Life Advice



Single File: Oxymoron

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: Last weekend, I had sex with a girl who's just a friend. (She and I laughed and said it was friendship with benefits.) But now she's calling me regularly, asking when I'm coming to see her again. I feel so guilty. It was purely platonic on my part. She's a nice girl, but honestly, it meant nothing. What should I do?

DEAR BLOGGER: It might have meant nothing to you, but it could have unlocked some hopes in her. (Deep sigh.) That's the tricky part of this misnomer -- it's supposedly casual but rarely so. The hurtful part of the rutting we've come to label "casual" is that one of the partners usually brings into the bed a secret hope. They don't dare express it, fearing their lover will fly the coop. They play the game, pretending the passion is shared, but what lies beneath is a yearning for the real thing. And if you suspect the pretender is usually female, you are correct. And so, the path of casual sex is littered with feminine yearning. The female of the species is the one who proves that "casual sex" is an oxymoron. How can the joining of pulsing flesh be ho-hum casual? Think about it. Then call her and apologize.

DEAR SUSAN: I did it. I moved in with the girl of my dreams, and it turned out to be a nightmare. She became a CEO, like her father, and acted like a CEO, giving me orders and scheduling everything from laundry to sex. It took awhile for me to wake up and do something about it, but I believe more than ever in living together as a test run.

DEAR BLOGGER: Join the club. I've seen and read much too much to deny the good sense of a compatibility test. There's nothing like boots on the ground to sample what lifetime love could be like with a certain someone. But on the other hand, you can't make a lifestyle out of three- or four-month compatibility tests. You'll see how finely tuned your senses become to habits and attitudes; it won't take you very long to get the "feel" of a person as a housemate. And if the someone is malleable, they will be glad for your comments, as you will be for theirs (ahem). As I see it, testing for compatibility makes good sense. (For some, a few days away can accomplish much.) The more throughput in your dating life, the quicker the verdict on someone's eligibility as a housemate. And as one becomes more sophisticated about people and their habits, testing for compatibility becomes less and less necessary. Think about it.



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