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Friday, August 15, 2008

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on August 15 at 14:06 PM

Sloggers had some wonderful advice yesterday for the longwinded guy whose best friend’s bride-to-be lost her shit when her groom-to-be got shit-faced at his bachelor party. You can read it here. So we’ll stick with the wedding theme for today’s “Savage Love Letter of the Day.” Ladies and gentlemen, let’s help out this deeply conflicted maid-of-honor-to-be…

I’m a 26-year-old lesbian. “Amber” has been one of my closest friends for eight years now, since we met the first week of college. We’ve always been particularly close; she’s the first person I came out to, for example, back in my sophomore year of college. She’s also, supposedly, straight.

Over the years several people—particularly my gay and lesbian friends—have commented on our close friendship and I frequently hear people say, “Amber is such a dyke! It’s so sad she’s still in the closet.” Even when we were dating people in college (I had a great girlfriend, she dated an older guy who, shortly after they broke up after dating for three years, announced to the world he was flamingly gay), we would frequently do things like sleep in the same bed after a drunken night out. We’ve always been very close physically—and Amber was the person who dragged me, quite literally, to my first lesbian bar, where I think she had an even better time than I did.

After we graduated Amber and I both moved to the same city and remained close. We were both single at the time and spending practically every waking moment outside of our jobs together. One night we got drunk at a bar, walked back to my apartment, and Amber kissed me on the lips, held me close, and told me that if she weren’t Catholic, she’d be gay. I woke up in the middle of the night, still kind of tipsy, to find Amber literally on top of me in bed.

Flash forward two years. I now live in another big city, where I’m happily dating the coolest girl in the world, and Amber has just gotten engaged… to a guy who my gay friends swear is gay. They’ve been dating less than a year. Amber asked me to be the maid of honor at her wedding. In the heat of the moment, when she called me, of course I said yes.

But now I feel really guilty about participating in this wedding. Is it a sham? Is she gay and needs someone to push her out of the closet? Or is she just a cool progressive chick with a lesbian for a best friend?

More importantly, can I back out now without ruining our friendship?

Not Feeling It

My advice: After I came out of the closet I pretty much stopped wasting my time on conflicted closet cases and their oh-so-dramatic personal lives. So my advice to you, NFI, is to back out, tell this Catholic girl exactly why you’re backing out, and if the friendship is destroyed, well, how valuable to an out lesbian is the friendship of a tortured closet case anyway?

Your advice, Sloggers?

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Savage there's a reason you get paid to do this shit. Totes 100% agree.

Shock her gay, NFI!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 15, 2008 2:11 PM

Who the hell is Kate in the end of the story? Shoot straight with her... tell her you think she's gay, you think her husband is gay... but still be a part of the ceremony if she insists it is what she wants. You can't steer everybody's boat, just your own.

Posted by robo | August 15, 2008 2:12 PM

For starters, I suggest taking out that "Kate" and replacing it with "Amber", if we're trying to protect identities here. Because we care, I guess.

Secondly, NFI, grow some big, figurative lady balls and tell her you think she's gay and making a big mistake marrying her beard. If you're risking ending the friendship anyway, why not do her a favor on her way out? Most straight Catholics already hate themselves enough. She doesn't need the secret weeping-Jesus gayness (horrors!) added to that big pile of stupid.

Posted by bot | August 15, 2008 2:16 PM

Uh oh... I think either Savage or the author left the real name in. Delete! Dilute! Delete!

Posted by leek | August 15, 2008 2:18 PM

Dan, looks like not all the names were replaced...

Posted by meggers | August 15, 2008 2:18 PM

Handing someone the keys to the closet is never a good idea. They never take them, and you're the asshole when all is said and done.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 15, 2008 2:21 PM

...and now all these helpful people are using both names in their comments...

*slaps forehead*

Posted by meggers | August 15, 2008 2:21 PM

People get in bad marriages all the time. Tell her you think it's a sham, and your feelings about her husband to be.

But definitely go to the wedding. She's your friend and asked you to be maid of honor, which is pretty special. And you being supportive is better than being an ass. Maybe she was also just a LUG?

Posted by Original Monique | August 15, 2008 2:22 PM

If this were a case of a gay man and his closeted gay male friend I would probably agree with your advice, Dan. Modified only to add a promise of support to the friend in the future if they do come out.

