a man in my early 30s and I have never been in a serious relationship.
I started seeing a therapist to “get to the bottom” of my
relationship problems and her opinion is that they may stem
from an incident that happened years ago. I was raised by
a single mom. When I was about 15 years old she went through
a very bad breakup, and while I was comforting her we wound
up having intercourse. I was a virgin. This only happened
once, and we’ve never spoken of it.
My therapist feels that the first step in overcoming my relationship
problems is to confront my mother, but I’d really rather not
do this since my mother and I have a good relationship now
and I don’t want to destroy it. My therapist is pressuring
me to speak with her and it’s very hard to get a second opinion
on a matter like this. I don’t think the incident with my
mother caused my current problems and further, I don’t see
how talking to her about it will do any good. Any words of
wisdom for me?
man, I fucking hate Tom Cruise. After his spaztastic therapist-bashing
meltdown last year, it’s impossible to say anything negative
about shrinks without people accusing you of being a closet
But I’m going to risk it: Fuck your therapist, TGS. She’s
not your parole officer—you don’t have to do what she says
and you’re free to go find another therapist if she’s pissing
you off. If you don’t want to screw up your relationship with
your mother and if you really feel that this one hugely
fucked up sexual encounter did not cause your current problems
(plenty of men who’ve never fucked their mothers have relationship
problems), then your therapist should stop hectoring you and
start listening to you.
Oh sure, your therapist may have your best interests at heart,
and it may be what she, with her fancy education, sincerely
thinks is best. But she could also be one of those conflict
junkies who pass themselves off as therapists. Tell her for
me that ripping open old wounds doesn’t always lead to scenes
of weepy reconciliation and newfound emotional health. Sometimes
it just makes a bloody mess of things.
But if you decide, after carefully weighing my advice against
your therapist’s, to go ahead and talk to your mom, perhaps
your therapist might agree to recast this conversation? Instead
of confronting your mom, maybe you can have, I don’t know,
a conversation with her?
Unless she was blind drunk when it happened, your mother remembers.
Getting fucked by your 15-year-old son isn’t something a woman
ever forgets. If your mom is a manipulative, dysfunctional
sack of shit, she may deny that it happened. But if she’s
a reasonable human being (albeit one who once made a terrible,
criminal error), she may be relieved to finally have a chance
to talk about this with you. It’s entirely possible that she
longs to apologize, but has never broached the subject for
fear of embarrassing you. Tell your mom you don’t think it
did you any significant damage (which is true—that’s what
you think), but that you wanted to finally acknowledge that
this thing happened, that it was supremely fucked up, and
that she, as the adult and the parent, owes you an apology.
After a fun-filled night, my wife and a group of friends
decided to call it a night. We were intoxicated and crashed
at a friend’s house. I took a couch, my wife took a futon
on the other side of the room, and a friend, let’s call him
“Wilbur,” took another couch. A couple of hours after everyone
passed out, my wife woke up to the sounds of Wilbur undressing
in front of the couch I was sleeping on. He then started masturbating
over my feet while working his asshole. Horrified, my wife
did not know what to do. He finished in his sock (not on me),
and went back to his couch. I was told of the incident the
next day. We don’t know if this was a drunk thing or a deliberate
act because no one wants to confront him about it. I really
hope it wasn’t a deliberate thing. Thoughts?
afraid of confronting your friend because it would make him
uncomfortable. But he did something deeply creepy/relatively
harmless that made you uncomfortable. So why not lob the discomfort
back into his court? He may blame the booze, or insist that
he doesn’t remember, or tell you that he sleepwanks, but he
needs to know that he was spotted that night.
Listening to pundits discuss George W. Bush on the radio,
I was inspired by your brilliant acronym (DTMFA) to yell:
“Impeach the Motherfucker Already!” I’d love to see a line
of bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing that sensible message:
ITMFA. We need a shorthand for the obvious—think of the boost
to productivity we’d get if we could cut half-hour conversations
about Bush to five simple letters! I appeal to you to bring
this acronym into our everyday vocabulary!
My Motherfucker Already
resisted all previous calls to launch new santorum-style campaigns,
DMMA, but your suggestion appeals to me. It takes a lot to
lift my spirits these days—something about knowing that George
W. Bush is going to be in office for three more fucking years
makes every day a gloomy one—but contemplating the sight of
ITMFA buttons, T-shirts, lapel pins, and bumper stickers definitely
lifted my spirits.
But I need to consult my readers. While I get all the credit
for launching santorum-the-substance, it was a reader who
suggested a contest, and another reader who suggested the
winning definition. It was my readers who made Rick Santorum
what he is today—an international laughing stock. So I put
it to those same readers: Should Savage Love get behind a
campaign to popularize ITMFA? Would you wear buttons? T-shirts?
Lapel pins? Would you help push the Web site to number one
on Google? Would you put ITMFA bumper stickers on your cars?
Dear Dan Savage: I was flattered to hear that you and your
readers had picked up our reference to santorum in The
Economist, but I just wanted to disagree with—or hope
to disagree with—your reader who ventured that they were unusual
in reading both Savage Love and The Economist. I hope
very much they are not. Although nonreaders often think of
us as a conservative magazine, we’ve actually always been
socially highly liberal, whether on immigration, gay rights,
or many other things, including favouring the legalisation
of drugs. The Economist was among the first mainstream
publications, on either side of the Atlantic, to advocate
legal recognition of gay partnerships when I ran a cover on
the subject in 1996 and then another in 2004.
Our readership is younger than that of other current-affairs
or business publications, and I like to think that, like us
writers, that they are thoughtful, intelligent folk. But you
were right: It is not only gay activists who use the term
santorum in that way. Maybe being edited in London explains
why we got that wrong.
Emmott, Editor, The Economist, London
for being a big enough editor to admit that you were wrong,
Bill. I was about to call for the entire staff of The
Economist to be beheaded but, hey, now there’s no need.
But could you print the definition for your readers who aren’t
familiar with it?