Dear Dr. Faux:
I'm 14 and am thinking about having sex before marriage. I try my best, but I'm not as pretty as other girls in my class, and I thought it might help me get a boyfriend if I could have sex with them. My parents say I'm pretty, but I know they don't really mean it. Boys seem to want sex more than anything, so maybe my plan will work. I can't talk to my parents about this, so I’m asking you. What do you think?
Please sign me,
Dear Almost Ready,
Dr. Faux does not always understand, even when he arises early. Even when he limits the intake of his drink of choice, which isn’t difficult during times when Dr. Faux can only afford Russian Horse Vodka. No, Dr. Faux does not always understand. It is possible of course that more vodka would help, no matter the brand, or a better vodka would help; and any vodka would be better than Russian Horse. After consuming only one glass of Russian Horse, Dr. Faux’s right eyelid begins to twitch, and after two glasses, his scalp begins to burn so fiercely that Dr. Faux must pour water on his head. Boxed vodka would be better than RH. Pay attention. Dr. Faux will be gentle because of your age, but your question was not stated clearly; and Dr. Faux is not sure that he understands. More vodka, less vodka, banging his head against the door of his Airstream—he does not understand. You say that you try your best, but that you are not as pretty as other girls in your class. Does that mean that if you tried harder you would be prettier? And if you were prettier you would find a boyfriend? But failing your being pretty—and that could be your own opinion of how you look and no one else’s—you could “get a boyfriend” by having sex with him because boys “want sex more than anything.” Dr. Faux just went outside and tried to plant a garden. He marked off a plot of dirt near his trailer using dead Cossacks (empty vodka bottles) and thought about what he could plant. Dr. Faux needs a hobby, something diversionary, something remunerative perhaps, a legal cash crop, so that he can give up the need for Solomonic pronouncements. The world is too much with Dr. Faux these days, and he has trouble understanding. But now he has returned to his desk and is ready to address your question. His desk is also a kitchen table, but that isn’t important. It is wooden and Dr. Faux has carved a heart on it with the inscripton, “D.F. + D.T.” inside the heart. So Dr. Faux knows of the problems of love. “D.F.” is “Dr. Faux” and “D.T.” is “Dear Trixie,” who was once Dr. Faux’s assistant, a beautiful young blond woman, very witty, with a sincere singing voice. Pay attention. Did you understand what Dr. Faux just said, about Trixie? And carving her initials on his kitchen table? Dr. Faux is old, but he is still in love. Do you think that your problem—pretty or not pretty, sex or no sex, boyfriend or no boyfriend—is an age-specific problem? Dr. Faux apologizes for his use of jargon, that business of “age-specific”; but the problem of love is the problem of life, you see, and not just the problem of the young. Do you understand? And could you understand (it would be helpful if you could) that boys want love and not just sex, that we all want love and that if you, Almost Ready in Arkansas, have sex you will still want love? And now Dr. Faux will risk his standing in the world of psychotherapy—a world now replete with quick-change artists—and tell you that love is more important than sex. Dr. Faux wishes you the best.
Please sign me,
Dr. Faux had thought of something amusing to say but changed his mind. The angels of his better nature. A dear friend has sent Dr. Faux a gift package of vodka, received from one of the reliable express services, not our pothead mail carrier, just then as he was reading your question. Do you know of the estimable Chopin Vodka? Dr. Faux has just found a clean glass and some ice and poured, has had several sips—it’s 5 P.M. in the Airstream, in sweet Whisper Valley Trailer Park—and he is visiting with those better angels as he considers your question. You will forgive Dr. Faux. He will repeat your question: “What do you say when people ask personal questions that you don’t want to answer?” And Dr. Faux says, “It happens all the time.” But that is a joke, self-referential; and Dr. Faux is being silly. Some vodkas taste like they should be under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency, Russian Horse, is one of those vodkas, mentioned in the response just above. But this Chopin makes Dr. Faux look deep inside for his goodness, where he finds that desire to be of assistance, that quality that motivated Dr. Faux to become a psychotherapist early in his life. Pay attention. Dr. Faux will have one more sip as he thinks of your fascinating question about something. Yes, the people who ask personal questions, ask of you personal questions and expect a civil answer. Or something. No, by all means, do not answer them. This glass held to the sunlight overcomes its jelly glass provenance. It could be the ice; more likely the Chopin Vodka. Dr. Faux treats some vodkas as fine wines are treated, with a swirl of the glass and a consideration of the nose. Dr. Faux believes that is what the bouquet of wine is called, “the nose.” That is rather funny, isn’t it? The nose. It doesn’t matter. No, don’t answer the goddamn personal question. Tell them to butt out, get a hobby, play in the street. Pay attention. Who are these people who ask personal questions? Family? Sounds like family. Family members are notoriously nosy and not in the good sense, like the bouquet of vodka or a fine wine. They stick their long noses into every goddamn little thing that has nothing to do with them like what they call excessive drinking or where you are going to practice, set up your goddamn practice as a psychotherapist. It’s none of their business. Tell them to put a sock in it. Tell your family members to get out of your face. Oh, Muffins has joined Dr. Faux. Muffins is one of Dr. Faux’s sweet old cats, come to say hello. Hello, Muffins, hello, sweet cat. Pay attention. What was your question. Something about buttinskis. Tell them to buttoutski. Tell them that you know someone who will have them committed if they don’t shut the hell up and leave you alone with questions about your personal life. And Dr. Faux would do that for you; he knows what it is like. Yes, he does. Dr. Faux raises his glass to you.