A close friend of ours is a gay male in his 40s. About seven years ago, our friend met and briefly dated a not-too-bright, conniving guy about 10 years younger. Our friend threw himself into this relationship with his new "trophy husband" and did everything he could for his new boyfriend. He financed his apartment, paid his numerous bills, wrote his papers for school and even purchased all the boyfriend's holiday gifts — all the while keeping everything a secret so the boyfriend could keep his big ego intact. After the boyfriend was back on his feet with a new job, new wardrobe, new apartment and new furniture (courtesy of my friend), he dumped my friend and was having sex with boys 10 to 15 years his junior.
Despite the terrible treatment he received, my friend does everything he can to stay close to his ex. While our friend is doing OK financially, he ended up mortgaging his home several times to help bail his ex out of his self-inflicted financial problems. For a long time, my friend wouldn't date anyone; he was keeping himself free on the chance that his ex-boyfriend might want him back one day. Years later, when my friend finally met someone and started seriously dating, the old boyfriend quickly swooped in and convinced my friend to end his new relationship.
This appears to be a never-ending cycle. My friend, despite the fact that his ex still owes him thousands of dollars, continues to buy him everything he can, as fast as he can — a new condo, new furniture and a new car. We love our friend and we want him to be happy. However, he continues to be in denial about the situation. He's always defending his ex. How do we help our friend move on from this opportunistic user and finally cut the financial and emotional cords once and for all?
Hard To Watch
How did that "God grant me wisdom" poem go? The one harried moms taped to their refrigerators back in the '70s? Some 12-steppin' horseshit about serenity or something? Oh yeah, here it is again, thanks to Google: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/The courage to change the things I can/And the wisdom to know the difference."
Good advice in the '70s — good advice today.
So, HTW, you need to accept that — short of murder — there's nothing you can do that will convince your idiot friend to cut those financial and emotional cords. Your friend's behavior is pathetic, his ex is beneath contempt and you should refuse to play along. When you're with your friend and his ex comes up, screw your courage to the sticking place and say something like this: "He's a user, you're a fool, change the subject."
And wise up, HTW. The more effort you go to, the more interventions you stage, the more advice columnists you pester, the longer your friend is going to cling to his ex-boyfriend. Your emotional investment in his predicament is, without a doubt, feeding your friend's delusions. And your efforts to stop him from being this boy's cash slave are allowing him to mistake this pathetic, self-destructive attachment for a grand, romantic drama — a drama in which he's playing the hero, not the fool.
I am addressing this to both ¡Ask a Mexican! and Savage Love, hoping one of you will have an answer to this: Why do Mexican chicks yell for their papi during sex?
Daddy Del Diablo
"Dear Gabacho: Latinas calling men papi (daddy) during sex or in day-to-day conversation is really more of a Caribbean thing," says Gustavo Arellano, author of ¡Ask a Mexican!, "and my column isn't called ¡Ask J.Lo! Then again, there was that chilanga chula (hot-ass Mexico City chick) who'd whisper it whenever the Mexican slipped her the chorizo … so let's answer your pregunta. In Mexico, as in the rest of Latin America, fathers stand atop the machismo mountaintop. They're the hombres who allow or deny a daughter permission to marry or leave the household, the man that wives must tend to and sons respect, fear and follow. Dads earned such a place in Mexico gracias to the cultures of Catholicism, the Conquest and the Aztecs — all governed by males who considered women little more than birth canals. Mix the three societies together, add some Freudian and Oedipal impulses, and you're left with some fucked-up sexual mores that a half-century of Chicana feminism and modernity have yet to eradicate. But, hey: Better your brown lady yell ‘papi' during coitus than ‘¡Ay, chiquito gabacho!' ¿Qué no?"
To read my response to Daddy Del Diablo's question, you'll have to swing over to www.ocweekly.com/columns/ask-a-mexican. Got a question for Gustavo? You can e-mail him directly at themexican@askamexican. net.
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