Bygones and Booty Calls

QUESTION: I dated this man named Aaron for almost a year. Right before we broke up, I started getting some indications that he might be seeing someone behind my back. I was right. He was sleeping with this married woman at his job. I was hurt because I thought we had a future togther, but I wasn't going to tolerate cheating. We had a loud and angry breakup. This was four months ago. Now out of the blue, he starts calling me five or six times a week. He doesn't talk like he wants to get together to date again, he talks like he wants to sleep with me again. I don't want anything to do with that. I've told him but he keeps calling. Why won't he get it through his thick dreads that I want nothing to do with him?
What is he thinking?

Chuck: He is thinking, in the immortal words of Bobby Brown, "It's my perogative."

He's thinking that, despite the fact that he betrayed your trust by cheating on you with a married woman, and that you had a loud and angry breakup with him, it's been four months, and you'll still agree to roll around in the sheets with him again. Aaron is basically thinking that since all of that meant nothing to him, it should also mean nothing to you.

This is a crucial miscalculation men frequently make with women: They assume that women view sex as casually as they do. Some men can separate the emotional component from sex pretty easily, and just look on it as stress relief, recreation, what have you. Women, in most circumstances, need to feel something other than indifference or seething hatred for their sexual partners. That's just my opinion, but am I right?

You're not willing to put the past behind you for a booty call with this guy. And you shouldn't continue to get pressure from him to change your mind. State to him, as firmly as you can, that what he wants to happen isn't going to happen, and to leave you alone. If he doesn't get the message, change your number. Cut this guy out of your life.

GARLAND: I agree with Chuck.

This guys is doing nothing more than casting his line and seeing where the fish are biting. Sorry to use this kind of metaphor, but it is true. You are absolutely right in assuming that he doesn't want to get back with you, in the dating sense. He's looking for sex and he's assuming that he was good enough under the sheets (or on the floor, or on the kitchen table, or on the ugly green sofa in the basement) that you'd be willing to let him back in for some off-the-record lovin'.

Guys can have the uncommital sex with little to no problems. Most (not all) of you ladies can't. If you took a quick survey of 10 guys - 8 of them would probably tell you that they could have absolutely enjoyable sex with a woman that was mad at them or not speaking to them. This is sad, but it's true.

So, what is he thinking?

He's thinking that you may be just lonely enough and he was just good enough to warrant a late-nite invite to your place and your bed. There is nothing more to it. Nothing grand, no great scheme, no undercurrent of held back emotion - he's just testing the waters. If you want him to stop testing your water... threaten to drown him.


All dogs go to heaven?

QUESTION: I went to dinner with my cousin and three girlfriends last night and of course we ended up talking about men. My cousin had one of your business cards with this website on it. We thought this whole thing of yours was a cute idea and we wanted to put you to the test. Answer this: Why are so many men dogs and con artists?

GARLAND: Please thank your cousin for even showing our business cards to you all!!!

Ahhh, the age old question - WHY ARE MEN DOGS?

And this is supposed to be a test question? Okay - well, as far as men being dogs goes, men will only do what you all let us do. Now, let me put my disclaimer up front: "Some men are absolutely perfect when it comes to cheating and being underhanded in a relationship. These men don't make mistakes, they manage their time well, they cover all their bases. These men are an anomaly in the realm of men being dogs."

Now that that is out of the way for now. I say that most men will only get away with what you ladies let us get away with. I can't count the number of times that I have seen women allow the men they meet to only give them their cell phone number, or their mother's home number, or allow them to give a nickname like "Pookie" or "Dey Dey" or instead of giving a real address, these guys say, "Oh I live down on Bingham off of Chelsea..." When men are allowed to give this kind of obscure personal information and women still date these men or sleep with these men - the men can't legitimately be called dogs. Can they?

If you pet a snake and he bites you, then he can't be called mean can he? After all, snakes bite people and you could see that he was a snake, so you basically should have known what you where in for. The same holds true for guys that dog women out. Many times the warning signs are plain as day, but so many women turn the other cheek or flat out deny that just because she hasn't been to Pookie's house for six months and she can only reach him on his pager, everything is fine. If more women critically looked at the men in their lives, the so called dogs would be pretty easy to spot and easy to get rid of before they do any harm.

Then you come back to the anomaly I mentioned above. These guys are a work of art. Cruel, mean spirited, art. These guys aren't dogs. Frankly, I grew up with dogs - German Shepherds mostly - fine, strong, beautiful, intelligent animals. To call these men dogs is to truly take away from the canine species. These men that skillfully and deftly abuse the trust of their women, are nothing more than bottom feeding scum. I don't know what to tell you about them. But if you're dating a guy or married to one, make sure his act is together. NO! don't go rummaging through his wallet or his E-Mails, but just make sure his actions and his words make sense. Trust your instincts and don't fall into that arrogant and narrow minded thought pattern of "Oh, that could never happen to me." Because that's when it will!

Please make sure you E-mail us our grade! : )

CHUCK: Thanks for checking in to the website and hitting us up with a question. I guess Garland is right. It pays to advertise.

As for your question: Men cheat and lie for very simple reasons. The same reason that cute girl thought she could stick up a bank and talk on her cell phone at the same time. The same reasons that the Enron execs cheated their stockholders and employees. The same reason that George Bush thought... Wait. Sorry. That's for my other blog.

Some people believe that they are superior to other people, and the rules we should live by don't apply to them. Further, they feel as though they are entitled to exploit people that they feel are weaker, less intelligent, and more trusting than them. So, these guys take advantage of women's trust, and, let's be frank, their gullibility, and run roughshod through their money, their sex lives, their feelings.

That's Why. Now here's one for free: How. As in, how do you avoid getting taken by these guys. And it's an answer most of you already know. As Garland says above, you women need to trust your instincts. If you date a guy for, say, six months, and he never let's you visit him at home, either he lives with his parents, or in a more complicated circumstance. If your contact with him is booty calls exclusively, and he avoids being seen in public with you, he may be trying not to get caught by his other women. If he's always hitting you up for money, he might be a deadbeat bum.

I'm not suggesting that women necessarily need to be less trusting. Lord knows we have enough of that already. But when there is some suspect information out there, and you hear a little voice in your head telling you something's not right, don't block that voice out out of hand.

Hope you got something out of our answers. If you did, tell a friend. We're here for you.


Step-father Figure

QUESTION: My girlfriend got engaged to a guy about five months ago and moved him into her home three months ago. She also has a nine year old son by a man who lives in another state and doesn't see his son. She is allowing her fiance' to make dramatic changes to her household and the way her and her son live. This man pretends to be very religious and constantly tells her that he can make a man out of her son. She lets him come between her and her son and she lets him over rule her decisions when it comes to her son. Tayvon used to always play outside and he had a lot of friends from his school and he used to be very active. Now, he's always in the house, or playing exclusively with the fiance' and his nephew. The whole thing is very strange. I've tried to warn her, her family and other friends have tried to warn her that this man may not be good for her or her son. But she ignores all of us. We think that she's just desperate to have a man's influence in her son's life. As men, how do you all feel about this situation and what do you think will open her eyes?

