Here's a hypothetical for you: You've been corresponding with a handsome young man who lives in Paris. You know him through a friend in France, and your friend has vetted him. He has offered to pay more than half of your airfare so that you can visit him in Paris. You've spoken to him on the phone, and hearing him speak to you in French makes your knees weak.
On the one hand, you can't really afford it -- and although he's agreed to help you pay, you feel guilty for accepting his help. You're also not working, and once you get a job you won't be able to go. You live with your parents, and you don't know how you'd explain taking a trip when you're not working and technically broke. But if your parents disappeared into thin air, you wouldn't hesitate to go. The trip also might turn out to be a crushing disappointment and a huge mistake. On the other hand, you might be passing up the romantic adventure of a lifetime. And he's just ... so ... pretty.
Do you go?
Anxious Straight Girl
P.S. I am attaching his photo so you can see why I'm considering this. I trust you will not publish it?
You can trust me not to publish the picture, ASG, but anyone who wants an idea of what this boy looks like is invited to quickly Google "Gaspard Ulliel," turn those blue eyes brown, take a moment to masturbate, and then come back and finish reading this week's column.
Okay, ASG, hypothetically ... I go.
I lie to my parents. I tell them a friend -- someone they know, someone who'll lie for me -- lent me the money and I'm going to go spend a few days in France with my friend (the same one who vetted this boy) before I land a job.
I wouldn't be going at all if a friend hadn't vetted this guy. And I wouldn't go if I didn't have somewhere to stay besides this boy's place. And I would treat our first meeting like any first meeting with a stranger I'd met online: That first meeting would be in a public place; I would let someone know where I was going and who I was with; and it wouldn't be an open-ended date, i.e., I would see him for lunch and have ironclad plans to hang out with other friends later that same afternoon.
I would also go to France with my bullshit detector fully charged. This guy is damn good-looking, for sure, but it's not like there's a shortage of good-looking French girls. So why is he pining away for an American girl he might never meet -- I'm a girl in this hypothetical, right? -- with so much French pussy at his disposal? Maybe he's so smitten with me that French pussy won't do ... or ... maybe he's a socially maladapted leotard who can't get laid despite his looks. I would be tempted to conclude that it's the former, of course, but I would remind myself not to overestimate my awesomeness and to be on the lookout for signs of social leotardation once I met the dude.
And finally, ASG, if I went to France and didn't hit it off with this boy, I would thank my lucky stars that my Internet crush lived in Paris, France, and not Paris, Texas, and enjoy the trip -- and any other French boys -- regardless.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: The police in Fort Worth, Texas, marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion -- three nights of rioting sparked by a "routine" police raid on a gay bar in New York City -- by raiding a gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge. One of the men arrested, Chad Gibson, was so brutally assaulted by the police that, as of this writing, he remains hospitalized with a life-threatening brain injury.
Police Chief Jeff Halstead claims that the men at the Rainbow Lounge made lewd advances toward his officers and specifically accused Gibson, a slight 26-year-old, of groping one of his cops. This preposterous claim is contradicted by eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence.
We can't let the police in Fort Worth use the Gay Panic Defense ("That fag touched me, so of course I beat him nearly to death!") to excuse this brutal violation of the civil rights of Fort Worth's gay community. If you're on Facebook, please show your support by joining the Rainbow Lounge Raid group (www.tinyurl.com/lavecu). And please e-mail or call the mayor of Fort Worth -- Mike Moncrief, 817-392-6118, firstname.lastname@example.org -- and demand a full investigation into the raid on the Rainbow Lounge and that charges be brought against the officers who assaulted Chad Gibson.