Nov 2011 14

by SG’s Team Agony feat. Casca and Leandra

Let us answer life’s questions – because great advice is even better when it comes from SuicideGirls.

[Casca in Professor]

Q. I was with my school sweetheart for 11 years and was married for 6 of those 11 years. I worked hard to give her the world till one day I found out she had been cheating on me. We tried to give it a second try. Because we got married on Halloween, I paid for us to go to Euro Disney, but thing’s after we came back got even worse, to the point that now our marriage has ended. I still love and want her in my life, but I’m just an old romantic at heart. Friend’s say that I will find someone special again but I don’t know? I’m a tattooed English guy who feels lost in the world we live in!

A: Hiya hun! I’d like to start by saying that I can relate to what you are going through. I started seeing my partner in my first year of college and we have had more than our fare share of ups and downs.

Leaving school and starting college can be a very emotionally draining time. It therefore a common that the passion filled relationships we had with our childhood sweethearts tend to change or fizzle out around this time in our lives. There is nothing wrong with adapting and trying to make it work, but there is also nothing wrong with knowing it is time to call it a day. It seems like you have tried very hard to make the relationship work, and that’s great, but it sounds like there were some trust issues going on and that can ultimately kill a relationship.

It can be hard to move on from your first love, but it can be done. You will find someone else in the future and part of the fun in is finding that person. You will never forget this person, and you don’t even have to get over her; the key is to learn from that relationship and pour all the good stuff into a new one. Your friends are right, there are plenty of other women out there, and you will never know if one of them is that special someone until you try.

Good luck and all the best!



[Leandra in Verdugo]

Q. Hey Suicide Girls, I’ve been having problems with a girl I have know since her birth. We lost contact in 1999. She called me out of the blue in 2006 and we have been best friends since. We fell in love a couple months back, but she told me she doesn’t want to date me right now. I didn’t think this was fair.

I have trouble making friends in the first place, let alone trying to pick-up a girl. I was looking online at people in my area to make some friends with and a girl’s profile got my attention. She liked horror and does horror make-up for a job. How cool is that? Turns out though that my friend went to high school with her and told me not to talk to her. We got into a fight. We talked most of it out, but she left things out there.

The next day she calls and asks if I would pick her up to bring her down to my house for a few days. Her family was looking to kick her out since she hasn’t done anything since she got out of high school earlier this year. Well, I helped her out. I didn’t bring up anything about the fight or what her family was saying. I’m 30, and, to be honest, I’m with them on this. The problem is, after helping her out and dropping her off, she won’t stay on the phone for more then 5 minutes with me now.

What do I take this as? And should I continue with the other girl and ask her out being that she is 18?

A: I’m going to be brutally honest, I don’t think you can be too much into this girl because you are looking elsewhere, and someone else has caught your eye. She has said she doesn’t want to date you, and that would be enough for me to consider it over and done with as far as a relationship is concerned. Her asking for help, and then not being particularly grateful, also indicates she was just using you rather than looking to start up anything. Furthermore, you sound like you have already had enough of this, so I would let the girl and the situation go.

As for the other girl, I don’t think age really matters –– it depends on the maturity of the people involved. Most of my more intense relationships have been with older men. The problem is, how do you approach someone you don’t know? I would tread carefully, you don’t want to come across creepy in any way or scare her off. Just start with casual conversation and see if you guys could have something going on between you.

Good luck and thanks for writing in!



Got Problems? Let SuicideGirls’ team of Agony Aunts provide solutions. Email questions to:

Nov 2011 11

by Yashar Ali

[King in Viva la TTC]

Three weeks ago, Christopher Chaney, a thirty-five year old man from Florida, was arrested by the FBI and charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer, and wire-tapping. For days, Mr. Chaney’s case was splashed across the media because the victims of his illegal acts were famous women like actresses Scarlett Johannson and Mila Kunis. Mr. Chaney readily confessed to his crime and said that he had become addicted to hacking the email accounts of celebrities.

About a month earlier, Ms. Johannson had been working closely with the FBI to find the perpetrator and block the dissemination of nude and provocative photos that Christopher Chaney hacked from her cell phone/email account. These photos were personal in nature, taken in privacy, saved on her cell phone, and intended for her then-husband.

In the last few years, with the advent of social media and cellphone cameras, we have become all too familiar with the concept of hacked, leaked photos of public figures in provocative poses or in the nude. However, with the exception of the rare article, mainly in men’s magazines, we don’t often discuss how the taking of nude pictures plays out with people in everyday life. Instead, we focus on the politicians and entertainers who do it; obviously, their notoriety makes the photos much more interesting.