But, with female sexuality being pretty fluid, all the evidence she gives of her friend being a dyke could easily be explained as a brief questioning or her friend being bisexual, in which case she should move past her reservations and give her support and hold off on bailing until the next sign of conflicted closet case syndrome.

Posted by boxofbirds | August 15, 2008 2:23 PM

She needs to go to the wedding and keep her big mouth shut. We're talking about the sanctity of marriage, here. And her friend is making the giant faith-filled leap of love into holy matrimony. She needs to respect that and support her even *if* it leads to a hellish life of misery for her closeted friend.

Also, Eydie Gorme's rendition of Life is But a Moment is jaw-droppingly amazing.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 15, 2008 2:26 PM

@6... god forbid that you of all people were ever perceived as an asshole (albeit a loveable asshole).

Posted by robo | August 15, 2008 2:27 PM

She was so drunk she doesn't remember how she ended up in bed but remembers the kiss? Yeah right!

NFI might be a victim of wishfull thinking and she's just jealous her major crush is getting married.

Posted by Sirkowski | August 15, 2008 2:35 PM

Dan, or somebody, fix the comments - they still have the other name in them.

Posted by meggers | August 15, 2008 2:42 PM

Go to the wedding. Get drunk at the reception. Let go of your best-friend-is-gay wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Posted by mint chocolate chip | August 15, 2008 2:43 PM

Your advice sounds great. I'm really loving the Savage Love Letter of the Day. We get to hear your advice, yet it's interactive - I think it's a keeper slog feature!

Posted by dawicksta | August 15, 2008 2:44 PM

Perhaps Amber is bi and and simply declines to discuss this with her gossipy friends. Anyhow we can't assume that the pair are not attracted to each other. NFI should go to the wedding (or make an innocuous excuse not to), wish the couple well, and let them make their own fool decisions.

Posted by yuiop | August 15, 2008 2:51 PM

@12 Maybe but if so it's probably less an issue of jealousy and more an issue of intense pain and grief.

Posted by Captain Jack | August 15, 2008 2:52 PM

Tell her how you feel - you already know that you have to.

Respect her reactions - its her decision about how she handles it, not yours.

Go to the wedding - backing out is cowardice.

Posted by blank12357 | August 15, 2008 3:01 PM

For as little as straight people have the right to comment on gay people in the vein of: "YOU ACT SO STRAIGHT! YOU'RE STRAIGHT! I'm not hearing anything different. YOU'RE STRAIGHT!" Why are you so confused???....."

we should not be aloud to do it the other way around (in most cases)

Why don't people GET that? Obvio she is in love with her and her desperation for her to BE a lesbian wins out from the friend's own self concept and knowingness of her own sexuality.

This is textbook. NEXT.

Posted by Non | August 15, 2008 3:04 PM


Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 15, 2008 3:08 PM

I think there is a difference between "tormented closet cases" in general and "best friend who happens to be a tormented closet case." While it may be wise to avoid the former as a matter of policy, particularly in the case of new acquaintances, I don't think you throw over the latter just because they have that one flaw.

I also think that it is a mistake to equate participation in a wedding as approval of the match. Participation in, or attendance of, a wedding is a recognition of past friendship and a sign of a hope for a happy future. Refusing to participate in a wedding, no matter how awful the match, is not a suggestion that the one refusing disapproves of the match, but rather a repudiation of friendship. No one thinks "oh, my best friend won't come to my wedding, I better reconsider what I am doing" rather, they think "I can't believe I thought she was a friend, what a bitch."

So, in answer to one question, no, you can't back out with out ruining the friendship.

As to the other question, yes, perhaps she is a tormented closet case. The only way to sound this out is to have a gentle, gentle, conversation late at night, and in person. You can relate what you said to Dan and suggest that she examine her motives in getting married. If you do this, it must be waaaaay before the date of the wedding, preferably before any actual planning goes on.

If you chose to have this conversation, do not even mention that you were considering boycotting the wedding. You need to emphasize that you will support her no matter what she chooses, but that you are concerned for her happiness. Additionally, this needs to be a one time only conversation unless she brings it back up. Do not harp on it. That will just lead back to the "bitch" thoughts.

As an aside to Dan, I have known both tormented male and female closet cases. The men were quite a bit more annoying. This woman may be just fine as a friend despite her anguished sexuality.

Posted by Jim | August 15, 2008 3:12 PM

Maybe she needs health insurance.

