We've been known to disagree with the advice doled out by the New York Times' Sunday Styles advice columnist before, and we'll have to politely (since it is a column about social mores!) disagree again. This coming Sunday's column is already up on the Times' website, and N. G. from Arizona asks the following question:
"About a year ago, an acquaintance gave me a long, affectionate squeeze in front of my significant other. Since my friend is gay, I didn't think it would create an issue. But my boyfriend, who is a little possessive, took offense. Recently, he ran into my acquaintance and threatened to beat him up if it ever happened again. When I told my boyfriend that threats weren't the right approach, he called me ungrateful and refused to apologize. Should I apologize to my friend?"
Our answer: your boyfriend sounds like a hypercontrolling asshole with potential for abuse! If he's not already psychologically or physically abusing you (and it sounds like he is!) he's probably about to start. Columnist Philip Galanes' answer?
Unless your boyfriend is a method actor preparing some Stanley Kowalski exercise, I'm afraid he's really put his foot in it. An apology from you doesn't work. Your behavior was blameless, and apologizing for your boyfriend would be pointless. He's not sorry and you can't prevent further outbursts. I'd address the underlying behavior. It's odd that your boyfriend would object to a hug from a friend, gay or straight, especially if it didn't bother you. And his response to you is a little strange, as well. 'Ungrateful' for what - being treated like a helpless possession? None of this is to say your boyfriend is a bad person. He may have a blind spot where other men are concerned. Still, you owe it to yourself (and the safety of half the world's population) to straighten this out. Ask him why he became so upset, and let him know that you're a big girl who can judge whether a touch is inappropriate. If that goes well, ask again about an apology. If not, how would you feel about hugging my diabolical editor?
Look, I know the column is meant to be lighthearted, but Galanes is taking this thing way too flippantly for my liking. There are numerous red flags in the original question, starting with the fact that she had to write into an advice columnist to ask it in the first place. YES you should apologize to your friend for your complete asshole of a boyfriend! How can you even have to ask that question? If my boyfriend ever EVER even yelled at one of my friends, much less threatened them with violence, I would be mortified and apologize profusely. You don't yell at each other's friends, just like you don't yell at other people's children. Lady, you need to get far, far away from this man as soon as humanly possible.
Social Q's [New York Times]
Earlier: Social Q's Answered By The Loser