But it’s not just celebrities who are engaged in taking and sending sexy/nude pictures over phone and email. We, as society, are doing it. A recent survey conducted by the University of Rhode Island shows that 56 percent of college students report having received sexually explicit images via text message. That’s a sizable number.

I am talking about the idea of “sexting,” which is defined as sending explicit messages via text message and also sending nude photos through the same technology. For purposes of this column, I am specifically writing about the widespread phenomena of sharing nude pictures via text message and email.

When I asked my friend Michelle, who is 31, about whether she has ever been asked to send provocative images by her boyfriend, she replied in the affirmative: “Most of the men I’ve dated or hung out with have asked me to text them a sexy pic. And there’s no way I would do it, I wouldn’t even do for the man I marry, I don’t know where those pics are gonna end up.”

But that’s not the end of it. These men don’t just respectfully give up on the asking. As soon as Michelle would say “no,” these men would start a campaign to convince her that they deserved or needed a provocative or nude photo.

“It was kind of pathetic, they would do something nice and claim they deserved a reward (a nude picture), or they would beg repeatedly multiple times a day, hoping I would just give up.”

Of course, these men had more courage because they texted her requests for nude pictures, rather than asking her for these pictures or any other sexual act, in person.

Most of us, men and women, remember the saying, “just the tip.” Google it. And most teen-aged girls, or hell, even adult women, have heard phrases like, “Come on baby, let me just put the tip in.”

Like those requests for “just the tip,” where asking for one thing eventually leads to the full-blown act of sex, is the act of sexting images, the new or electronic version of “just the tip?”
And by the modern version of “just the tip,” I mean a process where men end up getting what they want by repeatedly begging, pressuring, and starting out small, i.e. “just the tip” or in this case, “just a quick pic.” The first picture, like “just the tip,” is merely a gateway to the whole damn thing.

While the electronic idea of “just the tip” is something women of all ages deal with, I believe, ultimately, that we should focus on how this patterning of sexting is related to the sexualization and exploitation of under-age girls — even if it’s done by underage guys. In a study conducted by Hearst Digital Media, 22 percent of teen girls (keep in mind this is girls who are willing to admit to it) say that they’ve sent sexually explicit photos to another person.

Zoe, the 20 year-old daughter of a friend, experienced the modern day version of “just the tip” with a guy she started dating when she was 18 years old (he was 22). A month after dating, her boyfriend requested a nude picture of Zoe. When she demurred, he started to beg “Come on, it would make me so happy. I want you so bad.”

The requests went on and on and on and on, so she finally sent him a provocative, but clothed photo, and he was satisfied…for an hour.

And then he said, “That was so hot, send me a picture of your tits.”

When she said no, he started to negotiate, “Okay, just one of your tits.”

She finally gave in, which initiated a negotiating process that went on for six months, in which Zoe regularly sent her boyfriend nude photos.

“It definitely made him happy, for that moment. But when I would say no, he would text me ten times, begging. It just got to be exhausting.”

Two weeks after she broke up with this guy, Zoe logged onto her Facebook to find six of the provocative (but not nude) photos she had previously sent him, posted on her profile page. It was a devastating moment for her. Zoe’s privacy was violated, she was ashamed, and of course, was subjected to ridicule by “friends” online.

According to the online ABC News article, “Study Shows Many Teens, Young Adults Share Nude Images,” over 80 percent of teens (13 and up) and over 93 percent of young adults (18-24), use cell phones. This means that millions of women, of all ages, are put in a position of being pressured and exploited in a way that we don’t seem to be concerned about: via text.

The statistics bear more problematic news. In the same survey conducted by Hearst Digital Media, one third of teen boys and 40 percent of young men have had nude pictures shared with them by someone who was not the intended recipient of the images.

So why does this epidemic, of adults and teens sending provocative or nude photos, exist? Modern technology obviously lends convenience to the ease through which nude pictures can be sent and study after study proves that men need more visual stimulation than women. But I think we are dealing with a problem here because the double-edge sword of women’s sexuality often prevents them from talking about this issue openly with other women and as a result, it hinders them from finding solutions or strategies for managing and combating the pressures and requests for sending provocative or nude pictures.

Often, frustrating male behavior related to sexual activities is a common point of discussion between women. However, when it comes to men requesting nude cell-phone pictures, there is a lack of community amongst women when it comes to actively and openly discussing the pressures and possibilities of sending such pictures.

