Robot Hearts: Lighting one fire and putting out another

Jack and Susan say “Buck up!” to the lovelorn and “F off!” to each other. Their hearts are in the right place, they’re just made of metal!

Would you like your relationship problem to incite fiery arguments between a bartender and a bartended?? Fire away at

Question Uno

I started seeing a girl about three weeks ago who we’ll call “Lucy”. She is 25 and I’m 27. Since then things have gone well, but umm, there’s a slight issue.

“Lucy” is an overtly sexual, beautiful hippie-type girl, who from what she has told me, has slept with well over 50 men. I’ve never thought of her as a slut or anything, but well, let’s just say that she isn’t afraid to express her sexuality. I, on the other hand have only slept with two girls, one was a long term seven-year relationship that ended six months ago and the other was a rather regrettable drunken episode two months ago. So, about a week ago I found myself back at Lucy’s place after we had a few drinks, and I couldn’t exactly “perform” due to my nervousness. Lucy was understanding, and I don’t think it bothered her, but now I feel like a chump. I like Lucy and I feel like I could be really great for her, but her colorful sexual history and my lack of a sexual history makes me feel insecure to no end. I’ve never been in this situation before and I’m wondering what I should do.

And for some reason I decided to ask advice from a cocky bartender who will probably laugh at me.

— One Man Against 50+ in the West End.

Jack: One Man, listen, I can hear the trepidation in your voice and I know that fear like I know how to pleasure myself with either hand in record time. That is to say, I feel for you my man. Sometimes we are all just “One Man” against an army of penises that at one point penetrated our current gal pal. I don’t know if I’m breaking some men’s social taboo here, but it’s happened to everyone. It’s one of the dangers of the trade and I don’t care if some dude claims it has never happened to him….It has.

The thing to do here is to play it aloof. Act like nothing happened and try your absolute hardest to not think about it. You could go and just tell Lucy the truth and tell her your fears, but some girls simply don’t want an inexperienced and/or insecure man. Act like it ain’t a thing and don’t waver for one second. Just get back on the horse and give it another ol’ college try. The grass is greener or something? Is that enough cliches for you yet?

Another, decidedly more evil route, and one that might just be crazy enough to work. Go out and bag a few less than stellar chicks, practice holes or slump busters I believe are popular terms. Make ’em scream and then take that newfound confidence to the bedroom with Lucy. Sometimes you have to be a rogue to win at the game of love.

Susan: Zzzzz! These kinds of macho self-confidence issues are so irksome. It’s way less attractive to have to boost a guy’s confidence over one bad performance than it is to have to boost a guy’s confidence over numbers of partners. As far as we’re concerned (and I think I speak for many if not most of us), an off night is an off night. I mean, no one seems to care if WE have an off night, so part of me is always a little insulted when I have to spend time being like “No, no, it’s OK. I promise. Seriously, I PROMISE. NO, I won’t tell all my friends.” Because no one stops and hugs and consoles US when we are less than super-enthused about “the physical act of love” (ugh, sorry, I’ve been watching True Blood nonstop and they say stuff like that a lot). And it always seems to me like that time spent soothing a bruised ego could be better applied to finishing the job in other ways.

The second matter at hand is the more important one, I think, which is making you feel better about your lack of experience. Dude! Being with someone for seven years? That almost certainly means that you have gotten an intimate look at way more in depth sexual experiences than she has. Do you think that most one night stands are fraught with creative sexual exploits? Maybe in Judd Apatow movies, but all the real life stories I ever hear are about drunken, fumbling, boring times. Refer to your regrettable, drunken episode. Was it a night of wild discovery?? Doubtful. I’m willing to bet that you’ve delved into territory that to Lucy is largely uncharted. And even if that’s not the case, if you having been with a thousand girls is important to her, there’s not much you can do about that, except Jack’s gross “bang every girl in town” strategy above. Just wow her with your long years of experience or move along to someone else and don’t call on her again (sorry!!! True Blood!!).

