Dear Ms. Behavior:
My girlfriend recently came home with this new addition to our love bed: a body pillow. The five-foot-long pillow is like having another person in the bed with us! Between the bolster under the knees for back support, the microwavable herbal stress-relieving neck beanbag, the posture-perfect head pillow, and now the body pillow, there’s barely any room for me. Do you think she is trying to send me a message? We already have a king-sized bed, so where do we go from here?
Dear Pillow Talk:
Your girlfriend has created a nest that sounds more like a room in a physical rehabilitation facility than a place you’d sleep or have sex. It sounds like your girlfriend is in pain, or like she at least needs comfort. Can you help her with this? If you’re not into giving her the occasional massage, try to at least not complain about all of the self-healing objects if possible, but instead frame your request in a positive way. And then if you can’t convince her to ditch the gigantic pillow by saying that you’d actually love to be closer to her, maybe you can have some fantasy fun in which you’re, say, a terribly un-boundaried physical therapist.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
I dropped in on my new boyfriend Jack when he didn’t expect me and I saw something that surprised me: Jack was vacuuming his house while wearing women’s underwear! (They were pink and lacy and surprisingly see-through.) When he saw me–which was after I’d already seen him, since the vacuum was making a lot of noise– he quickly threw on a bathrobe. He didn’t mention the underwear, but his face was red. I feel disturbed about the whole situation, but feel that it would be impolite to ask questions since I barged in on his private time. He usually dresses in masculine clothes and wears plaid boxer shorts. I’m not opposed to cross-dressing, but I’ve never known anyone who does it. But within the context of our dating, I just wonder about whether or not this an inappropriate secret for him to keep from his new boyfriend. Also, is it a fetish? Would he have told me eventually? Should I say anything?
Dear Prefer Boxers:
Jack clearly wasn’t ready to share his panty preference with you at this point. He may have wanted to wait until, say, your six-month anniversary to break out the lacy Victoria’s Secret bikini ensemble, or until he felt safe enough to have determined that you wouldn’t think he was a freak. Or, maybe he never would have shared this particular interest with you because it’s something he enjoys doing on his own. It’s not “inappropriate” for Jack to have something he enjoys doing privately, although vacuuming in women’s lingerie may be less conventional than a hobby like roller blading or knitting. (But be real; you probably have some private interests, too, sexual or otherwise.)
Your discovery of Jack’s hobby is an opportunity for self-examination. Think about how it affected you to see your boyfriend in women’s underwear. What does it mean about your view of masculinity/femininity and sexuality? Will it affect how you feel about Jack? As far as discussing it with him, you should ask questions if they’ll otherwise be in the way of your relationship. Or, if you realize that you’d like to watch him do it again.
© 2013 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to [email protected].