GARLAND: How do I feel? I feel a little pissed and a little worried. Personally, I've seen situations like this before and while two are still unfolding, the others have already run their courses.

I think with guys like this they are trying one of two things - to be the man their father was or the man their father wasn't. Now, with most real fathers, there is a happy medium between the two, [BTW - good step-fathers DO count as real fathers] but with guys like your friend's fiance' - these guys can sometimes be a little screwed up in the head. First of all, they most likely know nothing about being a father, second - they know that some single moms will be so happy to have a man that is willing to spend time with their child they'll allow these men to do just about anything and third - they have probably seen one too many war movies and figure the best way to make a boy into a man is with an extreme 'boot-camp' style structure in the kids life.

It's not good that she's letting this guy make household type decisions before they even get married. If I had a dollar for every couple I know that was engaged and never got married or just stayed "engaged" for five or six years - I'd have a lot of money! I wouldn't be rich, but I'd be well-to-do! It's also not good that she's allowing him to come between her and her son. I'll bet you $100 that he's told her, "Tayvon is a momma's boy! He needs to spend time with me to toughen up!" That sounds like a typical line from a typical psycopathic, controlling scrub.

So, I'm not saying anything new. This guy sounds shady and controlling. And, your girlfriend sounds dim-witted and desperate. What would get through to her? Maybe a group intervention where you all sit down with her and talk to her about this new guy might open her eyes. Maybe she's so blinded that when you all come to her one at time she can fend you off with plain old stupidity. But a group assault will work.

Then again, maybe you all need to try and open her eyes to her foolishness by making her defend this guy over and over. Maybe you all should ask her if you could have her son over for a visit or overnight. Each person should ask her about three days apart for a couple of weeks. When she finds herself telling all of you a bunch of nonsense reasons why her son can't leave the house, maybe her eyes will start to open.

Unfortunately, I'm really not sure if any of these will work, I certainly hope one of them will, especially if you all really think this guy's presence is damaging to Tayvon's development, I think your instincts are on point. This guy sounds weird. Good luck!

CHUCK: I feel that while it's generally accepted knowledge that a male child will benefit from exposure to a male authority figure (and what, female children won't?), it is questionable whether exposure to just ANY kind of male authority figure is helpful. A potential stepfather that is smothering and restrictive may ultimately do as much harm as good.

Your friend has obviously bought into the hype concerning the supposed inadequacy of women to raise men alone. And now that she has found Stepdad, she seems to have given over almost all of her parental authority to him. You've known Tayvon before this guy's influence, and the changes being forced on him are unsettling to you. I understand you feeling how you do.

HOWEVER... You are standing on the outside of your friend's relationship. Can you really say that you know everything that is taking place here? First of all, should we give the guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he has the best interest of the child in mind? Do you think he's just misguided, or do you think think there's some kind of cultish thing at work here? What do you know about the discussions your friend may have had with this man about raising her son?

The answers to these questions are things that you may never know. And I think that although you and I may not agree to how Stepdad is running Tayvon's life, there is very little you can do about it. Especially if you do not want to risk losing her friend. You and her family have spoken to her about it. She's unreceptive. Barring any more evidence of Stepdad's bad influence, I think that an intervention might do more harm than good. At this point, the best thing to hope for might be that this guy moves on before he gets married to your friend, and the brainwashing starts for real.


Downward Spiral? Turn it around!

E-MAIL TO CHUCK & GARLAND: I am an overweight, dark-skinned woman with major personal issues. I am painfully shy, deathly afraid of rejection, and insecure. To many, I exude confidence. Yet, on the inside I feel so broken-hearted and my spirit is very weak. In my life, I have not experienced many intimate relationships and this makes me so very sad. The ones that I have "experienced" have left me broken-hearted, confused, and feeling even worse about myself. As much as I want to believe that GOD has a special person set aside for me, I honestly do not believe that I will end up in a happy, healthy, and loving relationship (or even an unhappy, unhealthy, and unloving relationship for that matter). I have achieved many social goals in my life (I am highly educated) and I am steadily improving career-oriented goals. It's just painful to have no one to share my hopes, dreams, fears, successes, and failures. Holidays, milestones, and my birthday have become so insignificant because I have absolutely no one to share such joyous and happy moments with. I hate "celebrations" with a passion because they remind me of how alone I really am. I am an only child, my mother is deceased, I never knew my father, and I have a very distant relationship with my remaining family. I do have an intimate circle of friends but they have their own busy professional lives, families, and we are not all living in the same place. Plus, I feel that I am more supportive of them yet when I need them, it is too much of a burden to simply listen and understand. I never ask for anything except a sympathetic/empathetic ear from time to time. Sometimes I can maintain and pull myself out of an emotional rut. At other times I feel helpless and hopeless and feel that I have no one to turn to. I'm just tired and sometimes it is very hard to go on. I have lived so long with loneliness, desperation, and isolation to the point that it has taken its toll on me mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and financially. At one point, I just shrugged it off. However, now I want to be happy, festive, and loving. Yet, I can't get my insides aligned with the facade I put on. I hate lying to myself and this hypocrisy makes me sick, sad, and angry. I just want to be honest at all time and I hate lying to myself and others because I feel that they deserve so much better.

GARLAND: I want to thank you so much for sharing yourself with us like that. After a few months of dead-beat dads, undercover brothers, and stupid ex's your E-Mail is really making me pause. I see that your E-mail really isn't a question, but I want to share my thoughts with you.

First, I absolutely understand that you want to be happy and you want to make NOW your time. You need to try hard to not lie to yourself by putting on the happy facade while you are sad inside. When it's all said and done, you're the only person that really knows you, and if you try to fake it when you look in the mirror, eventually you won't know up from down. Always be honest with yourself, even when that honesty might not be exactly what you want.

You took the time to send this E-Mail to us... to me that's the sign of a person that knows what she wants and is trying to find ways to make it happen. I hope me and Chuck can give you some positive reinforcement.

I'm glad that you believe God has a special plan for you and your heart, I'm sure that whatever it is, it will come to you when it is supposed to. Unfortunately, such things don't seem to come at the exact moment we want them to - make sure you pray that God lets you know when your blessings arrive. You don't want to be looking down and tying your shoes when your blessing walks into the room.

I know that sometimes when happiness, or love, or companionship and things like that don't seem to be when and where we want them, it's up to us to put events in place that change our alignment with the universe. Basically, sometimes we have to step out of our norm to cross paths with new faces and new places that create a new dynamic in our lives. I think you should give that a try - shop at new stores and markets, drive a different way to work, check out that new jazz spot across town, visit a different church, eat lunch at a new restaurant, buy gas from the BP instead of the Exxon... see what I mean? Change your dynamic a little, see what's around a new corner.

