usually get mail about the sex lives of your readers, being
a “sex advice columnist” and all, but I have a problem that
has nothing to do with sex. I have a parenting problem, and
given that you are a fellow parent, I’m hoping you have some
My brother is a social conservative; I’m a politically engaged
liberal. I can’t change him, but I’m disturbed because his
son, who we’ll call “George,” is 13 years old and has taken
on many of his dad’s more intolerant views. For instance,
whenever I suggest that my toddler-age son could have a girlfriend
or a boyfriend when he grows up, George says, “Being gay is
just wrong.” He also uses the word “gay” as a pejorative,
as in “that’s so gay.” George takes every possible opportunity
to let us know that he thinks homosexuality is wrong and dirty.
George loves my son, and my son clearly thinks the world of
George. So I have two questions:
1. Do you have any suggestions as to how to convince a 13-year-old
boy that homosexuality is OK? I have no parental authority
2. Is there an ethical problem with me trying to convince
George to adopt my values, in spite of my brother’s intention
to raise his son with “his values”? Or, put another way, does
my trying to sway George without my brother’s permission give
my brother license to use words like “fag” in front of my
son without my permission?
Liberalism In Youth
be such a liberal pussy, ALIY. You’re letting a 13-year-old
boy-bigot smack you around! It’s time to stop wringing your
hands and start wringing the little bastard’s neck.
Your nephew feels free to share his opinions with you—and
that’s great. Kids have a right to express themselves. But
you are an adult—Hello!—and you have a right
to express yourself right back. And you can express
yourself every bit as bluntly as George. “Being gay is just
wrong,” says the nephew. “You’re just wrong, you little
shit,” says the uncle. (That’s how my uncles addressed me.)
Then you advise your punk-ass nephew to read a book, learn
something about the subject, and maybe talk to a real live
gay person before he opens his fool mouth to you again on
Fathers are free—sadly—to teach their sons whatever ridiculous
bullshit they care to. I’m teaching my son, for instance,
that the theory of gravity is just a theory and that invisible
wads of magic chewing gum hold everything down. Your brother,
however, can’t expect you to censor yourself around his misinformed,
opinionated son to protect the kid from the realization that,
hey, maybe—just maybe—there are other opinions out there and
maybe his dad is wrong about homosexuality. So put your brother
on notice: If his son is going to share his opinions—your
brother’s opinions, but whatever—with adults who disagree
with him, then your nephew is going to get into arguments
with adults, arguments that—with you, at least—your nephew
is going to lose.
Because you’re going to stop being such a liberal pussy, ALIY.
If your brother insists that you STFU about your pro-gay views
around his kid, you have a right to insist that he and his
son STFU about their anti-gay views around your kid,
who might—the chance is small, but there’s a chance—grow up
to be gay.
Your nephew, of course, could be gay himself. Lots of closeted
gay teens and tweens seize “every possible opportunity” to
let their relatives “know [they] think homosexuality is wrong.”
I’m tempted to add, “And here’s hoping your piece-of-shit
nephew is a fag—it would serve your brother right.” But odds
are good that your nephew, if he is gay, would grow up to
be a very messy gay adult, thanks to the zap his dad put on
his head, and we’ve got enough messy gay men lurking in the
shrubbery already, so here’s hoping the nephew is straight.
Finally, ALIY, no one is going to take away your liberal card
if you stop working your toddler son’s potential future gay
boyfriends into conversation. It’s not a crime against progressive
values for a parent to assume that his son will most likely
be straight when he grows up because—and you might want to
sit down for this, you liberal pussy—most of our sons will
be straight when they grow up. It’s hardly child abuse, ALIY,
to refrain from asking others to entertain the possibility
that your toddler son will one day enjoy taking it up the
And if you are going to speculate, ALIY, how dare you stop
at gay? A boyfriend or a girlfriend? What if he’s bisexual
and wants boyfriends and girlfriends? Or what if he’s
poly and wants scads of boyfriends and girlfriends? Or what
if he’s asexual and doesn’t want anyone? Or, hell, what if
he’s into inanimate objects like that British guy who got
arrested for fucking a bicycle? Or into dead animals like
the nut in Wisconsin who got arrested for fucking a dead deer?
Or what if he’s a cuckold fetishist and wants a girlfriend
who has other boyfriends who blow loads in her that your son
gets to slurp out of her pussy when she gets home while talking
about how much he loves “cream pie”? Shall I go on?
I shan’t, ALIY, because there’s no need. Contemplating—to
say nothing of forcing others to contemplate—our children’s
future sex partners and interests is unnecessary. We parents
shouldn’t be in denial about children’s sexuality, of course,
and we should make sure our children receive excellent sex
education. But beyond that, we should demonstrate a quiet
reserve, a respect for our children’s privacy, and refuse
to indulge in gratuitous speculation. We can also demonstrate
acceptance by being accepting, by letting our kids know that
it’s OK with us if they’re gay or bisexual—or straight—through
our actions and, at carefully chosen moments, through our
Otherwise, ALIY, our primary responsibility as parents is
to STFU, as the kids say, launder crusty come socks without
comment, and let them be who and what they are.
I’m a female college student and a feminist. I expect
equal pay, equal treatment, and fairness when it comes to
chores at home. But I have fantasies of domestic discipline.
Some days I’d like to rush home and clean the apartment and
make dinner for my boyfriend wearing only an apron. Then I’d
appreciate it if he’d find some excuse, something I did wrong,
and spank me until I cry before he has wild sex with me.
I’ve got plenty more fantasies where that one came from.
My guy, being open-minded, would be up for this. But how on
earth do I set effective boundaries? How can you be taken
seriously as an equal when you tell your boyfriend that you’d
like him to dominate you outside the bedroom (the cooking
and cleaning aspect) on occasion? I want this to be a periodic,
not a consistent, dynamic. It’s totally unrealistic to pretend
to be Betty Crocker all the time.
a necklace or a bracelet, NCA, that you wear only when you
want the boyfriend to take charge. You decide when that bracelet
or necklace goes on, you decide when it comes off, which puts
you in control, paradoxically, of your own submission.
When you’re wearing it, of course, you’re Betty Crocker (whoever
she is) and the boyfriend has your consent to order you about,
spank your ass, and fuck you senseless. When it’s off, you’re
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.