You know what? Sooner or later everyone gets cheated on. Some researchers put the odds of one or both partners in a long-term relationship cheating at 80 percent. Toss in the likelihood of being cheated on in a short-term relationship, IDEAS, and the odds that you'll be cheated on sooner or later climb to 100 percent. It sucks, sister, but there's not a lot you can do about it.
I would advise you to regard cheating the way you no doubt regard something else that you can't do anything about: death. Surely you're aware that you're going to die; we're all going to die. And why don't you run around in a panic about that? Because you refuse to obsess. You put it out of your mind. You live, as we all do, in a state of denial about death. Oh, you might think about death every once in a while, IDEAS, and you might consciously avoid doing dumb things that might hasten your death (smoking, shooting heroin, voting for Ralph Nader), but most of the time you live in pure, unalloyed, comforting denial about your certain demise.
Why not take the same approach to cheating? Like death, it's gonna happen to you sooner or later. You can do your best to avoid it by, say, getting to know guys well before you make a commitment, refusing to date guys you know have cheated on other women and refusing to date Nader supporters (they're notorious cheaters). If, despite your best efforts to avoid cheaters and Nader voters, you realize you're dating a guy who gives you cause to believe he's cheating on you, then you can worry about it.
Otherwise, be in denial about the likelihood, if not the certainty, that some guy, some day, is going to cheat on you. And if you're lucky, IDEAS, the guy who does cheat on you will have the decency to hide it from you.
I'm a 22-year-old gay man. I moved to New York from San Francisco and decided to try to start dating again. I've been here only a little over a week but have had no luck meeting anyone. I've posted ads on several Web sites and have gotten lots of responses, but everyone I send my photo to suddenly loses interest. I know the photo I'm sending isn't the greatest (it was taken in a photo both) but I didn't think I was that bad looking. Do I just give up and stick to masturbating or what?
Two things are working against you when you send that photo to guys who respond to your personal ads, NKIT. First, it's a terrible photo. Second, you seem to be unaware of an assumption that people generally make about the photos other people send out or post on personals Web sites. When you send someone your photo, he assumes that it's the best photo that has ever or will ever be taken of you. So when you send out a bad photo -- and that's an awful photo -- guys look at it and think, "Shit, if that's the best photo that has ever been taken of this guy, he must be one ugly motherfucker!" My advice: Get some better, more flattering pictures, ones that make you look a little less like a Nader voter who's just been hit on the head with a brick.
I know your liberal heart means well, Dan, but the response you gave to SAUDI typifies much that is wrong with the Western attitude toward the Middle East. While SAUDI is partially to blame for having the poor judgment to ask you about sexual ethics, your statement "Unlike the country you left behind, there are no morals police in the part of North America where you live" smacks of haughty, imperialistic condescension. You totally ignored the fact that the values SAUDI was taught as a Muslim have a deep and completely valid cultural context that needs to be considered when dispensing advice. You reduced the conundrum of a devout man experiencing serious cultural conflict to the influence of the "morals police," and in quite a smirking tone. I don't care how progressive Canadians are. It's incredibly offensive to imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia. To paraphrase Gandhi, have some goddamned cultural sensitivity, man.
Did I imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia? Jesus H. Christ, SOS, I feel terrible about that. So let me set the record straight: I never meant to imply the superiority of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia. I meant to state, loudly and clearly and for the record, the absolute superiority of morals in Canada to values taught in Saudi Arabia.
Let us count the ways in which Canada is superior: equality of the sexes, political and religious pluralism, a little thing called democracy and, of course, the radical notion that consenting adults are free to have sex with other consenting adults without having to worry about being lashed or having their heads cut off in public. Canada also had vodka tonics, BC bud and pornography going for it, along with Tim Hortons, pork-sausage gravy on fries and a just and equitable social-welfare system. Is Canada morally superior to Saudi Arabia? You bet. It's also morally superior to the United States of America.
But back to the big SA: Unless you believe that cutting off the heads of homosexuals has a "deep and completely valid cultural context" or men treating women as their property is a "value," you have to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia practices and promotes a thoroughly fucked-up brand of Islam. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia's state-sanctioned "morals police" are not, as you imply, an imperialistic fantasy of mine. They are, sadly, a fact of everyday life for Saudi Arabian women, gays, atheists, moderate/non-Wahabi Muslims and anyone else who fails to live up to the pinched, sex-negative, deeply psychotic brand of monotheism practiced there.
To paraphrase the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I believe that human rights are universal, man. As Saudi Arabia exists in this universe, I think that the humans there -- Muslim or not, liberal or conservative, male or female, gay or straight -- are entitled to their full human rights. Until that day comes, SOS, I'm going to go right on thinking that Canada kicks Saudi Arabia's ass when it comes to morals and values. And bud.