Monday, December 3, 2007

Advice Column #9

Hey Bartender,

My boyfriend and I recently joined an internet-based swingers network in our area to meet some new girls and/or couples. (Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those questions. It's strictly about tactful communication). Anyway, many people on these sites don't post pictures of their faces, just their bodies. Often how it works is that you see someone you think you'll like and email with them a bit to make sure you're all on the same page. And then maybe you exchange full-body photos, faces revealed.

So, I wrote to this girl who was hot from the neck down. She wrote me back a sweet email about her interest in hanging out with me and my boyfriend. Then I wrote back and sent some pictures, and she responded in turn with full pictures of herself. After seeing her face I realized there's no way my boyfriend and I could ever be attracted to her. But how do I tell her--sensitively and politely--that I don't think we should meet after all? I don't want to hurt her feelings, especially since I initiated contact in the first place. And I'm sure my reasons for backing out will be obvious--after all, I was all about it until she sent pictures indicating that she's, well, ugly. Help! How do I word my response?

Before I get to the "what to do" or the "what to drink" discussions, let's take a moment for "how did we get here?" It's not my place to tell you or your man how many partners to have at one time, but I wonder about your recruitment methodology. Perhaps shopping for head-less lovers on the Internet isn't the way to go about finding a proper match. Sure, the Internet seems like an easy solution, but is there a group that meets in a big bar somewhere, has a bunch of drinks, and everyone carpools home- certain that they like the face too? I can understand the need for anonymity on a website of that nature, but that same anonymity puts you in situations where you have to gracefully decline an orgy at Sleepy Hollow.

Meanwhile, since you are bravely choosing not to practice the traditional art of blowing people off, let's figure out what you should tell your scorned lover-not-to-be. Notably, I think it attests to your character that you feel the need to give this woman closure, when you don't really have a relationship with her in the real world. As for the email you're going to write, decisiveness and discretion are key in cutting this short as harmlessly as possible. Make up an excuse, "We've been having some problems lately and don't want to bring a third person into our lives right now. " Reassure her, "We were very attracted to you and hope that you understand our decision to not meet with you is entirely about us." Cement the end of the exchange, "Hopefully you'll find another couple who are ready to welcome such a wonderful delight into their lives." The exchange should be five sentences maximum, no mention of the term butter-face, and about your change of heart, not about what caused your change. Your desire to give her a reason is really about your impulse to tell her she's ugly, or not- because you are embarrassed about your own standards. People get turned down all the time, and attraction can't be defined by neck down photos. You really need to find some real-life meet ups, or this situation will become your recurrent nightmare of parlor or bedroom decorum gone wrong.

There's a perfect beer for the night you don't run off like Ichabod when the temptress reveals her pretty face. The Shipyard Pumpkin Ale is a fall seasonal beer from Portland, Maine. It's buttery pumpkin pie taste is full of malt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The head on this beer doesn't last long, or leave much lace in your glass, but the taste reminds you of those chilly nights when someone else's warmth is all that can warm your bones. Bonus, there's a scary image of a pumpkin-headed horseman riding on the label. Other great pumpkin ales of the season which might better embody the style are the Southern Tier Pumking, the Smuttynose Pumpkin, and the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin ale, which is 8% ABV. If you're lucky, you'll find a great pumpkin on tap at a bar, and some vixen will hit on your boyfriend when you go to order a round. Maybe you can all work something out. Happy Halloween!

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