling them I'm asexual would involve a ton of questions about my personal sexual behavior - even if they didn't ask out loud, I know they'd be think about it, and I don't want my sister speculating about what I do in bed now anymore than I wanted her speculating about my orientation when I was teenager.

Letter-writer, if your sister is not really in your life, just let her not be in your life. You know she's mean and negative and hard to deal with, so don't bother worrying about it when you don't have to deal with her. It's not your business anymore. I am really not a believer in this "it's just one of those things you know" stuff. if she's never spoken about having an attraction to ladies, you don't know if she's attracted to ladies. And you surely don't know about her gender identity.

@@serenityfound Or maybe she's a straight tomboy who got fed up with the equality message being shoved down her throat and has other shit going on in her life.


@@serenityfound My sister and I had a pretty difficult relationship in our late teens/early twenties. She was, frankly, a really difficult person to talk to and our contact was limited because of it. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I didn't like her... but she was definitely an emotional drain on me and the rest of our (small) family. It was really frustrating to deal with her and resist charging in and "fixing" her life. Well, now it's about 5 years on and my sister is one of my best friends. I'm not saying that this is or should be the case for every sibling relationship - some siblings will never be close, for various valid reasons. With us, though, my sister worked things out herself with the help of a supportive community outside of our family. After going through some serious reckoning (that is still happening), she was able to come to me and our parents and define what she needed from us. This really changed the dynamic that we'd had before, which was much more along the lines of "what are we going to do [my sister]?" Now, as a family, we're much more able to realize that we all have flaws and we all treat each other badly sometimes. Honestly, I'm chastened when I think about how little I respected my sister's ability to manage her own life. This experience with her has helped me realize that there is a huge difference between support and loving someone vs. managing their life. I don't know the complexities of LW4's relationship with her sister, but speaking as someone who also felt both estranged from and responsible for my sister I can empathize with the desire to change her when it seems so obvious what she needs. But in my case (and maybe in this one, too) my sister needed to separate herself from the meddling ways of the rest of the family in order to be more a part of it. So, I'd add a caveat to AQC's excellent advice - only contact your sister if you feel like you'll be able to respect her as an adult who makes her own choices and runs her own life. DO NOT reach out as a way to passive aggressively tell her how she should live.


@S. Elizabeth Preach!

@estraven I don't really know what my family thinks I "am" anymore, and I honestly just don't care. I know they would have some difficulty understanding what it means that I think I'm asexual but they wouldn't really judge me much but, yeah, I definitely don't want them speculating about me. It's such a weird feeling, to know people are wondering and assuming about such a private part of my life.

Also, a few years ago my sister and her girlfriend-of-the-moment came down for Christmas. I made some flippant, somewhat joking comment about "coming to terms with a lot of things about myself" lately and I half-heard the girlfriend crack a question-y joke involving closets. It pissed off poor little "quietly questioning" me a bit because a) had my sister shared the few things I /did/ tell her with someone who is a stranger to me? b) are you assuming that I'm cluelessly closeted? 3) ...why is this a joke? So, whatever safety I did feel with my sister in that area - gone.


@roadtrips yeah, sometimes what a person needs in order to make big changes in their life is time away from the people who are the most integral to the old, bad pattern.

@serenityfound several months into my first serious relationship my dad started talking to me about how he wanted me to achieve my goals in life and not let mistakes keep me from living up to my potential, and I realized he was trying to warn me not to get pregnant. Years later I informed my mother I was starting a birth control prescription. Those are the closest I've gotten to conversations with my parents about my own sex life, and that's quite enough for me. I could probably tell them if it somehow became really important for them to know, but my sister has no filter about her own life, and doesn't seem to understand why I wouldn't want all of her friends to know every feeling that passes through my heart/vagina. I just know they would like, sit around and discuss the possibilities. :(


@roadtrips This is really great, solid advice.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@roadtrips My sister occupies the same role in our family as yours did. Your story cheered me even though I can't yet imagine a situation where I'll get on with her, but it's encouraging to know that you guys made it through. Couldn't agree more about support vs managing. I wish my parents could get that into their heads.


@@serenityfound (replying to your first post) or maybe, what you (not you, serenityfound, but anyone in the LW's position) see as your family's openness and acceptance isn't as open/accepting as you think it is. I think my parents/bro would describe themselves as open, caring and accepting, I (little sister) don't disagree that they're caring, but I would add intolerably critical, nitpicking and condescending, which is why I have never involved them in my lovelife or brought a guy home to meet them, and never plan to until/unless I am on the cusp of getting married.


"It's kind of like there's this parallel universe where things worked out between the two of you, and then all of a sudden that universe collapses"

Yes. YES.