All of what I just said is my opinion, my "professionally-untrained" opinion I'd like to remind you. I'd really like for you to talk to a professional about your feelings though. Please don't take offense to me saying that, and don't think I'm taking what you said lightly. I hope my comments above give you some positive vibes, but a trained professional will give you exactly the support and the emotional vehicles that I think will make you feel better. I don't want you to slip into a deeper depression. Your medical doctor will be able to recommend someone, and if you don't have a physician you're comfortable with, your local health department should be able to recommend someone. The key is not holding your emotions in check. I'm glad you started by sending us an E-Mail, now I ask that you continue by speaking to a professional. Please drop us another E-Mail soon and let us know how you're doing. Okay?

CHUCK: I'm glad that you took the time to send us an email. There are a lot of people out there living lives of quiet desperation, feeling alone and unloved, and it is painful to think about. There is so much in life to do, see, and experience, but some of us can only focus on the things that we don't have, the things that make us feel like less of a whole person. And I can honestly say that I know some of what you're feeling because I have felt that way a few times in life myself.

What kept me going when I was feeling that way was the thought that these feelings, this situation couldn't last forever. And my attitude towards life is that I always want to see what happens next. It's difficult to be optimistic sometimes, but the same way nothing good lasts forever, nothing bad does either.

Everything that Garland suggests (developing a different mental outlook, look to new places for different experiences) is great, but I really don't know if you're at a point where that advice will do you any good. You didn't use the word, but I will. I think what you're suffering from is depression. Your combined feelings of sadness and hopelessness seal it for me.

I think that the best thing that we untrained individuals can do in this instance is refer you to some professionals. Please, PLEASE search the internet, check the phone book in your area for help with depression. We as Black people too seldom seek out the help we may need psychologically, before it is too late. Seek assistance to pull yourself out of this situation you are in. There are people who want to help you.


A Special Kind of Creep

QUESTION: My ex-husband and I have been apart for nearly ten years. We now live in separate cities about 300 miles apart. He was an unfaithful, abusive creep, and I'm glad to be rid of him. Only I'm not rid of him. We have two children that are now in their teens. The problem is that when he's angry because he's not getting his way in a situation with, say, visitation, he doesn't scream or cuss at me. He takes it out on the kids. My kids are usually very well-behaved and respectful. They don't deserve to be told they're going to hell or to f--- themselves, as he has told them in the past. I tell them to hang up on him, but he just calls back, even angrier than before.

Why would a man choose to say such hurtful things to his own children? And what would you suggest I tell my children about their father's erratic behavior?

GARLAND: To steal a line from one of Chuck's earliest answers, I'd tell them that their father is a 'dick'. No, actually I prefer the term 'asshole' considering what seems to be coming out of his mouth.

Why would a man say these things to his children?

Honestly, I don't think a 'man' would say these things. Some foolish, petty, ignorant, uncaring scumbag would say that to his kids. But not a real man. Regardless of how low down and dirty a divorce may have been, a real man would accept and understand where the battle lines are drawn - squarely between him and his wife! Even if the kids were old enough to take sides, and even if they sided with the mother - a real man, no matter how hard it may be, would open [verbal] fire on his kids. I hate to say this - but your ex is a piece of crap. Regardless of who or what he used to be, he is now a full fledged, self centered, angry, crazed piece of crap.

What do you tell your kids?

Seeing as though your kids are teens, and he's obviously warmed their ears with 4 or 5 of major curse words, they're probably ready for some straight talk from you. I'd apologize for what they were told - even though you didn't do it. They need a dose of respect and compassion and sense after what was said. Then I'd just tell them that he wasn't always like that and you have no idea what happened to him. Unless, that's not true and he was screwed up when you married him. Then you may want to explain why you married him. I think they need to be reminded that just because they're his children, THEY are not him. They both may be wondering if his traits are going to become their traits. Encourage them to avoid that kind of behavior as they mature. If you have a girl, point out the characteristics to avoid in men based on her fathers tendencies. If you have a boy, don't let your husband be his role model as he grows up - don't be ashamed to say [once in a while], "Don't be like your father."

But most of all, I think you need to send a firm message to your ex that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Find a way to sanction him: changeyour number so he can't reach you, call your lawyer or your judge and see if you can use this crazy bhavior to impact his visitation or his child support. Do something! Just be your kids advocate and protector - don't let that behavior just roll off your back.

CHUCK: Yeah, your ex-husband is a dick, an asshole, and a bunch of other not-as-nice things I could think of to call him. But it goes deeper than that. Here is a person that I think is unhappy with his life, his relationship with you or them, whatever, but instead of trying to make things better, by taking his anger out on an easy target, he makes things worse. What kind of parent would willfully and pointlessly hurt his children, just because he could? This is a very small man, indeed.

Like Garland says, talk to your kids. Make sure that they know that you do not share their father's screwed-up attitude. You might think that would be obvious, but kids, even teenagers, still need to hear stuff like that. Inform them that being respecctful to their father does not mean having to be a target for him to exercise his aggression on. And let them know that, as they get older, contact with their father can become more a matter of choice than of necessity. If it is their choice to limit their exposure to this guy (and make sure it is THEIR choice), well, that can't hurt more than what they're going through now.

Also, I have one more suggestion. If your children can handle it, I'd ask them to subject themselves to one more tirade from their father. This time with a tape recorder rolling. I don't know the laws in your area regarding recording phone conversations between people. But your ex is probably so big and bad that even if they told him he was being recorded, his response would probably be, "Shee-it! I don't care. Record ME!" And hold onto that recording. That way, when you've got him in court again (and with this creep, it's almost guaranteed), you'll have something to play for the court's enlightenment. Sometimes revenge is the best revenge.


Smooth Operator. NOT!

QUESTION: I've been spending time with this gentleman in my neighborhood lately. Nothing too serious, just dinner once in a while and a few "bring a date" events for my job. He wants to sleep with me and he's told me so. I'm just not ready to go to that level yet. For some reason in recent weeks though, he's felt the need to comment that he's considering sleeping with several other women. He says it to me like I'm supposed to be jealous or worried. I ignore it. And then he turns right around and asks me out on another date. What the hell is he thinking?

GARLAND: Well, lets see...

I think this guy pretty easy to read. You're not bringing him into the bed after sporting the black tie and tails for the folks at your company, so he's telling you that you aren't his franchise player. He's telling you... uh... he's TRYING to tell you that his bread is buttered on both sides.

Where are all these cheesy cliche's coming from? I'm sorry.

You're right. He wants you to be jealous - plain and simple. The only problem is, he doesn't seem bright enough to let you simmer on what he's said. If he tells you that other women are on his radar and then doesn't call you for a week, then maybe you'd reassess where your head is at - intimately - with him. All things considered, you may actually be ready to sleep with him - then again you may not! But by him boasting about other women one day and then asking you out the next, he's not really backing up his claims - which probably aren't true in the first place.

While I am usually 100% against games in relationships, I'm typically 100% for GAMESMANSHIP!

