I have a friend who I love dearly who is 45 years old but has never really grown up. He has a very active sex life, parties all the time, and a lot of his conversations revolve around his sexual adventures. I do not begrudge him his lifestyle but it is embarrassing because at restaurants people seated near us often glance over as they can overhear him and he is constantly badgering everyone at the table for the gritty details of their sex lives. I, on the other hand, am the same age and this is getting really old for me (seriously, who cares). More importantly, I cannot tell my friend that the reason I have not introduced him to my boyfriend is because my guy would be mortified if he did this at a restaurant. My friend has never been in a serious relationship so I'm not sure he even knows how to behave. So, I - the coward - think that I should just keep this friendship separate from my relationship and leave it as is. My guy has never pushed me to meet my friend but my friend asks all the time. What do I do?
Sounds like your friend has a bit of a Peter Pan complex.
Or maybe in his case I should say a Peter Porn complex.
I don't mind when people share details about their sex lives. Especially when you're married, everyone's sex life is enshrouded in such secrecy, it's kind of nice to know you're not alone when it comes to this, that and the other.
I remember when the executive producer of a TV show I used to work on, a man with (like me) three little kids, revealed that since he had sex so rarely he usually didn't last more than about 90 seconds before making what Borat calls a "romance explosion."
I appreciated his honesty, because - oh, wait, I'm not allowed to tell you. I forgot: The "old Dave" used to blurt out details about his sex life in his writing. But the "new Dave" doesn't - ever since my wife, Pam, put her foot down and angrily demanded I cease and desist.
And I respect her wishes. She's right: It's no one's business but ours. I didn't even mind how bossy she was about it. In fact, I kind of liked it. As she stood there, eyes flashing, commanding me to stop writing about our sex life, I began to picture her in thigh-high leather boots, lashing me with a cat o' nine tails and forcing me to eat out of a doggie bowl as she ground her …
Wait! There I go again. Sorry, Pam! Where was I? Oh, yeah - your friend. He doesn't sound like he is sharing his stories in a spirit of togetherness and brotherhood, intending to deepen the bonds of humanity.
Sounds more like his goal is to shock and harrow his listeners with his exploits and present himself to the company as a bed-post-notching swordsman nonpareil.
Which is never a good look, especially if he's unzipping his bag of anecdotes and whipping out his arsenal of spine-tingling, hair-raising stories in the middle of a restaurant simply to shock other patrons.
There's sharing and then there's oversharing. It's a curious compulsion. I don't feel like I'm any kind of prude, far from it, but I find it vulgar. In poor taste.
Can you not say something to this effect to your friend? You say you "love" this fellow. Do you love him enough to swallow your own reticence and share with him the contents of your cranium, i.e. that you (and possibly others) find his behaviour to be less charming and diverting than it is obnoxious and disconcerting?
Of course, this sort of thing isn't easy to hear. He may squawk and get upset and even a little hissy-fit-alicious, as people tend to when you hit them with "home truths." (And be prepared for him to come right back at you with some home truths about yourself.)
But just concentrate on the fact that, in the long run, you'll be doing him a favour. Do it with compassion. After all, there's something a little sad about someone who focuses so much on sex. It's like it's all he's got, which is sort of a shame.
At the same time, why are you so worried about your boyfriend? Is this a new relationship? If so, I can understand it - it's an important hurdle in the early going that the object of your affection meet and approve of/endorse/enjoy spending time with your "crew."
But presumably your boyfriend's a big boy and can make up his own mind about people. If he doesn't like Mr. Potty/Porn Mouth, then he can figure that out on his own. And the two of you can avoid him, together, in future.
But who knows? He may just get a kick out of him.
David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, will be published in the spring of 2010.
I've made a huge mistake
Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to email@example.com, and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.