Q: Dear Damian,
I'm in a turf war. I've dated so many people in this town that I can no longer go to any local bar or club without running into one of my exes. And since it's Nashville, they inevitably say something heinously uncouth to me or whoever my current arm candy is. It's exhausting. At this point, my only option is to double fist Miller Lites at the neighborhood O'Charley's — and try picking up a decent looker in that joint. Surely a guy like you knows a foolproof signal — a death-ray eye, a gesture — that subtly communicates for these women to stay the hell away whenever I'm entertaining a new dame? Come on, let me in the club. I never see this happen to other guys.
— Play'n This Town, but Not Played Out
A: Tell me about it, brah. If my love life is a baseball game, I'm the New York Yankees and the women of Nashville are the Toledo Mudhens—in other words, I've already batted through the lineup twice, and it's still the first inning.
Honestly, sometimes I feel like I need to move to a new town to scout for fresh prospects. Fortunately for me, though, Nashville is on the rise, and thousands of new women are moving to town each year. I've even started including my bio and contact info in those coupon ad mailers they send to new residents.
The situation you describe requires what I call the three D's of a solid ex-girlfriend defense: dodge, deny and defuse.
Dodge: This is the most obvious strategy. Go to a bar where you're less likely to bump into an ex. Of course, this approach has two drawbacks. First, there's the O'Charley's factor that you describe above (though I think you seriously underestimate the quality of divorcée these chains attract). Second, in a town the size of Nashville, you can run out of unmuddied watering holes quicker than you run out of women.
Deny: Claim that the woman in question is crazy, and that you never went out with her. My companions usually take me at my word, because I tend to date women who are trusting and unfettered by burdensome preconceptions (or what some of my more cynical friends have called "gullible and shallow"). If neither of these approaches works, then it's onto ...
Defuse: This is the most treacherous and challenging approach of all, and it's aptly named, since pulling it off requires the deft reflexes and calm nerves of a bomb squad member. The object is to take whatever insulting or overly personal comment your ex dishes out, then reinterpret it for your date. A few examples: After your ex says to your date, "You're really going out with this small-dick bastard?" you say, "Oh that was her nickname for me, because I do a great Little Richard impersonation." If the ex says, "I'll bet she's not even legal, just like your last one," just explain that your ex was an attorney, and she feels slighted when you date women who aren't in the law profession. When the ex says to your date, "Good luck with that stupid asshole," explain that you and your ex made a game of disguising your pet names for each other by using anagrams, and that "stupid asshole" is an anagram for "Polish sea stud." You'll need to further explain that you are of Polish descent, and are known for pleasuring women on your yacht.
This last tactic is very tricky and requires a keen gift for solving anagrams. I'm no savant, so I've memorized flattering anagrams for several hundred of the most commonly hurled insults. It may sound like a lot of work, but remember — Casanova wrote several novels and memoirs, spent time in prison and lived for years as a fugitive. Being a true lady's man takes real, er, commitment.
Q: Dear Damian,
I'm new to Nashville and am looking to make my mark in the music industry. It's been a struggle; my voice is solid, but I know I'm no powerhouse. I am, however, a hard worker and very determined to succeed. Who are the best people in town to film myself fucking so I can release the tape and garner the publicity my career needs?
— Idol Reject
A: Well, Idol, you could go the way of the Music Row exec, then just threaten to release the tape as leverage to get a record deal. You could bag a Followill or two, one of the easier trophies in town. Girl-on-girl always gets a lot of traction, so maybe a little tête-a-tête with Jemina Pearl. And nothing would get you street cred quicker than a filmed threesome with Jake and Jamin Orrall, who make up the local power-duo JEFF. (You know what they say about Orrall sex.) A quick "handie" with Ethan Opelt could have you riding the Movement Nashville wave in no time.
Of course, before becoming an internationally celebrated love-and-sex advice columnist, I was a music industry bigwig. And I have tons of connections. I'm always willing to do what I can to give a young talent a step up. Just sayin'.
"Don't listen to them sweetie, everybody likes you."
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