Posted by gember | August 15, 2008 3:13 PM

I'm with the "tell her how you feel, but respect her and go the wedding" crowd. Taking a stand won't stop the wedding, but it will really hurt Amber/Kate. And who the fuck knows? She really could be just straight and curious. I know, I know, fat chance. But one never knows.

On the other hand, talking to her may be the life raft Amber/Kate needs to bail out before making a big mistake. If they are such good friends, I think they can survive a little heart to heart.

Posted by Mike in MO | August 15, 2008 3:23 PM

I agree (sort of) with 19 - this letter isn't about Amber, it's about NFI's unresolved feelings for her college friend. It sounds like this wedding signifies the end of NFI's fantasy that her straight friend has always been into her and someday will admit it.

Maybe Amber's gay. Maybe she's bi. Maybe she had a mild case of LUG. Whatever - she's now marrying some dude and if NFI doesn't want to be involved or attend, that's her choice. But she should look a little deeper about why it bothers her som much, cause her letter smacks of denial with a sprinkling of How'd THAT Happen?!?

Posted by genevieve | August 15, 2008 3:30 PM

I think Jim's points are good ones, especially the difference he articulated between guidelines to follow when dealing with new acquaintances vs. dealing with a good friend. You don't just discard someone because they are flawed.

Posted by Captain Jack | August 15, 2008 3:33 PM

@22 - good point. Maybe the both do. I think we could start a new website - gays iso lesbians to marry and vice-versa so everybody gets health coverage. They don't have to even live together or feign love, and can carry on happily with their boyfriends or girlfriends - but what the heck, have a party with family and friends like Amber/Kate, and celebrate out smarting the health care system and government, great causes, in my humble estimation, for a party!

Posted by righton | August 15, 2008 3:40 PM

Maybe she just likes the song "I Kissed A Girl" cause it's so catchy ... doesn't mean she doesn't want to get married in church and have kids with her husband and then act shocked when he gets found out as being the gay lover of Dino Rossi ...

MYOB. That should be the advice. People get married for many reasons.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 15, 2008 4:25 PM

I say leave her sexuality to her. You have a girlfriend and she has a boyfriend and you should both respect each other's choices.
Go to her wedding and wish her all the luck in the world. Did you ever think she knows her boyfriend is gay and she can be married without having to bother with sexual relations. If she asks your opinion then give it. If not, STFU.

Posted by Vince | August 15, 2008 4:26 PM

I think she needs to stop caring so much and mind her own business. She's a big girl, she knows what she's doing. You can either support her or end the friendship, but you can't butt in and try to control who she is marrying because she kissed you once.

But if you need to know go to her bachelorette party. If she is still going to lesbian bars and making out with females, then there might be a problem and maybe you should say something. You can't judge based on the fact that she hit on/kissed girls back 2 years ago, since almost all females do this at least once between the ages of 13-25 or so...shit almost all males do the same thing. Someone who has never kissed a female is very rare.

Some gay guys will accuse random good looking straight guys of secretly being gay. So if the only ones saying it are homos themselves then you also can't say much. If straight people start saying it too then you might want to warn her.

Posted by Emmi | August 15, 2008 4:33 PM

I disagree with your advice Dan (and I didn't bother to read the other comments - sorry). I think she should go through with her commitment to her close friend and be her maid of honor (can she wear a tux rather than some god awful sherbert colored dress?). If her friend believe she has made an appropriate choice for a mate, then let her go through with it. Just because her friend kissed her and ended up on top of her AFTER GETTING DRUNK does not make her a closet case.

Posted by behrmark | August 15, 2008 7:52 PM

If the lesbian girl is really friends with the "straight" girl, then she will shut the fuck up about what she thinks may be true about the "straight" girl, and go to the wedding, and smile, and eat cake.

When the "straight" girl comes out of the closet, or when her "gay" soon-to-be husband does, then the lesbian girl should help pick up the pieces, because that's what friends do.

Being a friend isn't about opening your goddamn mouth about how you feel about the other person's life. Being a friend means being there for the other person. A friend doesn't say "I told you so." If the "lesbian" is making a mistake, then let her make it, because it's her mistake to make, and only hers.

Posted by chaosbound | August 15, 2008 9:04 PM

The author is trying to make the story all about herself, and not about her friend. Normally, if your friend asks you to stand up at their wedding, you don't anguish over how they don't seem meant for each other, you say, "Sure!" and put your heart into it. People marry and divorce all the damn time, and their buds should not try to micromanage their relationships. Her friend's sexual orientation doesn't really matter to anyone but the bride and groom. Being part of the wedding party does not require the author to undertake any fact finding mission, or give some sort of sisterhood imprimatur.