Without this sense of community and opportunities to talk, women are just facing yet another sexual pressure, alone. This widespread plea for nude pictures shows that we still lack respect for women’s bodies and sexuality (whether its about their boundaries or their desires) and that it remains a major issue. The concept of “no means no” has yet to be acknowledged by too many men. For most guys, “no” simply means a gateway to “yes” — kind of like a child’s behavior with a parent, where the kid hopes repeated begging will lead to the adult caving in.

Does “just the tip”/nude photos, or any other form of pressured sexual contact have to do with the fact that we give men the impression that as long as they are not raping a woman, everything else, including pressured requests, is okay?

I am not surprised that most women avoid talking with other women in their lives about the idea of sending nude photos to men. After all, women still have to contend with a double-edge sword when it comes to their sexuality. Some women are on the receiving end of pressure to do things they don’t feel comfortable doing, and when they do things that aren’t part of an acceptable (according to societal norms) set of sexual activities, they are vilified by other people.

Seventeen year-old, high school senior, Mayron Gezaw, of Fairfax, Virginia, put it perfectly when she told The Associated Press that she heard a classmate shared a nude photo with her boyfriend through text, “The whole class was sharing it by the end of the day. …The guys said, ‘She’s so hot.’ The girls were more like, ‘I feel sorry for the girl,’ or they just lost all respect [for the girl].”

The question I have is: when is the person requesting those provocative/nude pictures going to have his respect diminished?


Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based columnist, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook

He will be soon releasing our first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy — How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts. If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

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Nov 2011 10

by Laurelin

“Please go with me,” my friend Leanne asked. “I really need this job but I can’t go alone.” I was doubtful. I didn’t want to work at that strip club in Providence, she did. But I guess it wouldn’t kill me to tag along. “Just waitressing,” she had said, and I agreed. There was a group of about ten girls and the club manager gave us all a tour of the floor, the back rooms, and backstage. It was a lot bigger than it looked outside, dimly lit with flashing lights, perfect cooshy chairs lined a perfectly strobe lit stage, and a DJ announced each girl as they started to dance, looking more beautiful than anyone I had ever seen. When it came time to fill out an application I shook my head, but the manager touched my elbow and gave such an encouraging smile that I thought, “well, maybe.”

She called exactly a week later, saying I had a job. My friend didn’t get a call, and even though I felt terrible I also got a bit of a rush. This was so… dangerous. Not my style. I was still in college, in a sorority who’s motto was “Be womanly always.” This was womanly, I guess. Naked womanly. I was all in. The manager met me at the front door and walked me in, showing me to my dressing room and handing me my waitressing uniform. It was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen — black lace up knee high pleather boots with lace up matching pleather booty shorts and a black and red striped lace up corset. It all fit like a glove. I looked at myself in the mirror with what seemed like millions of movie star dressing room light bulbs making me glow. All I could hear was the pounding of my heart and I stepped out of the room and into the dark.

I don’t remember when I went from nervous to confident, from being the new girl to being the girl who commanded the room. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months, and a few shifts a week turned full time. I was still in college and making more money than I knew what to do with. I knew every man that set foot into that club, and I knew their stories and what they drank and what they wanted to talk about, especially what they wanted to hear. These men were lonely, whether it be a wife or girlfriend who had settled into routine too quickly, or if there was no one really in the picture at all, no friends, family, just us, just me, a regular girl transformed by a life of strobe lights and glitter.

Soon I wasn’t just waitressing. There were backrub girls too, and when I saw how much money they were making, after one year I was ready to make the switch. Looking back now I still can’t believe it. Armed with scented baby oil gel I ruined these guys, sending them home slimy and smelling of lavender. One year of work turned to two, and then to three. Back rubs and waitressing were now supplemented with foxy boxing and hot oil and whipped cream wrestling on Friday and Saturday nights. The money rolled in, and every single shift I was smiling. I walked out on the stage to my fake name and I worked the room. I wanted to be there. I loved this act, this secret person, this girl who knew just what to say to walk off making a man feel like a million bucks while really, he was just giving it to me.

I remember the night things started to change. My boyfriend had come to visit, and instead of me being able to visit with him like usual I was busy in the champagne room. I had been in there with a customer for over two hours, and I was drunk. The dancers hated when the guys took me in — I didn’t dance or take off my clothes — I was never am entertainer. This night though, my boyfriend had brought someone for me to meet. “Laurelin, out of the champagne room, you have a guest on the floor!” the DJ announced and I squealed, grabbing the bottle of Moet Nectar and running to see who it was. There was my boyfriend and a man, standing at the stage waiting for me. I stumbled walking up to meet them; champagne and I didn’t always agree on walking in a straight line.

