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Hands Off

By Mink Stole | Posted 7/4/2001

My boyfriend and I have a great love life, which, believe me, I appreciate. But he's always trying to manhandle me in public, especially when we're out with friends, and even if it's just the two of us. I've told him repeatedly how uncomfortable this makes me, but he won't stop. Last night at the movies he was all over me, and when I pushed him away he got really mad. He says I should stop being such a prude and be proud of how sexy and desirable I am. I tell him that how sexy I am is nobody's business but ours. How can I make him stop?

Privacy Nut

Dear Privacy:

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I think I dated this guy's older brother (or maybe his dad) a whole lot of years ago in New York. He was always wanting to ram his tongue down my throat at parties or walk down the street with his hand on my butt. I was immature enough to buy his line about flaunting my sexuality and insecure enough to be flattered by his inability to keep his hands off me. It wasn't until after we broke up that I realized that it wasn't my desirability he'd been so proud of--it was his own. I have to believe he honestly cared for me, but the fact that he could parade me around as testament to his own studliness was a big bonus for him.

There's a big difference between an acceptable public display of affection, like handholding or an occasional closed-mouth kiss, and public foreplay. The one is sweet and endearing, the other is gross. Your refusal to participate in public pawing is not prudish, it's considerate. It's uncomfortable and embarrassing for most people to witness someone else's should-be private moments, no matter how expert the technique being demonstrated. His refusal to honor your request for public dignity is selfish and rude.

Tell your boyfriend that his public misbehavior has to stop. Tell him you think he's the greatest, sexiest man alive and the best lover you've ever known. Tell him that just thinking about him makes you weak with desire, and that in the privacy of your own home you want nothing more than to prove exactly that to him. Then tell him that unless he wants you to stop acting like a lust-crazed whore in the bedroom, he's going to have to respect your right to be treated like a lady on the street.

For the last couple of months I've been dating a guy I really, really like. We get along great, have lots in common, and seem to have endless things to do and talk about. But I always have to be on his left side because, although he is otherwise really good-looking, he has a large raised mole on the right side of his face that I just can't look at. I know beauty is only skin-deep, and I like to think I'm not especially shallow, but I don't understand why he hasn't had it removed. Would it be OK for me to suggest it?

Looks Left

Dear Looks:

This man has been living with his face his whole life. If he's like most men, he starts every day in front of a mirror with a razor. It may be that he's so used to it that he doesn't notice it anymore, or that he's trained himself to overlook it as something he can do nothing about. Or he may believe that a real man wouldn't be vain enough to change his appearance. Or maybe he's got a reverse vanity that insists his friends accept him "as is." Or he may be acutely aware and ashamed of it. Whatever, it's on his face, and even if he's never mentioned it, you can bet he's thought about it.

You, on the other hand, have known him only a few weeks, and you're so repelled by the sight of his mole you can't think of anything but getting rid of it. While this is no indication of great spiritual depth, it doesn't necessarily make you spit-shallow either. After all, you're the one who's looking at it, and if you can't stand the face of the one you love, the romance is pretty much doomed. To give yourself a little extra credit, however, it's not impossible that the more you care about him the less you'll care about the mole.

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