I have a hickey. Yes, I would high-five all my buddies for this if I were fifteen. However, I am a thirty year-old man. I have been seeing a young lady and spent an enjoyable night with her. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until looking in the mirror the next morning that her idea of enjoyment involves her teeth bruising the dickens out of my neck. Is this just a necessary evil? I feel like I'm too old for hickeys and have been for some time. When I pointed it out, she laughed and said it's her "calling card." Calling card or not, I still have a meeting at work in a few hours. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
You know who leaves calling cards in 2014? Serial killers.
As sexual calling cards go, there are worse (chlamydia) and better (500 minutes to Costa Rica on a crystal clear connection for just $8). But the best sexual calling card of all—the move that everyone should adopt as their "signature move" before moving on to extra credit—is probably just being really good at sex.
Intercourse shouldn't involve anything you describe as "a necessary evil." Leaving "Kilroy was here"-style graffiti to indicate that the bearer of this mark is a Sexually Active Adult is fine—as long as both parties agree that it's fine. Otherwise, your thinking going into a sexual encounter should not be, "When I'm done, this person will be changed. Physically." Sex is like a national park: take only pictures, leave only memories—except that you shouldn't take pictures without permission either, so maybe sex is more like an art museum: no unauthorized flash photography; donations welcome; audio guides available (French, Italian, Japanese only).
(Incidentally, giving a hickey doesn't usually involve excessive gnawing with teeth. It sounds like this young woman was trying to chomp her way through to your jugular, either because she is Vampyr or a regular human murderer. Or perhaps she's just a hypersexualized version Lennie from Of Mice and Men. Do her hugs always leave you with cracked ribs? Does she knock you over every time you try to dance? That's not normal, adorkable girl stuff.)
Potential nefarious intentions aside, the Gilded Age debutante sucking her way into your heart isn't singularly at fault here. To use a metaphor that will appeal to her old-timey sensibilities, the acquisition of a hickey is not unlike the rapid acceleration of a steam-powered locomotive toward its final destination. It is the responsibility of the train operator to throw the brake when the tiny, grayish pinprick in the distance begins to materialize into a railroad station. It is the responsibility of the thirty-year-old man dating the baddest teen in AP Spanish to unlatch her from his neck after he realizes she has been slurping on the same area for fifteen seconds. By this point, you are old enough to know what it feels like to get a hickey. (If you didn't before, now you do. It feels great!) If you don't want one, shut that process down as soon as it lurches into motion.
Granted, even if your phrasing is polite, you might feel a little rude calling a time-out mid-coitus to complain. No one wants to be told not to do something during sex, unless it's a sexy order like "Don't stop!" or "Don't wake up the dog!" If you can't bring yourself to confront her outright, guide her attention somewhere else. Maybe you maneuver yourself so that instead of giving you a hickey on your neck, she's giving you one on your...upper arm (high enough that all but a cap sleeve T-shirt would cover it). Maybe she's putting a hickey on your lips, which is what this sexual deviant calls "kissing."
Since this seems to be the first time you received a hickey from this young woman (How did you know you had sex with her all the other times if she didn't leave her calling card? Did your servants alert you that an enigmatic stranger had dropped by?), it's possible she was horrified to have given you a hickey and was covering up her embarrassment with false bravado. If that's the case, her calling card should read "Inexperienced Perfectionist." Make sure she knows the bedroom is a safe space where mistakes, experimentation, and even periodic minor injuries are allowed, but hickeys are not, and you get one warning.
However, if this young lady continues to jab her calling cards into the delicate skin of your neck after you have specifically asked you not to, consider phasing her out of your life once we're out of turtleneck weather. It doesn't bode well for the future of the relationship (sexual or otherwise) if her commitment to "JUST DOIN' MY THING" is so great that she ignores your reasonable requests.
My husband and I are expecting our first baby this summer. A friend of mine is very excited for us...excessively so. She keeps talking about how much time she's going to spend with the baby and how she's going to be his "auntie." She's even gone so far as to suggest that she could act as godparent to the baby if anything should happen to me and my husband. The thing is, I don't want her to be that involved with my child. She's perpetually single, knows nothing about children, and generally has a hard time understanding boundaries and social etiquette. If we were to ask anyone to watch after our child, it would be a professional, or at least married friends who already have children and understand what kind of commitment it is. Further, this kid will already have two "real" aunts, and I don't want to diminish that title by letting someone who's just a friend use it, too. I want to tell my friend that she needs to back off a bit. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Believe me, once you and your husband welcome that baby, the last thing your cool, single friends are going to want to do is hang out with you all as a unit.
The longevity of your baby's novelty is roughly equivalent to that of an Xbox. At this stage (prenatal), your baby has not yet been released, so anticipation is at its apex. People cannot wait to see what your baby looks like and learn all of its specs. They go to bed dreaming of playing with your baby. In a few months, your friends will finally be able to get their (thoroughly sanitized!) hands on your baby. They will love him! They will say they are "like, OBSESSED with your baby!" But they will not actually be obsessed with your baby, as you will come to realize, say, 10 months postpartum, when he is no longer the cutest, smallest thing in the world, and is instead just another pretty cute, fairly small thing. "You want to come over and play with my baby?" you will ask. But they will not want to come. They will be at a PlayStation 4 adults-only release party with a beer in one hand and a DualShock 4 controller in the other.
It sounds like this woman is exhibiting a normal level of politeness, perhaps amplified by what you imply is her inherent social awkwardness. (Offering to act as godparent in the event of your premature death is overkill. Then again: at least she's a planner.)
"I can't wait to be Aunt [My Name]!" is just something people say now. A modern congratulation, it allows people to express support for your pregnancy while also making your huge, life-changing news about them. It's about as genuine as saying, "We should grab a drink soon!" to someone you run into at a party, which is to say: heartfelt in the moment; will never be thought of again.
Let's not forget that your baby isn't even due until this summer. Complaining about this now is like pitching a fit because an acquaintance exclaimed, "You're going to be the prettiest bride!" when you told her you were engaged. (Gina, SHUT UP. Now there is WAY too much pressure on me to be THE PRETTIEST BRIDE.)
Even if this woman does insist on referring to herself as "Auntie" in front of your baby, her self-appointed nickname isn't going to jeopardize the line of succession. It's meaningless. (By the way, I'M YOUR BABY'S AUNT, TOO–no takebacks.) If it makes you feel better, you can always draw up a document identifying your son's blood relations as The Good and True Aunts and have it notarized.
But do you know who would love to have this good-natured woman with no financial or emotional dependents for an auntie? Your baby, aged 11, when he wants an expensive toy for his birthday. Also you, later that same year, when you suddenly have to move a large volume of raffle tickets so that his school can afford to buy new computers.
Of course you can and should restrict the access of any adults you do not feel comfortable having around your child. But it will probably create unnecessary tension if you pull your friend aside six months into your pregnancy and tell her she is WAY too excited about your baby. (It will also rob you of a future free babysitter. Do you really think your already-married, kid-laden friends are looking forward to watching your kid all the time?)
Weather her enthusiasm as graciously as you can. Schedule her visits as sparingly as you please. Invite her to hang out one day when the baby is in a fussy mood, and she will not ask to come back.
Thatz Not Okay is a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to email@example.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay." Art by Jim Cooke. Photo via Shutterstock.