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Politics Of Dating...STD Disclosure...Sex Without Strings

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Q: I just started seeing a great new girl. She’s smart, funny, pretty, the whole nine. We can’t get enough of each other, in kind of an animalistic way. Naturally, there’s a catch. She’s a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I’m, shall we say, on the opposite end of the political spectrum and have been looking forward with great zeal to protesting the Republican convention. Should I even bother? (With her, I mean. I’m definitely protesting.)
—ELEPHANT-ADMIRING JACKASS, HELL’S KITCHEN

A: Well, James Carville and Mary Matalin seem to get along, more or less. Of course, they met and married way before the current messy state of interparty relations—i.e., back when it was at least theoretically possible (that seemingly eons-ago impeachment drama notwithstanding) to separate politics from life. Still, whether you agree on everything—even every important thing—is not the issue; couples who do don’t exist, or if they do, they’re the sort of people whose boring relationships are something you probably don’t want to aspire to. What matters is whether you like each other enough to fight all night about war or welfare and still respect each other in the morning. Differences are fine; it’s contempt that’s corrosive. And it sounds like you don’t think she’s stupid or evil, just wrong. (She thinks you’re wrong, too—one thing you do have in common.) So stick it out for now; see what happens. If you make it through August, it’ll be smooth sailing. Till November 2, at any rate.

Q: I’ve been seeing this girl off and on for a while now and I really like her, but she doesn’t feel as strongly as I do. The problem is, she gave me an STD (I know this because I had myself checked out and she’s the only one I’ve been with in the past three years). I have to tell her, but how should I do that without being confrontational about it?
—HEARTSICK, NEW YORK CITY

A: Let’s see: she doesn’t like you as much as you like her. She gave you an STD. How much more evidence do you need that she’s not ultraconcerned about you or your health or safety? Under these circumstances, you needn’t be too concerned about her, either. Yes, duty demands you tell her, but a postcard in block capital letters—as in you gave me the clap!—will suffice. And for goodness’ sake, if you have a lapse in judgment and sleep with her again, use protection.

Q: There’s this woman I’ve known through mutual friends for what seems like forever. We cross paths every year or so, and I’ve always thought she was pretty cool and very attractive, but nothing’s ever happened. Well, we bumped into each other recently and had a great time just hanging out and talking for hours. She told me she’s intent on finding a husband soon and having a kid (we’re both 40, and neither of us has ever married). I’m reasonably certain I’m not up for marriage or kids at the moment, but I’m even more certain that I want to have sex with her. Can I do that?
—CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTIFIER, PARK SLOPE

A: Sure. Be all decent and up-front about how you’re unsure about your marital ambitions and fatherhood potential and all that, and let her decide whether you’re worth her time based on that information, blah blah blah . . . Just know that without a doubt, you will knock her up. Then you’ll have to rethink your whole “reasonably certain” trip, and you’ll come to the realization that you, like so many of your brethren, are getting hot for 40-year-old women who crave babies precisely because, deep in your heart, you crave babies, too, and a two-bedroom apartment and thongs in your laundry. So with that in mind, get busy at once; the next time you bump into her, it may be too late for her to conceive.

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