No, she cannot back out now without causing a lot of drama that her friend will never forget.

Posted by no drama pls kthxbye | August 15, 2008 9:31 PM

I'm on board with the sense that, between the lines, this is more about the writer desperately grasping at anything that seems to justify her own suppressed obsession. It's more about her own sad need to be proven right about this than about her actual concern for or conflict over the situation.

And how good is your friendship, really, if you cannot TALK about shit like this? If I cannot be completely open and honest with someone about something like this, they may be an acquaintance, but they are not my friend.

Posted by Hoyt Clagwell | August 16, 2008 4:32 AM

And how good is your friendship, really, if you cannot TALK about shit like this? If I cannot be completely open and honest...

IOW, how good is your friendship when you can't pin your friend down like a bug on a dissection tray?

Outside of morbid-curiosity-land, your "friend" does not have to answer to you. Your "friend" does not owe you an explanation for anything. If your friend wants to talk about something extremely sensitive, regarding the core of his/her being, s/he'll bring it up her/himself. My friends' sexuality means jackshit to me unless I want to have sex with them. And I believe this is also true of the letter's author.

Posted by no drama pls kthxbye | August 16, 2008 6:41 AM

'in the heat of the moment' - you said yes, but now you want to back out of the wedding 'without ruining your friendship'.

okay, why do you want to do both?

this is an important follow-up question, because if you really believe (with apparently good reason) that she's gay and headed into a sham of a hetero marriage, then wouldn't keeping that to yourself prove your friendship with her to be a sham also? who else would be in the position to say what needs to be said here, if not her dearest friend in the world?

the way i see it, you have nothing to lose by telling her. either you tell her now in the interest of preserving your friendship - or you accept your limited influence, say nothing, and accept what remains of a friendship crippled by dishonesty - hers as a closet case, and yours as a witness to a marriage you actually have no interest in supporting. the friendship on the other side of your silence isn't one worth saving, so you don't really have a choice. your friendship will change either way, because now is the moment you want to grow out of the dishonesty phase, and she doesn't appear ready to.

maybe she is, though, and your saying what you have to say will push her that last inch. you can only find out by going forward.

once you have said it and heard her back, maybe - even if she goes through with the wedding - you will be able to feel better about standing up with her. maybe you'll feel increased disgust with her closet-nonsense and feel better about dumping her as a friend. either way, all you have to lose is the uneasy feeling you now have, the one that says, 'i can not stand up at this wedding under these circumstances.'

Posted by happyhedonist | August 16, 2008 2:01 PM



I like this thing you've been doing where you let the unwashed plebs of SLOG weigh in and give advice to Savage love letter writers. Democratic advice and all that is a good thing. Have you thought about making it a separate blog? You could actually do a few a day that way, cross over special or featured ones to SLOG. For an example of how it could work, check out I think it could be quite popular.

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | August 16, 2008 4:30 PM

Dan, I'm shocked: I totally disagree with you -- and I rarely do this (although on occasion, you know, just to keep you more awesome for being human...). The letter writer wasn't asked to comment on her best friend's metamorphic sexuality (which may still be in flux, may have locked on 'marries gay men', the friend may be straight, etc.) -- she had that opportunity a couple years ago when she woke up to find her friend on top of her.

While I agree no one should waste time on closet cases, I believe that regards sleeping with and/or becoming emotionally involved with them as a potential date cum life-partner.

Her best friend asked her to stand up for her at her wedding. If they're really best friends, of course she'll do it and if necessary, she'll be her friend when someone dumps someone's sorry ass for a new mate of some finally determined sexuality.

If a best friend is so conflicted over her relgion and sexuality that she's going to marry in an attempt to deal with it, what, then is the nature of the letter writer's relationship with the bride-to-be if the coda to finding the b-t-b on top of her one drunken night is to cinematically fade up two-years later without having confrontedthe issue, you know, while it was attempting to play scissor sister?

Posted by KR | August 16, 2008 5:02 PM

Oh, the verbosity, comments!

This letter is invoking a phrase. What's it...something about ulterior motives...poorly veiled contempt...McCain...trollop cunt...faked affection...? Oh, yeah: marriage of convenience!

Posted by ab fab | August 16, 2008 8:44 PM

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