When Do You Tell Someone That You’re Different?


The wife and I went to the Renaissance Faire yesterday. I’d gone once before, and, typical of a place that reveres 500 year old traditions, nothing had changed in the past few years.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. Not sure why, but I was in my head all day – not fully present and enjoying my surroundings. Part of the reason was because it was blazing hot, but another reason is because I was observing a unique slice of humanity and I couldn’t wait to write about it.

As I watched the men in their tights and Olde English speaking styles, and the women in their corsets and braids…and I saw how committed they were to this Renaissance stuff… it occurred to me that these folks were really, really enjoying themselves. They’d found a community where they could be like actors – reinvent themselves as whatever they wanted to be – and immerse themselves fully in their roles. I found myself torn between snark and envy as I watched thousands of people travel back in time – with a hint of irony, sure, but mostly, to escape their day-to-day concerns.

And all I could think was, “When do you tell someone that you DO this? When do you let your partner know that you’ve got chain mail and a cape that you bust out for 10 straight weekends each spring when you joust as “Sir James, the Magnificent”?

The Ren Faire just brings up that bigger question: when do you let someone see your odd side? Your weak side? Your questionable side? Your ugly side? I probably let most of my previous girlfriends know about my anxious side within the first two months. That declaration never scared anyone away in the moment – although there have been a few times when women chose not to put up with that part of me afterwards.

So, what is YOUR less desirable trait (sexual fetish, massive debt, Prozac habit) and when do you share it?

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  1. 31


    Yeah, uncovering the guy who takes a really long time is not always easy to do in advance (they’re usually embarrassed about it). I think you have to be pretty blunt about your needs and the amount of time you want to put in on a daily or weekly basis, whatever. I’m much more willing to invest time solely in my partner if he is willing to do the same for me. Likewise, the guy who can’t climax easily becomes an *opportunity* for activity you can’t normally pursue with a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type (assuming you enjoy longer sessions). I’ll take that over the jack rabbit any day. It’s been my experience that the jack rabbit not only finishes fast, but he doesn’t like a lot of variety and he’s lousy at reciprocating for his partner. For women who always see sex as a chore, the jack rabbit is acceptable. Ugh.

  2. 32


    It’s been my (albeit limited Thank God) experience that the men who have “special needs” also tend to be somewhat selfish in sex. They want what they want, but are less enthusiastic about reciprocating with what I might want or need. And these guys were in their 50’s. I would have thought men with lengthy experience would be more generous. At 48, this is my age group now and I’m a bit leery of running into any more fellows who’ve trained their bodies to respond only to certain stimulae. When I start to feel like the guy should leave money on the dresser I know the relationship is not going anywhere.

    One thing I found with men on the “quick” side is that they are often more than willing to make up for that in other ways. Smile.

  3. 33

    Many men, herds of men, in their 50’s don’t know the proper technique in bed. Many men, have not had a lengthy, instructive, learning, sexual experiences.

  4. 34


    Really hunter? The 50-something guys I am referencing had lot’s! of experience – which is how they probably developed a definite preference for certain… ahem…items, positions, practices. Almost to the exclusion of the most common experiences of sexual expression.

    Variety may be the spice of life, but when someone *needs* a particular avante -garde thing every time (that does nothing for their partner) then it ceases to be variety. Becomes in fact, more boring than always doing missionary.

    Now hand me my whip.

  5. 35

    Heh, I’ve encountered (thankfully, only a few) men with ED who did not offer to make up for it in some other way. Never wanted to see any of them again…

  6. 36

    Selena, you don’t suppose, these men were trying, very hard, to please you?

  7. 37

    No Hunter, they were trying, very hard, to please themselves.

  8. 38

    how insensitive of them…

  9. 39
    Kat Wilder

    Interesting question, as a friend just mentioned to me how a woman he knew dated someone awhile before discovering her sweetie is a hermaphrodite … just before they were about to have sex the first time!

    It depends what and how “different” you are, I think. Issues from childhood? Who doesn’t have them? Bipolar? Divorced five times? On the lam? Now we’re getting somewhere …

    I wouldn’t necessarily disclose any of those right away, but I wouldn’t wait too long either. Once you see your casual dating is moving in a deeper connection, you need to be honest. And be understanding if the would-be lover decides to opt out (because you wouldn’t really want to be with him/her if that was enough to make him/her flee). You really want someone to accept the all of you, tights and chain mesh notwithstanding.

    Now, since I’m perfect, I just don’t have this problem …

    Kat Wilder´s last blog post…Is his equal the same as my equal?

  10. 40

    RenFaires sound fun.

    Some people may find it odd that I enjoy listening to an ’80’s cover band.

  11. 41

    I was wondering about Evan’s thoughts on whether my being a Negro girl (38year old girl) in a mostly Caucasian midwest town is likely to mean less dates for me. I can’t really choose a time to disclose that difference, but I do wonder whether Evan has heard any thoughts from Caucasian men and their feelings about dating Negro women. I have dated several and think it’s great…different than dating other groups, but not “better” or “worse.” (By the way, don’t be put off by use of the term Negro. If people have questions, I’ll get into it more.)

  12. 42
    Karl R

    ThePianist asked: (#41)
    “any thoughts from Caucasian men and their feelings about dating Negro women.”

    My main concern is with cultural differences, not racial differences. For example, if your parents are highly educated and you grew up in a middle-class suburban neighborhood, we would probably have a fair amount in common.

    If you grew up in radically different circumstances (extremely wealthy family, rural community in the bible belt, hippie commune) we probably wouldn’t have much in common … even if we were of the same racial background.

    If you grew up in that mostly caucasian midwest town, then you’re part of the same culture as everyone else there. If you grew up in a different environment, that might not be the case.

    “whether my being a Negro girl (38year old girl) in a mostly Caucasian midwest town is likely to mean less dates for me.”

    Sure, but it doesn’t matter nearly as much as attractiveness. There have been some studies done (based on speed-dating) that indicate that men don’t discriminate much based on race. They discriminate a lot based on looks.

    Admittedly, speed-dating doesn’t mirror the real world, but it bears some resemblence to more conventional dating situations.

  13. 43

    Thanks for the thoughtful response, Karl R.

  14. 44

    I have often worried about the same question. I have two health problems neither really affect my day to day life a little soreness on occasion that is about it. However they both are something that I am very sensitive about. One is scoliosis (that you can only tell I have a back problem if you really look). The other is another skeletal condition that is very uncommon and lead to major dental problems and all my teeth not being real and wearing a partial. (Both can be passed down genetically). Very few people know about this and I only told this info to my boyfriend at the time after a year of a relationship, we recently broke (3 years later). He didn’t seem to have a problem with either but sometimes it plays in my mind that may have been a contributing factor as why he didn’t want to stay with me. I am so terrified when I end up in another serious relationship on when to tell them and that they will want to leave me too.

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