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Invasive Species

By Mink Stole | Posted 2/1/2006

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Iíve been dating a seemingly great guy for about two months now, and I say ďseeminglyĒ because I am always aware of the underlying potential for a jerk to surface from beneath a best-case-scenario-guy facade. Iím wondering when is a typical, or better, ideal, time to discuss whether or not weíre dating exclusively. I realize that at our ages (me 24, him 31) there is no longer a note passed that says, ďWill you date me? Circle yes or no,Ē but I still feel that until we talk about where we stand I canít make any presumptions for fear of making a colossally wrong one. To my knowledge, we are already exclusive, and I donít want to be pushy or scare him off, but how can I get my question answered in a noninvasive and tactful way?

Curious Carla

While I understand your desire not to be duped by a frog in prince clothing, CC, Iíve got to say ix-nay on asking the estion-quay. Hereís why: If your guy is like a lot of other guys, no matter how noninvasive you try to be, he will not hear a simple request for information; what he will hear is, ďAre you going to marry me?Ē And in an instant youíre transformed from best-heís-ever-dated gal into wedding-wanting scary gal. Then, if he backs away, youíll be convinced youíve just been frog-kissed again. Youíve only been dating two monthsógive the guy a chance. Instead of trying to have a talk, watch how he acts. Do you see him on weekends? Can you call him at home? Have you met his friends? Has he met your friends? If so, did he act proud of you? Does he volunteer information about what heís up to when heís not with you? Does he call when he says he will? Or, if you suggest seeing a movie next week, is he evasive? Does he say heís already seen it but wonít say when or with whom? Do you always get his voice mail when you call him? Is sex the only thing you ever do together? If you can answer yes to the first seven and no to the last four, it looks good. If the opposite is true, run, baby, runóhis warts are showing.

There is one scenario where a discussion of exclusivity would not only be appropriate, but also obligatory, and that is if he or you wanted to stop using condoms. Itís still the same basic conversation, but when you take it out of the clingy woman I-wear-a-size-eight-engagement-ring context and put it in the strong woman I-have-to-protect-my-health context, youíre a lot more likely to get honest answers and a lot less likely to scare him away.

 

I have been casually dating (and spending the night with) a man for more than two years. Marvin is nearing 50. Twice when Iíve been with him, he wet the bed. Once it was on a bed that was protected, so no harm was done. Once it was my bed, which does not have waterproof protection. When we realized the accident had occurred, he said, ďOh, sorry.Ē Then he made a comment that the incident didnít bode well for the coming years. After removing the sheet, there was clearly a very wet spot on the bed. I didnít want to embarrass him, so I didnít make a big deal out of it. Should he have offered to pay for a new mattress? We are both financially comfortable. Is he just a clueless guy who thought it would dry out, with no harm done? He hasnít inquired about the mattress since the incident two weeks ago.

Damp Diane

There are a few possible reasons he didnít offer, DD. One, he was too embarrassed; two, he either believes or knows from experience that the mattress can be cleaned; three, heís a cheap bastard; or four, he figures that by welcoming him into your bed you were accepting a known risk. Heís certainly not clueless. Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, affects 1 percent of the adult population, enough that thereís a whole industry built around itópadded panties, adult diapers, even bedwetting alarmsóbut itís not something we automatically protect ourselves from unless it has taken us by surprise a couple of times. In other words, heís seen a wet mattress before.

So the question really is, what do you do now? If you havenít already trashed this mattress, try cleaning it. I checked the internet, and there are dozens of products that swear they can unstink anything; if one of them works, maybe you donít need a new mattress. If nothing works, or if youíre too creeped out to keep this one, then what you do after that depends (no pun intended) on how you feel about Marvin. If you want to keep on sleeping with him, you could buy yourself a new mattress, put a special grown-up wee-wee pad on it, and either not mention it or let him know itís all OK and under control. Or you could buy yourself a new mattress and toss Marvin out with the old one. Basically, your choice is between an empty bed or a dry one. H

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Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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