When I spied sex columnist god Dan Savage from across the room at a Chicago play, I knew my prayers were answered. If I could get the 'Savage Love' advice guru to give me a tip or two I could finally say goodbye to all those pesky relationship complexes and give a big, welcoming hello to good ol' sexual clarity! So, without creeping him out too much I convinced the syndicated columnist to let me throw a roll of questions at him. The current focus of my dilemma: Valentine's Day. Of course it's nothing but a commercialized attempt at sucking the very bone marrow from our wallets, in the end leaving us with nothing but stale chocolates and broken hearts. Nonetheless, it's our peak chance of the year to get laid. What do I gotta do, Dan!?
Nightspots: What's the best gift a guy can give his man for Valentines Day?
Dan Savage: Well... that depends on the man, doesn't it? There is no one-size-fits-all 'best gift.' For some guys the most romantic thing they could get on Valentine's Day would be a roll of duct tape. Others
want the chocolate and flowers and cards. Don't ask me what to get your man—think about your man and get him something thoughtful and meaningful.
NS: What advice do you have for readers who are desperately trying to find that special someone to spend February 14 with?
DS: If you don't have a special lover, hang out with your special friends, stay home and cook a big meal. The restaurants are packed with couples going through the romance motions, and you don't need to see that. Then after dinner go drinking and dancing with your pals.
Whatever you do, single dudes, don't sit at home and mope on Valentine's Day. There are tons of single folks out on V-Day--single and ready to take a chance.
NS: What would you suggest to someone who's planning on dumping their boyfriend but wants to hold off until after the holiday?
DS: Dump him NOW. Everyone thinks it sucks to be dumped before Valentine's Day, but it's worse to get dumped immediately after and then realize that your ex was just going through the motions. It adds a huge dose of humiliation—and not the good kind—to the just-been-dumped experience.
NS: You've been in a long-term relationship for quite a while and even adopted a little dude; how do you think gay men can keep their relationships sexy and exciting? Are we all doomed eventually?
DS: Yes, we're all doomed; we are all going to get old and die. And isn't that great? Not the dying, of course, but the getting old? I came out in 1981, and for about 15 years there, I didn't think that I, or anyone I knew was going to live past 40. Growing old is a privilege.
As for keeping a long-term relationship sexy, well, I don't want to say 'work at it,' because there's nothing all that sexy about work. But you have to be, as I've said in the column, total whores for each other. Over the 12 years we've been together—we just celebrated our 12th anniversary—our sex life has evolved. We've done things and very occasionally people that we sure didn't think we'd be doing when we first started going out. We never say no to each other either. Sometimes we say 'not now, later.' But never 'no.' If he wants to try something, we do it. If I want to try something, we do it.
NS: My longtime squeeze is holed up in the penitentiary right now -- any advice on how we can still enjoy our Valentine's Day together?
DS: Seriously? I guess he could call -- a little HBO's Oz-themed phone sex might be in order.
NS: What are you and your boyfriend doing to celebrate?
DS: Nothing. We're not... romantic like that, I guess. We're crazy about each other, and we show it all the time. We don't need to be goosed by hallmark and the floral industry to show that we care for each other. And we've never really been the 'grand romantic gesture' types.
NS: You've spent over a decade solving the sex problems and relationship complexes of strangers, you wrote a book about gay marriage and adoption, and last year you got political with your blog site ITMFA, what do you find interesting to focus on in 2007?
DS: This year I'm pretty focused on what I'm not doing -- and I'm not writing a book. I've been in book deadline hell or on book tours pretty much constantly for, oh, eight years now. I need a break. So I'm focused on going snowboarding with my son, hanging out with my boyfriend, and flying around the country to see my friends' plays.
NS: How has your column, Savage Love, evolved over the years since its birth in 1991?
DS: Well, when the column started there was no Internets with all its tubes blasting messages back and forth. No Google, no Wiki. So I got a lot of questions like 'What's a cock ring?' and 'I'm into [ insert name of fetish here ] and can't find anyone who shares my kink.' Now people can find out everything they ever needed to know—and more—about cock rings by Googling it, and there are personals sites and cyber communities for every last conceivable fetish. This has freed me from having to give definitions ( '...a cock ring is...' ) and referrals ( '...to find the bondage freaks in your area, go to...' ) . Now it's more subjective, judgment calls. Oh, and no more snail mail—all email. Which is nice, since I'm not always sure I want to be handling envelopes that were licked by some of my skeezier readers.
NS: Who submits weirder questions, your straight or gay readers?
DS: Gay people sometimes have odder fetishes. Being gay can create all sorts of interesting pressures, which can result in interesting fetishes. Also, being gay is just more complicated. But straight people tend to have more angst about their fetishes. The gay readers are, obviously, less hung up on being 'normal' than straight readers. But people need to remember that only folks with problems send me questions. Well-adjusted, happy freaks aren't writing to me. So my sample, of gay freaks and straight, is hopelessly skewed.
NS: What's some of the most outrageous advice you were ever asked to give?
DS: A guy was having sex with his mom and wanted to start a incest movement modeled on the gay rights movement... out, loud, and proud mother fuckers. I advised against it.
NS: What's your take on the handful of forced celeb outings last year by gossip blogs such as Perezhilton.com and weekly tabloids? Is it fair to be yanked out of the closet if you're in the public eye?
DS: Yes, if you're Ted Haggard or Mark Foley. We have a right to out people who are fighting against gay civil equality at the same time that they're enjoying gay sex. But celeb closet cases? Eh, they're not doing us any harm... and who really cares if this or that actor is a pole-smoker? Outing should be reserved for hypocrites. That said, there's no real harm in speculating. I mean, sometimes I sit and speculate about presenting tennis star Rafael Nadal with a few rolls of duct tape.