Ask Esmarelda (About Love, Sex and Cynicism)--Happy Insomniac's New Advice Column!

by Esmarelda

(Karen's note: We are pleased to introduce a new contributor, Esmarelda, who will be our resident advice columnist. Esmarelda has been friends with Mandy for several years and has provided much indispensable advice during that time. Mandy and I realized one day that Esmarelda is a true sage, especially when it comes to love and sex and men. As Esmarelda says, "I LOVE men; I just don't TRUST none of them." Her wisdom is simply too important to hoarde all to ourselves, so we are giving you the opportunity to ask her the burning questions that you just can't pose to Mom or Aunt Helen. That being said, however, we'd also like to point out that this advice is purely for entertainment purposes, and neither Happy Insomniac nor Esmarelda herself will be held responsible for any crazy shit you might do as a result of reading this column. If you have a question for Esmarelda that you would like to have appear in this space, please send it to Esmarelda herself or Happy Insomniac. We won't use your real name, of course, so ask away!)

August 28, 2005

Dear Esmarelda,

I've had an on-again/off-again relationship with this guy for the past three years. We are officially and forever off again, due in large part to his general lack of maturity and his inability to give back the things he expects from me emotionally. He's not an evil person, just really dumb with a boatload of issues.

Our relationship ended for good about six months ago the night before I started a new job. He basically told me he didn't love me as much as I love him, but he still wanted us to be friends. No doubt what he really wanted was a booty call, so I put the smackdown on that. We've emailed a few times here and there over the last few months, but it's more idle chit chat than anything else. In these emails, he's always suggested we get together to talk, but he has consistently been rebuffed because I know that if I were to see him, I'd have a hard time turning down his advances. In spite of everything, I do still love him.

So yesterday he sends me an email completely out of the blue about how he's having surgery today for an ongoing health problem. I know he's struggled with this problem for a long time, and even though we're not together anymore, I wouldn't wish such things on anybody. Now I'm torn about whether I should call him to wish him well after his surgery. I sent him an email wishing him a speedy recovery, but do you think that is sufficient? I don't want to seem bitter or angry because really, he's not on my radar anymore. My friends think I should just leave it be because he's basically been an asshole to me in the past. Plus, I know I don't owe him anything. Yet a part of me feels guilty for not doing something more, whether it's a phone call, a get-well card, or something of that nature. I just don't want him to think that this is an opening for yet another reconciliation. What are your thoughts?

Exhausted Ex

Dear Exhausted Ex,

I have a really bad memory, but somehow I have vivid memories of my childhood. I still recall my favorite toy when I was five years old, a panda bear rocking chair. I loved that chair. I learned to read in that chair. I rocked my baby dolls to sleep in that chair. I pushed my little sister out of that chair and bruised her arm (and received a good whooping from my mother for it, but dammit, it was my chair!). Although I have fond memories of that chair and still think of it with much affection, I couldn't tell you where the damn thing is to save my life. I used to wonder what happened to it. As much as I would like to think that it found a home with another beautiful little girl who would love and cherish it as much as I did, I'm pretty sure it ended up in a landfill somewhere.

It sounds as though you have a generous soul, and you want to be there to support the man you love in his time of need. I understand your empathy for this man's illness, and if it makes you feel better, go to him. Take care of him. Be there for him. Sit with him in the recovery room. Make him comfortable. Sneak in food from the outside and feed it to him. Make sure he has everything he needs at home when he gets out of the hospital. Help him keep up with his medication and doctor's visits. Do everything necessary to help him get on his feet. can spend $.99 on a cute little get-well card wishing him a speedy recovery and mail it to his ass. It seems to me his reaction would be the same no matter what you do.

