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HOWARD LEWIS RUSSELL  | Special Contributor

Dear Howard,
I’m in a long-distance relationship with a great guy, but I recently met someone online who flirts with me, and I’m wondering: Am I cheating on my relationship with my boyfriend? Thanks. — Aaron
Dear Aaron,
Saint Howard is always amused by these rapaciously innocent questions requesting how to bemusedly secure a ticket into Heaven whilst abusing, in secret, the 10th Commandment. Apparently, Aaron, your relationship’s disclaimer of it being just something that’s “long-distance” means that what your boyfriend doesn’t know won’t hurt you? Karma is a bitch, Aaron. The real question is this: What were you doing online in the first place cruising for alternative men to your long-distance boyfriend?

Dear Howard,
Recently, I’ve become friendly acquaintances with one of the women in my yoga class. I’m lesbian; she’s straight (I think). I’m attracted to her, Howard, and either she doesn’t seem to mind me flirting with her, or she has no gaydar whatsoever. Heck, maybe she’s even, possibly, attracted to me? How do I pursue this without offending her or embarrassing myself, should she turn me down for a date if I asked her out on one? — Skelter Helter
Dear Skelter,
Easy! You pursue this by asking her out. She’ll either answer “yes” or “no.” You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just go for it!

Dear Howard,
I’ll make this short and sweet: I’ve been BFF with a guy, platonically, for three years now. We are normally together at least part of every day. He lives across the hall in my apartment building (which makes it very convenient to invent reasons for spending time together). Just in these past two or three months, though, I’ve begun having more feelings toward him than being merely “friends.” Do I risk freaking him out and losing our friendship forever, Howard, if I tell him I want to take things to the next level? — Breezy Steve
Dear BS,
Everything involving platonic friendships is at risk whenever sex is introduced into the format; however, if neither of you are currently in a relationship, then Howard says go for it!

Dear Howard,
I’ve been noticing lately that a lot of the guys at my gym have shaved legs — butch, compact muscle guys, too, all of them. Is this some new, metrosexual trend I’m not in on? — Hairy Harry, the Tall
Dear HH,
Exactly how tall are these “compact muscle” men you’ve been noticing of late, Harry, with their shaved legs? Hairy-legged Howard here, at 6’3” himself, would wager that they’re, one and all, of a height rivaling the notoriously short Napoleon Bonaparte; or if not short, exactly, then certainly short of being tall as you, Harry. After all, any man over 6 feet only shaves his legs for two reasons: If he has a drag show tonight or Olympic swimming trials tomorrow.

Dear Howard,
Here’s my situation (and let’s just see if you publish my question, or are the questions in your column faked by some staff writer?): I am a gay male and am 5-foot-5 with red hair. Many people say I’m cute, but as I say, beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder. I have been teased all my life. I would hope that our community would be more accepting, but no: They’re the worst! I want to meet someone special, but given my looks, which I can’t change, I don’t think there is much of a chance for me. Any thoughts? — Red
Dear Ginger Jester,
The only unattractive characteristic you’ve presented to me, Red, is your attitude toward how you perceive yourself. You’re talking here to a man named, “Russell.” My kinfolks invented red hair. Change your ‘tude, Carrot-top, and everything else will ascend, accordingly. Follow the mantra in life that I’ve always taken: They’re lucky you even showed . . . up!

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 18, 2013.