“Laur,” my boyfriend said, grabbing my hand, “meet my Father.”

I stood there, trembling, my confidence and buzz falling into my stomach. I was suddenly aware of how I looked — white high heels, naughty nurse uniform with my ass and frilly red shorts hanging out, too much makeup and a fake orange tan. My fake eyelashes suddenly felt too heavy and I saw myself as this man did, a used up drunk girl who couldn’t even stay and talk because I had to go back into a room and spend time with a man who was old enough to be my father. I couldn’t even shake his hand, one was full of champagne and the other clutched a diamond necklace that man had bought me.

What was going on? I left my boyfriend and his Dad at the stage with a handful of ones, and when I was finished with that work shift I scrubbed my face until it was red. I wanted to see my freckles again. I tugged and combed out my hair until all the curls were gone. The dressing room was exactly the same, with all those shining movie star light bulbs and I really saw myself. Too tan, too thin, the line between me and the girl I created at my club so blurred that I wasn’t sure who was who anymore.

I went home that night with my boyfriend and his Dad, and I know that his Dad still has the t-shirt I gave him from my club. He loved it, loved me and everything about that night, but I was horrified. I went in the next night, done up like always, and I put in my two weeks. The manager looked at me like I was crazy. “You’re our best girl!” he said. “I know,” I said. “But I need to get out of here. It’s time.” He gave me a hug, and those last two weeks were the saddest and happiest of my life. I said my goodbyes and on my last night we had a fantastic party. It’s been seven years since then, and when I walk into that club I still know everyone. The men, the drinks, the stories. It’s impossibly sad, but part of it will always be home. As I drove home to my boyfriend’s house on my last night at the club I turned the radio on, my eyes filling with tears. This was really the end of an era. What now? Where did I go from here?

“Boston” by Augustana was playing on the car radio, a song I had never heard: “I think I’ll go to Boston, I think that I’m just tired, I think I need a new town to leave this all behind, I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset…”

“Boston,” I thought. “That sounds nice.”


Nov 2011 08

by Darrah de jour

Republicans Meet Muslims Halfway, In Bed

If you remember, in my last column, I reported on the New Jersey Republican state senate candidate who relegated his Twitter account to a Joyce Brothers-style dating advice forum. He targeted us rambunctious women by advising us via tweet that if we want to keep our man, we should be “faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a 40-something real estate dude chiming in on what I do between the sheets. Or in the back seat. Not to mention, the idea of putting my own needs aside, in an act that is supposed to be about both partners’ satisfaction and connection (or simply for two or more hot and sticky bodies to reach nirvana via some nerve bundles) to serve the man solely. Seems like, how do you say it? Bullshit.

Unless your job is to get paid for sex – you probably want to enjoy it. And since when did a ring on your finger or a nice bouquet of flowers equal whoredom?

Scarier Than Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Malaysia recently made international headlines for starting a “club” not unlike your grandmother’s knitting circle. Only, The Obedient Wives Club teaches Muslim women to reinforce their role at home. National director Fauziah Ariffin stresses that “in Islam there are four things that wives must do to enter Heaven: to pray, to fast during Ramadan, to protect their chastity, and to be obedient wives – and it is often the fourth aspect that modern wives neglect.”

She goes on, “Husbands should treat their wives like first-class prostitutes.”

Huh? Wait, I’m sensing a common thread here. Basically, over in America, GOP national candidate Mitsch tells us we should be a whore in the bedroom to win our man’s fidelity. And clear ’cross town in Southeast Asia, women are taught, via this version of Islam, that they should – be a whore in the bedroom to win their man’s fidelity.

Ariffin continues, “Our wives provide men with top-level service. However, ordinary prostitutes can only provide good sex, but not love and affection which only a wife can provide.

“Hence, as wives, we must treat our husbands better. It’s not just in bed, but everything that a wife can offer. Optimise [sic] your role. If we provide our husbands more than a prostitute can give, then our husbands will not go out looking for it.”

OK, gotcha. So, not just any prosy* will do. It should be a top-level one. Because let’s not leave out classism. Escort party-people. The kind you and I would be. Not that other kind that the poor are.

Fauziah reasoned that obedient wives will not cause husbands to take their partner for granted, but in fact, it will make them better husbands.

