How to do the wrong thing right

_howard-russell-logoYes, that time of the year has rolled around again for all us good, queer Texans to give thanks for how very fortunate we are — LGBT citizens in this grand country of ours, in this colossally diverse, purple-ish state of ours, in this great city of Dallas we live in — where offenses of hatred and bigotry are societal crimes punishable by law, instead of lawfully condoned. Guys and gals, thank whomever you pray to this Thanksgiving for, indeed, being bountifully lucky. Let’s get right to it.

Dear Howard, I feel blessed to have fully a dozen true friends; they’ve stood by me ever since way back in high school, throughout our sex-charged 20s, our career-angst 30s and now our diminishing late-40s. I say “blessed” because I know way too many guys who’ve exactly zero substantive friendships. They’ve Facebook “friends” by the dozens if not hundreds, sure, and Grindr “relationships” out the ass, aplenty; unfathomably, too, some of them have even successfully snared longtime partners! I was lucky in work, retired at 49, and I’m (very rewarhoward-quotedingly) now a Peace Corps volunteer. But a spousal boyfriend is the only type of friend I’ve always sought that’s eluded me.I haven’t seriously dated someone of any substance in years — honestly, maybe a decade now.

How is it that I’m able to maintain truly rewarding, long-term friendships around the entire globe, but can’t find anyone emotionally worthy of even asking out to a dinner date with here back home, or just enjoy popcorn at the movies with—anyone worthy of sharing real intimacy with? I’m decent-looking and got lots to offer behind my Levi’s zipper, also. Heck, I’d be happy with a shallow size-queen, or at least content with one, so long as he wanted me. Any pearls of cultured wisdom here, Howard, you could offer? The Kardashianization of this country is slowly just killing someone like me.
Thanks. — Allen

Dear Al, Cultured insights (more flawless than a waist-length lavaliere of natural pearls!) I do certainly possess. Wisdom-prognosis pearl No. 1: Twelve BFFs, Allen, is an unsustainably large number of “substantive” relationships to simultaneously juggle. Realistically, only about half such an extraordinary juggling feat can be long-term maintained, and even but six real friends require exhaustive work … constantly. Here’s the truth: It’s outright impossible for anyone, even herculean Howard here, to just toss in a private-life relationship, too, amidst such an already over-oiled, whirling friendship salad as you’re frenetically juggling.

Al, if you want my totally unprofessional, unlicensed Freudian opinion — which of course everyone does — it appears from this unqualified “psychoanalyst’s” perspective that, quite early along your sidelined maturity path, somewhere long ago, you made a personal choice to enjoy many close companions but no intimate ones. I can’t give you reasons why you shun sexual intimacy, and I’m certainly not going to say that you may squarely blame all on Kim Kardashian, nor your repressed memories of that pervert uncle, either — the one who always had a new litter of “just the cutest” dachshund puppies for you to pet out back in his tool shed. Seriously, Charlie Brown, none of your real friends are going to just yank away your football because you’d like to date someone regularly. True friends are friends, always, especially old school friends from pubescence, way back. They would only support you, to the last. My advice is both thanklessly mundane and superficially stoic: Go out on a goddam date! Put yourself all-out on, or even Grindr. Hell, stud, let these shallow queens see you’re swingin’ a Louisville slugger!

Dear Howard, My honeymoon last Thanksgiving barely survived a potentially marriage-extinction tiff over how to cook one of those skanky Butterball frozen turkeys; instantaneously, me and Theo just veered off the rails into, like, palpable divorce territory. Howard, I can’t endure cooking in the kitchen with her again this year — she’s a culinary Twilight Zone, I am a professional chef. I literally prepare food for a living: Theo phantasmagorically thinks just because her starched apron came from Bloomingdale’s she’s Julia Child, resurrected! My lovely wife, bless her heart, believes sweetbreads is a dessert, tomatoes are a vegetable and carpaccio a breed of fish; I swear on Marie-Antoine Careme’s very grave, only yesterday she asked me where (da dum dum!) pickles come from — Vlasic friggin’ jarred pickles! My shiksa sweetie grasps less about cooking than probably even our Food Network celebrity hall-pass does—that toothily gorgeous dingleberry dimwit, Giada De Laurentiis! — “Rachael”

Rachael, Rachael,
For the life of me, I can never figure out why you lesbian groupies of mine — expositionally long-winded fault — never actually get around to ever asking Dear Howard here what your question to me is: Rae, if you love your wife, just roast her “skanky” damned Butterball this year the way Theodosia likes, and respectfully enjoy your second Thanksgiving together with thankfulness: Holiday harmony means more than a frozen turkey cooked to cardboard.
— Howard Lewis Russell Do you have a question — about etiquette, love, life or work — that needs an answer? Send your problem to and he may answer it.