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Wishful Stinking

You’ll think I'm making this up, but I haven't been kissed in four months -- my boyfriend goes right to the act. He claims my breath is bad, which apparently prevents him from doing anything resembling foreplay, like fondling and caressing. Most humiliatingly, he “forced” himself to kiss me one night by squirting cinnamon spray in his mouth before each kiss. In case he was right, I visited the dentist and told my doctor I had a problem and got a prescription acid blocker. Still nothing. I asked old boyfriends their honest opinion, and they all cheerfully volunteered to kiss me if he won't. Yes, I know sex can be sooo much better, but I’m tired of dating, and he does sweet things no other man has, like washing, waxing and gassing up my car, and taking amazing care of me when I’m sick. Still, I don’t want to go the rest of my life without being kissed.

--Showered With Disses

Some women do take payoffs -- free rent, free breasts, Sub-Zero refrigerators -- to stay in a less-than-ideal relationship. But, a wash, a wax, and a fill-up? Then again, gas prices being what they are, maybe you’re onto something. Let’s just hope you don’t drive a Honda Civic, or even an SUV pulling a houseboat, but something more along the lines of a logging truck towing the USS Nimitz.

Yes, sex can be “sooo much better” -- with a boyfriend whose idea of foreplay isn’t watching you gargle Lysol Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner. Okay, so you’re only trying to make things work with this guy because you’re tired of dating. Tired of dating but bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for constant romantic humiliation? Wow, that’s tired, as in who was your first boyfriend, Ptolemy?

A guy who cares about you makes you feel wanted, not wanted for a tongue swab by the CDC. Not only did that realization escape you, you were too busy getting makeout references from old boyfriends to ask how, exactly, your alleged trench mouth connects to the fact that the only headlights he’ll polish are on your car. Now, I get a lot of advice requests from people who love people who happen to smell. Most would rather fake their own kidnapping than risk destroying the person they love with the truth. This guy, on the other hand, doesn’t have a qualm in the world about whipping out the extra-extra-strength Binaca (now in new cinnamon napalm!)

Sure, maybe you’ve had more than your share of dating horror stories (Ted Bundy showing up for drinks with a tarp and a shovel?), but you’re settling for a guy who’d rather degrade you into snorting acid blockers than admit to intimacy issues, weird sexual aversion(s), possible closethood, and/or fear of saliva. Perhaps what really stinks here is not your piehole but your judgment.

It sounds like you’re committing what evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (with T.R. Carlisle) dubbed “The Concorde Fallacy,” after the supersonic airliner the Brits and French continued building even when it became clear it would never earn back its costs. Apparently, humans have a tendency to stick with a bad investment based on how much they’ve already put in instead of assessing the likelihood of future returns. In other words, maybe you have better things to do than hang around in hopes Hazmat Boy will someday get into the kinky stuff; say, air kisses and the occasional shoulder squeeze? And no, I’m not talking about you lashing yourself to your car hood and seeing if you can sneak a rubdown.

Posted by aalkon at October 2, 2006 7:20 AM

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Something about this smells bad.

Posted by: Roger at October 2, 2006 12:13 PM

As a woman who has dated a man who Smells (capital letter intentional), I can tell you that I loved him and I cannot imagine ever having said something to hurt him - so I spent a great many nights breathing through my mouth in order to spare his feelings.

If a lover told me that he'd "forced" himself to kiss me, I'd find another lover pronto.

After all... men are like busses. Another one will be along in 10 minutes.

Posted by: Peggy Archer at October 2, 2006 9:47 PM

Something about this smells bad! Are you sure he isn't sleeping with someone else, since, oh I don't know, 4 months ago? Usually guys don't want to kiss a woman that they don't want to feel intimate with (like a prostitute, or a girlfriend they have no feelings for). Time to wake up and smell the other woman!