Also, the advice to LW3 to stop talking to her ex? Was so good, and I so needed that like, every time I've ever broken up with anybody. I'm terrible.

sarah girl

LW #2, another thing to consider: You could find a fabulous dude with a penis, but then find out that it's too big/small/oddly shaped/whatever and you find it a total turn-off. It can happen no matter what's in the dude's pants!

Are They Biting Ducks?

@Sarah H. I am reminded of a good friend of mine in highschool panicking because as it turned out, her dude's peen was like, perfectly rectangular. She swore it was all 90 degree angles. So yeah.


@Are They Biting Ducks? Was he a robot?!

Are They Biting Ducks?

@martinipie I don't know, but it spurred endless puns on round holes and square pegs.


@Sarah H.

You'll eat what's put on the table -- and you'll like it!

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

Oh my goddddddddddddd, Lindsay is friends with Gabe Moses?! I was just about to post that same poem in response to LW2! Gabe and I performed together a few years back. He is amazing!


@wamanda And he's siiiiiiiiiingle ;o)....


That poem is a video and from the brief bit of sound that just blasted through my office it sounded kinda NSFW! Just a warning! Boy is my face red right now.


not a queer chick myself, but I am freshly single and immediately cut off all contact with my ex when we broke up. I was the more broken-hearted one, and I knew that it is best for me to not talk to him for a while, as much as it hurts because I really really really miss him and do want to be friends with him someday. and I guess that since I'm the one who insisted on the no-contact rule and didn't set any terms for how long it would be, it's up to me to figure out when I'm ready.

but anyway, yes, agreed with that advice so hard. block on Facebook, block all possible avenues of communication. I mean, I guess I could still send him an email or LinkedIn message but I'm pretty sure that I can stop myself before it gets to that point...


@blee I think 3 months is magic. It's how long it takes me to get over someone. It's also how long it takes for sex to turn into feelings for me.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@blee Life is long. Someday you'll be ready to be friends again and there is no rush.


@blee That break from talking is all kinds of magic. I Gchat with my ex on a super regular basis (like...daily), but when we broke up I told him that I didn't think we should speak for a year (we were friends before we dated, we dated for 5.5 years, thought we were getting married, lived together, the whole shebang) and then if he wanted to talk, I'd be around. We didn't make it a year for a variety of horrible reasons, but those few months of not communicating were key to us being friends now. As is living in different cities, actually. That helps a whole bunch. But now we chat daily and call each other for holidays and I crash on his couch when I'm passing through his town. And none of that could have happened without some serious distance for a while.

Ham Snadwich

My college roommate's parents constantly reassured them that it was ok if he was gay. Like once a week or so. He wasn't, but it did kind of fuck with his head that his parents thought he was.


@Ham Snadwich My mom had that talk with me once. In my liberal school at the time, it was super cool to be in the Gay / Straight Alliance - all the kids who were also into the Cure and Allen Ginsberg were in it - but my poor mom didn't really get it.

I thought it was sweet at the time and I still do.


@Alexander I got a similar talk from my ma in high school, but unfortunately it was not a positive, affirming, "it's ok to be however you are." Much rending of garments and wailing "Oh God, where did I go wrong as a mother that you turned out this way??" It put me in a bit of a bind, because I wanted to reassure her that I wasn't a lesbian but at the same time didn't want her to think I agreed with her that being a lesbian was a bad thing. All I managed to get out was something like "Uh, no. I like dudes, really." before bolting to my bedroom to do homework in peace.


@Jinxie Oh man, that sucks. I would have gone gay just out of spite.

@Ham Snadwich Sometimes I wonder if that would be worse than my situation with my parents. I mean, my parents got me really used to the idea that being gay wouldn't be a walk in the park all the time (it was not "okay"). I mean, it prepared me for the real world pretty well, but I still feel like I have to hide my queerness, which happens to be the part of myself I like the most. My queerness and the introspection and the critical thinking about my own desires and expectations has made me a more thoughtful, critical, compassionate person. I wish I could share that part of myself with my family.

But Jesus Christ, I now see how the polar opposite of that might actually be not as awesome as I thought. Grass is greener?


@Ham Snadwich Essentially the same thing happened to one of my first boyfriends - everyone thought he was gay, told him it would be okay if he were gay, my friends asked me if I didn't think maybe he seemed a little gay? and he simply wasn't (or isn't, I suppose) but it got exhausting to have all this hypothetical acceptance constantly thrown at him that simply didn't apply. Just let people be!