Jack: You just don’t “get it”, do you Susan? I’m going to ignore the rumors and guess that you actually don’t have a pee-pee hanging between your legs. If you do then we’ll talk about it in that future column concerning hermaphrodites that we’ve been planning. Until then, leave the man/wiener/self-esteem issues to a man who has a wiener and self-esteem issues.

Listen One Man, aside from attempting to sleep with every chick in town, my advice is to just forget about it. The moment you stop letting your brain do the work and start letting your heart and your penis decide, well son, that’s a moment of clarity that you will not soon forget. PS: I plan on giving my future son the “heart and wiener” speech the instant he turns 7 years old.

Question Dos

So, recently, I’ve caught my long time friend gazing at me with what can only be called “longing.” Things have always been strictly platonic between the two of us. I brought it up to a couple of mutual friends who all said the same thing: “Duh, he’s in love with you.” OMG GROSS! What do I do?! Do I bring it up to him? Do I avoid him?

— Confused and Dismayed in Petersburg

Susan: These are the worst. I have had so many friends on either side of this fence (and I can’t say that I’m unfamiliar with the fence myself), and I think most of these things result from some variation of the following: looking at your opposite-sex (or, hey, same-sex??) BFF as you both sit on the couch watching back to back episodes of a certain HBO series, sharing a “Collision” bag of Doritos (saving you the chips you like) and laughing at all your jokes. “This,” you think. “This is what a relationship is supposed to be like. I must be in love with him/her!” An understandable conclusion!

Because of this logical chain of events, I recommend clearing that air at the beginning of such a friendship, if the other party’s eyes begin to get a little moony. “Just so you know,” you can say. “You and I will always be platonic and that is FINAL,” etc. Might as well let them know ahead of time, right? Your situation is more advanced, of course, so I think it depends on your relationship status. If you’re unattached but just not interested, the frank talk will probably work. If you’re attached, especially in a serious way, honestly, I’d ignore it until it goes away. They’ve gotta know it’s hopeless, right?? If you think they’re holding out a glimmer of hope, say a lot of things like, “My husband/boyfriend is so great and totally eats all the chips I don’t like in the Collision bag!” Under no circumstances should you complain about your relationship, that’s for sure. Nothing gives a pining dude the wrong impression like “You’re my shoulder to cry on.” (Note: Collision Doritos are disgusting, yet I literally just consumed an entire bag with my husband, who ate all the chips I don’t like. Lovesick BFFs! You too can find somebody else who will do this!)

Jack: Two things come to mind here. 1.) The proliferation of girly, sadsack movies (“Just Friends” comes to mind here) where the “friend” ends up with the hot girl is churning out entire generations of “beta” men who believe they’re in love every time a girl smiles at them. 2.) My co-writer’s dating column advice-giving validity should really be questioned when she mentions Collision Doritos three times in one of her answers. (And the answer is NO, Susan Howson is NOT 270 pounds. Seriously.)

I have a few friends who I can tell want more than friendship sometimes, which baffles me because they know I’m a horrible, disgusting human being. For the most part I just keep them as friends, but I also keep them at arms length. If this guy texts you or calls you a lot, just don’t always call back or text back. Keep your distance and do nothing at all to show that you have any feelings for him and he should get the point. Also if you see him giving you the googly eyes, make fun of him instantly. Be like, “Hey gayface, stop staring at me and pass the Cool Ranch Doritos!” (which are superior to Collison Doritos, or any other Dorito on the market currently).

Another method would be to tell him about your latest boytoy or a recent sexual experience with another guy. That should stick this dude’s ass squarely back into that awful place known as the “friend zone”. Brrrr… I get chills just thinking about that purgatory.

Susan: I think I am somewhat with you on this one. Romantic comedies in which a person suddenly realizes that s/he should be with his/her longtime BFF, who is clearly in love, are misleading and should have died in the late ’80s, taking Cool Ranch Doritos with them. I always thought sharing your sexual exploits with a dude was provoking instead of off-putting, but if we ignore the rumors and assume that you do have a pee-pee between your legs, and you think that locker room talk will turn off Confused and Dismayed’s BFF, full speed ahead.

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Jack Lauterback

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