“When a husband comes home and receives good treatment from the wife, they become better and more loving husbands. Why would they treat their spouse badly if they are treated well?” she said.

I would ask Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that one.

Even scarier, OWC has launched in Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Britain and France.

This didactic schooling of women, which is pervasive and dates back to whenever it was that witches were broiled and our new patron saint was supposedly a virgin, begs many questions. First off, I can’t help but wonder, why are women told to think sex is bad but harassed to ‘give it up’? Wouldn’t it be smarter to convince us that sex is wonderful, and then prove it patiently and methodically? And, if men are indeed so horny all the time, then why are we whores if we give them what they need in order for them not to ‘get it’ from somebody else?

Perhaps, it has something to do with his voracious sexuality spinning him into a state of utter nonsensical frenzy. This unique, untamed erotic animal roaring to be freed. Into as many different women’s anatomies as possible.

If so, then why are we spending so much time trying to tame women – who apparently have less sex drive than men do? And if sex is dirty, then women are closer to God by virtue of our virtue, so why are we not being worshipped like men are?

Crazy times. Roll with it, dude.

Oh! Ariffin also hypothesizes that, by wives following the above guidelines, rape and incest rates will lower – proving a total lack of understanding around why rape and incest actually occur: control, fear, cycles of violence. And societal breeding. A breeding of entitlement made worse by factions like this encouraging women should neglect their own needs and “service” their mates. (P.S.: A lot of men are visiting sex workers to be led around on a leash and done in the backside with a dildo. Let’s be clear – men often visit prostitutes to live out fantasies they can’t explore at home. I’m not saying wives should don a catsuit, but when we lower stigmas around sexuality in society, perhaps we will also lower rates of cheating. And the less we proselytize to women for exploring their inner sexual voice – maybe, just maybe – fewer women will use sex work as a means to discovering it.)

Sicker Than Secretary, But Not In That Yummy Conscious Way

In case you were itching to know… the men in Malaysia are encouraged to join the male version of the Obedient Wives Club. The Polyamory Club. Founded by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd – a multi-national conglomerate – the controversial Polygamy Club, which opened in 2009, persuades husbands to take more than one wife to satisfy their masculine desires.

Hold the phone. Women are encouraged to be obedient and servile to keep their man and men are encouraged to hunt for more wives? Yup. Roll with it. You’re just along for the ride. Right?

Or maybe…

Girl Zone Loan

Women, let’s stop being so fucking judgmental of one another. If we continue to allow men like this to dictate our morality, we will shrink our ovaries, lose our clitorises, have feet like lotus flowers and hang out in the kitchen more than the board room. We’ll walk around topless and ogled, yet handcuffed to chastity.

I say – say it loud. Say it proud. I like sex and I’m a woman. I won’t be put on mute. I won’t be turned into a meek sexless coward by a Fascist moral dictatorship. I am an erotic Goddess. Now, hubby, please rub my feet. I had a long day at work. And there are more of me than you in the workplace right now. And I make up 51% of the nation. And I’ve served you long enough.

*Prosy is slang for prostitute and was directly lifted from Secret Diary of a Call Girl with Billie Piper. Go rent it.


Post-feminist sex and sensuality expert Darrah de jour is a freelance journalist who lives in LA with her dog Oscar Wilde. Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W. In her Red, White and Femme: Strapped With A Brain – And A Vagina columns for SuicideGirls, Darrah will be taking a fresh look at females in America. Visit her blog at and find her on Facebook.


Nov 2011 07

Got Problems? Sex, Love and Relationship Advice From SuicideGirls’ Team Agony

by SG’s Team Agony feat. Perdita

Let us answer life’s questions – because great advice is even better when it comes from SuicideGirls.

[Perdita in Eames]

Q. Hi, and first of all, thanks for bringing so much sunlight into my life! I forget how long I’ve followed your site, but it’s been constantly reassuring to know that not everyone is hung up on the (double) standards we’re surrounded by every day.

OK, here goes…My personal life’s been in turmoil for a while now. After much fretting and moping, I broke up with my girlfriend last spring (we met just around my 19th birthday). Almost immediately, a not-very-close friend began showing interest in me. I started paying attention after a mutual friend arranged a date for us, which ended in sex (which, I have to say, was for me the best in maybe a decade, and she said the same).

