Q: There’s this scarily skinny girl at my gym—like, eating-disorder skinny. She works out like a fiend. I’m afraid her spindly little legs are going to snap on the StairMaster if she doesn’t just keel over first. (Then again, given her apparent energy level, she could probably kick my ass, which is many times the size of hers.) I hope I’m at least burning calories by worrying about her every morning. But I really do worry. Should I say anything?
—GYM RAT FINK, Brooklyn Heights
A: In the City That Never Shuts Up, it’s refreshing to hear from someone who would likely not, say, march up to a pregnant woman in a restaurant and inform her that her ice water is “bad for the baby.” The difference in this case is that your concern seems well-founded (unless, supermodelishly, she lives on cheeseburgers and just doesn’t gain weight). And it isn’t as though you’d passed her once in the park; you have to deal with her daily, which makes it your business. The problem is, if she does have a disorder, a mini-intervention by a concerned stranger isn’t going to flip on her “I gotta get help!” lightbulb. And yes, you might piss her off. The best option for all involved: Air your concern in a little sit-down with the gym manager or a respected trainer; the onus is on these folks to be vigilant about their clients’ well-being. Then, knowing you’ve been a good Gymaritan and done all you can, try to focus on your own ass.
Q: My girlfriend just got offered a job as a stripper. She went to the audition on a lark, but they loved her and she had a lot of fun. She says she won’t do it if I don’t want her to, but I’m torn between being turned on by the idea and being horrified. What will we tell people at cocktail parties? I don’t want to be “the guy with the stripper girlfriend.” Or do I?
—CLOTHES CALL, Chelsea
A: There aren’t a lot of guys with stripper girlfriends, actually, and yet pretty much everyone has had a stripper girlfriend at some point. You hear men say, with a kind of misty nostalgia, “Yeah, my ex-girlfriend, the stripper … ” If you disapprove of the profession as much as you seem to, you may soon find yourself with an ex, too, because your girlfriend will sense your moralistic streak and tell you where to go. If this is some kind of latter-day sexual-awakening thing for her, then the same fate may await you. And if you tell her not to do something she obviously wants to do, you’re history. In other words, you’re going to lose her no matter what, so just be really enthusiastic for as long as you can. That way, you’ll have fond memories when you’re at the cocktail party surrounded by all the other guys with respectable wives, sharing a moment of “Ah, youth!”
Q: I am a straight woman in my mid-thirties. Sure, I’ve fooled around with other straight women (haven’t we all?), but that was way back in my twenties. My problem is this: Just about every one of my female friends has hit on me in the past year. I’m talking really close friends who know I have a boyfriend. It’s getting hard for me to trust anyone. What should I do?
—STRAIGHT BAIT, Chicago, Ill.
A: Is it possible that you were drunker than you thought last New Year’s Eve and revealed your kinky past to everyone within earshot? That could explain why you found yourself fending off so many advances in the past year. As to why your “straight” friends are on the prowl, it’s possible that they have read, or seen on TV, that same-sex experimentation is all the rage and are jumping on the bandwagon. Don’t disparage them: In turning away an unwelcome sapphic embrace, you must be firm but kind—just as you would with a man. “I’m really flattered, but I’m in a relationship right now” is good for starters. And don’t forget that if there weren’t some level of trust in your friendship, they would never risk hitting on you in the first place. On the other hand, it may be time to write off any repeat offenders. Either that, or (here’s the part your boyfriend’s been waiting for) tell them that you’re available only as half of a package deal. If they’re still interested, you’ve just become the ideal girlfriend.
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