How to do what’s wrong right

_Howard-Russell-logoHOWARD LEWIS RUSSELL  | Special Contributor

Dear Howard,
My Grindr profile features my body shot, but no face. Someone else (also without a face pic) started flirting with me. We exchanged some private images; then, he sent me his face. My God, Howard, it’s my boss! I don’t know how to respond: Block him? Ignore it? Tell him in person who I am? He was totally nice to chat with and kinda hot — my type, even, though I wouldn’t have guessed he had either sexual charm, or seductiveness, in him based upon our workplace interactions at the office. Howard, is this something I should pursue? — Awkward Flirt
Dear Awkward Flirt,
OK, Awk, here’s the deal: You say your boss (unbeknownst to him) has been flirted with by you, his employee, on Grindr, correct? Slick, unless you’re either currently employed in the porn industry or working for an escort agency, then you’re treading dangerously here on pink-slip territory. On the other hand, the boss who marries his secretary isn’t, of course, a total cliché for nothing. Bottom line, Awkster: How important is keeping your job, should you not be able to ultimately bewitch your boss into marriage?

Dear Howard,
Recently, I’ve struck up a platonic friendship with a hot guy in my apartment building, but I’m strangely nervous to tell my live-in boyfriend. I’ve got nothing to hide, and don’t even know if the guy is “gay curious” or just a friendly straight. My gaydar hasn’t gone off at all; still, it feels like there could be issues. Suggestions, Howard? — Not Guilty
Dear Not Guilty,
To quote comedian Chris Rock: “A man is only as faithful as his options.” Intuition never lies. If you’re “strangely nervous” to tell your spouse about a new platonic, same-sex friend whom you’ve met, then either your gaydar needs a fresh battery replacement, or your current live-in boyfriend is not the man whom you should be shacking up with.

Dear Howard,
My partner is a homebody — which is fine — but he’s so much so that I end up going to special events either alone or with a friend. I don’t particularly pressure him, but it bothers me sometimes. Is there a proper balance I should expect, or even lay down the law? — Table-for-One
Dear Table-for-One,
Your question is a classic example of “choose your battles carefully:” “Special events” to an extrovert are not at all the same thing as “special events” to an introvert (i.e., your “homebody” partner). Certainly, there is a proper balance to be expected in all relationships; however, balance is found via compromise, not through commandment by caveat: If you “lay down the law” to your partner, you will forever be attending events in the future, special or otherwise, totally alone.

Dear Howard,
A colleague refuses to get on Twitter, much less text messaging. Will a knock upside the head with my smartphone help? — GetWithIt
Dear GetWithIt,
A knock upside your colleague’s head with your smartphone will help only were he/she in your own shoes. Not everyone on this planet is advantageous enough to afford a smartphone, nor does everyone on this planet who can easily afford one, in fact, necessarily care to.

Do you have a question — about etiquette, love, life or work — that needs an answer? Send your problem to and he may answer it in our new regular feature.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 27, 2012.