Which is, of course why there are risks out here for young women who are dating (or just trying to get a meeting with Bill Cosby). When Carter won, Michael and I were of course invited to the local campaign party to celebrate, and that was when my dad said no.
There’s crappy beginner sex, getting-better-with-practice sex, and, hopefully, some really great sex.
As parents, we’d love to make sure this area of life always goes well for our kids, along with everything else.
As I told a reader at the Sand Lake Town Library this weekend, if reading The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire keeps just one young woman (or young man, for that matter) from getting drunk at a party and paying the price for it, it will have been worth everything I put into it.
And if it prevents even one person from judging someone harshly for a youthful misstep in this area, that will make me happy, too. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
So obsessed are we with the bragging rights and the ego boost that come from her agreeing to see us again that we skip the part where we ask ourselves if she’s really earned a callback.
And my novel The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire demonstrates at least one of those risks fairly dramatically.
The 17-year-old may be legally of age (in Massachusetts) and unusually mature, but she’s recently survived a harrowing ordeal. My father was a local journalist and he knew what those parties were like — probably not at all a safe place for a naive 16-year-old.
But as far as I was concerned, when it came to all that stuff I was always waaaaay behind my peers.


It’s as if these guys were all such sleazes in their own dating days that they expect the worst from every other young man. And the fellow she wants to make her own rules with is a much older man who is messed up in his own way, though I don’t consider him a predator.
There’s fumbling around and figuring out what the deal is, especially since everybody has been trying so hard to keep you from learning it.
You are going to have to cope with the sometimes heartbreaking difference between sex and love, between sex and actual emotional intimacy, between sex and commitment. Hopefully, we teach them to respect others enough that they won’t wreak horror on someone just because they can.
If you have invited some girl to join you somewhere, it seems pretty obvious to me that you better step up and handle the bill. If I'm out with an entitled girl who treats others around us poorly, I'm looking for the door.
So if you’re on the lower end of the income meter, choose something a little more modest, because the waiter is dropping that bill on your side of the table. You may be one of those sad people who compulsively pursue sex even against your own best interest (see Bill Clinton, or Arthur in The Awful Mess). And you’re paying, because, progress in sexual roles aside, men still need to step up and own that part. A date that makes the waiter feel nervous or lesser than us makes me feel like I need to double the tip out of guilt — and rudeness is not a trait you can really change in a person. But a lot of that effort had to do with the fact that I was canvassing with the lovely young Michael Billiris.


I know it seems like a circular argument, but a girl who doesn’t even look at the bill when it comes is coming from a vastly different place than a girl who makes an offer. She is allowed to tell her friends you’re a complete jerk if you let her pay, but you are entitled to the common courtesy of her offer. The fact is, this part is less about her sending you a signal of her appreciation of your gesture, and more about her basic perception of relationship dynamics and even the way money factors into it. Too many times I've seen guys planning the second date before they even consider if she deserves another shot. There are dating etiquette rules, and for me, if this one gets missed, things are off to a rocky start. We have to remember that these first dates are as much about us learning about her as they are about worrying if we are getting it right.
I can even recall a time when I didn’t call my date out on some borderline racist comments merely because the prospect of sex was on the table. With that in mind, here are five big deal breakers that separate the girls who deserve to go home with you and those who don't.



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