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Fling Theory

Ask the Advice Goddess


Three years ago, I had a summer fling with a guy -- nothing serious, just sex. He wanted more, but I wasn't interested. My sister was there through it all. Shortly afterward, I met my current boyfriend whom I've been dating ever since. Five months ago, my ex-fling started hanging out with my sister, who had a boyfriend at the time. She told everyone that she and the ex-fling were just friends. A month ago, I learned that she'd lied to me, my family and her (now) ex-boyfriend, and was, in fact, in a relationship with my ex-fling. I feel hurt, betrayed, disrespected and disgusted. Not only am I upset at her dishonesty, I'm shocked that she would sleep with someone I had. I have no interest in him, but I can't shake the idea that my sister shouldn't be dating him. I've always considered her my best friend ... until now. I've tried to talk to her about it, but she won't let me because it's "too weird." Am I wrong in feeling so upset?

--Family Affair

Apparently, the Ten Commandments were edited for space reasons. That bit about your sister not being allowed to be with a guy you boy-toyed three years ago must have been among the commandments that got cut.

I know what you're thinking: "Why couldn't they chisel that one into the back? Just scratch a little arrow and a "see other side' after No. 10." It's a little late for that, but to help you feel even more right than you already do, I'm proposing a sequel to the Ten Commandments. We'll call it something catchy, like "The Twenty Suggestions," and lose that bossy "thou shalt not" lingo.

Most of the Suggestions will wag a disapproving finger at a general audience: stuff like No. 14: "If the sign outside the restaurant does not read "Chuck E. Cheese's,' the patrons within should not be hearing the screams of your children." No. 17: "The only tune your cell phone should be programmed to play is the unfinished portion of Beethoven's unfinished symphony." No. 12.5: "A green light signals that it's time to put your foot on the gas, not reprogram your radio, floss, exfoliate or examine your arms for cancerous moles."

I'm setting aside five blank slots so you can slap some sense into that lying sister of yours before she slides down the slutty slope into ax-wielding, kitten-drowning felon-hood. Oh, please! If you crammed any more self-righteous indignation into your letter, I'd have to take steroids to hold it up to read it. So what if your sister fell for some dude you shook out of your sheets three summers back? What are you, the kinder, gentler black widow? You let your fling boys live; they just can't ever live with anybody else.

Your sister's under no obligation to call a press conference about her love life simply because you're desperate to attend. Considering your attitude, she's smart to keep quiet. (There's a fine line between talking to unreasonable people and crazy people. At least, with crazy people, there are breaks in the diatribe whenever Moses, Napoleon Bonaparte and Bart Simpson need directions to Starbucks.)

Whatever happened between sis and her ex, if anything, is between sis and her ex. If you want to be your sister's friend, stop sitting around like a clump of oily rags, raising a nasty stink. You might even find it within yourself to get happy that she's happy -- despite how unhappy you are at the prospect of seeing some mistake you made seated next to her on your parents' living room couch.

Grope On A Rope

I'm newly single and newly confused. Recently, I went on a brunch date that lasted 10 amazing hours. When I tried to kiss my date goodnight, she pulled away, explaining that she wanted "to be friends first." I said OK, but as I walked down her stairs I realized that I have no idea what this means. Do I call her again or do I accept that I got the brush-off?

--Panned Pal?

"Friends" is sometimes a sex word. Not a sexually explicit one, but a sexually implicit one. When paired with the word "just," it implies that you're out of your mind if you think you're ever going to get any -- sex that is, from the person uttering those words. Confusing, yes, but kinder than the explicit alternative: "Too bad they don't make fly swatters in your size."

When "friends" comes with a little "first" dangling from the end of it, it indicates that future nudity isn't out of the question. Why the waiting period? You'll have to ask your new "friend" when you ask her out. Best case scenario -- she's trying to be "sensible." Worst case scenario -- she's trying to stall until that mysterious rash heals.

Copyright 2002, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail (

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