I\’ve been arguing a point with a male friend who\’s in a relationship with a very nice woman. His girlfriend got on the birth control patch because they wanted a more reliable method than condoms. She\’s just a student, and in their two years together, birth control has set her back $1,140 ($570 a year). She\’s been asking him to split the cost of the patch ($35/month) and her yearly checkup to renew it ($150), and he\’s balking. He feels that since she\’s the one using it, as opposed to him using condoms, he shouldn\’t have to help. If you say he should pay, he promises he will. What\’s the verdict?

— The Mediator

Yes, he correctly notes, \”she\’s the one using\” the birth control patch — mainly because slapping a medicated sticker with female hormones on his hairy back won\’t do much more than increase his bra size from 46AAA to 46B, and maybe make him lactate a little.

So, who was the eighth-grade teacher who forgot to send your friend to summer school to repeat sex ed? Somebody should break the news to him that babies are made by a man and a woman having sexual intercourse, not dropped off by a giant cartoon stork. Maybe once he gets hip to the whole sperm-meets-egg/egg-inflates-into-baby thing, he\’ll come to understand that his girlfriend isn\’t wearing the patch as a fashion statement or because it\’s a recreational drug and she\’s looking to get an estrogen buzz.

What\’s more, she isn\’t just paying for the patch in dollars and with that day at Disneyland otherwise known as a visit to the gynecologist. Potential \”adverse reactions\” published by the pharmaceutical company include nausea, vomiting and weight gain; depression, corneal shape-shifting and cerebral hemorrhage; and then there\’s yeast infection, loss of scalp hair and hirsutism. While most women use the patch without major side effects, there is a chance his girlfriend could end up bald, with a really big gut and a beard.

Mr. All Play, No Pay may not know there are health risks involved, but the fact that his girlfriend has to beg him to undo the padlock on his wallet is seriously disgusting. As for the princely sum she\’s looking to have him chip in, let\’s see … it\’s $35 a month for the patch, plus the yearly $150 doctor exam ($12.50 per month), which comes to $47.50 a month. Divide that by the two people enjoying pregnancy-free sex, and you get a grand total of $23.75 a month per enjoyer — a considerable savings over $1,228.08, the average monthly cost, according to a 2005 United States Department of Agriculture report, for middle-class parents to raise a child to age 17. In other words, this guy could be getting off cheap, with highly effective child-support prevention for less than a dollar a day. Instead, he\’s merely getting off — while rubbing his girlfriend\’s nose in what a tightwad he can be.

My verdict? If you\’re sleeping with somebody who quibbles about going halfsies on birth control, you aren\’t having sex, you\’re getting screwed. And remember, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, \”Action is character.\” This guy\’s actions suggest he\’s the kind of boyfriend who\’ll always be there for her — until the chips are down or the check comes. And who is she? Let\’s hope, somebody who finally sees the wisdom in telling him to keep his $23.75 and put it toward a case of Kleenex and a magnum of Vaseline Intensive Care.

Homo is where the heart is

I\’m a 20-year-old college guy with two days to decide whether I\’ll move across the country to live with my older boyfriend who relocated to San Francisco on a whim. We\’ve been together two years, and I love him very much, but picking up and moving with two years of school left is a logistical nightmare. Then again, San Francisco has a school with a better design program, and I can\’t imagine being unhappy there.

— Wavering

When you move, no matter how thorough you try to be, you invariably leave little things behind: a sock in the dryer, the base to your electric toothbrush, a shower caddy, your boyfriend. What\’s missing from this relationship is that conversation where the two of you ponder, \”What should we do? Where should we live?\” Notice how \”we\” was never a concern here; at least, not for him. Sure, maybe SF has a better design school. Maybe Reykjavik has an even better one. You\’re not looking for a design school. You\’re looking to rationalize continuing to act like this guy\’s dog. The best way to stop is to stay put, and consider his flitting off a message: He didn\’t forget you; he forgot to tell you he was looking forward to roller-skating through the Castro with a teacup Chihuahua and a new boyfriend.