Ham Snadwich

@S. Elizabeth - His dad's heart was certainly in the right place, but for a socially awkward teen who didn't believe he was well accepted in his peer group to believe that he was going have this other huge thing to deal with that was going to make him even more awkward and less accepted, that didn't go over so well.


My sister did not leave her ex-boyfriend because she realized she prefers ladies, BUT DEAR LORD SHE NEEDS TO HEAR THAT ADVICE SO BADLY. I have actually already given it, BUT. SHE. WILL. NOT. CUT. THE. CORD.


@Megan Patterson@facebook My sister too, not just with her ex but also with some toxic friends associated with him. I gave her the advice I saw on here one time - to get a calendar and give herself a gold star for every day she does not engage with them. She looked at me like I was crazy.


Yo Queer Chick, your advice is amazing. Nice column. You could even give advice that has nothing to do with queer people! I mean, if you wanted to.

Summer Somewhere

@Alexander no! she's ours! you can't have her. >:|

femme cassidy

@Alexander Send me your questions, I'll answer whatever! A few weeks back I gave someone advice on being vegetarian. (I mean, I'll answer anything I feel qualified to answer, so mostly stuff about Feelings, I guess? Or clothes, or beer, or books. If you write to me like "How can I become an astronaut?" I will not have a lot to offer you.) Also, thank you for the compliment!


@femme cassidy but...but how to become an astronaut is the only thing I need to know.

I don't even have any questions, actually. I just think this was a great column and as usual, as soon as straight people realize queer people are doing something cool, we want to barge into it. Good God, do you know where breeders would be right now if it weren't for Dan Savage? Hiding our porn and dildos, is where we'd be! It would be awful. It's SO HARD BEING A STRAIGHT GUY omg.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm gonna go have vanilla sex and then crush beer cans on my face.


@Alexander Don't forget to scratch, often, in public, while whining about how the damn feminists won't lay your WonderCock.


@teffodee I scratch, often, in public! (Well, I try to make sure nobody's looking.) Does this mean I'm a Straight Guy??


@frigwiggin "You might be a Straight Guy if..."


The Post-Break-Up Break is 100000% necessary. I wish I had taken everyone's advice when things with The Ex ended; they said "stop trying to be best friends still, even if you both want it it's not going to work out" -- but we were stubborn and kept seeing each other as friends.

And then there was the earth-shattering moment when one of our mutual friends (who is not a good person and not my friend anymore for this reason and several others) accidentally let it slip that The Ex was sleeping with someone else, 3 weeks after our 4-year relationship ended and 2 days after he swore to me that he wasn't sleeping with anyone new. I was devastated and cried every day for two months and I've spoken to him twice in the intervening 4 years.

For the sake of everyone involved, just don't talk to your ex for a while. He already knows you're sleeping with someone else, and is probably kicking himself for "giving you permission" (so to speak) ... so give him a break.


@Alli525 I had that earth-shattering moment over gchat, about 5 minutes before my whole office was going out for extremely strong margaritas with the new boss. And then my coworker/friend asked if I was OK. AND CHAOS ENSUED.

This anecdote as been an official endorsement of your statement.

Sarah Rain

@Alli525 No offense, but it seems like in your case the problem was not that you were still speaking to your ex, but that he was lying to you. The lesson to be learned from this is NOT "end all contact with this person even though up 'til yesterday he was the most important thing in your life." If that's the getting-over-it method that works best for you, awesome, but try not to tell other people it's the only way to go.


@Sarah Rain Well, had she stopped talking to him as she wished she had, she wouldn't have been lied to! Seems like it's a good idea for most people who are going through an unwanted, emotionally painful break-up.

Sarah Rain

I disagree with the no-contact-after-breakup advice. If one person needs it, sure, but what's being implied here is that the more broken-hearted party needs it applied to them For Their Own Good even if they say they don't want it. And not only is that untrue (I know plenty of people who maintained good relationships with exes through a breakup) but it's presumptuous to believe it's true for everyone.


@Sarah Rain I have to confess I was thinking this - it drives me batty when someone has that 'I know what's best for you' attitude. It's for ME to decide whether it's best for me to be cut off from you or not! But then, on the other hand, in hindsight it *was* the best decision when someone cut me off, even though I would never have done it myself .... So maybe don't listen to me!? (what I'm saying is, I do hear you!)


@Jenabeba I'm with you on that - I really, REALLY hate unsolicited advice so I try to be mindful of that with friends and do my best to keep my opinions to myself. But...the "no contact" rule has worked SO well for me in the past and I've spent well over a year watching a good friend try to stay friendly with/in frequent contact with her Ex only to have her heart rebroken every time she sees him or speaks to him or gets some news about his latest lady friend. For her sake I wish she would just knock it off and delete the juicebox from her contacts but it's her decision to make so I keep my trap shut. (Most of the time.)

