Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, 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."
Often a night of partying with my friends (I’m a girl, most of them are guys) ends with us crashing together in a living room. One morning I woke up to one of my best guy friends masturbating. After he let out a big sigh, he waited a few minutes and then asked, “Who wants pancakes?” Normally, I would laugh it off and give him shit about it later…but then it happened again 2 weeks later. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt that he thought everyone was asleep, and apparently couldn’t hear, I didn’t bring it up because I knew that conversation would be embarrassing. Then on a trip to Vegas last month, I woke up to the bed we were on rocking and some heavy breathing coming from him. I immediately got off the bed once I realized what was happening, he stopped, cleared his throat and then started fake snoring. I really don’t want to be put in this awkward situation again, and want to tell him to cut it out. Is that okay?
First of all, nothing your friend has done up to this point (apart from initiating Pancake Palooza) has been OK. It’s not OK to stroke it in a communal sleeping space, and it’s absolutely not OK to masturbate in a bed you are sharing with a friend.
By the time they are old enough to “party,” most humans have learned that there are certain settings in which it is inappropriate to masturbate. You can be moved by a magnificent aria at the opera, but you should not take your penis out of your trousers and touch it with your hand while you are in the box. You can think to yourself that a waiter is handsome, but you should not reach under your shirt and paw at your breasts while he recites the specials.
Another situation in which it is inappropriate to masturbate is when you are sharing a bed with a casual acquaintance.
In each of the scenarios you mentioned, it would have been fine—though perhaps not ideal—for your friend to go into the bathroom and “make pancakes.” The bathroom is a free zone. Some people use their time there to pluck their unibrows. Some people use it to obsess over their bodily imperfections while they brush their teeth. Some people use it to masturbate. When you go to the bathroom, you are cordoning yourself off from the rest of society to Get Weird. You’re showing the herd some respect.
(The really polite thing to do would be to save the self-discovery for when you’re back in your own home. Since most people can manage to go a couple hours in a row without masturbating, this is usually a viable option. A good rule of thumb: if you’re not paying the utility bills, you shouldn’t masturbate there. )
The problem you face now is that your friend has become convinced he’s getting away with it. He’s jerking off in bed two inches away from a pal and thinking “The perfect crime...” He’s treating himself to a wild ride on a loveseat for one, convinced his dumb friends are none the wiser. He’s getting cocky.
And he’s going to keep getting cocky in inappropriate group settings until you let him know that you know that...y’know.
There are a couple ways to do this.
If you’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that you just caught him on three extremely horny nights, you can give him one more chance to make it through a single goddamn night without masturbating. When he fails this test, you can publicly shame him the next morning after everyone is awake.
Everyone sleep okay? Everyone masturbate? Or just Jake?
If you want to be a little more diplomatic, the next time you find yourself sleeping near him (which hopefully will be never), before settling under the blanket, you could turn to him and explain that you are easily aroused (and NOT in the same way that he is).
I am a really light sleeper. Even the slightest movement or sound of jerking off will awaken me.
If you want to minimize confrontation, every time you wake up to hear him masturbating, you could clear your throat loudly and continuously until he stops. Maybe add a "Thanks," when he finally does, so he knows he's busted.
This kid is behaving inappropriately, so don't feel bad for calling him out on it.
And if he cooks you pancakes, please be sure that he washes his hands first.
My wife drinks WAY too much coffee. At least seven cups during the day while she's at work, of high-test snob-level lattes and great quality coffee. At night she drinks at least one and more often two cups after dinner. I have asked her to refrain at night; she often keeps me up with her caffeine-fueled chatter, and it's just plain bad for her (or anyone's) health. I recently started buying decaf for our home without telling my wife; I figure if she insists on guzzling the stuff at home, at least it will be lower octane. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
You knew it wasn’t okay. If you thought it was okay, you wouldn’t have done it in secret.
If your wife was old enough to consent to marrying you, she’s also old enough to decide for herself whether she wants to drink decaf, regular, or any coffee at all. If she’s a child under your care, you’re within your rights to attempt to control her consumption. However, I am within my rights to demand you turn your child bride over to children’s protective services.
Please understand, if your wife's daily coffee intake is as high as you say, her body has probably built up quite a tolerance to caffeine. She’s not keeping you awake at night because she’s all jittery from “the freaky bean” (as a long-time Diet Coke addict, I’m able to drink a can right before bed and fall asleep immediately); she’s keeping you awake because you married a chatterbox. What will you do after you realize the coffee-swap plan has failed to yield bedtime silence? Replace her sugar with roofies? Her chapstick with superglue?
(While we're on the subject, rampant, mindless chatter isn’t a side effect usually associated with coffee consumption. If she's chit-chatty to the point of mania, there's a chance that powder all over her shirt is not non-dairy creamer.)
If your wife hasn’t built up a tolerance, and is still chugging “the joe” for its effects rather than its taste, your scheme will backfire. Soon she’ll notice that her usual evening cups aren’t having their desired effect. She’ll have to up her consumption to three, four, five cups, and you’ll be worse off than you were before you decided to institute beverage martial law.
While it’s sweet you say you’re concerned for her health, it sounds a bit like you don’t want her to drink coffee because you’ve decided she drinks too much coffee. ("That shit might fly in Maxwell's House, but not in this one!") In fact, studies have found that heavy coffee consumption can have benefits as well asks risks. Drinking a lot of regular coffee could increase your wife’s blood pressure, but it could also cut her risk for diabetes by more than a third. In short, it's not like she's shooting up heroin. (If she were, switching out her heroin for decaf coffee would probably kill her, once she injected it. So what you've done is a no-no in many scenarios.)
If you're really desperate for her to kick coffee once and for all, you should crack open a bottle of wine (or espresso-flavored vodka!) and sit down for a mature discussion about why it bothers you. You could also pour energy into converting her to the Mormon faith.
Deceiving your wife shouldn't be your go-to course of action.