The next time he brings up these other potential lovers, snap your fingers and look at your watch and say, "You know. That reminds me of something. Can I get a raincheck for tonight? I've got somewhere to be in a little while." Then leave. Just get up and leave. If he has any sense, he'll think about what he said, and he'll wonder - just what in the heck you left to do. If he's smart, he'll feel like a jack-ass and either stop acting like he's a Smooth Operator or just sit down with you and try to talk his feelings over with you.

Either way, like I always say - at some point the two of you need to sit down and talk from the heart.

CHUCK: Here we go again. Another player of that famous game, Who Could Care Less (see a few posts back). This guy is obviously trying to make you jealous for not wanting to sleep with him, but the method by which he's going about it just seems obnoxious. Does this kind of ploy EVER work?

He wants to hang out with you, despite the lack of sexual prospects, presumably to wait you out. But he wants to give you the mistaken idea that his time is worth something, so he brings up these (possibly fanciful) relationships with other girls. Either way, this guy needs to stop playing himself, and you can help him. Like Garland suggested, you should make up your own potential boyfriend to draw him out, and see if he takes the bait.

But you need to decide whether you want to involve yourself with someone so immature that he cannot accept a relationship with you on terms other than his own. He's really not making the best case for himself right now.


Freak of the Week?

QUESTION: I'm a 25-year-old woman who's having the time of her life. I've met a wonderful guy who is everything a woman could want, but there's one problem--I like to get my freak on with different people. I get bored after I've been with one guy for more than three months. Does that make me a HO? My friends say yes, but I think I'm just playing the fields like the guys. I used to tell the men I was with that they weren't the only one. Some could accept it, but most couldn't so I stopped telling them the truth and now leave them in the dark about the others. My friends say I'm playing a dangerous game, but I'm not doing anything men haven't done for years. What do you think?

GARLAND: Playing the field - sexually - because men have done it for years, isn't the best of reasons to do so. We men have done some pretty stupid sh*t over the course of history and I'd hate to see you tryin' to keep pace.

If you want to get your swerve on, freakuently, do it because it's YOUR THING, don't do it just because guys do.

Is it dangerous? Yeah, sure. Physically - condoms can break; that cute guy could give you herpes simplex 57, anything could happen. Emotionally - you or any your lovers could catch some serious feelings, and sometimes unreturned advances could lead to stalkers, violence, you name it. So, letting a lot of men into your bed, no matter what your mindset, could be dangerous. This holds true for MEN and WOMEN.

Now, Are you a ho? Some folks would definitely say yes. 90% of the guys I know would say 'yes.'But I'm not going to judge you. That's not my place. As far as I'm concerned, you just seem to be a woman that likes sex with different guys. Society likes to label women for so much stuff, especially where sex is concerned. You're 25 and single - I say handle your business, just be safe and smart. The funny thing about it is that plenty of guys would say to their boyz, "Oh yeah, she's a ho. She's a trick... blah blah blah." But I guarantee that the minute they can be alone with you, and get some of that lovin' - all that "ho" talk is going right out the freakin' window. No pun intended.

I do want to add this though: I want you to look down the road 10, 15, 20 years and see what it is you want relationship-wise. If you see yourself married, monogamous and happy, keep in mind that you don't want to lose the part of you that can commit to just one man. If you get so used to all these different lovers and new stuff that comes with them, after a while that becomes all that you can relate to in a relationship. As soon as you begin to feel commitment sneaking up on you, you'll find a way to sabotage it.

Do your thing, don't let your thing do you!

CHUCK: The problem is not that you like to get your freak on. Let a freak be a freak, I say. The problem is that you also want to play at having a relationship, too. That can be a dangerous game.

If your boyfriend doesn't have the same understanding about your relationship that you do (because YOU HAVEN"T TALKED TO HIM), there could be some ugly repercussions if he catches you with one of your playmates.

It sounds as though you are caught between what society (i.e., your friends) want for you (monogamy, stability, etc.), and what you want for yourself (hot, sweaty, uncommitted sex with someone you can ravish and... Excuse me, I need a drink of cold water all of a sudden). That's why you reach for the easy, if accurate, justification ("I'm just doing what men do!")

Let your boyfriend know what's going on with you. If he's not with it, he'll move on. You're just twenty-five, so I'm not gonna tell you it's wrong to sow your wild oats. But I'm going to ask you to do two things: Protect yourself. And acknowledge that the day may come when you might feel differently about monogamy.


Down Low? How do I know?

QUESTION: Ok Chuck and Garland, tell me this. I've been hanging out with this man at my job for a few months. I like him, he's good looking, sexy and smart. But he's a little odd about things. He has little issues with some of the women in our department. He'll get into petty arguments, he'll avoid talking to them sometimes, and other times he's real buddy-buddy with them. It's strange. I've heard from a couple people that he used to be gay and then a few people say he's still gay. I've hinted questions at his sexual orientation but he always acts like he's straight. I'm wondering if he's in denial. I could see him being down low, but right now I don't know what to do.

CHUCK: The easy answer to your question is: You can't know for sure. At least until you get to know him better. And even then...

The clues that you're taking right now could be right, but could just as likely be wrong. Let's face it: Work gossip is hardly 100% reliable. Think of anything you may have heard about yourself on the work grapevine and let that be your judge of its veracity. All men are not the same, contrary to what you may have been told. So if he interacts with his female co-workers in a way that seems strange to you, there might not be anything to it. That may just be his way.

Your friend may be concealing his true sexuality for personal and business reasons. The current climate isn't always welcoming to gays, especially men. But if you really are interested in getting to know him better, spend more time hanging out with him away from work. Maybe arrange to hang out with him at his place. The only thing that going to prove things to you one way or the other will be more time and more information.

GARLAND: You say you're "hanging out" with this guy. Now to me there are two different kinds of 'hanging out' - one kind where you go downtown after work and screen a movie, then the other kind where he goes downtown after work and you scream do me!!! So, I'm gonna try to touch on both.

If you are intimate with this guy, you're REALLY going to have to slow things down to a halt and seriously talk to this guy. Men on the DL play by some dangerous rules, and more often than not, it is the women in their lives that truly end up paying the price. There are plenty of little games you could play to check his preference - I've heard of women that tease questionable guys with gay porn and with other gay men and stuff like that. I don't know whether it works or not, but I think you should approach the subject gently with him, but make sure you get your concerns across to him.

I wouldn't give in too much to office gossip, I've seen women call guys gay because the guy didn't want to get with them, and well... I've also seen guys called gay because THEY were. You just never can tell.

Try talking to him and see what he has to say. But now if this guy is a buddy of yours that you share a decent plutonic relationship with, unless you have a problem with gay people, I'd just leave it alone. If you enjoy his company and he enjoys yours, I'd just leave it alone. Like Chuck said - basically, being gay today comes with so many stigmas that most guys just want to keep their sexuality to themselves.

Take your time with this guy, feel him out, ask him questions and share your concerns and thoughts. Communications is the key.


Old Dud vs. New Stud?