Of course, the affection I have for an old toy cannot possibly compare to the love you still feel for your ex. But there is a connection between my panda bear chair and your ex. The chair and the ex have served their purpose and have outlived their usefulness. There is no justification for guilt on your part. Based on your description of the relationship, the bond between the two of you was tenuous, at best. It may take some time for you to get to this, but at some point, you have to make a decisive separation in order to make room in your life for someone worthy of your time and attention. The break up is too fresh for you to have personal contact with him, either via a phone call or face to face right now. It WILL be hard for you to see his need and vulnerability at such a difficult time in his life and NOT feel compelled to extend succor. I understand you may not want him to end up in a landfill, but when you have truly let go of him and the idea that the two of you could sustain a meaningful, committed relationship, you will be able to send him the card and wish him well. Might I suggest you wear a sexy outfit and a pair of fuck-me pumps to the post office when you mail the card? Time moves on, so must you.


August 18, 2005

Dear Esmarelda,

After promising myself that I will lose those extra pounds this summer, I have recently started going back to the gym. I enjoy the exercise, and I'm finally starting to see some results. After last night, however, I'm beginning to question my resolve. After my workout, I walked in the women's locker room to find one of my current professors stark naked. We both did a surprised "hi, how are you?" and ran off in different directions. Fifteen hours later, and I've still got the heebie-jeebies. What's more, this professor has been known to be a harsh grader (something I have experienced myself), and my final paper from this summer session is currently in her hands, and I'm waiting to get it back.

I didn't even realize that this professor even goes to my gym, but I think it's likely that I will encounter her again.

So my questions to you, Esmarelda: 1) What's wrong with people? Why do they always have to prance around locker rooms in the nude? I'm no prude, mind you, but people seem to enjoy the ability to be exhibitionists just a little more than they ought to. Although I use the locker room to shower and change and store my gym bag, you'll never see me naked in the general area. There are private areas to disrobe...why don't people ever take advantage of them? 2) How can I avoid this sort of encounter in the future? 3) Do you think that this encounter will influence the way that my professor grades my paper? She looked just about as shocked as I did.

Help, please, Esmarelda! My waistline and my sanity are counting on you!


Shy Student

Dear Shy Student,

I was an early bloomer, having started my period before the age of 10. By the time I was 11, I had hips and wore a 34C bra. Needless to say, I was extremely conscious of the fact that my body was rapidly maturing. During this time, I spent nearly every weekend at my grandmother's house, where I shared a room with my Aunt Phoebe (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). One night Phoebe caught me trying to undress while putting on my nightgown in an effort to show as little flesh as possible. She told me "Girl, go on and take your damn clothes off. You don't have anything that I don't have and haven't seen before. It is a sin to be ashamed of the body God gave you. There is nothing shameful about you. Stop that shit." This was just one of many lessons my Aunt Phoebe would impart that had an impact on my life. I listened to her and now have no shame in my nakedness, as my sister can attest to, as I used to walk around the house butt-naked quite frequently. Well, Shy Student, I am giving you the same advice. While your professor probably could have exhibited a little more modesty in such a public place, a crime has not been committed. Society has an unnatural fear of all things feminine and taught us that our bodies are something to be covered up in shame. Men don't seem to have this problem. In every locker-room scene I have had the pleasure of viewing (I highly recommend the locker room scene in the movie Any Given Sunday. I nearly passed out with joy at the sight of male full frontal nudity...and they actually gave you something to look at! Sorry I digress...), men run around naked like it is the most natural thing in the world. Nakedness is natural. There should be no awkwardness between you and your professor. If there is, get over it.


July 22, 2005

Dear Esmarelda:

I would like your advice concerning the best course of action when considering the following situation. I have recently taken a job at a building that offers a free shuttle service to and from the public transportation station. This is a perk that I have really enjoyed during these Dog Days of summer. Heaven knows I'd be wilted and stinky if I had to walk in such heat and humidity. I work in a fairly conservative office so I mainly wear button-down shirts with pants. I keep my appearance neat and professional, but not provocative by any stretch. I have been riding this shuttle appearing as such for the better part of a month now.

