Roy Moore Wants to Impeach Judge Who Blocked Trump’s Trans Military Ban

One of the nation’s most devoted anti-LGBTQ foes blasted a federal court ruling blocking Donald Trump’s ban on trans military service.

Roy Moore, who was dismissed from his seat on the Alabama Supreme Court in 2015 after attempting to halt same-sex marriages in his state, claimed that the ruling was a “clear example of judicial activism.”

Moore released a statement Monday night arguing that Judge Kollar-Kotelly, the Washington D.C. justice behind the decision, should be impeached.

“The decision of a federal judge in the District of Columbia enjoining President Trump’s executive order on transgenderism in the military is absolutely ridiculous,” Moore wrote in a press release, “and is a perfect example of the outlandish doctrine of judicial supremacy whereby judges exalt themselves over the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.”

“Congress should not turn a deaf ear to this flagrant usurpation of executive authority,” Moore continued.

He further added that Kollar-Kotelly “placed herself above the Constitution in finding such a nonexistent right” and “interfered with the powers of the President as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.”

Moore, who believes that homosexuality should be illegal, also suggested that transgender people are mentally ill.

“As recently as 2013, the American Psychiatric Association considered transgenderism to be a mental disorder,” said the 70-year-old. “And only in 2016 did the Obama administration attempt to impose that delusion upon our fighting forces.”

The Monday ruling paved the way for transgender people to serve openly after Trump reversed an Obama-era policy allowing them to enlist. In a series of July tweets, the president claimed that trans inclusion in the armed forces would entail “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”

In her ruling, Kollar-Kotelly claimed there’s no evidence to back up those allegations.

“On the record before the court, there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effects on the military at all,” she stated in a written opinion. “In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects.”

A 2016 report commissioned by the Pentagon backs up the judge’s ruling. The RAND study showed that allowing trans troops to enlist openly would “add between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to [the] annual military health care budget,” which is over $6 billion.

The study also found that trans military service would have no impact on unit cohesion.

This is far from the first time that Moore has come out against equality for queer and transgender people. The disgraced justice, who was removed from the bench following multiple ethics violations, has called homosexuality “abominable, detestable, and unmentionable.” He has compared same-sex marriage to slavery and claimed LGBTQ people were responsible for the September 11 attacks.

In September, Moore won the GOP nomination to run for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated seat in the Senate. Polls show that the Alabama hopeful is leading his Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, by 17 points.

Ranking the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Halloween Episodes

Anyone who knows the Joss Whedon-constructed Buffy-verse knows that vamps and other ghouls kinda steer clear of the crass and commercial Halloween. Despite the supernatural distaste for the holiday, Buffy and the gang on Buffy the Vampire Slayer did tend to get into some sticky situations on All Hallows’ eve. It also made for some classic and, OK, not so classic episodes of television.

Only three seasons two, four and six featured Halloween episodes and here they are, ranked.

#3: “All the Way,” Season Six

Season Six of Buffy suffers from one too many throwaway episodes and “All the Way” is certainly one of them. The least memorable of the Halloween episodes, it’s also not a particularly good episode of the show. The main plot strays away from Buffy and company, who are celebrating Xander’s (doomed) engagement to Anya and focuses on her younger sister, Dawn, who gets her first kiss from a jock type at school. Only it turns out he’s a vampire. While that’s semi-interesting enough, the plot takes a huge, unwelcome detour through the toy-filled house of a senile older man the show wants you to think is the actual predator.

The episode does get points for featuring a midriff-bearing, pre-Yaya sisterhood Amber Tamblyn.

#2: “Halloween,” Season Two

OK, OK. You’re probably already yelling that this isn’t number one. The episode is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer classic. The plot finds Buffy, dressed as an 18th-century lady of leisure, and the gang turned into their actual Halloween costumes when Buffy uber-villain Ethan Rayne comes to town and tries to sew some chaos among Sunnydale residents.

This episode is the first time that Buffy seems to be in real danger. While she’s transformed into someone else, she’s lost her powers and doesn’t even know what a vampire (or a car, for that matter) is. Each of the actors also gets to have a lot of fun: Willow is a sexy see-through ghost, Xander gets turned into an army private and Cordelia just throws a lot of shade, as usual.

The episode is also able to intertwine two distinct yarns into one great episode. Buffy wants to change who she is to be able to impress Angel, her vampire soon-to-be lover, and gets to explore that urge on the one night a year where it’s OK to come as you aren’t.