I’m a responsible kind of guy and something of a sucker for vulnerability, and when after that first encounter she confessed she didn’t want to be just a one-night stand, I fell for her. I started spending more time at her place. She told me about her life: she’d quit a very well-paid job a couple of years previously due to burnout, had been beaten to within an inch of her life by her ex-husband, and was deeply in debt thanks to the unscrupulous nature of said ex. She has a six-year-old son with him, who’s the reason they keep in touch and are on cool but civil terms. I don’t want any kids of my own, but I get along splendidly with the young man; everyone seems to agree my presence has been a helpful influence for him (he was put through hell by the ex too, back when they were still together).

One thing led to another, and within a couple of months, I found myself married to her. (Which is something I hadn’t thought I’d ever do, but when the question was put to me, it seemed natural enough.) I don’t exactly make enough to support all of us, so I quickly started developing heavy debts, but my wife kept reassuring me her consulting firm would more than make up the deficit once it got off the ground. I supported her efforts the best I could, naturally. But she never really got started; it was too much like the job that had burnt her out previously. We talked it over and agreed that we’d be able to make ends meet if she followed my lead and took a job doing what she loves, even though it doesn’t pay well, because she’d be energized by it and wouldn’t feel the need to do it in her free time.

Well, it didn’t really happen. Her first paycheck paid for little besides the equipment she’d had to buy for the job. It’s starting to look like we both need to quit the jobs we love and find something better paid. This is creating friction. We fight over trifles (as well as politics), the sex is dead, she’s convinced I’m messing around (I’m not), we’re both depressed while trying to keep up appearances for the son’s benefit, and she’s threatened suicide more than once (she claims one of the times was a misunderstanding, but I was convinced enough that I called the paramedics after I couldn’t wake her up). I’m basically having a constant anxiety attack. All of it’s looking a lot like what I had before with my ex-girlfriend. Frankly, I’ve started thinking that marriage may have been a hasty decision.

Now, I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible. I know I have to pull my weight financially. I’m aware we’ve only known one another for a short time. I wonder if everything seems so familiar because I’m causing it somehow –– in which case I could alter my behavior and make it better? And, most of all, I’m painfully aware that she’s put a lot of faith in me after all the trouble she’s been through, and I’d hate to disappoint her (not to mention all the people who were happy to see her find a decent guy, including my parents). I have to say I’m a pretty easygoing fellow who hates conflicts and is easily led, and I fear I may have let her convince me to get into something we both wished would work out, but is ultimately damaging.

I’m torn. What should I do? Endure the misery until we’re better off and can be natural again? Or cut my losses and go back to being single, leaving her bitter and disappointed once again? Or even something else, like separate to let the air clear and then try again? (A lot of “agains” there.) Any advice or perspective would be most appreciated.

A: It sounds like there is a lot going on here and you seem to have a very clear understanding of the situation, however you need to make a decision. I do think you both need an outside and neutral mediator to help because it sounds like you want to make this work and you care enough to stick around, but you guys are constantly butting heads at this point. If you are able to seek professional help for this, I would highly recommend it, if more for your wife than yourself. A single suicide attempt is more than enough of an indication that someone is dealing with more than they can handle, and she is also clearly carrying baggage from her past relationship. If you’re worried about the cost, many states have options for people seeking help with mental health issues that do not have insurance or the means to pay full price, so I would seek those out to see if you qualify.

You guys are also in financial straights right now in the middle of one of worst economies in 100 years. Believe me when I say that working a job you’re burned out on is no fun, but neither is being homeless, or up to your eyeballs in debt. You also have the needs of a little boy to consider, and sometimes you have to take the job you don’t love because it provides what you need. You both need to suck it up to an extent, and, if you have access to better jobs, now is the time to get them. I understand that it can be frustrating and unfulfilling to work at a job you hate, but this relationship would benefit from structure and stability. As for your finances, you need to sit down, take a look at all the debt you have and figure out how to manage it, make a budget and stick to it. Once you get a handle on your finances and get into a regular routine, there’s no reason why you can’t pursue your interests (together and separately) as hobbies, at least in the meantime.

Ultimately every relationship takes work, and while this relationship may take more work, it sounds like something you are willing to do. So get some professional help, start discussing your issues on a regular basis and concentrate on improving your financial situation, that way you’ll be moving in the right direction for a healthier, happier relationship.



Got Problems? Let SuicideGirls’ team of Agony Aunts provide solutions. Email questions to:

Nov 2011 04

by Yashar Ali

[Xtine in Dr. X-Girlfriend]

My friend Karen (all names changed to protect privacy) was confused and frustrated when she called me on a Friday night.

