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.