Reader Meet Author: Personal Advice from Author Edward Sarfaty
Author: William Johnson
July 17, 2012
Do you have problems with your love life? Hate your job? Your social life lacking that certain zing? All questions can be answered through literature—or maybe at least by the people who create it. With that in mind, we here at The Lambda Literary Review have started our very own advice column called “Reader Meet Author.” Think of the column as sort of a “Dear Abby” for the LGBTQ literary set. You can send “Reader Meet Author” questions for publication to ReaderMeetAuthor@lambdaliterary.org.
Every month readers can submit questions to a chosen LGBTQ author about love, work, and life, and the author will answer them to the best of their ability.
This month’s column is handled by author and comedian Edward Sarfaty.
Sarfaty is a New York based comedian and writer. He the author of Mental: Funny in the Head, a collection of humorous essays and has appeared on The Today Show, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, The Joy Behar Show, and is one of the subjects of the documentary, Laughing Matters. Eddie has written for the Huffington Post, Out, the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and LA Confidential magazines. His essays have been included in the anthologies When I Knew, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship, and Love, Christopher Street.
My girlfriend of five years really wants to have kids. She told this when we first met and when we initially started dating I did too. But now that I am a little bit older I realize that I love the freedom (both financially and socially) of being childless. I love her and don’t want to lose her, but the thought of having kids now both terrifies and depresses me (oh, sweet freedom!). Lately she has been pressing the issue and talking about adoption. Any ideas on how I can tell her of my change of heart without her feeling betrayed … or worse… losing her?
–The Kids Aren’t Alright.
First of all, I think it’s important to recognize that everyone who’s not a complete idiot is terrified of becoming a parent, afraid they’ll fuck up and their kid will drop out of school to join a gang, a cult, or, God forbid, the Tea Party. So, my first suggestion’s to make sure that what you’re experiencing isn’t just the ordinary, overwhelming anxiety appropriate for this enormous decision.
If, however, you’re certain about not wanting children, you’re eventually going to have to tell her how you feel, so woman up and do it now.
There are a lot of people out there having kids for a lot of wrong reasons, so unless you both want to give a child love, encouragement, security and the tools to live a fulfilling life, you and your girlfriend should not become parents — at least not together.
Parenting, however, isn’t the only way to love and nurture a child. There are zillions of kids who desperately need stable, caring adults in their lives. You probably know some — children of your friends, or kids in the neighborhood who could benefit immeasurably from what you two have to share. You could introduce a disadvantaged or lonely kid to the theater, teach him or her a sport, provide music lessons, travel. You could mentor kids and help them succeed academically. And think of the profound difference you could make in the life of an LGBT kid who feels alone and unguided.
And it’s all possible without giving up the freedom you cherish–and for a fraction of the cost.
This may seem like a strange question…but do you believe “true love” exists? After five messy break-ups, and ten million bad dates, I am not so sure. Is it all just a stupid fantasy?
–Love Does Not Live Here Anymore.
Sure, I believe that “true” love exists — “true,” as in “based in reality.”
Since you don’t provide any clues about yourself, I won’t even hazard a guess as to why things aren’t working out. The one thing, however, that all of these painful experiences appear to have in common is you.
Since you’re writing for advice from a literary website, I’m presuming you’re a reader and didn’t just stumble upon this column by chance. If that’s the case, I have to ask, “Just what have you been reading?” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a penchant for romance novels, or fantasy, or erotica — after all, Lambda gives awards for all three — but if you’re expecting your dream mate to show up on a stallion (or to be one) you’re going to continually be disappointed.
I just found out the guy I have been dating for a couple weeks uses Crystal Meth “recreationally.” He says he only does it every couple of months, that he is not an addict, and that his “partying” should be viewed like someone getting wasted on booze every blue moon.
I like the guy, and he does not seem to be tweaked out, but should I be concerned? I have heard that some people can do drugs and not get addicted, but do you think that goes for drugs as supposedly extreme as Crystal?
—No T for Me
Is Crystal extremely addictive?
Does everyone who uses it get addicted?
Maybe not — but nobody who’s actively using is going to tell you that they have a problem.
Should you be concerned?
I’ve done my fair share of drugs in the past, so I’m not going to start in on the legal, moral, societal, or public health issues. You’re an adult with your own standards and ethics and you know when you’re uncomfortable. It’s important to remember, though, that meth is a notoriously sexual drug. It’s not uncommon for guys who party to fuck aggressively for hours — or even days. And, thanks to Viagra, “crystal dick” isn’t an insurmountable problem and the body suffers a lot of wear and tear (literally), making transmission of HIV and other not-so-fun microbes a lot more likely. Combine that with the fact that safety lines get blurred when people are high and twenty percent of those who’re positive don’t know it, and you have a serious health risk for your boyfriend and therefore for you.
I’ve never met him and he may be perfect for you, so I’m not going to tell you to dump the guy. Just be careful. If he wrecks your heart, you’ll get over it. Your health, not so much.