#1: “Fear, Itself,” Season Four

While “Halloween” deals in a great narrative, “Fear, Itself” nabs the top spot by being able to handle multiple storylines and have a lot of fun. Set during the gang’s first year in college (and Xander’s first year in the real world), season four deals with the natural fears that creep into our minds as we are pushed out of the nest and into the unknown.

In the Buffy world, those fears manifest inside a cursed haunted house where your nightmares come to life. For Xander, that means the fear that his friends won’t notice him actually comes true. Willow’s spells go awry. And, just as Buffy is about to squash vertically-challenged demon Gaknar into the ground, he whispers, “They’ll all abandon you, you know.”

At the center of this show is a group of friends who evolve over time but stay a family. Seeing the group combat their own fears while working together to stay alive is the episode’s plot, but also a major series-long theme. This episode then becomes a microcosm for some of the series’ larger questions, all while embracing the breakneck scary-then-funny tone-hopping the show does so deftly.

The Doodler is the Gay Serial Killer You’ve Never Heard About

As gay men, we’ve all heard the cautionary stories about the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. Gay serial killers who targeted gay victims, they became some of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century. But one gay serial killer has remained almost forgotten, even though his story is one of the most chilling we’ve heard.

From 1974 to 1975, a man known only as the Doodler killed up to 14 gay men in San Francisco. He would meet his victims at gay bars and sketch their pictures before having sex with them and stabbing them to death.

Although this was around the time of the notorious Zodiac killings that shook the city to its core, news of the Doodler was not as widely spread (but there is a brief reference to the killer in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City). His victims being only gay men, the killings were met with a sense of disregard. Of the three survivors, including a “well-known entertainer” (rumored to be Rock Hudson, Johnnie Ray, or Richard Chamberlain) and a European diplomat, none would testify against him at risk of being outed during an adverse time for queer rights.

At the time, Harvey Milkreleased a statement with the AP: “I can understand their position. I respect the pressure society has put on them.” In the article, he estimated 85,000 homosexuals lived in San Francisco and said, “Of that number, a good 20 to 25 percent are in the closet. Those are the people with high-paying jobs – doctors, bank vice presidents, lawyers, and entertainers.”

It was a time when gay men were looked down upon, even in a queer mecca like San Francisco. The police were more likely to raid our bars and entrap us in cruising spots than to take a violent threat to our community seriously.

One of the Doodler’s first victims was somewhat of a local legend in the queer nightlife community. Known as Jae, Joseph Stevens was a popular drag queen who was last seen leaving the Cabaret Club. His body was discovered the next day at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park.

Other victims included immigrants and a decorated war veteran. In each case, he picked them up at a bar after drawing their picture (although none of his drawings were ever released to the press), and they drove to a park or a waterfront where they engaged in sexual acts before he proceeded to stab them to death. Although it’s believed he killed up to 14 people, it’s more likely he took around five victims.

Months after his last killing, SFPD released a composite sketch of the suspect. He was black, early 20s, and around six feet tall with a slim build.According to one witness, he was studying commercial art.

For a year, police were questioning a suspect they believed was responsible for the killings. But with no admission of guilt and none of the survivors willing to testify, there was no way to charge him. Ultimately, it was a time when many gay men in the city were killed, and the police had little interest in doing anything about it.

Today, the identity of the Doodler is still unknown, and this important part of our history remains all but forgotten.

Andy Dick Fired From Movie Over Sexual Harassment Claims

51-year-old actor Andy Dick has been fired from the film Raising Buchanan after accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Reporter did not speak to any of the alleged victims, but two sources on set recounted in detail Dick’s behavior, which they say involved groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing and licking and sexual propositions to at least four production members.

Dick confirmed to the Reporter that he had been let go, but denied any claims of groping. He did say, however, that he has licked people and made advances.

“I don’t grope people anymore. I don’t expose myself anymore,” Dick told the Reporter. “I do understand that the temperature in the world right now is delicate.”

He added, “I didn’t grope anybody. I might have kissed somebody on the cheek to say goodbye and then licked them. That’s my thing I licked Carrie Fisher at a roast. It’s me being funny. I’m not trying to sexually harass people.”

