How to do the wrong thing right

Howard-Russell-logoAs Labor Day fast approaches and another summertime, again noticeably begins to wane — shorter daylight hours, raggedy, spent foliage and browning, parched everything — so we, too, queer readers, apparently begin another of life’s “autumnal” reflections on human mortality. To paraphrase the incomparably immortal Yogi Berra, “It sure gets late early around here.” Let’s get right to it.

Dear Howard,
On our way home from Whataburger the other night, as he (quite disgustingly!) smacked onion rings’ grease off his fingertips, my older-than-dirt happy hubby spryly announced, apropos of absolutely nothing, “Stan, I’m gonna live to be 100, and you can’t die first, either. You’re stronger than I am. You can deal living without me. I couldn’t stand living without you.”
Howard, there’s a vast age difference between us: Charlie is 77; I’m 63. He’s the junk-food-aholic, not me; the word “exercise” is pure anathema to him — hell, he eats fast food seven days a week! Yet somehow Charlie’s the one who has never been sick so much as a single day in our entire grease-indulgent marriage, and no doubt the old svelte-and-glowing Methuselah will live to be a hundred, I’m certain. It’s just not fair! How do I persuasively argue against bad habits with a person who defies all rules? — Stan Leigh

Dear Stanley,
You don’t, you can’t and you shouldn’t. Rules for the ordinary never apply to those innately/perpetually happy outliers among us. But cheer up, Stan, my morose, trans-fat-free, exerciser man; keep in mind, Charlie is 14 years your elder — you merely have to make it to but age 86 (plus a few extra odd months or so depending on your birth month) to healthily grant Charles In Charge his wish of outliving him/ What’s truly incredulous to dear Howard here, actually, is that Whataburger hasn’t contracted “long-lived” chipper Chuck by now already to be their grinning new slim/trim twinkle-eyed septuagenarian national spokesperson.

Dear Howard,
I’m 17, a high school senior now. I came out to my parents last week, on the very day before school started back again. But Dad wouldn’t “tolerate hearing such hormonal, teenage idiocy,” and I got lectured for, like, the billionth time, that in his day he was lucky to even see an occasional Penthouse magazine, whatever that was, that all I really need to do is just lay off the computer porn a bit, that we Millennials are exposed to “just way too much twisted filth way too early,” blah, blah, blah. Mom, for her part, was in her usual AWOL haze of Wellbutrin denial, so I’m basically just right back to where I started before even bravely working up my nerve to tell the folks in the first place. Suggestions? — Dabney

Dear Dab,
During all trials of pubescent ennui, son, just put on some Rolling Stones and ride it out the best you can: OK, so what, “Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax, and your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax.” Eventually, things get better. They really do. Find yourself a nice boy your own age (or no more than five years older, maximum) to date. Always choose guys with a big brain first, before a big cock. Never play with a man sporting visible tattoos for any length of time more than a one-night-stand. Never fall for the line, “You’re different; you’re special.” Never believe any man’s promise when he tells you he won’t cum inside you so no condoms necessary here. (Play safe, no exceptions!) Never believe for one second that you’re so very all-that-fabulous as to bewitch any man into being exclusively faithful only to you. Men have testosterone. Men are horny 24/7. All men are only as faithful as the sexual options presented before them.

Dear Howard,
I have a two-parter question, two simple but extremely hard questions: 1. What is the definition of “time” as you see it; and 2. Would you choose to know the date of your own death if given the option? — Marcella

Dear Marcella,
Never have I received two easier questions to answer: 1. Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once; 2. Are you fuckin’ crazy? And let me add 3. This is a gay advice column, Marcy; so for future reference, precious, please do try adhering to simple format — it ain’t hard to do.

— Howard Lewis Russell

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2016.