Girls’ night out or ‘Girls Gone Wild?’

Dear Danni,

I’m a gay man who has recently come out and I have been taking one of my best “girl friends” to the bars with me. She is one of the cutest, funniest and all-around great gals I know. However, whenever we go out she tends to get really, really drunk. I don’t mind her drunken state; what I mind is that she thinks she is on the set for the newest “Girls Gone Wild” video and flashes everyone. At a gay bar, I feel this is not the most appropriate thing to do. What would you do Danni?

Please help!

Dear, “Leave it to Beaver,”

Well spank my ass, and call me a Tri Delt-good to know we haven’t lost all the truly crazy girls to professional degrees and/or turtlenecks. Frankly, I feel that everyone needs a little bit of over-exposure in life: It reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

From a female perspective, there is something freeing about being out on the town with a good friend in full-on slut attire, drunk as Anna Nicole Smith at the American Music Awards, and still being able to maintain the confidence that there really will be no sex in the Champagne Room. It’s utterly liberating.

Understand that your friend probably feels as completely comfortable with you-a sexually non-threatening male-as she does with her girlfriends. Maybe your friend is the type prone to these types of outbursts in the company of those she trusts. If so, there is a good chance her actions imply a degree of mutual confidence which you should see as a sign that you are important to her. Especially when surrounded by what she undoubtedly assumes are non-judgmental peers, the bars you take your friend to are essentially the one place a girl can pretty much guarantee she won’t end up garnering the unwanted attention of some slime-ball looking to get in her pants. In the Salt Lake club scene these days, that’s like winning a “get out of jail free” card.

However, on the other (feminist) hand, your friend’s actions do inherently objectify her sexuality and make her seem like a commodity of lust. Even if she is completely confident and self-assured, her actions make her seem insecure and attention-starved as opposed to mature and respectable.

Let’s face it-even if she’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the girl dancing topless at the club doesn’t necessarily generate the most respect from those around her.

She should be aware of the image that she’s presenting of herself to peers, even if she’s totally comfortable with them.

As far as your concern about ‘just coming out’ goes, it doesn’t seem like yours is as pressing a problem as your friend’s might be: You feel ashamed that she’s flashing the gay-bar crowd because you’re new to the scene and you don’t want to look bad by association, when really the bigger problem here might be that your friend is externalizing some potentially serious issues in your company. If she’s really so self-assured, why the need to show off? Her “Girls Gone Wild” behavior could hint at a deep-rooted self-esteem deficiency that manifests itself in her desire to make a spectacle of herself in the one environment where she thinks she won’t be judged.

For you, it’s just an issue of embarrassment, but for her it could be more.

Think about it, you know her best: Is your friend just being free-spirited (I’m all for all forms of women’s sexual liberation) or is she crying for help?

Does she drink excessively all the time or is she in control of her intake? If she is always smashed, that might be an indicator of an alcohol-dependency problem that she is using to mask her insecurities, which is a whole different ballgame all together.

It sounds to me like you have a little friend-work to do here. My advice is this: Remember the “sandwich” technique to rejection from high school. Approach her with the same non-threatening behavior that she so loves and tell her how you feel.

If she’s really your friend, she will appreciate you coming to her straight. Let her know that you support her willingness to go out and flaunt her identity and freedom, but you’re worried that her behavior might just be the tip of a self-esteem and substance abuse iceberg.

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