Dick is no stranger to accusations of sexual assault. As Vox detailed in 2016, Dick has had several high-profile issues with misconduct. In 2007, Jimmy Kimmel threw him off the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live! for repeatedly touching Ivanka Trump. In 2008, Dick was arrested for theft and sexual battery when he grabbed a woman’s breast and pulled her top down. In 2010, he was arrested and charged with first-degree sexual assault and in 2011, he was sued for sexual assault by someone who claimed that Dick exposed and rubbed his genitals on their face.

According to the Reporter, the question of Dick’s sobriety looms over his misconduct. After about a dozen times in rehab, Dick is now sober, though people on set claimed he seemed to be intoxicated. Dick said it was a medication issue.

“I overtook my medication and took too many Xanax and I was a bit loopy (on set). That didn’t make me rape people. I really don’t get it. I’m always trying to be funny and trying to get a date. I still don’t have a date. I am on Tinder and I’m looking,” he said.

News of Dick’s firing comes at a time when Hollywood takes a serious look at sexual harassment and assault. Earlier in October, several prominent actresses stepped forward to share stories of alleged sexual misconduct from mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. On Sunday, BuzzFeed published a story in which Rent actor Anthony Rapp detailed a story of an unwanted drunken sexual advance from actor Kevin Spacey.

Are We Reclaiming the Gay Villain?

2017 is the year of the gay villain.

First, it was the Babadook being reclaimed as a gay icon. Then, it was the devilish clown Pennywise from this summer’s smash hit It. There are even movements online to ship the two together. In a year of oddities and subversions of expectations, the queer evil trend may be pop culture’s strangest invention.

Of course, it’s not really a new invention: For decades, villainous characters from Disney movies and more have been coded as gay without explicitly being identified as such. Their queerness is coded in stereotypes: the lisp, the effeminate movement, the pure love of drama. The Sissy Villain opposing a hetero-defined protagonist is a tale as old as time.

What’s different now is that the queering is happening as a reclamation, not as an assignment from the creators. The Babadook and Pennywise are not given the same queer layers in their creation as Scar from The Lion King, or Him from Powerpuff Girls. Instead, audiences are reading into the characters’ attributes to reverse-engineer gayness in them. It’s a radical shift, one that comes at a time when queer representation in media is more scrutinized by members of the LGBTQ community than ever.

Until quite recently, the gay villain stereotype was a matter of community frustration. The cliché was tired at best; at worst, it preyed on the idea that someone’s gayness could be deduced simply from their voice. Moreover, a more harmful version of the Sissy Villain trope the Depraved Homosexual preys on ugly myths about gay people, like the disproven theory that gays are more likely to be child molesters.

More recently, however, there’s been a reconsideration of these characters as iconic because of their queer coding. What once inspired groans now inspires a joyous chorus of yaaass. And this is the key: Through that reconsideration, the idea of reclaiming others as gay was born.

So when the Babadook joke first came to light on Tumblr and Twitter, it may have seemed odd that it was so quickly embraced. But in retrospect, it makes sense. On the one hand, villainous characters are still evil, and coding them as gay feels reductive. On the other, queer readings take what was once seen as negative the voice, the drama, the effeminate attributes and celebrate them.

When the Babadook meme went viral, Vox’s Carlos Maza shared an observation that still sticks with me: “Gay people identify with monsters because we grew [up] fearing we might be one.” It sounds simplistic, but it’s so plugged into the ideas of gay shame, and how internalized homophobia affects young, queer people. ‘Am I a monster because of who I am?’ No, of course not but it’s fun to imagine scaring the bullies who made us feel like monsters anyway.

This Halloween, as you go to parties and see gays in costumes, look for the villains. Look at who is identifying as what. There will be all-but-certainly a ton of Babadooks and Pennywises. Then imagine all that it took to get to a place where so openly embracing looking like a villain felt comfortable for LGBTQ people. It may seem not that deep, but there’s more in the history of queer villainy than you’d expect.

How Health Professionals’ Ignorance Are Impacting LGBTQ Patients

The moment I left the doctor’s office, I broke down.
I was shaking from a combination of fury and frustration. My doctor was not only incompetent, under the firm belief that gonorrhea could not be tested from a urine sample, but he was also judgmental, completely unaware of how to treat me as a queer man.

After explaining to him what Truvada is and why I choose to take it, he informed me that most men wouldn’t need a pill to protect themselves from contracting HIV, and I wouldn’t have to “deal with all this” if I settled down with a nice woman.

And sadly, my experience isn’t anything novel and it’s not just sexual health related. Doctors, especially older doctors, aren’t trained to handle the specific needs of LGBTQ+ patients.

