Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
When Everything Old Is New Again
EUGENE, SIR: After I got divorced I started doing the online thing. You’d think there are millions of people using those things, but like that Rupert Holmes piña colada song, I found my ex there. I didn’t use my real name, and just used a detail of my face for my profile pic. When he asked about it, I said it was for safety reasons We chatted, and it got sexual. Which was kind of weird, since after 10 years of marriage it was a different man who was coming through. And that man was hot. So now we’re making plans to meet. The few friends I’ve shared this with think I’m crazy, but none of those friends are men, and you seem like a smart enough guy. Is this stupid? If so, how stupid? Also, answers sooner rather than later, please. — West Virginia
Dear Yes, Virginia: When a couple tells me that they’ve broken up, I always ask who dumped whom, and the trick is to listen to who pauses and for how long. While pausing could be a sign of sensitivity to how the world perceives you — gloating or genteel, uncouth or hurt — usually the pause betrays someone mid-spin.
And for sure “well, it was pretty mutual” means you were the one dumped.
No matter. The point I was wandering toward is this: No one really successfully talks their way out of dumped.
I don’t know how old you are, or were, and where on life’s relationship chart you are, but one thing is clear: Your grand hotel-room reveal could go any number of different ways, all of them fraught and packed with peril.
If he doesn’t recognize you because you are so made up and you actually achieve some sort of sexual union with no grand reveal, you have pulled off the near impossible, and because it is so freakishly cool it’s something worth continuing. That is: the dream of being able to successfully be everything other than you.
What I suspect is more likely is that an over-the-top disguise will come across as creepy and crazy. Which for many is a plus. But for others? A fail.
No disguise and instant recognition? The outcome varies depending on whether he dumped you, in which case he’ll be frightened. If you dumped him, he’ll feel not a little paranoid and perhaps hopeful.
But whether or not he recognizes you, the bigger question here is: Why? Why do this at all? And then to directly answer your question, no, it is not stupid, not even a little. It just hints at a larger and more significant game, which is fine, if that’s what you have in mind. However, if this is just a quirk that’s got you curious? Again, I have to ask why. And if curiosity is enough, then let strangeness reign and knock yourselves out.
Good luck. I strongly suspect this will be what is needed. In spades.
Pregnant and … Sexy?
EUGENE, SIR: It’s 11 weeks since I gave birth and I want to go back to having sex. I have told my husband this and he’s not willing. He was present during the birth but wasn’t looking “there.” We had very little sex during pregnancy, and I’ve been hoping after birth that we would catch up, but he’s not interested. I didn’t let myself go during the pregnancy, and I don’t think he’s cheating on me. But now I have suspicions. I feel really horrible. What’s going on? — Name withheld by request
Dear Life: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that men have traditionally been encouraged to under-communicate. I’m sorry that the sleeplessness and mind-bending difficulty of the first year as parents is being made more difficult by creeping paranoia. And mostly I am sorry that during a time when the health of your relationship should be autopiloting its way through this Wonder Year you’re being dragged back into thinking about whether or not you’ll even have a relationship by year’s end, but it is what it is and where we are.
I have no answer for you. But I do have a bit of advice.
Act like the three of you are on a sinking lifeboat. Your calculations will be quick and ruthless and hew to the line I am about to advance: Your husband will swim, or he will drown.
Your child, however, will drown without your assistance. While you and your husband, as first-time parents, had no idea what being parents would do to you, none of what has happened since would have surprised a reasonably astute student of what happens when people become parents.
If your husband is confused now, he wasn’t paying attention before. If he was paying attention before and he’s confused now, he may not have been smart enough to figure out what he was paying attention to. In any case, this is not so much your problem as it is his problem, and in a perfect world I’d have been answering a letter from him about whatever his problem is. But it’s not a perfect world. Enjoy your total net positive, your kid. And hope for the best.
Penis Size: The Eternal Return
EUGENE, SIR: What is the best penis size that would help satisfy a woman? — Y. Gua
Dear Mr. Gua: Well, sir, I’m glad you asked! And probably so are Nicole Prause, Jaymie Park, Shannon Leung and Geoffrey Miller, authors of a wonderful UCLA-assisted study, “Women’s Preferences for Penis Size: A New Research Method Using Selection Among 3D Models.”
They dug deep, deep, deep into dong territory, and, in brief, their study group — not a global measure by any means — uncovered some compelling stuff. Specifically, that the women studied preferred erect penises that are 6.4 inches long and 5 inches around for one-time encounters. For long-term sexual partners, the numbers dropped to 6.3 inches long and 4.8 inches around.