close friend of ours is a gay male in his 40s. About seven
years ago, our friend met and briefly dated a not-too-bright,
conniving guy about 10 years younger. Our friend threw himself
into this relationship with his new “trophy husband” and did
everything he could for his new boyfriend. He financed his
apartment, paid his numerous bills, wrote his papers for school,
and even purchased all the boyfriend’s holiday gifts—all the
while keeping everything a secret so the boyfriend could keep
his big ego intact. After the boyfriend was back on his feet
with a new job, new wardrobe, new apartment, and new furniture
(courtesy of my friend), he dumped my friend and was having
sex with boys 10 to 15 years his junior.
Despite the terrible treatment he received, my friend does
everything he can to stay close to his ex. While our friend
is doing okay financially, he ended up mortgaging his home
several times to help bail his ex out of his self-inflicted
financial problems. For a long time, my friend wouldn’t date
anyone; he was keeping himself free on the chance that his
ex-boyfriend might want him back one day. Years later, when
my friend finally met someone and started seriously dating,
the old boyfriend quickly swooped in and convinced my friend
to end his new relationship.
This appears to be a never-ending cycle. My friend, despite
the fact that his ex still owes him thousands of dollars,
continues to buy him everything he can, as fast as he can—a
new condo, new furniture, and a new car. We love our friend
and we want him to be happy. However, he continues to be in
denial about the situation. He’s always defending his ex.
How do we help our friend move on from this opportunistic
user and finally cut the financial and emotional cords once
and for all?
did that “God grant me wisdom” poem go? The one harried moms
taped to their refrigerators back in the ’70s? Some 12-steppin’
horseshit about serenity or something? Oh yeah, here it is
again, thanks to Google: “God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change/The courage to change the things
I can/And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Good advice in the ’70s—good advice today.
So, HTW, you need to accept that—short of murder—there’s nothing
you can do that will convince your idiot friend to cut those
financial and emotional cords. Your friend’s behavior is pathetic,
his ex is beneath contempt, and you should refuse to play
along. When you’re with your friend and his ex comes up, screw
your courage to the sticking place and say something like
this: “He’s a user, you’re a fool, change the subject.”
And wise up, HTW. The more effort you go to, the more interventions
you stage, the more advice columnists you pester, the longer
your friend is going to cling to his ex-boyfriend. Your emotional
investment in his predicament is, without a doubt, feeding
your friend’s delusions. And your efforts to stop him from
being this boy’s cash slave are allowing him to mistake this
pathetic, self-destructive attachment for a grand, romantic
drama—a drama in which he’s playing the hero, not the fool.
I am addressing this to both ¡Ask a Mexican! and Savage
Love, hoping one of you will have an answer to this: Why do
Mexican chicks yell for their papi during sex?
Gabacho: Latinas calling men papi (daddy) during
sex or in day-to-day conversation is really more of a Caribbean
thing,” says Gustavo Arellano, author of ¡Ask a Mexican!,
“and my column isn’t called ¡Ask J.Lo! Then again, there was
that chilanga chula (hot-ass Mexico City chick) who’d
whisper it whenever the Mexican slipped her the chorizo .
. . so let’s answer your pregunta. In Mexico, as in
the rest of Latin America, fathers stand atop the machismo
mountaintop. They’re the hombres who allow or deny a daughter
permission to marry or leave the household, the man that wives
must tend to and sons respect, fear, and follow. Dads earned
such a place in Mexico gracias to the cultures of Catholicism,
the Conquest, and the Aztecs—all governed by males who considered
women little more than birth canals. Mix the three societies
together, add some Freudian and Oedipal impulses, and you’re
left with some fucked-up sexual mores that a half-century
of Chicana feminism and modernity have yet to eradicate. But,
hey: Better your brown lady yell ‘papi’ during coitus than
‘¡Ay, chiquito gabacho!’ ¿Qué no?”
To read my response to Daddy Del Diablo’s question, you’ll
have to swing over to www.ocweekly.com/columns/ask-a-mexican.
Got a questions for Gustavo? You can e-mail him directly at
Well hello there, Mr. Savage. I’m the woman who had
that boy tied up in my bedroom during a party this summer.
I knew that one of my guests happened upon him before I read
your column last week, because he told me about it. I wish
I knew which one of my guests it was—I was hosting my firm’s
summer barbecue on my deck and there were a lot of people
here—because I would like to thank her for not calling the
Do your readers want the rest of the story? I’m sure they
do. The boy is not quite half my age: He’s 21, I’m 38. He
worked at a Starbucks in my office building. He noticed me
noticing him, we flirted a bit, and then one night I ran into
him in a bar. We ditched our respective friends, and slipped
out to get a drink together.
At the next bar, he asked me if I was married. I told him
I was recently divorced, having waited way too long to DTMFA.
I asked him if he wanted to fool around. He said yes (actually
he said “fuck, yeah!”), but our age difference was an issue
for him. I promised to obey the “campsite rule,” i.e., I would
leave him in better shape than I found him (no broken hearts,
no diseases, no unwanted babies). That’s when he told me that
he was submissive and into bondage and S&M. He offered
to fulfill any fantasies I might have, telling me he was GGG.
It was then that we realized we had been speaking entirely
in Savage Love code.
He’s been reading your column since he was 15, and says you’re
the reason he can be so open about his kinks. I’ve been reading
you since I was 29, and you’re the reason I wasn’t shocked
by his kinks. We had oodles of fun this summer—which included,
yes, me keeping him tied up in my bedroom while other people
were in my apartment. And we have you to thank, Dan!
Provided neither of us is seriously dating anyone by then,
we’re planning on getting together around Christmas. And no
more leaving him tied up alone, I promise! And the woman who
“accidentally” found him while looking for the bathroom? She
had to walk past two bathrooms before she got to the one nearest
my bedroom. She was snooping!
You’re welcome, BFD, and thanks for sharing.
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.