Take Chad*, who seven years ago thought he had testicular cancer. The radiologist was not welcoming or kind, despite his clear distress, thinking he’d have to live his life without one of his testicles or worse. Sharing his experience, Chad told me that the radiologist didn’t give him any instructions on how to proceed. In fact, after the exam, Chad asked if he could get dressed.

“He told me to do what I wanted,” Chad said. “As I was changing, I heard him say to someone in the hall, ‘The fag’s done.’ Then someone snickered. My doctor told me later that I was cancer free.”

Now, this is a particularly explicit form of homophobia. No one else who shared their stories with me experienced such blatant discrimination. Most of the time it was more insidious – more judgmental. Their queerphobia is only visible through the doctor’s tone and the assumptions they have about a patient given their sexuality.

John* wanted to get an anal pap smear. The doctor had no idea how to do it but said he’d look into it. The next time John visited the clinic, the doctor seemed eager to try the anal pap smear.

“[The doctor] brought in half the staff of the large clinic so they could watch him do it. He didn’t even ask me if I was okay with that. I felt like a guinea pig.”

Not surprisingly, the results came back inconclusive, and the doctor recommended John see a “gay-focused clinic.”

Many mental health providers are equally as inept at dealing with LGBTQ+ patients.

“She called me Lolita, instead of my real name,” Jennifer*, a proud bisexual-identifying woman told me about her therapist. “Probably not something you want to do to a CSA [campus sexual assault] survivor?”

“And she thought I was this ‘wild girl,’” Jennifer continued. “I feel like she assumed this because I’m bisexual.” Because of this, Jennifer’s therapist made her feel like she was not ready to commit to her girlfriend.

Not all doctors and mental health professionals are like this. Some are more than adequately prepared to handle the specific needs of queer patients. The issue comes with finding them, and then once found, seeing if they’re able to accept new patients with your health insurance. These clinics are often in high demand and don’t have openings for new patients.

And there may even be some hope with younger doctors these days. Many medical schools now have specific curriculum dedicated to addressing the specific needs of queer patients.

Chantal, who’s currently a medical student at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, told me about the integration of visit scenarios involving LGBTQ+ patients. “Instead of having three patients who are cisgender and heterosexual, you’ll have one patient who is transitioning, one patient who is lesbian and interested in getting pregnant and one patient who is cisgender/straight, so you get the opportunity to really discuss the specific needs of each different patient.”

However, even if there is some hope that still doesn’t help many people, including myself, now. Because these positive changes still do not affect the tens of thousands of doctors currently practicing medicine who attended medical school years ago.

So, it all remains a challenge even in places like New York City.

After my queerphobic experience with my Brooklyn doctor, I took to Facebook to voice my frustration, as well as ask for recommendations for LGBTQ+ doctors in the city. Callen-Lorde, a clinic that specializes in LGBTQ+ patients, came highly recommended, but unfortunately they weren’t accepting new patients [that weren’t either HIV-positive or transgender] at the time. They told me to call back in two weeks.

Years ago, when I was looking for a doctor at Fenway Hospital, an LGBTQ+ clinic in Boston, I received a similar response. The wait time to see a doctor would be weeks. There are just too many queer patients seeking medical attention, and not enough queer-friendly doctors.

In the end, I didn’t attend an LGBTQ-specific clinic, but a doctor who had specialized in HIV work. A friend highly recommended him, informed me he was a gay man, and insisted he was more than knowledgeable about PrEP and the specific needs of queer men. Luckily, there was a cancellation and I was able to see him just two days after I called to make the appointment. He was everything my friend described and more: knowledgeable and compassionate without any judgment.

While it’s uplifting to know that students in medical school are getting appropriate training to address the needs of queer patients, it’s disheartening to know the number of doctors now who still have preconceived notions about queer folks and are completely unaware of the specialized treatment we need.

Maybe, for now, the best way to go about finding doctors is through referrals from queer friends. They can offer doctors, programs, LGBTQ+ clinics, and more.

If no one else will have our backs, at least our queer brothers and sisters will.

Betsy DeVos Went as Ms. Frizzle, Who Values Education, for Halloween

We all know that Halloween is the one day a year where you get to be something that you’re ordinarily not. For Betsy DeVos, it meant that she got to step into the role of Ms. Frizzle, the main character of the educational cartoon Magic School Bus, and a woman who values education, public schools and science.

