Love, Lucy is the New School Free Press’ weekly advice column, where editors provide thoughtfully researched solutions to questions about love and life. Send submissions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through Love, Lucy’s official GoogleForm.
“How can I get over the heteronormativity of Valentine’s Day?”
Besides being an extremely cisgendered and capitalist event, Valentine’s Day’s earliest origins trace to the ancient Roman fertility festival Lupercalia, where naked women were willingly whipped with the hides of freshly-sacrificed goats and dogs by naked men who they were later randomly matched up with. So, I often question the validity in celebrating and participating in Valentine’s Day. And I understand why you do, too.
“The Valentine’s Day industry is predicated on heteronormativity,” says David Brody, associate professor of design studies at Parsons. “My suggestion is that those of us interested in breaking through this paradigm think of alternative ways of celebrating this day, which get beyond the business of Valentine’s Day as an invented tradition. For instance, can we make our own cards that share a more personalized sentiment, beyond what is found on most Hallmark greetings? Is it only a day that urges us to spend? Or, is this truly a day that celebrates love?”
Considering how the National Retail Federation predicts American consumers will spend $18.2 billion on their valentines this year, those questions might be easy to answer. But by getting crafty and creating your own cards and turning on a queer-friendly romantic movie, you can start transcending the heteronormativity of this complex holiday by making it your own.
“My absolute best friend and I tried to date and it didn’t work. Are we screwed?”
So, you went out with your best friend. So, it didn’t work. Your friendship is salvageable, if you both want it to be. The most important thing when it comes to relationships is for you two to be on the same page. Do you both want to go back to being best friends? Are you both feeling, or thinking the same? Are you happy with one another, or did one of you hurt the other?
It might be awkward, but the most important aspect of saving your relationship is clear communication. Christine Baumgartner, who has been coaching couples for almost two decades, advises directly addressing the problem. “Remember he/she was your best friend, and cares about your feeling or you wouldn’t have been best friends in the first place,” she says.
So tell them what you are feeling, and ask them what they, too, feel about the relationship. Be clear and direct. The chances of remaining friends depends on how and why the transition to dating failed. If it ended well, the possibilities of staying friends are greater. However, if there is a reason for one of you to resent the other—because of cheating, lying, or abuse of any kind—the old friendship is most likely doomed, explains certified relationship coach Chris Armstrong.
If only one of you feels strongly about the other, the probability of getting your relationship back is low. “It will be difficult for you to hang out, talk about your dating life, etc. without jealousy and territoriality creeping in,” says Armstrong. “This makes friendship difficult since, among other things, friends share.”
“I’m falling for a married man. He feels the same. What do I do?”
Darling, everyday life is already burdened with difficult decisions—including but not limited to that impossible question of whether to eat just one Girl Scout cookie, or the entire box. Do not overcomplicate your precious time with this precarious relationship.
It takes two to tango. Three’s a crowd. No matter how many clichés I throw around, this man is married. There are more hearts involved than just yours and his.
“Having an affair with someone who is married is extremely destructive and dysfunctional,” explains relationship expert and psychotherapist Rachel Sussman. “There are millions of single people out there in the world—pick one of them to get involved with. Stay away from anyone while they are committed.” Just because one in five Americans cheat on their partners, as data from a 2015 YouGov survey shows, it doesn’t mean you need to be a sideline member of the infidelity club.
So, because falling in love is likely the most sickeningly sweet rush you can subject yourself to without gorging on desserts, it’s best to suffer the stomach ache of completely ending your relationship with your married man. It may be difficult. Nurture your heart as it begins to heal (and it will), then try again, this time with someone unmarried and unattached.
“What do I get my sugar daddy for Valentine’s Day?”
Viagra is expensive. A simple selection from any of New York’s finest adult shops is one option. But since the sugar daddy dating website Seeking Arrangements boasts over 1.2 million college students as registered members, getting a Valentine’s Day gift that elevates you above the rest of your competition is utterly essential.
“Obviously it’s subjective on an individual level, but when it comes to sugar daddies… I feel like the best gift to get them is yourself!” says self-described vulgar intellectual and professional provocatrice @tabathammm. “Giftwrapped in some lingerie he paid for, of course.”
If you are okay with spending some of the pretty pennies he has given you on a lavish experience for the two of you to share, have you considered a romantic couple’s massage? If you simply arrive at your designated meeting spot in a lacy black balconette bra and a cheetah-print coat, he’ll spend February 14 feeling like the bumbling Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate.
Or, follow Manhattan DJ and Instagram meme master @youvegotnomale’s suggestion: “Get your sugar daddy a bigger credit card bill.”
Illo: Alex Gilbeaux