Paranoia + the Rod It Rode in On
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Sucking in bed should be literal and not figurative.
By Eugene S. Robinson
This week’s column includes a bonus clip (up top) from OZY’s Valentine’s Day event: Sex With Eugene, Live! Enjoy.
Bromance: The Bad Kind
EUGENE, SIR: Is there a protocol for how much time after breaking up with someone that your friends can start dating them? My best friend has done this to me more than three times, and this last time it was just five months after we broke up. Seems short to me. He’s not snaky about it and asks first, but still. —DH
Dear Dirty Harry: What you’re really asking is: “Am I sucker for not feeling worse about this?” Or, maybe a skosh more significantly, is it weird that we’re doing what’s clearly “a thing”? By “thing,” I mean the possibility that you and your friend are communicating with each other via the women. Maybe you all should just drop the pretense/necessity of the woman in total and start to deal with what’s at the root of your continual “Eskimo brotherhood” (an old-timey, completely politically incorrect phrase for men who have sex with the same woman). And finally, in the spirit of deep, deep, deep paranoia, the question could be: Is Iago really waiting until after?
All pertinent questions and queries, but let’s look at it a different way. That is, the remora-esque nature of your friendship — or, is parasitism a reasonable basis upon which to conduct a friendship? He’s collecting your castaways. (I’m assuming that he’s not just scooping up women who have dumped you, which would just make you a not very effective pimp.) And while he might be lowering the Post-Relationship Misery Index, wherein you have to indulge an ex’s general unhappiness and disgust with you, he’s also a freeloader, a greedy bread gobbler, a work-shy individual whose continued presence in your life can’t be good for your life, since when the question is asked — “What’s he contributing?” — the answer might help you chart a path to your collective future: nothing. Especially since every ex of yours will more than likely find someone other than/better than you without his able assistance.
So what’s he bringing to the party? Not for me to know but for you to figure out. It’s not the amount of time that’s the post-relationship issue; it’s the fact that this has now become a habit. Good luck.
Mutual-Aid Sex Society
EUGENE, SIR: My husband and I enjoy a healthy sex life and do what other healthy couples do. We’re in our thirties and sometimes enjoy porn as part of our lovemaking. We start out watching, get hot and get into it. Last week I followed his eyes to the screen and the woman on it, and it started to bother me. I’m not some perfect porn star and am carrying a little extra weight, but this is what turns him on. Now I can’t watch anymore, and he’s noticed. Should I bring it up or just get over it? — Name withheld by request
Dear The Eyes Have It: You’ve got to bring it up. But you’re in the grips of one of the least helpful things ever: paranoia. While Charlie Manson claimed that paranoia was awareness, if you scratch a little deeper, you’ll notice that paranoia leads no one to believe that someone is going to deliver a million dollars to their doorstep. Nope. It trends toward the darker end, and so it self-selects; a loving, giving and game sex partner becomes a horndog who hates your body. Paranoia takes a pleasurable pastime you both enjoyed and turns it into a miserable accounting of your faults.
Now … this could just be a case of you being “woke,” or it could be the whole paranoia piece. Or both. The reality of it is a shirt that served your purposes six years ago might not stylistically serve your purposes now. That’s called evolution. It happens. However, there are a few things that are known. You both have enjoyed filmic depictions of sexual activity as an adjunct to your sexual activity. As you march through your thirties, filmic depictions of others’ sexual activities are filling you with a certain amount of agita. Not the films themselves, necessarily, but most certainly the people in the films.
So, the solution seems clear: Make your own. So you’re in the movie and you’re watching the movie you’re in. It’s wonderfully meta and gets back to the whole “forsaking all others” deal. Deal?
EUGENE, SIR: I slept with my sister’s husband before they dated, and I told her I had before they got married. We went to the same college. Years ago. But this last holiday season, she had a few too many drinks and brought it up in a weird, uncomfortable way. It seems clear that she’s not over this, and so, is there anything I can do to normalize this? I don’t want to see less of my sister, and we have never lied to each other. The husband is totally normal with me now as well. —Lucy
Dear Ms. Van Pelt: You did all of what any reasonable person could have done. You disclosed early. You’ve been a straight shooter, it sounds like. And continue to be, unless there’s something you’re not telling me. Nope. This is not your cross to bear. However, conjoined with “a few too many drinks,” this may always be “weird and uncomfortable.” This should not surprise you, as the old adage is more true than not — a drunk person’s words are a sober person’s thoughts. You can’t have imagined that, even though she’s been fine with it, it was easy to be fine with it, and who knows what those drunk eyes saw? Maybe a look that seemed significant? Maybe a comment? Is she the older sister? The younger?
Who knows? Your desire, in any case, seems to be to have fewer such incidents, so I’d address it. In a non-holiday, non-few-too-many setting. Just ask: Does it ever bother you, and how and why and can we stop it from bothering you while knowing that history can’t be undone? The point here is not to have these questions answered. The point here is to ask the questions. Which is a way to identify the problem by way of a solution. Good luck.