DeVos’s tenure as Secretary of Education has been more about denying rights to transgender students and making it harder for sexual assault cases to come to justice than actually helping children learn, something that Ms. Frizzle is pretty gung-ho about.

DeVos may not realize that, aside from being a badass educator, Ms. Frizzle was also voiced by out lesbian Lily Tomlin, which doesn’t exactly vibe with DeVos’s belief that it’s OK for states to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

Let’s just say that people were not OK with DeVos’s choice.

Ms. Frizzle is all about taking chances, making mistakes and getting messy. So, congrats, DeVos! You accomplished all three in one day.

Wendy Williams Overheats, Passes Out on Live TV Dressed as Lady Liberty

TV host and Queen of All Media Wendy Williams scared her audiences in an extremely non-Halloween way this morning. During her live taping, WIlliams overheated in her Lady Liberty costume, then began to slur her words, stammer and stumble until finally falling to the floor.

The live broadcast immediately cut to commercial, according to TMZ. Since the incident, some on Twitter have been quick to rush to Williams’ defense and say that this is no laughing matter.

Of course, a few people couldn’t help but joke that seeing the Statue of Liberty falling down is Very 2017.

In a statement, Williams’ team said she is dehydrated and will discuss the matter on-air tomorrow.

Russia and Egypt Attempting to Block U.N. Resolution Preventing Anti-Gay Discrimination at Olympics

Russia and Egypt are attempting to block protections that would prevent anti-gay discrimination at next year’s Olympic games, advocacy groups report.

In the coming weeks, the United Nations is set to approve what is known as the “Olympic Truce Resolution.” Ratified every two years, the accord calls for member nations to “observe and promote peace” during the Olympic games. The policy applies to the week prior to and the week following the bi-annual games.

Since 2015, the Resolution has included Principle 6, a policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It does not, however, prevent gender identity bias.

The advocacy group OutRight International reports that the queer-inclusive ordinance may be in jeopardy: Russia and Egypt, both of which have led violent crackdowns on their LGBTQ communities in recent years, are attempting to remove those protections.

The two countries have issued an ultimatum to the U.N., OutRight claims. If Principle 6 isn’t excised, they won’t sign the Resolution.

“Egypt and Russia are not simply fighting over symbolic language but over the levels of violence governments are allowed to use against LGBTQ people,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight International, in a statement to INTO. “After systematic attacks on LGBTQ people in their own countries, they are now setting their sights on promoting violence and discrimination in every country of the world.”

The resolution was put forward two years ago as a response to widespread condemnations of anti-LGBTQ violence in Russia surrounding the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The event highlighted the extreme abuse to which queer and trans people have been subjected following the 2013 passage of Russia’s notorious anti-gay propaganda law. A survey conducted the same year by the Russian LGBTQ Network found that 15 percent of respondents had experienced a physical assault in the past year. Half had been targeted with verbal abuse, emotional violence, or harassment.

Removing these protections, OutRight warns, would have a devastating impact on the Olympic Truce Resolution’s future. If successfully blocked, Principle 6 is unlikely to be reintroduced during subsequent negotiations.

The LGBTQ advocates say that the group has worked with major players at the U.N. to ensure broad support for the policy.

“Russia and Egypt are known anti-LGBTQ campaigners at the U.N., and they are prepared to sacrifice the Olympic spirit to do it,” Stern continues. “We cannot allow this type of bullying to target LGBTQ people or undermine the principle of global community.”

OutRight believes upholding LGBTQ protections is critical during a year in which queer and trans people have continually been under attack in the very countries opposed to the policy.

More than 70 people have been arrested in Egypt following a Sept. 22 concert when fans of the band Mashrou’ Leila were apprehended for holding a Pride flag. Since the crackdown, the country has moved to pass one of the world’s harshest laws criminalizing homosexuality. A proposed bill would make sodomy illegal and impose harsh penalties on any form of LGBTQ expression. The legislation is expected to pass.

In addition, more than 100 men were rounded up and thrown in concentration camps in the Russian territory of Chechnya earlier this year. Several detainees were reportedly killed in the purge, including a popular Russian singer.

Russia and Egypt were two of the 13 countries who voted against a United Nations resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality in October. The accord, which would have also opposed capital punishment for adultery, apostasy, and blasphemy, was also opposed by the United States.

Next year’s Winter Games are set to be held in PyeongChang County, South Korea.

Photography:Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The Games We Must Play For Love

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in that he had the most wonderful date this past summer…but afterwards it went nowhere.