About a year ago, she met a guy, Michael, through work. They met a few times for drinks with colleagues and then one night, she met him for dinner, which ended with the two of them “hooking up” (whatever that means).

She liked Michael a lot, and wanted to see him again.

After they had dinner, a week went by when Karen got a text message from Michael, “What’s up? How are you?”

She was happy; he wanted to hang out again.

Now, Karen wishes that was the last time she ever heard from him.

As she explained the manner in which she and Michael were communicating, I realized Karen was dealing with a situation several other women very recently talked to me about.

Since their last night together, Michael kept in touch with Karen on a regular basis. Every couple of weeks, Karen received a text or email from him. The messages always started out the same way, “What’s up?”

Karen would always respond.

“How are you?”

“Good, what’s up with you?”

Karen would proceed to fill him in on her life and Michael would always respond with the same short answer, “That’s cool.”

After one or two text messages, Michael would usually disappear. But a couple of weeks later, he would show up again. Sometimes their conversations would go deeper — ten minutes of texting back and forth. Karen would find hope in those longer texting sessions, thinking that he was finally engaging with her.

Michael would sometimes get more creative, giving Karen the impression he cared about her and her life.

“What’s up? How was your holiday weekend?”

“What’s up? Saw your Facebook post, so funny.”

A couple times he even texted, “We should have dinner soon.”

But every time Karen agreed to dinner, Michael would tell her about his really busy month at work, delaying the need to schedule a real date. Then, he would never follow up.

This faux-relationship wasn’t going anywhere and Karen was left feeling confused and frustrated about Michael’s intentions.

But these sporadic texts weren’t even about sex. Michael never even proposed any sort of rendezvous. And Karen’s motivation was certainly not friendship. “I have enough friends,” she said.

“He’s not even trying to sleep with me, what’s the point of all this?”

I told her, “Karen you’re being e-maintained”

“Is that an official term?” she laughed.

The week before, I had come up with the term as a joke, but the idea actually made sense. Michael was maintaining her — keeping her, in his mind, satisfied — and he was doing it electronically.

My friend Julia was dealing with the same issue. She was subject to these short, rapid bursts of texting with men on a consistent basis and she always got her hopes up that something was moving forward, but there was nothing. No substance at all.

“Are these actual adult men with responsibilities or are they children? I can’t figure it out,” she said to me.

I’ve always been fascinated, and disgusted, by the notion that in order to be happy, women need to be “maintained” in a sexual and/or romantic relationship. This kind of treatment of women is on par with our taking care of a car in need of an oil change or dealing with a wood deck in the backyard in need of a coat of varnish.

The concept of maintaining women is billed, through the conditioning our culture imposes on men, as a solution to keep women from being hysterical. According to mainstream social ideas, women are illogical and crazy when it comes to relationships and dating. Men engage in conscious maintenance as a way to “calm” women down so they can get what they want from their women partners (sex, attention, etc.).

This is why so many men are in a rush to cram their love and affection into holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. We don’t teach men or boys that day-to-day affection is equally, if not more important, than special dates.

And what has always been alarming to me is that this so-called maintenance of women has defined behavior that shouldn’t be considered “extra” in any kind of relationship or partnership. Acts of maintenance consist of behavior that should be inherent and the foundation of all relationships: basic human respect, affection and attention.

So, if men are taught about certain critical steps to keeping women happy, “duties” that are treated not as normal behavior, but as annoying, time-consuming steps, how does this make women feel?

My friends, who are or were dealing with e-maintaining, or even just dealing with good-old-fashioned maintaining, are left in a strange, emotional limbo. Women who are “maintained” by men, electronic or otherwise, are made to feel legitimate for short periods of time and then left to question their position with their partners, and sometimes themselves.

Are these women supposed to be happy with a guy who stays in touch every-so-often on his terms? Are they supposed to be satisfied when their spouse buys them an expensive piece of jewelry or remembers their anniversary? Even though their love and/or attention come in waves — inconsistent and sometimes abrupt — are my women friends ungrateful for expecting something more, something more substantial, something more basic? Does any form of maintaining make up for days, weeks, months, years of emotional silence from men?

We’ve always conditioned men to maintain women — this isn’t something new. What’s different is this “maintenance” has become completely electronic for some men, and the men doing the “maintaining” aren’t seeing or even making an effort to see the women they connecting with. Men are just texting, emailing or using social media to give the impression they are checking in or they care — in order to maintain these women.

