DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #25


Dear Sugar,

I really like this boy who I work with and I’m pretty sure that he fancies me. We’re both single and are constantly flirting with each other. I think we should give a relationship a go, but I’m afraid that it might ruin our friendship. Everyone who knows us has already said that we should be going out and are an ideal couple. I get along with his friends and really think that it could work. What should I do?



Dear Emma,

There must a hundred thousand of you youngsters out there, simmering away in your overdetermined lust, filling our hipster coffee shops and bodegas with the watery broth of glandular ambivalence. What is it with you people? Are you masochists? To you get off on dread?

Sheesh. Back in my day, the limits were all external. You didn’t mess around because God said not to. Or maybe you were with someone else, less suitable. And not even that stopped us. We really wanted the ecstatic ruin back then. But oh well. The new generation, with all your virtual rubbernecking, your staring screens, maybe you don’t have the stomach for that kind of fleshy urgency. Which is your own worst punishment. And maybe some tawdry form of protection. I’ve given up trying to understand anyone I can’t roll over in bed and nudge.

One thing I can say for sure is that calling your intended (or whatever he is) a “boy” doesn’t auger well for anyone. I prefer to be fucked by men, Emma. Or women. Full-fledged adults is what I’m driving at.


Dear Sugar,

I’m in love with a woman but every time I see her she tells me we should really just be friends, then at some point she has sex with me. Then kicks me out. It’s like rejection as foreplay. It makes me feel bad, but I can’t get enough of her. Do I just accept the terms of the relationship? What’s wrong with me?

Some Guy


Dear Guy,

There’s nothing wrong with you. The dance of despair you’re doing is one that most women have mastered by about age eighteen. Welcome the club, brother!

What can you do about it? You can stand up for yourself and hope that’s what she’s been fishing for all along. The risk being that she gives you the heave ho. Or you can hope to woo her into a more compassionate model of behavior. Or you can accept what you can get because her candy is just that good. Them’s your options. It really depends on your priorities.

One thing to consider: it may be that you can’t get enough of this woman because she treats you like shit. You wouldn’t be the first.