How to do the wrong thing right


Dear Howard,
My new boyfriend is better looking than I am, by lots. We’ve got a monogamous relationship, to my knowledge, but anytime we go out anywhere together, it’s as if I suddenly turn into the invisible man. At first, I was flattered by all the attention he always gets — reflected glory and such — but lately it just makes me increasingly … angry.

I’m not an ugly guy. Lots of dudes find me plenty attractive in fact. But it’s almost like my only option for being even remotely noticed whenever I’m with him is if I, oh, tattooed a logo across my smitten chest practically shouting, “I’M NOT A SIZE QUEEN BUT MY BOYFRIEND IS.”

I’m constantly being, “too sensitive,” he laughs; I need to, “lighten up and just be happy.” Well, easy to say when you look like Zeus come down from the heavens. Short of resorting to, like, prescription anxiety meds versus turning into a paranoid stalker, how does a normal man even begin dealing with my envious resentment? — Patrick.

Dear Pat,
Shut up your jawbone bitching, quit being a drama diva and start big-dickin’ like the lucky man your faithfully gorgeous boyfriend wants you be. That’s how.

Dear Howard,
I’m kind of embarrassed here to ask this, but what does “sero-status” mean? I’m only asking, because I think I must have misinterpreted its meaning somehow. Can you please explain sero-status to me in layman’s terms? — Walter.

Dear Walter,
Take a deep breath, Walt, and pay close attention: In the world of sexually transmitted diseases, “sero” is the medical prefix for blood. “Sero-status” describes whether any given individual’s blood tests positive for STDs; technically, therefore, sero-status is the state of either having, or not, detectable antibodies against a specific antigen, as measured by a blood test; moreover, “sero-conversion” of detectable specific antibodies to microorganisms in the blood as a result of infection or immunization … Basically, it’s whether you have an infection that can be transmitted to a partner.

If you need further, more specific info, Walt, you’ll have to consult a professional physician: This professional, satirical columnist here can’t take you any further.

Dear Howard,
I’m 18 now. I don’t come from a perfect family. I have two older brothers. They both molested me when they were teenagers. A lot. Like, relentlessly. I’m moving away from home soon to go to college in another state, so I’m OK. They’re both married now anyway, and I was almost asking for it besides, I guess, when they caught me looking at gay porn on our home computer after school — dumb me, I didn’t know to “clear recent history” before chunking my used socks to the laundry hamper.

Here’s my question: If I want to mess around again with my brothers over the holidays, when we’re all back home visiting, what’s the best way to go about it without their wives getting suspicious? — Jim.

Dear Jimbob,
A locked bedroom door, for starters; or, even better, a local motel room—have your brothers cover the room’s rental. They’re older and married now. They can afford it.

Howard Lewis Russell

Have a question for Howard about etiquette, love, life or anything? Send it to and he may answer.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 19, 2015.