"Law School": advice on sex and relationships from Benjamin Law, his mum Jenny, and Dan Savage

Hi Ben and Jenny!

So my girlfriend came over the other night to have dinner with my folks for the first time. They really hit it off! My mum even asked her what perfume she was wearing. Now it’s a week later and my mum is wearing it too. I can’t see her without smelling my girlfriend. I can’t kiss my girlfriend without picturing my mother. Help me. Please help me.

Pale and gagging,



First of all, I’m very happy your girlfriend and mother are so close! They click so well. Some people end up being in a ‘sandwich’ between the women—a woman sandwich!—because mothers can get really jealous of their sons’ girlfriends. I’ve never felt that as a mother, mainly because Benjamin is gay, and my other son is nicer when he has a girlfriend. But your girlfriend and mother are like ‘a house on fire’, as white people say! It also sounds like your girlfriend doesn’t know about the perfume situation. Tell her! Suggest that she stops wearing the perfume! Your mother comes first, and it sounds like she really likes this perfume. Be honest and straight to the point: “Whenever you’re wearing this perfume, it’s like I’m kissing my mother, and this is—ew—yucky.” 



On paper, your problem sounds like a ridiculous That’s Life headline—’I Can’t Kiss My Girlfriend Without Thinking of My Mother’—but I sort of get where you’re coming from. Tommy Hilfigger cologne reminds me of my boyfriend when he was in his early 20s; Dettol reminds me of my father; and a particularly sour type of pungent BO takes me back to a university lecturer I wished was dead. As far as I can see, you’ve got two options: tell your girlfriend (which should work – no one wants to be thought of as their partner’s mother while getting fingered); or buy your girlfriend a new perfume as a gift. When she wears it for the first time, keep telling her how sexy she smells. Invite her friends to smell her and trap them into complimenting the perfume. Have robust and ravenous intercourse that evening. Over the next few weeks, slowly tip out the remains of the old fragrance, until there’s barely anything left. And we’re done.




Honestly that’s what my readers would SCREAM if your letter appeared in my column – fake, fake, fake. I’m a little kinder than my readers: your problem could be real, I would allow, but it’s such a small thing, such a piddling nothing of a problem, that even if it were real, the only reason you would write to me about it—or to any agony aunt—is because you’re an attention-seeking-but-none-too-ambitious famewhore who wanted to see his “problem” in print and/or pixels for the shits and/or giggles. My advice (assuming it’s real and setting aside the low-bore famewhore stuff): Call your mother and tell her that she either has to go back to wearing her old perfume—and it’s all just rodent piss and I don’t understand why anyone would “dab” themselves with rodent piss anyway—or you won’t be able to see her again until you break up with your girlfriend or she (your mother) is on her deathbed, whichever comes first.


This is an extract from The Lifted Brow #21, The Sex Issue!  Buy your copy now!