Sarah Rain

@Jinxie A certain amount of unsolicited advice when you see someone hurting herself is fine, I say! That's what friends are for.


@Sarah Rain oh yes, I agree, a certain amount of unsolicited advice is definitely called for if a friend is hurting themselves. I value the fact that my friends can say to me 'seriously, you're being an idiot and you're hurting yourself!' and wont just tell me what I want to hear :-) I think I was more referring to the 'ex' or whatever, actually saying 'I'm going to stop calling you and talking to you because it's what you need, to get over me'. Fair enough cut off contact if *you* don't want to talk to me or see me, but don't dress it up in 'it's what's best for you' - you don't know what I need or is best for me. You know?


@Sarah Rain This is true! I guess the challenge is making sure "looking out for your friend's best interests" doesn't become "haranging them because they're not doing this exactly like you would." I've experienced the latter and it is no fun at all.

Sarah Rain

@Jenabeba I'm 100% with you; offering advice is very different from actually implementing an action for someone else's "own good." The latter is rather grossly paternalistic.


@Jenabeba Ah, I get what you're saying. One good thing I'll say about my latest Ex and how our break up happened (which was instigated by him) was that he gave me permission to contact him whenever, however, and however often I needed, and I believe he truly meant it. We had a few text exchanges in the week or so following the break up until I decided the no-contact rule needed to be applied and knowing it was my decision made it much easier for me to stick with.


@Jinxie Absolutely, I agree. I think that's a good attitude from your ex! x

crane your neck

Your advice is so thoughtful and so sound. Always look forward to this column! Thank you for writing.


Lindsay Miller for Prez. That is all.


@Maven You've got my vote.

@Maven Lindsay Miller 2016!!! For God, For Country, For Chicks Everywhere.

femme cassidy



@femme cassidy Ah ha, win.

Cat named Virtute

@femme cassidy For the first time ever I wish I had a car so that I could bumper sticker the shit outta that.


Thank you for your answer to LW1. I just found out today that my ex is engaged, and a ton of my friends are either preggo or playing with their new babies. Reading that was exactly what I needed. Well that and margarita in my hand. Thank you, it just made my day so much better and put my head in the right place.


@Kaitlin.mlk Always remember, you can't have margaritas if you're preggo, SO you're winning this round?


Heee! Loving the Ingrid Michaelson shoutout! I have tickets to see her on May 1st!


I SO have a question for A Queer Chick/A Dude/A Lady/Any Hairpin Expert That Wishes To Answer It, but it's all so complicated that I seriously just cannot find a way to get it all out of my head onto the screen (let alone in 300 words or less). Why must life be so hard?!


Vera Knoop

@KiwiTheBirdNotTheFruit Bullet points? That often helps me figure out what information to include and what information to leave out.


@KiwiTheBirdNotTheFruit I believe the Friday Open Thread could be useful here, just start laying out your question simply at the beginning of the post and then add details as people ask questions. Then you'll have advice from the whole Hairpin commentariat! (I've been thinking of doing this myself with my long, complex, drawn out conundrum)


@moose I like this idea. Also it would be quicker than waiting on A Whoever to get to my letter...(not that time is of the essence by any means; this is a rather ongoing, drawn-out, tedious problem)


@KiwiTheBirdNotTheFruit I know. I started to write something and it got in the 666-word range very quickly. I trimmed it down to like 580 and that's the best I could do. It didn't really seem that long, either. Friday Open Thread is a good idea.


Yes, bullet points are probably the way to go. I was also thinking I have been going about it the wrong way, and should really start at the end and work backwards, since the question is actually about my current situation, and while the 2+ years of tortured backstory are doubtless useful to get the whole picture, not really essential to answer the question!


Oof. The Gabe Moses video made me tear up and cheer!


You know when you said, "if it weren't for his understanding and support during the time I was discovering my queerness, and in fact for how comfortable he helped me feel with my own body and sexuality during our whole relationship, I don't know when I would have realized that I am gay. He's helped me with this amazing life changing realization"? If you haven't already, say this to him, preferably in a very special, handwritten way. Before you decide to cut off contact or whatever. Even if this seems obvious to both of you, you've mentioned it in passing before, or writing a formal card seems old school. I say this as a recipient of a such a card, even though the sentiment had been expressed to me previously. Considering the impact it still had on me and the fact that I still have the note to this day, I think everyone should do a lot more of this in life, even just concerning something you appreciate/d about a friend/lover/anyone. Trust.


Well this was posted a billion years ago. Regardless, LW#1, without going into too much detail, I hear you. Loud and clear.


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