Dear Andrea:

I have been reading you forever and you are awesome! I have been too intimidated to write but decided to break the silence. I'm a 36-year-old single bisexual woman who is beautiful (or so I'm told). I've been attracting more than my fair share of inappropriate dudes and women. This past year, my cousin's boyfriend came on to me, a married guy begged me to be with him, and a possessive Scorpio threatened suicide over me. I dated a 55-year-old who had eczema, a Buddha belly, and a flaccid penis after three pumps; a lesbian rage-aholic (my first); and a 32-year-old who nearly bit off my nipple (clumsy) and came after two seconds but who wants to marry me and have kids.

Part of me just wants to have some fun, get taken out to dinner, and be left to be free. Part of me wants a committed relationship, but every one so far has led to people wanting to control me. I believe that I can have it all — fun, freedom and commitment.

I notice I attract men who are in shit marriages, and I empathize and listen (which for some reason turns them on). Sometimes I think the most compassionate thing to do is to lay them. Other times I remember the pain my father's cheating caused and feel they should make a real choice and leave, not default to me. Should I lay them or leave them alone? Is there a hormonal rage that happens after 35? Do you think that I'm attracting these sorts of people because, on some level, I don't want a relationship?


Bad Girl

Dear Bad:

Wow, girl, you are one big messy mess. I'm seriously tempted just to sum up all your behaviors and all your questions with one big "Quit that" and go back to bed, but you were so nice to tell me I intimidate you (I never get to intimidate anyone anymore!), I feel I owe you a little more than that.

I don't think your problems have a thing to do with being "beautiful" one way or the other, so put that part right out of your mind, if you can. (Covering the mirrors might help but might also attract lovelorn vampires, which is probably the last thing you need right now.) Also, when you said "inappropriate partners," I was, frankly, kind of expecting something sexier than the bunch of sad-sack suicidal needle-dicks catalogued above. Where are the drunken, occasionally abusive Irish poets? The girls who look like Gina Gershon did in "Bound" but throw violent fits if you so much as mention a long-ago ex? The guys who are cute and funny and fantastic in bed but refuse to meet your friends? You know: the hot, sexy, bad-for-you people? Surely if you're such hot stuff yourself you can find a better class of losers to waste your time on.

I have a few new rules for you, since you seem, toddler-like, to be acting out rather brattily in hopes that someone will step in to set some limits and make the world make sense again. First, no sleeping with people you have no respect for. ("Buddha belly and flaccid penis"? OK then, don't fuck him. Certainly don't fuck him and then make fun of him.) Second, no married men (or women), period. Just because they "default" to you does not mean you must make yourself available. Third, even with better prospects than these, sorry, you cannot have it all, and not just because of where would you put it. You can't have both complete freedom and complete commitment because, hey, they're mutually exclusive. Once bound (note the word) to another person, even polyamorously (if you must), you will have to accommodate his-her-its needs and wants sometimes, even at the expense of your own. Anyone who does not understand this really is still operating as a sort of giant (albeit in your case very physically attractive, I'm sure) toddler.

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