Q: Is it okay to sleep with your third cousin who’s in town visiting from Nebraska and doesn’t know anything about the big city? Even though I’m only three years older than she is (I’m 29), with her doe-eyed naïveté about the city, she’s like 16 in New York years. I feel dirty even thinking about her that way, but she wears polka-dot blouses and scrunchies in her hair, and her makeup is about two shades too dark for her face, and I just can’t help myself.
FAMILY-FUN SEEKER, East Village
A: It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind, so focus on this: Once your farm-girl fantasy wears off, she is going to be harder to shake than even the most neurotic city girl. Those Midwesterners have stamina. And how do you think your mother will feel when she finds out? Don’t kid yourself—she will find out, and dramatically. Picture a family reunion circa 2008: Your former fling now has six children and a spiky-haired Staples-manager husband. After casting meaningful, far-from-subtle glances your way, she finally bursts into tears, screams that you ruined her life, and throws a pig-in-a-blanket at you. The jig will be up, and your mother will be humiliated in front of her every blood relative. Is it worth that? If you’re still set on your plan, at least throw your cousin a bone: When you finally get up the nerve to end it, take her somewhere nice, like the revolving bar of the Marriott Marquis. She can blink back tears while looking out over Times Square and feel like she’s having a real big-city experience, getting her heart broken on the 48th floor.
Q: My girlfriend and I are in our late twenties, and we’re thinking about having a baby in the next couple of years. The only problem is that all of our friends hate children and make merciless fun of people who have them. Will they reject us when they find out about our baby lust, or is their anti-child rhetoric just a hipster front?
BREEDING FEAR, Soho
A: Ever notice how those who bitch the loudest about how much they hate babies are always the first to have them? And then they move into the most remote part of Brooklyn and make you come to their house every weekend to drink Stella Artois for six hours in their pitiful backyard as they watch their kids play? And then they get really insane about every little thing, like when you don’t turn the handle of a pot in toward the stove and they say you’re trying to scald their child, who isn’t nearly tall enough to reach halfway up the stove anyway? And over and over again, they say they haven’t turned into the people they hated before, but they so, so have? The answer is that it’s a front, a total front.
Q: My girlfriend is fat. For a while, I’d been noticing that things were getting a little doughy, but now it’s out of hand and I can’t stand it. Besides finding her less attractive (though still ultimately adorable), I don’t like the idea of our becoming a pair of fat lesbians. So I go to the gym, I drink gallons of water—I fight the good fight. How do I pick my girlfriend up from where she’s fallen on the battlefield?
SKINNY WINNIE, Park Slope
A: First, throw out all the bread and sweets in your kitchen. If she buys more, throw them out, too. If she asks what’s happening to all the Entenmann’s, tell her you’re eating it. Second, since you say you find her adorable, I suspect that you enjoy spending time with your girlfriend—so spend it outside. Take her for long, grueling walks and other forms of forced exercise, but pitch it as fun: “Honey, wouldn’t it be romantic to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?” Be careful, though: Yours must be a campaign of stealth. If your girlfriend ever suspects that you are sneakily trying to trim her down, she might justifiably become angry and point out that you are not a pair of fat lesbians. You are a thin lesbian exercising your right to decide what type of body you want to present to the world. And she is likewise entitled to make her own decisions about hers.