Yesterday, the shuttle driver commented that I was "hyper" and that he thought it was cute. I laughed it off and thought he was weird. I did not ride the shuttle in the afternoon, as I had planned to get a ride with a friend. I still had to wait in front of the building as if I were going to ride the shuttle. Before my ride arrived, the shuttle came around. I was laden with bags, but I shook my head "no" and smiled to let the driver know that he didn't have to stop for me. He stopped for me. He said that I was "cheating on him." He proceeded to ask me if I were "wild." What could that mean, Esmarelda? I replied that I am goofy but not wild. He then said that he could "do goofy, but [he] couldn't do wild."

I have never been one to pick up on the insinuations and entendres of potential suitors with any accuracy before. However, I suspect this man has some romantic interest in me. I think he's a nice guy, but I'm dating someone else. How can I escape from this situation and still be able to ride the shuttle without awkwardness?


Laptop Lovely

Dear Laptop Lovely,

I was told, by a self-proclaimed pimp, that men are like fishermen. Their words are the equivalent of worms and, eventually, some woman will take the bait. One woman in ten, so desperate for attention, would, actually, take this bullshit seriously. You can be sure the shuttle driver has an interest in you; however, his interest may only extend as far as your legs will open. Believe me, men who spit weak game, as described in your letter, really don't expect anything to come of it. A real man who is truly interested in a woman will risk rejection, approach her respectfully, and be up front about his interest. Players and broke motherfuckers passively use pickup lines in an attempt to get some ass, because they don't want anything else and they have nothing else to offer.

At the same time, a real woman can recognize game and appropriately employ a unique blend of bitch and coy to get her point across. This is not easy and takes practice. You can view this as an opportunity to practice the art of easy-going flirtation, if you do not yet possess this skill. Keep smiling, be sweet, but be very firm in the fact that you don't want to have anything to do with his ass. Since you already have a man, you can use him as an excuse to turn down old boy. If you were single and had an interest in this person, you could unleash all your womanly charms and get his number.

Come to think of it, do you really care if there is awkwardness between the two of you WHEN you reject his advances? It is his job to drive the damn shuttle, open the door, and take your ass to and from the train station. If he gets an attitude, remind him that he is paid to drive, not flirt.


Dear Esmerelda:

Lately my boyfriend has been making some odd requests in the bedroom...requests that I swear he would never have thought of himself if he hadn't seen it in some porn. I usually try to change the subject when this sort of thing comes up. I used to try to reason with him, explaining that if he wouldn't want to have such things done to him, why does he think I want them to happen to me? But it never works. What are your feelings on this matter? Should I try to hold out against something that would undoubtedly be uncomfortable for me? Should I just do it once so he can shut up already? Do you think porn stars actually enjoy some of the wackier things that they do or do you think they're selling out our entire gender for the money? Please advise.

Befuddled Beauty

Dear Befuddled Beauty,

My ready response to sexual requests outside of my sphere of interest is..."you first." For example, my man wanted to have anal sex. My response was "Let me fuck you in the ass. If you enjoy it, only then can you can do it to me." Of course he was taken aback by this, as any heterosexual, homophobic male would be. As you know, I am all woman and lack the necessary equipment to engage in any backdoor action. So, I went on to tell him that I could use any implement I desire to violate his ass--a broomstick, my fist, a baseball bat, anything big and uncomfortable. Needless to say, he never asked again.

I am not suggesting that you take this tack, nor am I passing judgment on those who participate in ass escapades. The point I want to make is, if you are curious, try whatever piques your curiosity, and if you don't like it, don't do it. I believe a woman should be free to comfortably express herself sexually while maintaining her right to set limits. If your man truly loves and, more importantly, respects you, he will be considerate enough to keep that nasty shit to himself. If his sexual fantasies are more important to him than a relationship with you, he will find some nasty-ass woman to make his perverted dreams come true, hopefully AFTER breaking up with you. The most important thing is that you maintain your dignity and self-respect and NEVER do anything you may regret later.

Please feel free to use the "you first" response. However, be sure to keep a baseball bat handy just in case the man calls your bluff!


P.S. As to your question about whether or not female porn stars enjoy the "wackier things they do," my only response is, I certainly hope so. Deviant sexual acts engaged in solely for the sake of money is, quite frankly, degrading and demoralizing.

Stay tuned for the next installment!