For these men, the definition of “maintenance” has shifted from traditional strategies like sending gifts and engaging in the occasional dinner, drinks or movie, to this incredibly convenient and empty form of communication based on text messages, emails, and social media: e-maintaining. And it is a mode of communication that isn’t even based in reality.

For some of my women friends, this kind of texting/emailing communication was keeping them engaged until they discovered what e-maintaining really means.

Some of the men I spoke with didn’t even realize their e-maintaining of women was a pattern of behavior. Most of them admitted to doing it when they were bored: waiting at the doctor’s office, in bed at night when they couldn’t sleep, at the airport.

But many of these men knew exactly what they were doing.

“You can’t write about this, you are literally ruining the greatest scam of the century,” my friend Carlos told me over breakfast.

“What’s the scam?”

“I can keep these women satisfied by just texting or emailing. I don’t have to do anything else.”

“It’s like walking a dog, as soon as you do it, they just calm down,” a progressive friend (more on that later) told me via email that same day.

So why not move forward, especially if some of these women are willing to sleep with them?

“Its about options, possibilities,” a friend added.

“I do this because I don’t want to hear her bitching about how I just call about sex, so this way I have a history of having stayed in touch.”

My friend Josh gave an example, “Last Thanksgiving when everyone was out of town, I had someone to hookup with, we even went to the movies.”

In this age of digital communication (texting, Facebook, email), our way of connecting has obviously become more frivolous. While our random, electronic check-ins with friends are usually made with good intentions, the men who engage in e-maintaining don’t want to be friends with the women they text and email (the women don’t want friendship either), and more significantly, their texting is not filled with good intentions.

So, is e-maintaining ultimately about men and women placing different weight on communication? Do women believe that communication is about moving forward — are they being practical and mature? And do men see communication in this form in a more flippant manner, that it doesn’t necessarily lend legitimacy to their desired outcomes?

Is e-maintaining more evidence of gender imbalance in our culture? Does this virtual maintenance of women show the lack of respect our culture requires or expects men to have for women?

Last week, I checked in with Karen to see if she was still pining for Michael and frustrated by his e-maintaining.

She has moved on.

And from now on, Karen’s policy is very simple when it comes to communicating with the men she is interested in, “Where’s the beef?”

The lack of substance in an e-maintained relationship no longer satisfies her.


Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based columnist, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook

He will be soon releasing our first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy — How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts. If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

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Oct 2011 31

By Nicole Powers

“It limits women…from aspiring to be great things.”
– Jennifer Siebel Newsom

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as advanced and sophisticated as a society. Yet, when it comes to issues of gender equality the numbers don’t lie –– there’s no escaping the fact that we’re pretty damn backwards.

Women make up 51% of the US population, yet hold just 16.6% of the seats in Congress and 17% of those in the Senate. Indeed, we rank 90th in the world in terms of the proportion of women in national parliaments, below Afghanistan, Cuba, China, Ethiopia, Iraq, and the Sudan!

Furthermore, in America, just 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Similarly only 3% of positions of clout in the telecommunications, entertainment, publishing, and advertising industries are held by the fairer sex (pun intended). And this may be part of the problem, since those that are ultimately responsible for the aspirational messages we receive on a daily basis are predominantly male.

That’s not to say that the innate sexism that’s partly responsible for this power imbalance is necessarily malevolent or even intentional; the root of much of it is simply a lack of consciousness on all our parts. And to an extent, the state of play appears to be self-perpetuating, since a mere 16% of those responsible for Hollywood’s mass market dream machine (writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, and editors) are women, which in turn perhaps explains a similar lack of female protagonists/role models in feature films.

A much talked about new documentary, Miss Representation, which recently debuted on the OWN Network, does a very comprehensive job of exploring the underlying reasons for this vast leadership gender gap. The film features many prominent leading ladies including Nancy Pelosi, Condoleezza Rice, Dianne Feinstein, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Geena Davis, Rachel Maddow, Lisa Ling, and Katie Couric, whose powerful voices add strength to the message –– which is that a woman’s value is more than just the sum of her youth and beauty (as the mainstream media might have you believe).

SuicideGirls spoke with the driving force behind Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who wrote, directed, and produced the exceptional cinematic gender essay. As a Stanford graduate, environmental and gender activist, actress, and mother –– who also happens to be the wife of the former Mayor of San Francisco, and current Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom –- she’s had a front row seat watching what happens to women in power and how the media treats them, so perhaps has a greater understanding of the issues they face than most.

Read our exclusive interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom on