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Friday, August 29, 2008

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on August 29 at 14:09 PM

You’ve helped before, so I’m putting before you the doozy of a problem that’s cropped up recently in my love life—in my life in general, actually:

I’m a middle-aged guy, and my boyfriend has just left his teens. We originally got to know each other because I like to tie up muscular young guys and he’s a muscular young guy who likes getting tied up. But he’s a smart, funny, original kid, and after a few months, we started actually LIKING each other. Not to get all mushy on you, but at some point that like turned to love. We still get off like crazy on the bondage and the sex, but my point is, there’s a lot more going on than just that these days.

Here’s the problem: His narrow-minded, homophobic parents (who are a little younger than I am), were snooping around in his room and found video clips on his computer that pretty clearly illustrate his interests. He still lives with his parents who were, before this, entirely ignorant of their son’s sexual orientation or activities with me. They’re now threatening all the things asshole/bully parents usually threaten: to kick him out, to stop paying for his school, and to disown him.

He’s stayed at my place many times—I’ve taken a great amount of pleasure at slipping him money from time to time, or buying him some new toy or piece of clothing he wanted—and my first reaction to what his parents are doing was “he can come live with me, he doesn’t need that kind of crap in his life.” But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if doing that (he’s all for it) would be a decision he’d regret in the long run. I mean, they’re his family—am I really acting in his best interests to help him walk away from them, even as horrible as they’re acting?

I can put him up at my place, and I can pay for his schooling, none of that is a problem—I’d be proud to do it. But I wonder if I’d be facilitating a decision he’d some day regret. Plus, we’re in Boston and he isn’t yet 21—on top of everything else, is there a chance the law could decide to bite me in the ass?

Not The Bad Guy

I don’t feel I really do best work here, or give you spot-on advice, without actually seeing those video clips. But I’ll try…

He’s of legal age, so you’re in no trouble here with the law that I can see. (Unless those videos feature him, which your letter seems to imply, and they were made before he reached the age of consent—which I’m hoping they do not.) His parents might not like the fact that their son is gay & kinky, or that he’s involved with an older man, but there’s not a lot that they can do about it.

Besides, of course, tossing him out, disowning him, and refusing to pay for his education.

If they do toss him out or refuse to pay for his education, I would encourage you to take him in and pay for his education yourself. Don’t antagonize his parents needlessly; don’t be drawn into any confrontations, don’t make any accusations. Be the grownup here. Write to them, tell them you can appreciate how distressing it would be to learn about their son’s interests the way that they did, and tell them that, despite how they may have interpreted those video clips, you mean their son no harm, you have tremendous affection for him, and you intend to look out for him. Close by telling them you’re going to encourage your boyfriend to keep those lines of communication open.

It could be emotionally tricky for a while, perhaps a long while, as his parents adjust to the big, kinky news. But you know… you snoop, you find out things that maybe didn’t want/didn’t need to know.

As for the boyfriend blaming you one day for his estrangement from his folks, well, that’s a possibility. There’s only one way to inoculate yourself against those charges: Refuse to come between him and his parents and do what you can—encourage him not to despise his parents, reassure him that they can, one day, patch things up—to lay the groundwork for an eventual reconciliation.

Finally, NTBG, I wouldn’t presume that this relationship will last forever. You’re in love, and love’s grand, and maybe you’ll have a great few years together. But the rest of your life with this kid? Eh, unlikely. Very few of us wind up with the person with whom we fell in love at 20. So odds against something really long-term. But that doesn’t mean this can’t be a really successful relationship regardless, even if it is, as the song goes, “only for now.”

And you’re in Massachusetts, right? I wouldn’t, if I were you, marry this kid—unless, of course, his parents are really, really nuts, and he really needs you to be his next of kin. In which case, marry his hot 20 year-old ass… right after you get that pre-nup signed.

RSS icon Comments


Wow. That was great. You are so amazing. Seriously, you are the only man I would ever consider having a sex change for. but you're already taken *sigh*

Posted by Charm | August 29, 2008 2:16 PM

One legal issue: taxes re gifts. He'll want to look into the laws on that - I doubt it's anything too onerous, but he may have to file a letter with the IRS if it's over $12k annually.

Posted by not a lawyer | August 29, 2008 2:19 PM

Commissioner Savage, it's time to fire up the Poe Signal!!!

He'll have the answer for this gerontophilic inquiry.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 29, 2008 2:24 PM

Sounds like scam.

Posted by Sirkowski | August 29, 2008 2:37 PM

Ooh, how Queer as Folk-ish! Intriguing...

Posted by chick commenter | August 29, 2008 2:41 PM

If I were the kid, I'd be worried about the relationship ending before I'm done with school. Of course, living with homophobic parents who are also constantly berating him can't be good for his grades.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 29, 2008 2:47 PM

The LW is in for a world of hurt. I think its great he's willing and able to help this kid, but I think you're right Dan, the kid is likely to move on at 23ish.

Posted by mreddiefather | August 29, 2008 2:48 PM

It's always good to have understandings about what you will and won't do regarding his education. If you commit yourself to something, be clear about what it entails. I had parents like his and I finally had to say goodbye. It helped me grow up. They could never see me or the world in a wider context and it took an emotional toll I could no longer pay.

Posted by Vince | August 29, 2008 2:51 PM


Posted by Kanye West | August 29, 2008 3:08 PM

This is SOOOO Brian/Justin from QAF. But Brian would have just had the balls never to have asked a middle age sex advise columnist.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 29, 2008 3:13 PM

If the kid is about to go to college, he should be living on-campus, no? Why is taking him in an issue?

LW, I think your intentions are good, but I agree with others that the long term prospects aren't promising. Are you thinking about the whole life-cycle of this, and how to protect yourself emotionally and socially for a few years down the line?

This could all be done kindly and graciously for everyone, (and your money will go a long way towards making that easier), but it'll take a lot of self-awareness and generosity on your part.

Posted by Megan | August 29, 2008 3:16 PM

Very very very very red flag. You are moving from the role of kinky companion to PARENT! Honestly, I would choose to do either one or the other. The be the kinky companion, or be the adoptive father that he should have.

I don't think doing both is going to be healthy.

Posted by formerly OR Matt | August 29, 2008 3:20 PM

@10 - Brian would've fucked the sex columnist.

Posted by Dave | August 29, 2008 3:52 PM

The sex columnist would've turned Brian down.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 29, 2008 3:57 PM

brian kinny & sunshine much

Posted by elise | August 29, 2008 3:58 PM

What transpires between the young man and his parents will happen no matter what, and there is little older man can do about it. He can be supportive of the younger guy, and not piss off the parents any worse, but he can't fix it or mend fences. That will be up to the asshole parents, mostly.

BTW, does this letter set off any bullshit detectors? It sounds a little too much like fantasy to me.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 29, 2008 4:16 PM

@16 On the contrary, it sounds extremely plausible to me. A gay teen into bondage doesn't have a lot of/any options within his own age group and mutual attraction doesn't even have to enter into bondage play.

I know a gay guy who gets regularly tied up by a straight guy because the straight guy is good at it and enjoys tying people up. The straight guy gets to practice what he loves and the gay guy gets to be tied up. Everybody wins.

The idea that a teen would turn to an old pro to tie him up and then fall in love with the one guy in the world who gives him what he needs is not unlikely in the least.

Posted by whatevernevermind | August 29, 2008 4:33 PM

Very QAF-ish for sure. But for reals Dan? You'd turn Brian down? Damn, he'd be welcome in my bed any day...

Posted by Mab | August 29, 2008 5:38 PM

Excelent, practical advice.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 5:48 PM

Dan I am impressed with your advice once again. If this man cares about his lover, he should do all he can to help. Close minded parents are gonna play that card eventually. But I think that even without marriage there should be some sort of pre-agreement to accompany this large decision/move. At least a big discussion of the possibilities down the road. Anything can happen.

Posted by ZWBush | August 29, 2008 9:05 PM

We are taking the young man at his word, aren't we? no questions asked? no word from the parents?

Posted by Lohitaksha | August 30, 2008 1:46 AM

Superb advice. Most older guys wouldn't care enough to take the kid in when the shit hits the fan, much less less pay for his education. Whether they are really in love, or its a mentor/protege who fuck relationship, this kid is very lucky to have a guy who cares so much that it sounds like he would take the boy in even if they were not in love. And Dan's advice about the attitude toward the family is right on the money...if the kid has any awareness, and it sounds like he has lots, then there is no way he will 'blame' the guy for taking in a stray, so to speak. I would be more worried about the emotional damage to the kid caused by his family deciding to just throw him away...he might need some help for that so he doesn't end up blaming himself for their incredible stupidity.

Posted by marcus | August 30, 2008 5:30 AM

I think that NTBG should think twice about getting more attached to a kid who is this stupid/devious. His young friend is a member of the tech-savvy youth generation and must know how to hide his porn on his computer well enough to fool his parents. And yet they somehow stumble upon it in a furtive room search. The kid is either a first class idiot or a Machiavellian genius. Either way, I'd be very careful!

Posted by Drew | August 30, 2008 8:17 AM

Am I the first of 20-odd posts to suggest tying up the parents and giving it to them Sonny Style?

Posted by Barky | August 30, 2008 8:30 AM

@18: The biggest suspension of disbelief QAF required was that Gale Harold is all THAT hot (he's cute, but not the stud QAF made him out to be). Also, that someone who treated his friends like Brian Kinney treated Michael and the gang would have real friends.

Posted by ferretrick | August 30, 2008 11:03 AM

deja vu - of sorts.
I'm a 40+ year old who just told a 20 year old it was time for him to move on - not out of malice but because we were in different places in our life and I didn't want it to end badly (him sneaking around, etc).

So guy. I believe you 100% that you are doing this as a stand up guy. Just be prepared for the day when you realize it does need to end and do the right thing. If you said you'd pay for the edu, then do it. Don't over commit on this one.

Yes, you'll always have affection for him and I can assure you that he'll always have a special spot in his heart for you because of how you helped him in his hour of need.

How do I know? Because I was once that kid and as an adult I had the strength to do the right thing because of how I was handled in my teens.

Go slow and be careful. Above all else remember the Campfire Rule.

Posted by Mark in Missouri | August 30, 2008 3:02 PM

I think that the chronology is highly persuasive, but the vast majority of people will only have sympathy and admiration for Pailin for trying to hide her daughter's pregnancy as her own. It has no legs as a political story, even if it shows she has stunningly little regard for honesty.

Posted by Robert | August 31, 2008 9:43 PM

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