QUESTION: I have a friend who wants to know the following: She's met this guy who's from Israel. She's been going out with him for about 6 weeks now and they've had mediocre sex a couple of times. This guy's a little older than her and smokes, which is somewhat of a turnoff to her. The problem is, he has this really cute friend that she's been checking out and wants to approach. The friend is more her age and really stirs her juices, if you know what I mean. Should she jump ship and approach the friend, dump her lover and leave the friend alone, or keep em both?


I think your friend needs to hit the road right now and drop old 'Smokey Joe.' The reason I say "right now" is because it's easier to break up with someone after six weeks than it is after seven weeks... and eight and nine and so on.

I think it's time to move on because there's several issues to deal with: this guy is a little older than her; the sex is mediocre; he smokes; and she's checking out his buddy. Now maybe just one issue would be okay - but there are several things here and any combination could stop anything long term between them. Most notably, the fact that she's checking out his younger pal. She's probably just enjoying the sexual variety that comes with being single and Smokey Joe isn't keeping her attention.

I say drop the current boyfriend. Tell your girl to be nice. Tell him she needs some space and she isn't ready to be in anything too serious. That's always the best break-up line. Tell her not to jump the cute guy's bones just yet! Don't dog the old boyfriend in his face, and don't cause tension between the guys. Give it some time. Suggest she make her presence [and her newfound single-ness] known to the younger friend and maybe give it a few weeks before she hooks him up!

CHUCK: I agree. Your friend should cut the old smokestack loose. If the sex ain't great, she's not into the smoking, and, most crucially, it's still early, get the hell out now. The longer she goes, the greater chance the guy is gonna develop an attachment that might make a breakup more stressful later.

However, if I were her, I wouldn't get too stuck on the idea of a future dating the sexy friend, either. Partner swaps between friends can be a risky minefield to walk. Some guys won't hesitate to go out with their buddy's exes. Some guys won't do it, out of respect to their friends. I remember having an attraction for one of my brother's ex-girlfriends that I thought was returned. But I never pursued it. Ultimately, it didn't feel right to me.

If she still wants to approach the guy, though, she needs to wait a reasonable length of time. Let's say, 6 weeks. And she should take a soft approach with the guy and not come on too strong. If everyone acts like an adult, she could end up with the guy she wants.


Is my Man - A BOY?

QUESTION: I've been going out with my boyfriend for almost a year. We met in the gym near my house and got along real well from the start. My only problem with him is that he dresses like a teenager. He's always wearing big jerseys, baggy pants, doo-rags, and sneakers. I don't think he owns a tie or a dress shirt or a pair of casual pants. I don't need a man to always wear a suit and tie for me, but I'm 38 and he's 36 and I'm starting to get a little embarrassed when we go out to dinner or whatever and he looks like an 18 year old thug. I've asked him to try a few new changes in his wardrobe but he won't. He says he's "Keeping it real." He's a nice guy, but I'm getting tired of this. What is he thinking? What should I do?

Chuck: Let's try looking at things from your boyfriend's perspective for a minute. You didn't say what he does for a living, but if his job does not require him to dress up, he may not have a lot of experience with it, and therefore have little appreciation for how he could look. How and where he was brought up could have played a part in this.

That said, you should also define how embarrassing his outfits are. I don't have a problem with t-shirts and jeans (even loose ones), but if he's a grown-ass, 30-plus man walking around in, say, Makaveli Branded jeans (they have 2Pac's face embroidered on them, for God's sake) and "Stop Snitchin'" t-shirts, well, what's really going on? He may be trying to hold onto his youth this way. And to be 36 and doing that is NOT keepin' it real.

My solution? Take your man shopping. Find a nice men's store that carries a decent variety of clothes and get him to try on some different stuff. Make it fun. Flatter him. And you might find that he's ready to move to the adult table, after all.

GARLAND: Sounds to me like he's "keepin' it real"... REAL juvenile!

Unlike my man Chuck - I'm a little less forgiving with a 36 year old man that won't put on a button up shirt even once in a while. Granted, he might have a job that requires jeans and doesn't have a certain dress code, but he's not a teenager and every so often he's got to try to dress a little more mature.

Jerseys and baggy jeans are cool if Big Macs are always on the menu and you spend all your Friday nights at the video arcade. But you can't go into nicer restaurants, or certain clubs, or other places wearing Timbs and T-shirts that read, "If you see the cops - Warn-a-Brother."

Some guys unfortunately have poor fashion role models. Maybe their dad or their big brother or their boyz never dressed outside of jeans and pull over shirts. I think a lot of guys are kinda' intimidated with matching shirts and ties, and matching belts with shoes, and has anyone ever really looked at cuff links - come on!!!

I think you need to take him to a nice store with the kinds of clothes that you want to see him in. Encourage him to try on some outfits, make him comfortable in linen shirts, put some nice ties across his chest. Try to urge him to pick up an outfit or two. The first step might be a small one. But whatever you do, don't try to make him into someone he's not. Maybe he'll mix in the two different dress styles for you, but he's still going to want his casual gear around too. That's fine. However, if none of this works, and he still refuses to consider even a slight change, then sit back and assess what it is you want and expect from this relationship. You may just have to accept it, or you may have to be willing to leave him and move on.

Coffee, Tea and You're Dead to Me

A VERBAL QUESTION WAS POSED: "Please explain this to me! I've been passing this guy in the hallway at my job for the last few weeks and then last Friday he asks me to join him for coffee. We took a brief afternoon break together, got coffee, and chatted. We talked about world events, the military, schools, etc. I then asked him what he was doing for the weekend. He said he was taking his girlfriend and her daughter to the zoo. We chatted a few more minutes and I told him the next cup of coffee was on me. We parted.

That was over a week ago and I have seen him at least four times since then in the hallways and now he refuses to even speak to me. I thought we parted on good terms but he won't even part his lips to say hello. What is his problem and why do men do this stupid stuff????

GARLAND: When I heard this question, something deep down told me that I was not being told everything. I prodded this person several times to make sure she told me everything she could remember being said. Then she added this:

"Well, he asked me what my weekend plans were and I told him that I was trying to decide who I was going to dinner with on Saturday night since I had accidentally accepted two offers."

GARLAND: Now we have all the facts! It sounds like you've stumbled across the often seen North American Jack-Ass!

I think what happened is this: HE asked YOU out for coffee. Then he tells you that he has a girlfriend. To a normal person, this might mean "Hey, this is an innocent cup of coffee. I've seen you around and just wanted to say 'hello' - but I'm not interested in anything more because I have a girlfriend." But, because he's pulling the old silent treatment, this coffee meant a lot more! I'm willing to bet that YOU blew it with him when you mentioned that you had 2 dates lined up for Saturday.

In his eyes, YOU are a loose woman. Shame on you!!!

You were probably supposed to be falling all over yourself because this guy asked you out for coffee. What a big spender. I bet he was pretty handsome wasn't he? Sounds like a guy that is used to women making a big thing over his attention. He made it a point to tell you that "I'LL BE WITH MY GIRLFRIEND..." So that way, you know up front that to him, you are clearly number 2 or 3 or lower. However, you blew it when you told him the same thing! YOU have 2 dates on Saturday! Clearly he couldn't handle being outdone by someone smoother than himself. Yeah - this is a real Jack Ass you're dealing with.

