Q: Here's the deal. We met at a bar, had a couple of drinks, went back to his place and had great sex. Period. End of story. Or so I thought. As I was leaving, he asked me for my number so that we could "get together again." I thought he understood this was a one-night stand. I just said, "I'll see you when I see you." Did I do anything wrong?
A: Not really, no. It just sounds like one or both of you could have been more explicit ahead of time. But it's a tricky situation. Unless you're having sex at a club or in a backroom, it's easy to misunderstand where the other guy is coming from.
Next time, try to set some limits. In the throes of passion, it may not feel quite right to say, "I only want to have sex with you and then got to go." But what about: "I need to be asleep in an hour because I've got an early flight tomorrow" or "My boyfriend will be home in a little while so let's get busy ..." It's also important what you do after you climax: avoid getting into a lot of post-coital chitchat. Don't be rude; just don't get drawn into a lengthy discussion.
Three things to remember: If it's a no-strings-attached hookup, don't expect to exchange last names, e-mail addresses or phone numbers. If you're at a guy's house, make sure you remember to take everything that's yours, because you may never see him again. Finally, and most important, be prepared and be safe. That means having condoms on hand and using your sixth sense to make sure the guy's not a psycho. Oh yes, also enjoy yourself.
Q: I think the new copy editor at my newspaper is a lesbian and she sure knows I am (everybody does). She hasn't actually said anything, though, and doesn't show up for our company's LGBT events. Is it OK if I just ask? Since I'm gay too, I figured it's not so invasive—or is it? She's really cute, by the way!
A: Did it occur to you that she might not be rushing to come out to you because she can tell you think she's "cute"? Some people have a really bad reaction to flirtation at work. There are, of course, a million other possible explanations for her not being upfront about it—if indeed she is gay. Maybe she's the private type. Maybe she's had bad experiences in the past with co-workers knowing her business. Maybe she's not even sure she's a lesbian.
In any case, no, don't ask. Especially in a workplace situation, it's better to let things unfold organically. Not only is her sexuality technically none of your business and unrelated to your work, asking the question directly could end up alienating someone you may need to work with or otherwise benefit from as an ally—no matter whether she ends up being straight, gay or bi.
Q: I was completely shocked when two of our gay friends showed up for a dinner party with their twins in tow. I hadn't mentioned kids in the invitation, and the table was set for eight—four adult couples. I did the best I could, but I don't think I hid my irritation very well, especially when the twins complained about the caper sauce I served on the fish. Suggestions for the future?
A: Here's the problem: You have too few kids in your life. If you had more of them around, you'd know better than to invite two parents to dinner without addressing the kid issue one way or another. It pays to be explicit in such an invitation, writing or saying something like: "It will be the eight of us on Saturday. I think you know the other couples." Or, "It's just the big people this time. No little ones."
Of course, in this case one of the parents could have asked beforehand, "Just checking: Is it OK to bring the twins?" Still, I imagine they felt horrible when they saw a table set for eight adults. Or I hope they did. And I trust that the parents apologized profusely in the moment and in their thank-you note as well. Finally, about that caper sauce: Please don't blame the kids for not taking to that. I suggest keeping emergency provisions in your cupboard—like mac 'n cheese—for the next set of freeloading toddlers.
Steven Petrow is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Yahoo! Shine as well as the author of The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette (www.gayandlesbianmanners.com). Tell him your secrets at firstname.lastname@example.org.