ask a scientist



Well, the hotspring of advice requests has run dry of late, for reasons that we can't really understand. Are you people no longer interested in Right Living, the We Are Scientists way? Or what? In any case, there are few things we love more than saddling our high horse, so just because you've stopped asking doesn't mean we'll stop answering. But you've forced us to go elsewhere for inquiries. In this case, to the January 2002 issue of YM, which is a magazine we love to pull out from under the mattress on lonely nights or languid weekends.

query: I'm 13 and have been asked to a boy-girl sleepover. I'm afraid my parents will say no. How can I convince them to let me go? -Soraya, 14

Really the only way you stand a chance with this one is if you can somehow make your parents believe that the depths of your depravity are such that forbidding you from going to a lousy boy-girl sleepover would be an irrelevant gesture bordering on the absurd. Tell them you're regularly doing drugs, acting in porn films, robbing liquor stores, beating homeless people, selling military secrets to the Chinese, and adding extra butter to recipes for baked goods. They will have no choice but to see that a little sleepover with some swingin homies stands a slight chance of further tainting your chastity.

query: Is it true that once you use a tampon, you're not considered a virgin anymore? -Amy, 14

Absolutely. In fact, the use of a tampon is the only reliable definition of non-virginity. You've had oral sex? You've had anal sex? Some say you're still a virgin, some say you're not. We say unless you've had to staunch your body's natural flow of menstrual blood using a cotton absorption device, you've never experienced the kind of physical giving-of-the-self-to-another that we talk about when we talk about sex.

query: There are always cold sores on my mouth, and I hate them! What can I do? -Andie, 16

Andie: Why don't you kill yourself? Seriously, it sounds like things have pretty much hit rock bottom for you. How could life possibly be any worse? You could be starving, you could live in a country where stepping on a landmine is a constant possibility, you could have abusive parents, and still you would be better off than you currently are. Jesus Christ. Get some perspective, is our first piece of advice.

Our second piece of advice is to try augmenting your diet with a B vitamin supplement. Insufficient B-12 (thiamin) in your diet can be the source of dryness and irritation around the soft tissues of your mouth and nose. A Lysine deficiency may also be causing your problem, so take a 200 mg Lysine gelcap twice a day for two weeks and see if there's any improvement. Good luck!

query: There was this boy I had a crush on who was always complimenting me, so I asked him out. He said, "No, I don't want a girlfriend right now, but I think you're really cool." Recently, his friend, whom I sort of like, asked me out. I don't feel like giving up on the first guy, because I still think something could happen. What should I do? -Jody, 14

Jody: We fault your approach at least partially. If your quote is accurate as you wrote it, you must have not simply asked the guy out, but said, "Do you want a girlfriend?" This may be a little forward. Consider taking it a little slower. Desperation is unattractive in 14 year olds.

query: I'm 17 and my boyfriend is 15. Our parents and friends claim he's too young for me. How can we show them that age doesn't matter? -Lauren, 17

Dear Lauren: Yawn. Who cares?

And here's the lone question from a guy, who accidentally addressed this most sensitivie of guy-queries (we're all too familiar with this one!) to a girl magazine read by a nation of his female peers...

query: I think my penis is small, and I'm embarrassed to change clothes in front of anyone. How do I know if it's normal? -Dan, 16

Don't worry! We checked with a doctor and he told us that the average penis size for boys 12-18 years old is .5 to 1.5 inches when erect. So you're normal, right? I mean, you fit within that range, right? Whatever you are, friend, that's normal. Normal for you. The other kids at your school may have received high doses of radiation while in their mothers' wombs, which accounts for their gigantic four and five inch penises, but just wait til they die of brain cancer at 33! Then who's laughing? You are, Mr. Tiny-Cock! You! Ha ha! Beautiful day!



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