CHUCK: Hello, young lady, you have just experienced Who Could Care Less, one of the most popular games for couples. And you have lost... or maybe you've won. Anyway, thanks for playing.

The rules are this: A man and a woman meet. There is some attraction, but the man and woman both have to act like they're not "pressed." So they try to top each other with displays of apathy. But the unwritten rule of this game is, the man should always win. Because women outnumber men and a good, professional man is hard to find and blahblahblah. So when he mentioned his girlfriend, you were just supposed to fold and talk about your nights at home alone with your cat and your Gilmore Girls DVDs. But instead, you talk about having 2 possible dates! Dammit, women aren't supposed to have choices!

You beat him at the game. You will obviously be unwilling to beg and scrape for the crumbs he would be willing to give you in a relationship. So, darn it, he's just gonna act like you don't exist. But do you really want some self-centered chump ringing your phone for booty calls when his girlfriend's out of town?

I know it feels funny to be ignored by this guy, especially since you didn't know you were playing Who Could Care Less, anyway. But, you know what? Just ignore him harder.


Is it worth it?

QUESTION: Why do you think so many of us women wait until we reach the age of 35 or better and start to second guess our decisions in life?

-We allow the so called 'men' in our lives to lay guilt upon us for having education, homes, cars, etc.

-We allow them to make us less than a priority.

Is it worth it? Just to say we have a MAN!!!!!!!

GARLAND: I call some of this behavior: "Understanding your way to happiness."

You hit several issues, so I'm gonna try to hit them all...

To start - I'm willing to bet that in most major metropolitan areas, men and women roughly break down like this: FOR MEN - 60% are married; 10% are in jail; 10% are gay; and 20% are single, free and straight. FOR WOMEN 45% are married; 5% are lesbians; and 50% are single and straight.

So - theoretically 20% of the men are either dating or in committed relationships with 50% of the women! And, I think most women in that 50% know that. They feel that they are often trying to stay competitive for these guys. Unfortunately, most of the guys are fully aware of this, and they know that some of the women with lower self esteem will allow themselves to be treated like dirt, over and over again just so they won't be alone..

This brings in the "Understanding your way to happiness." Some women, when they start to feel the self esteem and self confidence fading, they begin speaking to the man in their life like this:

"Oh, you couldn't pick me up because your car broke down. I understand."

"Oh, you didn't answer your phone all night because your battery was dead. I understand."

"Oh, we can't go out tonight because you spent all your money getting your braids done? I understand."

Once women start "understanding" when the neglect begins, they open up for the self doubt. They start allowing themselves to taken for granted.

I think lowered self esteem and lowered self confidence, causes many women to allow bad guys into their lives. I think, unfortunately, a lot of women are scared that if they let these scrubs, cheats and liars go from their lives that they'll never find another man to be with.

You mentioned 35 years old, I think many women approaching the big "4-0" don't see themselves as refined, polished and elegant - as they should. Social trends sometimes force many of these women to feel inferior to the younger, perkier, 20-somethings fresh on the scene. This is another element that makes some women more inclined to put up with crap from sorry men.

Is it worth it? Not in my opinion. But unfortunately there are countless decent, strong women that have low self esteem and see very little self worth without a man, ANY man, on their arm. I wish I could tell all of them to just "STOP UNDERSTANDING" why you are being treated like less than a queen. Make that man respect you, or make that bum hit the streets!"

Chuck: I don't know the source of Garland's statistical breakdown. I don't know if things work up the same for both sexes in every city. But I will say that it's obvious who conventional wisdom like that serves: Straight, single men. Hmmm...

Some men will use stats like those against women, to infer that their unfaithful, inconsiderate selves are really some sort of precious commodity whose every flaw and fault must be accommodated. NOT SO.

For a man to feel so threatened by what a woman has achieved in her 30's, that he is constantly trying to undermine her, that means his own self-esteem is pretty weak. And to bolster his self-esteem, he is trying to make yours as low as his. Doctor Phil would call that transference.

It's not unusual to second guess the decisions we have made in our lives. I do so nearly every weekday when I have to roll out of bed at 5:30 AM. But when someone else is trying to make me feel guilty about the decisions I've made in life, I question their motives.

I'd say that putting up with neglect and insensitivity are scarcely worth it, just to say that you "have a man." Because he's most likely not the kind of man you're going to have for very long anyway.


Control Issues

QUESTION: I'm a strong, married, black woman who is used to being in control and taking control. Sometimes, I think my husband forgets that I like to be treated as a woman and need romance and feminine things done for me, like holding doors open, letting me order first at restaurants, surprising me with flowers. I sometimes feel that I got better treatment when I was the girlfriend than when I became the wife. I know that my "take charge" personality probably contributes to this problem, but I was used to being on my own and handling things by myself for several years before we got together. What can I do to compromise and maintain my independence while learning to let my husband take control of things sometimes?

GARLAND: I'm glad to see that you recognize that some of your husbands shortcomings in the area of gentlemanly romance may be the result of your "take charge" personality. That's not to totally excuse him from his duties though, but it plays a part.

He's probably gotten so used to you opening your own doors and doing the little things that you'd wish he would do, that things are just the way they are between you. Normal. Once something gets set in motion, it tends to stay in motion. That is until it meets an irresistable force. In this case, the old "Honey we need to talk..." No five words will stop a man in his tracks faster!!!

I think for this question, the answer should be - just talk to him. If he's your husband, he's probably already proven to be a decent guy - just talk to him one night over dinner, be straight forward and cool about it and I'm pretty certain, he'll come right around for you. Good Luck!

Chuck: This sounds like you want to have things both ways. Clearly, you relish your role as a strong, take-charge kind of woman. But you also want to reserve the right to be feminine and vulnerable and be romanced. Don't get me wrong. You're not wrong for wanting to have things both ways. But don't expect your husband to automatically know when those times are when you want to relinquish your control.

Roles tend to be set early in relationships. Who takes out the trash, who sleeps on which side of the bed, whether the toilet seat is going to be up or down. And like so many other things in life, once you're labeled a certain way, it's hard to change the way people think of you. Trust me, I know. You may be a victim of your husband accepting you a certain way, and failing to see you any other way.

Since you haven't stated differently, I'm going to presume that your husband loves and respects you otherwise. If you haven't already, make your concerns known to him. And if he should neglect to come around, or fail to hold doors, etc., call it to his attention. But not in a nagging way. God knows men don't want to be nagged. He might surprise you.


When "Just OK" Isn't OK

QUESTION: I've been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. He's a wonderful guy who treats me with a lot of respect and really seems to love me. There's just one problem - he's just "ok" in the bedroom.

