DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #18

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Dear Sugar,

I am a thirty-something-year old woman who has been on the pill for awhile now. When I think about how much the pill has cost me over the years the number starts to upset me a little. Straight up: I think my current boyfriend should start sharing half the cost with me, but we rarely discuss money (in fact, the only costs we’ve split up until now are movie tickets and the price of dinner).

What do you think? If you think it’s a fair request, how do you think I should bring it up with him?

Thanks,
Dutch Girl

 

Dear Dutch,

Sounds reasonable to me. He is, after all, the chief beneficiary of your expenditure. The fact that you’d feel weird about bringing this up at all is a testament to one of the more insidious forms of sexual repression in our pornographied culture. In theory, the costs of birth control – whether raincoats, ovular laxatives, or whatnots – should be shared. But they almost never are. We want to preserve the fantasy that sex is something spontaneous and wild and a little covert. An activity redolent of adolescent devil may caredom, rather than one with adult consequences.

I mean, just imagine what would have happened if Bristol Palin had asked Levi Johnston to go halfsies on a cervical yarmulke? He’d be all like, “Come on, baby. That’s crazy talk. Little Levi knows what to do. I trained him real good.” And Bristol would be all like, “I’m serious, Levi! I read somewhere, like in a book, that I could get pregnant. And if that happens, you have to pretend to love me and Dick Cheney gets to sketch you in your underwear.”

I’m pretty sure Levi would moved on to easier prey.

As for you, Dutchie, I don’t know how long you’ve been shtupping this fellow, or how well you guys communicate. But honesty remains the best policy. Just tell your Levi you think fuck pills should be a shared cost. Try to remember that this guy is not to blame for your entire history of footing the bill, and he’s likely to get his nose slightly out of joint. (He is, after all, a man.) He may even pull the old, “Wow, this conversation seems a little heavy. We’ve only been together XX weeks…” In which case you can calmly explain that you’re not asking him to sign a ketubah. This is a simple financial concern that falls under the Fairness Doctrine.

I’m going to guess that making sweet love to you probably ranks as more fun than dinner and a movie in his book, and given that it costs money to partake in that activity as he does (i.e. bareback), I can’t see why he wouldn’t come around to your way of thinking. Unless he’s a dickhead. That’s always a risk. The question then becomes: how much longer do I want to fuck a dickhead? My own track record with that question ranks somewhere between sad and deplorable, so I’ll defer to your good judgment.

 

Dear Sugar,

Hope you can help with this friendship etiquette question. I’m one of the few people in my immediate circle of friends with a car, and because I don’t drink and enjoy driving and choosing the music, I end up chauffeuring everyone about a good deal. Most of my friends are solid folks with a good understanding of reciprocity, and they’ll throw a few bucks towards gas if I’m filling up while they’re there, or spot me a soda once we get to where we’re going as a thanks. But then there is my best bud, who is my best bud for many reasons, but thoughtfulness is actually not one of them.  Best bud benefits the most by far from my driving ways, but never offers to chip in for gas unless I bring it up first, and he is so spoiled at this point that he doesn’t even bother with a “thanks for the ride” when I’m dropping him off at his motherfucking door.

What can I do here?  Like I say, when I mention that it’d be cool if he’d throw in, he’s usually amenable (though he almost never carries cash and weasels out that way too), but I feel lame and naggy bringing it up all the time. Your thoughts?

Mini Driver

 

Dear Mini,

So you’ve got a best bud who doesn’t bother to thank you when you deliver him to his “motherfucking door.” Nice. I’m going to guess that he’s one of those charming mooches who considers his good company a form of payment. On the face of it, this seems like an unfair arrangement. Based on your use of the adjectival modifier “motherfucking” you seem to agree.

But you certainly don’t need to bring this up all the time. Once should be enough. Just sit Fonzie Moocherella down and tell him that you’re his best bud not his chauffeur and as much as you enjoy his company, you don’t like feeling taken for granted. The issue isn’t money, it’s respect. Pretty simple.

If he can’t own up to treating you shitty, well then the ball’s in your court. Do his other good qualities outweigh his inconsideration in this matter? I have a hunch you already know the answer to that one.

 

Sugar,

Is it possible to find a partner in a chat room or in a virtual world? Can I trust the people I meet there? It’s impossible to meet someone at work (trust me…it really is); and as I have a child, it’s hard to go out to meet people. Any suggestions?

Lonely Mom

 

Dear Lonely,

Yes, it is possible to find a partner in a chat room. It is also possible to find a partner in AA, or in a biker bar, or in divorce court. But I would not recommended these venues. They are not what I would call “target rich” environments. They are what I would call “loser rich” environments.

Lookee here: the best way to meet someone is the most organic way, through activities you actually enjoy, that involve you moving through the world as an actual human being, not a cyber construct. If this is impossible given your situation, ask your friends to help out. If you must resort to the internets at the very least improve your odds. Place an ad with a few sites that look simpatico to you. That way, you’re at least connecting directly with other people ISO.

The bummer part here is that you need to muster some patience. Chat rooms are seductive precisely because they offer a short cut to intimacy. But you want the real thing, Lonely. That takes time and good fortune and work. In the mean time, I’d spend your excess energy on red wine and masturbation.