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Silent Affliction

By Mink Stole | Posted 3/21/2001

I just found out, totally accidentally, that a good friend of mine has herpes. I wouldn't care, except that he's just begun dating (read: sleeping with) an acquaintance of mine and I'm pretty sure she's unaware of his problem. Normally I wouldn't interfere with my friend's love life, but, as a woman, I feel I'd be less than honorable in keeping this knowledge to myself. Do I talk, or do I mind my own business and keep my lip zipped?

Knows Too Much

Dear Knows:

You talk. But before you embarrass your acquaintance with a confidence she may not welcome, be sure you've got your facts straight. If it's true, telling her is a kindness, regardless of how awkward it may be for you both. But if it's not true, no one will thank you for spreading rumors. Go to your friend immediately, tell him what you've learned, and ask him what he's doing about it. It's possible you've underestimated him, or misread the situation somehow. If your info is correct, however, and he won't tell her, you need to give her the bad news pronto, to give her a chance to protect herself. Herpes isn't the end of the world, but not having it is a helluva lot better than having it. Anyone who knowingly risks passing it on to an unsuspecting partner is just plain lower than snail snot and forfeits all claim to loyal silence from his friends.

I work with a militant vegan who won't stop bugging me about cheeseburgers. This guy acts like a born-again Christian, only crazier. He gives me dirty looks when we have lunch together, and he drones on endlessly about how hard it is to find good nonleather shoes. I'd like to respect his beliefs, but when he starts lecturing I just want to gag him with a meatball sub. Any suggestions?

Got a Beef

Dear Beef:

Veganism is a worthy choice, and, like other alternative ways of life, it requires sacrifices and adjustments. Admirable as it is, however, revamping our cooking and shopping habits in order to put the well-being of animals above our own need for food and footwear is not automatic qualification for sainthood--and bragging about our good deeds to captive colleagues is about as subtle a bid for same as asking for halo polish. (Not to mention that it's annoying as hell.) We can quietly make our convictions known, but, as with any other deeply felt personal belief, if further discussion is unwelcome, we drop the subject. We do not preach (especially to an audience already suffering enough just by virtue of being at work). No matter how noble the cause, as the immortal Miss Gertrude Stein might have said, "a bore is a bore is a bore."

The obvious solution would be just to stop having lunch with the guy, but I'm assuming that office politics or procedures make that difficult if not impossible. So make him an offer he can't refuse. In exchange for his never, ever nagging you again about your bologna sandwiches, burgers, and cowboy boots, you'll make a donation in his name to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And tell him to try Payless for shoes--they're everywhere, they're cheap, and they've got the best selection I've seen of nonleather fashion.

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Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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