The last boyfriend I had was a dog, but the sex was outta this world. My boyfriend has a big penis, but doesn't seem to know what to do with it. Plus he rushes foreplay. It's like as soon as he's ready he thinks I'm ready. I really don't know if I have the patience to teach him or not, but I'm tired of faking orgasms and pretending I'm enjoying sex when I'm really hoping he'll climax and get it over with.

Should I talk to him and try to work this out, or just go ahead and nicely dump him for greener sexual pastures?

GARLAND: Well, it all depends on what you really want for yourself. If you just want some hot and heavy, ripping the sheets off the bed, stinky - sweaty, athletic, jungle sex - right-this-very-minute. Then dump the new guy, and call up the ex. He's a dog, so regardless of who he's screwing this week, I'm sure he can fit you into his schedule.

But, if you like what the current guy is giving you; the respect, the decency, the love - then let him know you need some changes in the Sex Department.

Don't look at it as "teaching him" because that makes it seem like he's a child. He's a man - treat him as such and he'll be more receptive to what you have to say. I'm willing to bet that the reason he's falling short in the bedroom is because he's thinking the way a lot of guys do when it comes to sex. "A-B-C-1-2-3 used to blow Monica's mind, so I know it's gonna' blow every woman's mind!" Then he brings ABC123 to you and you find yourself so bored that you're mentally writing your grocery list for the week during the lovin'.

This is what I think you should do. Wait until a few minutes before you know you're going to have sex. Don't do it hours before, or over the phone, or over E-Mail - it has to be just as things are about to happen. Otherwise he'll forget! Just as sex is on the horizon, tell him, "I want to try something different... I want you to do this... And then I want to turn like this... Then I want you to move like this..." Present your desires to him, and take charge in certain areas. See, this will open his eyes and let him know that just because Monica liked ABC123, you are different and you may need some XYZ789! Don't think of it as teaching, just work with him and let him see and feel what turns you on. If he loves you like you say - you should get good results. If this doesn't work though, and he still wants to be rough-and-tumble with the lovin' - just wait 'till he wants some more sex, then hand him the lotion and tell him you have a headache!

Chuck: See, this is what men with average-sized penises have been saying for years: If you don't know what to do with your 9 inches, you may as well have 3. Clearly the case here.

I don't know how old your current boyfriend is, but he sounds like a stereotypical young guy. Get on, get off, and only pay passing attention to your needs. Some guys grow out of that, some don't. It depends on what kind of partners he's had before you.

Before you dump him, give him a chance to get it right. Without letting him know that you've been doing some Meg Ryan/When Harry Met Sally stuff in the bedroom, tell him that you haven't been getting a lot out of your sex life as it stands now. If he cares about you, he's going to want to correct that. You tell him that you might need more than that one Will Downing song to get ready. You might need half the CD. Brothers need to stop treating foreplay as if it's doing their taxes, some unenjoyable chore. Done right, they should get something out of it, too.

And if he's not receptive, or plays you off and still does the same thing, reserve the right to exercise the "nuclear option." Just before he's about to jump in without giving you proper care, just stop the whole show, and let him know what you need before things go any further. That should get his attention.
Even if you do decide to pursue greener pastures though, I suggest you stay clear of the old dog/boyfriend. There are plenty enough fresh dogs out there without going to an old one.

Making things right.

QUESTION: I was dating this guy for about seven weeks not too long ago. We were having a good time, he treated me well and we hadn't slept together yet. I could tell he wanted to but he didn't force the issue. One afternoon he called me at work and told me that he had just run into an old friend, a woman, that he hadn't seen in a few years and he was going to have drinks with her that evening and he'd call me when he got home. We didn't have plans that night so I think the only reason he called was to put her in my face. I didn't answer the phone that night. I didn't take his calls for over a week and when I did, I lied to him. I told him that I had met a really great guy the night he went out with his friend. I implied that me and this guy had slept together a few nights later and would be spending more time together. I just told him that because I was mad. He didn't seem angry or hurt, but he did stop calling and coming around. That was two months ago. I want to call him and tell him the truth. I'm miserable without him. I just don't know what to do. Then I see this blog that you have, I can't believe it. What do I do?

GARLAND: I'm sure that as long as Chuck and I are writing this blog, the word we'll use the most is COMMUNICATION. You need to talk to this guy, right now.

However, let's back up a few steps. Games will get you no where! You thought your friend was throwing this other woman up in your face, and I'm willing to bet that he was just trying to be legit and respectful. He knew he was going to be out with another woman, and he just wanted you to know it was innocent and he had nothing to hide. Lying to him about another man was absolutely shameful. And, believe me - he was angry and he was hurt! He was probably a really decent man, because a lot of guys would still be leaving you nasty voice mails, two months later.

You need to really collect your thoughts and be ready for a harsh rejection, because you MAY be in for one. But, if you really miss this guy and you want him back - you need to strike now. Go to him, or call him and just be honest. You might get hung up on or you might get walked away from or you might even get cursed out. But you have to come clean and be honest - tell him how you felt, tell him you lied, tell him why, tell him you miss him and want him back. It's going to be hard for both you. You're gonna have to bare your soul and he's gonna have to wash away the images of you in another man's arms, and he's gonna have to wash away the image of him being made a fool of. He's going to feel like fool for making you his top priority for all those weeks only to have the thoughts of you giving yourself to another man after just a few days.

It is going to be rough though. Personally, I've been in a slightly similar position, where I thought things were going good and suddenly the carpet got pulled out from under me for reasons I didn't understand. Then weeks later I got a phone call from the carpet yanker. She just opened up to me and her candor started the healing we needed.

I strongly suggest you reach out to him today, NOT tomorrow if you really want him back. If he's as decent as I think he is, you are not the only woman with him on your radar. Okay - hurry and read Chuck's reply and go pick up that phone!!!!!

Chuck: There can be a lot of tit-for-tat in relationships. But it looks like you kind of tit-for-tatted your way out of one.

Garland believes that your friend was just trying to be honest and respectful when he told you he was going out with another woman. I think it's just as likely that he was attempting to push your relationship along. Since romance and sex were not big factors in your friendship, he might have thought the appearance of a rival might make you face your feelings for him and realize that you really wanted him. But you took the bait too well, and came back with not just a rival, but a sex partner. Knowing he had no claim to you in that area, of course he decided to leave you alone.

Yeah, I say communicate, but stop playing games, too. Too often the prize you get at the end isn't the one you wanted.

Call this guy as soon as you can, if you miss him that much. It's not going to be easy for you, even if he hasn't moved on.But the very fact that you've come clean with him after all this time should weigh in your favor. Good luck. Let us know if things work out.


Ex Sex?

QUESTION: What do you think about having sex with your ex if neither of you are in a relationship?

GARLAND: Hey, we're all adults here. Right? What's the harm in a little sex with the ex? A little naked game with the old flame? A little night-time joy with the old boy?

Personally, I think it's cool. Dangerous - but cool.

Sex with the ex when both of you are unattached is cool as long as you both agree on the terms and conditions. If you can both do it, walk away from it and still be okay mentally and emotionally - I say - get candles, get honey, get handcuffs, get busy!

