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The It Problem

By Dan Savage · November 24th, 2004 · Savage Love
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I'm a female university student who has a question of etiquette. There's a girl I've seen around campus who I recognize from a few years ago ... when "Jane" was a guy. I'm positive that it's the same person because she still has the same face and I've heard that this person has had a sex change. I'm wondering how I talk to this person? Should I just go up and say hi and mention where I know her from? Or will this just create an uncomfortable situation? Or should I just wait and see if Jane recognizes me? Is there proper etiquette for the first conversation between you and an old acquaintance who's had a sex change?
-- Miss Manners

"If MM walks up to Jane and says, 'Hi, you may not remember me, but I met you back when you were a guy,' it could lead to a very brief, uncomfortable conversation," says my good MTF buddy, Kaley. "Or it could lead to a lifelong friendship. It's impossible to say."

According to Kaley, you need to bear in mind that by this point Jane has probably had her fill of people coming up to her and asking questions about her gender stuff. "She could find this annoying or, more likely, just boring," says Kaley. "Teaching Transgender 101 gets a little tedious after the first 100 sessions."

That said, Kaley doesn't think you should coddle Jane or approach her any differently than you would anyone else you had a brief acquaintance with several years ago. "Despite the possibility of an uncomfortable time, I would strongly encourage MM to not be shy, to go up to Jane and warmly say, 'Hi, you may not remember me, but I met you a few years ago. What are you doing these days?' You can leave out the 'Didn't you used to be a guy?' Jane can decide whether or how to talk to her about details of her past at her own pace."

Finally, Kaley wanted me to emphasize that all of her advice for you is premised on you having a genuine interested in Jane as a person -- in other words, if you're only interested in Jane because you want to hear all about what it's like to get your dick chopped off, leave Jane alone. "If those sorts of details are her primary motivation, MM can easily log on to Google and find hundreds of such first-person accounts online.

But if she does want to be friends with Jane, she should just approach her the way she would anyone else she wanted to get to know. If I were Jane, I'd appreciate that most of all."

I'm a modern single mother. I have two boys entering puberty (their father is absent, for good reasons). I have talked to them about masturbation. They understand it's a private thing and when and where it's appropriate to indulge. My question is, should I purchase lubrication gels and/or masturbation gloves and/or aides for them? I have seen such things in adult stores. In previous columns you have advocated for mothers to make similar purchases for their daughters, but you've never touched on this subject in regard to sons. I know masturbation with a toy is better for me than using my fingers, but does it make a difference for men? And if so, would you advise a mother to purchase lube and aides for her sons? I don't want them to wind up like those men who can't come from gentler forms of stimulation because of the "death grip" they used when masturbating as teenagers.

-- Need Advice In Various Expertises<

Sure, NAIVE, you go right ahead and buy your sons lubes, gels, lotions and masturbation gloves (I prefer opera length) -- but only if you're the kind of modern single mother who wants to ruin masturbation for her sons. I mean, could there possibly be a bigger buzz-kill for the adolescent male than jacking off using supplies your mother picked up for you?

Yes, yes, I advised a mother to buy her daughter a dildo -- but only because a young lady needs a dildo of her very own to safely explore penetration. And young ladies, sadly, can't legally obtain one. A young gentleman, on the other hand, doesn't need lubes or gels or gloves to beat off; and when a young man wants to explore penetration, he only needs to make a fist. If you want to help prevent your sons from succumbing to death-grip syndrome, I would advise you to initiate one last conversation about masturbation and advise your sons to vary their masturbatory routines. And then I would advise you to drop it.

So what will your sons use to beat off with if you don't come through with the lubes and gels? The same stuff generations of American sons have used: their own skin (if they've got enough to slide back and forth), spit, hair gel, shampoo, mayo and dozens of other slick substances that are (A) in your house already and (B) a whole hell of a lot cheaper than lube. One 250-milliliter bottle of Maximus, a high-quality lube, retails for $16. One 946-milliliter jar of mayonnaise costs just $3.39. So you'll not only be saving yourself a shitload of money if your boys make do with household products, NAIVE, but you'll also save your boys from having to think about you each and every time they beat off. Of course, you'll have to think of them each and every time you reach for the jar of mayo in your fridge, but that's the sort of sacrifice we parents have to make.

I know you were being tongue-in-cheek, but OTW, the straight boy who blew his buddy and drank his piss in order to have a crack at his buddy's girlfriend, didn't actually quote a line from Gone with the Wind. As every good fag knows, the line from Gone with the Wind is "As God is my witness" not "With God as my witness." Please consult your Gay Handbook next time, Dan. Clearly OTW is straight.

-- Jim

I stand corrected, Jim, and since we both got the quote wrong, it's clear OTW is no gayer than I am -- which probably won't be much of a comfort to the little piss-guzzlin' cocksucker.

This is in regard to your friend who calls attractive teenage girls "roundups," as in, "Round her up to 21 and she'll be fuckable." I don't think he's a pedophile. He finds these young women attractive but understands they're off-limits. My female friends and I have a similar term for the strapping young high-school lads we see all over town: We call them "tag and release." You know, like wildlife. You put a marker on a stud when he's 15 with the idea that you'll be back to claim him when he's legal. It's the same idea.

-- Totally Innocent

Thanks for sharing, TI.

Next Week in Savage Love: Shitloads of advice for Mutilated and Comeless, the poor kid who lost the head of his penis in a botched circumcision.

 
 
 
 

 

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