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Hey, Faggot:

I feel dirty. Not dirt that can be wiped away with a wet nap, but two-cans-of-Ajax kind of dirty. Alas, no matter how hard I scrub, I can't get the memory of this man off of me. The urge to grab an S.O.S. pad and scrub my nether regions is almost irresistible. Long story short: I spent the last year ass-over-teakettle for an older man who never made me feel very good about myself. At the time I thought I loved him, but now the mention of his name makes me wish I were one of those aliens on V who can shimmy out of their fake human skin.

This is a man who refers to a certain male movie star, whom he met 20 years ago in an acting class, as "Robin." This is a man who--in all seriousness--gives that speech about how he's a loner, so please don't fall in love with him. This man questioned every positive step I made in my life in an attempt to keep me in obsessive crazy love with his rickety frame. I'm furious with myself for letting it go on as long as it did and for ignoring the broken-hip, butterscotch-pudding, and adult-diaper jokes my friends threw at me in an attempt to bring me to my senses.

Do not label me "bitter"--that's too easy. What I need from you is an answer to a simple question. I know that not even Dan Savage can turn back time. I mean, if Cher can't, you can't--but I ask you, Dan, is there any way you can unsleep with someone? Is it possible to reverse the process? Is this nightmare so intrinsically a part of me now that no splash of Summer's Eve can wash it away?

--Filthy in New York

Hey, FINY:

On our own, neither Cher nor I can turn back time, but are you sure you'd want time turned back if--and I'm not making any promises here--together Cher and I could pull it off? Be careful what you wish for, FINY: if we could turn back time, you might be doomed to relive the whole nightmarish experience--"Robin," adult-diaper jokes, questions about every positive step you make, all of it.

Anyway, if unsleeping with this man is your goal, you don't want time turned back, you want time to get all "jiggy wit dis an' 'at," as they say in rap. You want time to pass, and pass quickly.

It only takes three to four weeks for your skin, your epidermis, to replace itself completely. Like those aliens in V, you do wiggle out of your human skin, only the process is a bit more subtle. For all intents and purposes, a month after this sorry affair ended, the skin covering your body never touched the skin covering his. You never even shook hands. As for the rest of your body--vaginal canal, esophagus, stomach lining, rectum, and any other organs and orifices that came in contact with his organs or ejaculate--it'll take more time for the cells comprising them to regenerate, but you will, in time, have brand-new everything. The life cycles of various cells range from months to years, but soon enough you'll be a whole new woman, FINY, a woman who never touched that creep. There's no need to take an S.O.S. pad to your nether regions, as soon enough they won't be the nether regions he touched. They'll be new-and-improved nethers.

Brain cells, unfortunately, are not regenerated, so you'll be stuck with the memories forever. You could regard them as having been falsely implanted by an unethical therapist or, if that's too passive, you could drink them away. Alcohol kills brain cells, and with a lot of cosmopolitans and a little luck you may kill the very cells that store the memories of this sorry affair. Be careful, however, that in your efforts to drink away your bad memories you don't create new, equally regrettable ones.

Hey, Faggot:

No one should take advice from a homosexual.

I have a gay uncle who always said I was his favorite relative, which was understandable since I loved him while others in our family wanted him to go away. My fiance and I met him one morning for coffee. When my fiance left, my uncle advised me not to marry him, because in my uncle's opinion, my fiance--with whom he'd had one cup of coffee!--was a homosexual, and our marriage would surely fail.

I never intend to speak to my uncle again. But I know he will see this because he reads your column. I want him to know that my fiance told me that he experimented with homosexuality in college, plus a few flings afterward, but he stopped a year before we met. Even more important, while he and I are celibate and will be until we are married in April, we have spent a night together. I'm probably less sexually experienced than most 23-year-olds, but I do know what a man is supposed to do, and he did it all. Once we're married, we intend to start a real family.

When my fiance heard what my uncle said, he said that one of the main reasons he abandoned what he calls "the brown lifestyle" was all the envious old queens bitter at being denied the fulfillment only normal people can have.

I used to believe in "live and let live," but now I understand that straights have to defend decency against the homosexual forces that would sabotage it. And we should never take advice from people like you and my uncle, who on are on the wrong side in this war. --About to Be Traditionally Wed

Hey, ATBTW:

Here's your letter, and while I won't presume to offer advice to you, an engaged breeder, I have some for your uncle, one homosexual to another. When your niece divorces the sorry-ass fag she's about to marry--an inevitability--don't let her back in your life. She may have been nicer to you than other family members, but apparently she held you in just as much contempt.

Like most gay men, you can spot 'em, and when you sat down for coffee with your niece's fiance, you spotted one. You could have kept your mouth shut and played it safe, letting her marry the big homo. But you didn't want to see your niece hurt, so you felt compelled to warn her. Telling someone an unpleasant truth takes guts, and I admire you. You did the right thing. Your niece, naive and inexperienced, apparently thinks a man who's capable of doing everything a man is "supposed to do" to a woman must be straight. Ha. She's obviously unaware that most gay men have had sex with women, and that it isn't that difficult a thing to do, especially if one fantasizes about "the brown lifestyle" as one plows away. Additionally, it probably hasn't occurred to her that the reason celibacy comes so easily to her fiance is that he doesn't desire her. If he were a straight guy, he wouldn't want to wait ten minutes to get at her pussy, much less until April. Again, you were right to point these things out to her. When she's dumped by her husband's cocksuckin' ass--hopefully before they start a "real family"--she'll come crawling back to you for sympathy and advice. And when she does, promise me you'll tell her to suck your dick.

Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

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