But come on, let's be real here. This is somebody you cared about, somebody that cared about you. You've got memories, you've got history, you know each other in and out. Is it really going to be just sex? Maybe 1 out of 5 times it is, but those other 4 times? Be honest - it's going to be hot, up close and personal lovin' with somebody that knows where all your buttons are. Most people can't just walk away from that. Could you?

And then you have the whole man / woman thing. You ladies are wired into your emotions and us guys are wired into our bodies. There's a good chance you both will likely walk away from return sex feeling entirely different. If you're tight enough with your ex to consider sex with him, you're probably better off than most people that have broken up. Do you want to throw that away? Sex has a funny way of messing up stuff like that. So, if you think for a second that either of you can't handle it, walk, run, ski, roller blade, bike or wind surf your way to someplace he's not.

My opinion: There are worse things than sex with the ex. Just make absolutely sure your head is straight and his head is straight... uh, focused... make sure his head is focused. You have to really think long and hard before you commit to something like that. Yeah, yeah - I know 'long and hard' was a poor choice of words...

CHUCK: On the face of it, there's not a thing wrong with you getting together with an ex-boyfriend or husband if you're both unattached. Sex under those circumstances can be hot, fun, stress-relieving, good for the complexion, all that.

HOWEVER... Here's a couple things to consider before you start turning pages in your little black book. First of all, in terms of birth/STD control, treat this guy just like a stranger. You may think, "oh, it's cool, he used to be so clean I could eat off of him." Things may have changed. I know someone who decided to have a little harmless fling with an ex, and, well... they got burnt. Oops.Take nothing for granted in that area.

Secondly, make sure that you're both clear that things are what they are. Unless rekindling your relationship with this guy is something you want to do, get it straight with him that you two are just hitting it off for a night. Trust me, honesty like that from women most guys will appreciate.

Because if you don't get things straight, dude could end up catching feelings. If those feelings aren't reciprocated, and he's just that kind of crazy, stalking brother, prepare yourself for a voice mail full of hang-ups and cut-up doll parts on your front step. You've all seen the movies. Of course, you can establish your boundaries, and the guy may still get clingy. But look at the bright side: You're just that damn good.


Child Support (Mild Support)

QUESTION: Why does my ex-boyfriend, my baby's father, lie when I ask him why hasn't he paid child support. His response is "It is being taken out of my check." However, I am not receiving any child support and he doesn't seem concerned it if is being taken out and I'm not receiving it.

GARLAND: Thanks for being our first question! I guess above all, be glad that this guy is your "ex." Any man that doesn't seem to be concerned about his kid's welfare is most likely a SCRUB, so you're better off without him. Some guys get all caught up worrying that the child's mother is spending part his support money on herself. So, to be on the safe side, he just doesn't give her anything. But, if in fact money is coming out of his check and he doesn't care where it goes - that makes him STUPID and PATHETIC. This type of guy doesn't have a clue as to what it takes to be a parent, a man, or a decent human being for that much. Walk the other way when you see him!!! (Maybe even - RUN the other way!)

Don't bother chasing after him on the phone or at his job or at his place - it will only bring out the worst in this dead-beat. If he doesn't care about money out of his check, and he doesn't care about his kid - then you mean less than nothing to him as well. Seeing you face-to-face, trying to explain how wrong he is for not caring and not doing anything will most likely convince him that YOU truly need his money for that big shoe sale next week. Looking into the eyes of the mother of the child he neglects, it's very unlikely that he'll see you buying diapers, and cereal, and Batman pajama's - instead he'll see that he's a bum and loser. He'll get mad, fuss, cuss and run away.

But, there could be one more thing going on here. This guy could have another kid out there. Your child support might be leaving his check, but it might be ending up in another woman's bank account. Either way, he'd probably still care less. You might want to look into this though.

Basically - Just get LEGAL - You need to stop by your local courthouse with your child support order in hand and let them know that you're not receiving the money your child is due! That would be your best move. That - and not stressing over a dead-beat.

CHUCK: Thanks from me too for providing us our first question. I don't possess any personal experience in this area (child support), but I'll take a run at it. First of all, I think I should acquaint you with a principle that arises frequently when couples separate: NOT MY PROBLEM. As in, "I'm moving out of our apartment with three months left on the lease and your name's the only one on it? NOT MY PROBLEM." "Some of your DVDs went missing when you moved out, including your copies of Scarface and Friday? NOT MY PROBLEM." "You didn't get your child support this month? NOT MY PROBLEM."

Parties in former couples take opportunities to score points against their exes by acting aloof and callous all the time. We all tell ourselves when we break up that we're going to act maturely towards the other person. Some of us even mean it. Some, like your ex apparently, don't even try.

I find it amazing that he is so nonchalant about his money not reaching you and his child. I mean, for all he knows, it could be going in the pocket of some corrupt court clerk. If just for selfish reasons, he should want to make sure that his hard-earned money is going where it's supposed to. Assuming he doesn't already know what's up.

Garland's right on in suggesting that you don't want to approach him directly about the child support, at least for now. You've seen the response you've gotten. Your best bet is pursuing your money through the court system, where you'll at least get a fair hearing. He may give you some crap about "going to da White Man on him," but you know what? Don't even dignify it.

But neither one of us has really answered your actual question here, why your ex-boyfriend lies about his non-payment of child support. My answer's simple: He's a dick. Sorry.


What are Men Thinking?

QUESTION: "Why did the two of you start this blog? And, why should women listen to you?"

Garland: From my perspective, we started this blog because far too many good women are allowing themselves to be held back and held down by undeserving men. Now, don't think this is going to be a man bashing blog, because it's not! Chuck and I are positive guys, we're family guys, and we're good guys. We know that there are MANY good men out there - strong, decent men that will show ladies the respect they deserve. What we intend to do with this blog, is help women separate the good men from the bad ones. Many times, many frustrating times - we've seen women miss the most obvious signs of trouble in dating and relationships and we've gotten tired of it. So, we want to help. We want to share men's insights into dating, relationships, sex, love, lust and everything in between.

Why should anyone listen? Because the opinions and advice we'll give - will be candid, proven and most of all reliable. Come back from time to time and check us out. You'll see that Oprah, Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil have nothing on Chuck and Garland.

Chuck: Ditto. No, really, too often have Garland and myself seen women (and men) acting in ways counter to their best interests and crossing their fingers and hoping that things work out for the best. I've always thought that everybody could do better than that.

I look forward to this being a positive experience for us. And I hope to maintain an open mind as we exchange ideas. At this point, I feel that the lack of three things can bring about the failure of most relationships: communication, trust, and common sense. As time goes on, I may change my mind.

What are my credentials? Um... What are YOUR credentials? Leave me alone. Seriously, I'm no psychologist or anything, but I am happy in my relationship with a strong Black woman, and I want to do what I can to help other people to that same happiness, however they define it. At any rate, if we can't offer any enlightenment , maybe we can offer some entertainment. Please send us any questions or feedback you have.