Posted by: Chris at October 3, 2006 6:30 AM

I have to agree with Chris. I've been there... My ex wasn't as explicit or dramatic as this guy, but he did start to complain about my breath. No matter what I ate, he would complain if I kissed him. As in "eww, you smell like peanut butter." Then the foreplay minus kissing. I was *very* disturbed over it. Within a couple of months he confessed that he wasn't attracted to me anymore, and that he had been "forcing" himself to sleep with me. In hind sight, I think he was cheating on me. Good riddance!!

Posted by: Jen at October 4, 2006 7:09 PM

Agreed! I had a similar conversation with my ex-husband when we were still making feeble attempts to "work things out". He had an aversion to kissing, too, claiming it was "too intimate". For his wife. Of 8 years. Can you spell "excuse"???
Now that I'm in a good relationship, with regular, enthusiastic nookie, the only time we hold our breaths is if we're romping before we get up and brush our teeth, and that just happened naturally, we've never discussed it!

Posted by: DivaKitty at October 4, 2006 7:58 PM

I'm currently in a new relationship and as a smoker, my breath is not always the best. My new girl told me, "I'm very sorry, but your breath is a turn-off. Can you please go brush your teeth and floss and then get your butt back in bed with me?"

Yes I was mildly hurt, but it was just ego. After all, she did want me back in bed, just not with a stinky mouth. What's the damage? I don't see a problem here.

Posted by: Jay at October 20, 2006 10:09 AM

I was the woman with the b/f who refused to kiss. I know he wasn't cheating, and I know he really did care about me. What I've finally given up on is dealing with his phobias and OCD about many other issues. We called a "break" this weekend for a couple of weeks, but we know this is really the end, we just didn't want the fuss that goes along with a face to face breakup. I said that the only way I would continue in this relationship is if he would join me in counseling. Since he's perfect and there's nothing wrong with him, that's not going to happen. Thank you for all your advice. At age 50, I'm going to have to jump into the dating pool again and try not to drown again.

Posted by: G at October 23, 2006 6:42 AM

Hi Gat, I hope you're happier after your split- cheating or not, he was hurting your spirit and you're better off. My mom (finally!) divorced my dad who was an emotional dead weight for much of their 30+ year marriage. I threw her a party with her best girlfriends and gave her a copy of "A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance" by Jane Juska. Good Luck!

Posted by: Julie at October 28, 2006 3:18 AM

Yes. I remember. Some spouses can be so cruel on such a subtle level and you don't see it till you are out from under it. They feed you little pieces of shit in such small amounts that you get so used to it, the next thing you know you are eating tons of it. My wonderful nonjudgemental girlfriend told me once, "When you get tired of eating that shit sandwich, you'll set it down." Yes, dating sucks, sometimes, but it's a lottery with good odds.

Posted by: Chicknlady at October 28, 2006 11:34 PM

Thank you for your support. As you can imagine, when I wrote to Amy, she had a lot of advice for me regarding self-esteem issues that I should explore. Guess I'd better take another look into that. I did begin therapy the same week as Amy's first answer to me.

After a horrendous abusive marriage, I tried dating but finally gave up, using school, work, kids as an excuse to hide. When I had an epiphany of sorts about my life, I jumped back in again. I didn't know what I wanted in a man, so I dated a number of men, exploring the options, so to speak. I met some who I thought I could be happy with, but for various reasons didn't work. By the time I met this guy, I'd been through a lot of hurt, and I think I just wanted to stop. He has many wonderful qualities. He could be the most thoughtful and caring man. He is witty, and has a wonderful sense of whimsy. Because of his job he was on the road all week, but he'd call to share a beautiful sunset with me. I liked the attention I got from him, especially after his predessor who thought calling once a week was too much to ask.
I could never reconcile the extremes in his behavior. Thoughtful one minute, callous and insenstive the next. I believe his intimacy issues were driven by phobias, not a lack of caring about me.
I offered him the option of going to counseling with me to work out these things, but I'm 99% sure he won't. It just couldn't go on the way it was. We were beating each other up emotionally on a regular basis.

Posted by: Gail at October 29, 2006 5:11 AM

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