DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Short and sweet. I just want to know how unhealthy it is that my girlfriend continues to be friends with all these men that openly want to have sex with her.
DEAR CONCERNED: Normally, this is the sort of question I’d pass over because there’s pretty much nothing here and one that usually gets a snarky one-sentence answer. But I decided to feature this one because, frankly, I get this question a lot and honestly, in a lot of cases the details don’t matter. Yeah, there’re questions of “have they actually said ‘Hey, Concerned’s Girlfriend, I want to part you like the Red Sea and plow you like a field’ or are you assuming this?” and “Have you talked to your girlfriend about how you feel?” but at the end of the day, this comes down to one singular issue:
Either you trust your girlfriend or you don’t. That’s really it.
See, one of the things that everyone is going to have to get over is the idea that other people are going to want to f
k their partner. Some of those people may very well be their friends. Hell, those people may well be their close friends. Some may be secretive about it, never letting on that deep in their minds, they fantasize about getting some intense crotch-snuggles with your sweetie. Some will be faking being their friend in order to get there. Some will be quite open about it. And while it’s important to be open with your partner about how you feel about such things – letting them know that you might be feeling a little uncomfortable with the level of intimacy the other person is assuming or asking for, f’rex – the thing you need to keep in mind at all times is very simple:
It takes two to horizontal tango. Or to mambo with the mamba. To bring the Ark into the Holiest of Holies. To be banged in the butt by the Space Raptor Invasion.
So at the end of the day, the fact that dudes may line up for miles in hopes of getting into your girlfriend’s panties, Concerned, it doesn’t matter because no matter how much they may want to raid her tombs, it ain’t going to happen unless she wants to f
k them as well.
And don’t get me wrong: the fact that she’s hanging out with dudes who want to f
k her isn’t an indication that she is planning on – or wants to, or has even thought about – f
king them. Maybe she doesn’t know. Maybe she does and is willing to overlook things because he’s not an a
hole about it or because their friendship has always been flirty and that’s just their dynamic, or she knows and really wishes he’d drop the subject because otherwise he’s a decent guy or she knows but he’s never said anything so she’s willing to pretend she doesn’t know.
Now, maybe she does know and likes stringing those guys along. In which case the problem isn’t her friendship with those guys, it’s her personality, and you’re better off breaking up with her because Jesus, who wants to deal with that bulls
t? But the likelihood of that is so damn rare that you may as well buy some scratch-offs while you’re at it because if you beat those odds, you might win $75,000 at the Circle-K.
But back in the world where women aren’t conniving, Machiavellian schemers who mostly exist in the fetid and fedora’d imaginations of guys who they’d never date in the first place…
You don’t get to dictate who your girlfriend is friends with or under what conditions she’s able to be friends with them. Either you trust her, or you don’t. If you do trust her, then it’s on you to use your words like a grown-up and ask for a little reassurance from her because right now you’re feeling a little insecure and you’d appreciate it if she could help walk you back from the edge. If you don’t trust her, then it’s time to break up with her.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: A few years ago I met a guy. I thought he was cute and we were both socially awkward. Two years ago we had an awkward make out session and that was the end of the crush, but we’re still friends.
I noticed after the make out session that he started getting kind of weird. I am pretty sure he’s a closeted transgendered individual. I kind of brushed off the signs like him always identifying with the female protagonist and his favorite shows being about people who felt like they were born in the wrong bodies.
Last year we went to a fan convention and he decided to dress up as a female character. When he asked me if he should do it, I told him to do whatever made him happy. I didn’t realize that by telling him to do what he wanted that it put me on the hook for having to emotionally support his decision.
He spent the entire convention making me do his hair and makeup. He asked me every five minutes if he looked pretty. He wanted to obsess about how his bra made him feel and how to avoid showing his underwear when he leaned over.
He also started a fake Twitter account where he pretends to be a girl. He will contact me to gleefully tell me that some guy is flirting with him because they think he’s a girl. He will ask me if I think this person is flirting with him and what should he say back.
I have never mastered the fine art of being a girl. I didn’t spend my teenaged years sitting around my pink bedroom with my friends talking about my period like the chick from “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.” I got sexually harassed and assaulted and consider it a miracle that I survived my teenaged years without committing suicide. I find it very difficult to get giddy and enthusiastic with this guy over things that caused me a great deal of shame and pain growing up.
Any time I try to make it clear to this guy that I don’t want to talk about make up and would rather go back to talking about Doctor Who like we used to, I get accused of being intolerant of his kinks even though he staunchly refuses to identify as trans.
I am trying to be tolerant. I think people have the right to do whatever they want to, but that includes me too who doesn’t want to spend days assuring a guy he looks pretty while he talks about how the underwire from his bra is digging into his chest.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this because he made me swear not to tell any of our friends he is doing this. I told a friend about it and she told me to keep it to myself because it would make me look bad to tell anyone that this guy is doing these things. I am incredibly depressed and upset and don’t know what to do.
DEAR RELUCTANT GIRLFRIEND: Whether your friend is trans or not is beside the point. The problem is that, cis, trans, non-binary or just kinky, your friend is kinda being an asshole. It’s one thing to be excited about something and really want to discuss it with a close friend. It’s another entirely to get pissy at someone you’re (general you, not you, RG) friends with and manipulate them into only talking about the things you want to talk about by insisting that they’re a bad person because maybe they’d like to talk about something else for once.
You’re right: the fact that your friend wants to talk about their crossplay or make-up doesn’t mean that you have to as well, especially if that’s something that makes you uncomfortable. Friendships go both ways; you’re allowed to have preferences too. Pulling the “you’re kink-shaming me” card is a manipulative and s
tty thing to do to someone when all they want to do is change the subject.
If this is them getting taking baby steps towards getting comfortable with their gender, then hey, more power to ‘em. It’s important to support your friends in times of crisis or confusion. But being a supportive friend doesn’t mean you don’t get to have boundaries, nor do they get to run roughshod over yours. This is a case where they’d do better to find someone who IS interested in talking about this. Not every friend in somebody’s social circle needs to share ALL of their interests or talk about ALL of them at all times.
So what do you do? Well, if your friend refuses to acknowledge your stated preferences and discomfort and tries to guilt you into playing along anyway… you break up with them. You can – and should – break up with friends, especially if they’re being s
tty to you. The fact that they may or may not be trans doesn’t give them a “get out of being an a
hole free” card, nor does their circumstances (whether their coming to terms with their gender identity or just discovering that they’ve got a specific fetish) mean that you’re handcuffed to them like you’re in The Defiant Ones. You’re allowed to stop being friends with someone for pretty much any reason, really. You’re not on the hook to manage their feelings or be their personal sounding board and cheerleading squad.
So let things end. It doesn’t have to be a big blow-up; you don’t have to make a production over dumping them as a friend. You can just as easily let things dwindle away – as friendships often do – by being less and less available if you prefer. But either way: give yourself permission to end the friendship. They can find someone who does want to opt-in and talk about make-up and boys and pretty dresses and you can find your fellow Whovians who want to come up with head canon about how Attack The Block is the time the Doctor met up with Finn from Star Wars and also how we really don’t need any more episodes about giant spiders, ever, thanks.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org