ARTS

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April 6, 2004

Pearls of Wisdom

Dear Lila Pearl,

If, hypothetically, a person had a, say...unusual sexual predilection that precluded true fulfillment in other capacities, at what stage in a relationship would this hypothetical person be obliged to disclose it: right at the beginning, so as to eliminate any element of surprise, or when the relationship has gotten good and comfortable, so the hypothetical partner knows the hypothetical person as more than just a scary kink?

Just curious,

Vanilla Bean

Dear Vanilla,

There's a moment in every relationship when each person is "obliged to disclose" various complications from their past (present?) —romantic history, family problems, deep emotional and intellectual flaws, deviancy of any kind—to see if the disclosed information sets can live together. When to "reveal" yourself is, of course, always a tricky question. Too soon, you risk freaking the Other out (Othering the Other); too late, you risk attachment to a person who may be essentially unable to give you "true fulfillment," sexually or otherwise. Lila Pearl strongly urges: find out now if your hypothetical partner is going to be able to deliver the goods—chances are, if they think you're just a scary kink, they're not worth waiting for. One last note—there are many different ways of revealing unusual sexual appetites without turning a hypothetical partner into a completely-not-possible partner. Lila Pearl suggests you wait till you're in bed together and the other person is so turned on that anything you suggest sounds mind-blowingly sexy.

Pragmatically,

Lila Pearl

Dear Lila Pearl,

My girlfriend is always telling me that she is smarter and better looking than I am, and that I have a terrible sense of humor. She generally appears sad that I exist, but I could never be happy without her. Also, nobody else would ever date me. She knows that she treats me badly, and she's tried very hard to be nicer, but every so often, well, maybe once or twice a day, or more if it's a bad day, she will snap at me for leaving the stove on, or sitting on her art project, or forgetting to put the cheese back in the refrigerator. I see her getting frustrated, with herself as much as with me, but we only talk about it when she yells at me and then apologizes. Everything I do makes her angry, even though she always ends up kissing me and saying that she loves me. What's a boy to do?

—Ernest

Dear Ernest,

Your girlfriend sounds like a mean bitch. Lila Pearl suggests: Break up with her, get a life, then maybe try to find a woman who isn't a narcissistic baby. Or maybe forget about finding a new woman for the moment and just concentrate on getting a life. Either way, sounds like this woman will never bring you happiness, regardless of how unhappy you imagine you'll be without her.

Honestly,

Lila Pearl

Dear Lila Pearl,

I'm lonely. And my Nintendo is busted. And it's cold outside.  Have classes started yet?

—Jean-Luc Marion

Dear Jean-Luc,

In response to your three statements, here are two randomly selected passages from Alice in Wonderland and a specifically selected passage from The Phantom Toll Booth:

***

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

***

Alice sighed wearily. "I think you might do something better with the time," she said, "than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers."

"If you knew Time as well as I do," said the Hatter, "you wouldn't talk about wasting it. It's him."

***

"I'm the Whether man, not the Weather man, for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be." And with that he released a dozen balloons that sailed off into the sky.

In answer to your question, classes started eight days ago.

Mimsily,

Lila Pearl

Got a question for Lila Pearl?

E-mail her at lila@uchicago.edu.