He knows that we must ‘play the game’ when just starting to get to know someone, but honestly would rather do anything else than play said games.

And now he’s afraid that by not doing so he will keep having wonderful first date and none after.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

_____

Hola Papi!

This past summer, I went on a date with a guy I considered to be top notch. He was in law school, handsome, well spoken, and above all else, compassionate. This was definitely a guy I wanted to pursue a relationship with.

But his communication was not direct, and it turns out nothing developed between us (aside from now communicating as friends on occasion).

I suppose my question is, in the future, how do I go from a very solid first date to something more? How do I go about expressing emotions and interest in someone?

I know sometimes we must “play the game” so as to not seem desperate. But at the same time, sometimes I think one of the largest problems within the gay community is that too many play that game. What should I do?

Signed,

Player One

Ah, yes, the game. I’m glad someone finally asked this question. Most of us have participated in the blood sport that is gay dating: Two queens enter, but only one will leave with their dignity in tact because they never double texted.

Isn’t it funny, Player One? After our loveliest, most promising first dates, it’s like a trap door opens and drops us into the Homosexual Hunger Games, where we must overanalyze text messages and strategize about when to ask for a second date.

You want to text him right away, but you worry if you do you will reveal yourself to be a clingy loser with no life of your own beyond waiting on tenterhooks for him to answer you. The kind of person who watches true crime documentaries alone in his room while answering letters from strangers on the Internet by the dull glow of his laptop at 3 am. Truly the worst kind of human being!

But then again you worry if you don’t text him, he will forget about you. That spark you felt with him will fade and he will replace his memories of your lovely conversation (in which you discovered a mutual interest in Steven Universe and Geena Davis’ post-2000 career) with Grindr chats and private messages with Instagram Chad, who will inevitably become his Instagram Husband.

And anyway, why isn’t he the one texting you first? Shouldn’t you wait for him to make the first move? Wouldn’t that be the cool guy thing to do? How do we win here?

Well, fear not, Katniss Everkween. There is definitely a way to win the game. But just like in the Hunger Games and in the Communist Manifesto, the moral of the story is to remember it’s the game itself that is your enemy, not the guy you think you’re playing against.

Don’t get me wrong. There are levels to this dating shit that it would benefit you to get a grasp on. Identifying that you seem to be the one making all the plans while he never takes the initiative, for example, is something to be aware of. Feeling out what kind of texter he is (is he easier to get ahold of another way, or is he just not reciprocating your enthusiasm?) is another.

These things are best navigated with finesse and do require some degree of, as one could call it, “playing.” But I think this idea that we need to be coy about what we want in order to keep our cards close to our chest is rooted in a fear of vulnerability and rejection.

It’s an inherently vulnerable thing, telling another person you want to see them again. And being vulnerable can be scary, especially if we’ve been hurt before. But being vulnerable is also a powerful thing, Player One. It represents emotional maturity and a willingness to put yourself out there for what you want in life.

But you don’t need to be a jaded, Bitter Betty to protect your heart in the process. When putting yourself out there, it will be helpful to keep the following things in mind.

First, you need to know what you want. You don’t need to know if this is the guy you want to marry. You just need to know what kind of relationship you want, whether or not you have room for it in your life, and if you want to pursue it further with this person.

Next, you need to make sure you’re not projecting your idea of a perfect relationship onto this person, or hinging your self-worth on whether or not they fulfill it for you.

If after the first date you have already started building a fantasy life with this person, for example, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. These expectations will not only smother the dynamic, but will also lead to unnecessary heartache when you have to say goodbye to cozy evenings at home together and joint road trips that were never going to happen in the first place.

Finally, this above all: be upfront. Despite my quip earlier, there’s no dignity to be lost in being honest with your feelings or in being forthcoming about wanting to see someone again. Personally, I’ll let a guy know I want to see him again during the first date if I’m feeling it.

If they don’t reciprocate that, well, now you know. That was always going to be their response whether you dared to find out or not. And isn’t it better to know?

Ultimately, Player One, I don’t like to think of it as a game. Calling it that implies winners and losers. I prefer to think of it as a dance. This is a time to check to see if you can sync up with someone, if your rhythms complement each other. If they don’t, that doesn’t mean you “lost.” It means what it means. This guy isn’t the guy right now.

Also, did you say handsome and in law school? So like are you still pursuing that or is he, you know, a free agent?

Just thought I’d ask a question for once.