Not tonight, dear, I'm temporarily hideous.
March 13, 2012 10:32 PM   Subscribe

Starting to see someone. Yay! Just burned the crap out of my body. Help! (Gross details inside.)

I am a clumsy dumbass who spilled coffee on myself and now have a burn. It's mostly first-degree, maybe veeeerrrry mild second-degree - there might have been tiny blisters at the start but they peeled and never actually formed. Basically it looks like and is the size of this without the blisters. The pain is gone, it's easily coverable by clothes, and I've been burned worse before and can't see a thing anymore.

Problem is.

I'm beginning to date someone, and I really like this guy. We've made out some, but he hasn't seen me naked before, so at the stage we're at, we should realistically get intimate this date or the next. This date is tonight. What do I do about the big, unignorable, gross scar on my body that wasn't there before? The way I see it, I have a few options:

1. No sex until the burn heals. This might be a while, I don't know.
2. Bandages over the raw parts, makeup over the rest. I don't realistically see this withstanding sex.
3. Do nothing, and hope the sight of this incredibly gross burn isn't a turnoff, which it might be.

Am I forgetting anything? How do I even bring this up?

Bonus tips if you know anything that'll make the redness/scarring subside sooner. I'm using neosporin now.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (28 answers total)

Three. Maybe with a disclaimer as you're getting nekkid — "Hey, so I totally burned the crap out of myself the other day. Don't be alarmed!"
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:37 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

What an opportunity. Ask him if he wants to play doctor. If he is turned off, he's the wrong guy.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:40 PM on March 13, 2012 [17 favorites]

You don't mention where you're burned. If it's your hand, just bandage it properly and have a couple of good bullshit stories to trot out when the inevitable question arrives.

"I caught it in the kangaroo mangler."
"My dragon Florence is a jealous pet."
"Proof I'm hot!"

And then say "I burned myself really bad, be careful ok?" after he's taken his pants off.
posted by carsonb at 10:41 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Make a joke out of it! When sexytimes are happening, put a big smile on your face and say something like "Oh hey, please don't touch my *burnedbodypart* because I spilled coffee on myself the other day and the skin is still really tender. You are totally welcome to touch *otherbodypart*, though!"
posted by erst at 10:42 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Tell him you got burned with coffee. This is literally no big deal and having it anonymous is... well, just relax. You got burned with coffee. Can you imagine finding that disdainful if someone told you? No? Well, same rules apply.

Serious life rule: anytime you're worried about a thing, imagine someone telling you the same news. Do you give a fuck? If you don't, laugh and move on.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:43 PM on March 13, 2012 [46 favorites]

Yeah, this is highly unlikely to be an issue for your guy, except inasmuch as he'll want to be careful not to injure you worse. Just tell him "I spilled coffee on myself the other day and burned the shit out of myself," at any time before you take your clothes off. Doesn't even have to be right before, just give him a heads up at some point. Make it an amusing anecdote during your date or something, just don't make it seem like a big deal because it isn't one. I can almost guarantee you that if he likes you at all he will be more than willing to overlook this in order to have sex with you.

In short: don't worry about it.
posted by Scientist at 10:51 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think it might help you relax if you imagine him freaking out OH MY GOD YOU SPILLED COFFEE ON YOURSELF FUCK I'M OUT OF HERE

Can you imagine that actually happening? I can't!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:56 PM on March 13, 2012 [17 favorites]

They make bigger bandages and also surgical tape - you can get these at the drugstore. Do that.

Do NOT put make-up on the wound unless you're keen for permanent scaring. Geez!

Cover the entire wound with a sterile gauze bandage large enough to hide the entire burn. Secure with surgical tape. Tell your new guy about your burn!

Relax and enjoy your date. Just don't make the wound worse, OK?
posted by jbenben at 11:00 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have you seen the film "After Hours"? Maybe you should wait. If you really like this person, maybe your first time with them shouldn't be so complicated with the potential of going horribly wrong.
posted by cazoo at 11:02 PM on March 13, 2012

Yeah, go for the fun sexy-times angle here.
posted by mleigh at 11:02 PM on March 13, 2012

If you're expecting your date to be as judgmental towards you as you are to yourself, no wonder you're freaked out. You don't have to be perfect for him to like you! In fact, if he's not kind and sympathetic about you being in pain, he doesn't deserve to see you naked.

Take a deep breath, do the gauze & neosporin thing, and in the course of conversation just say you've burnt your (insert body part here) and to please be careful there. If he's a smart man, that's when he should offer to kiss it better.

I hope your date goes well, and in the future - try not to be so hard on yourself.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:33 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Do what jbenben says. Especially the relax part. The odds of his seeing a gauze-covered burn and having any reaction to that outweigh the almost overwhelming excitement about seeing you naked are almost incalculable.
posted by dg at 11:43 PM on March 13, 2012

I can't imagine that a person old enough to have sex would be so turned off by a burn. However, if you are worried also about it healing well and reducing bacterial/fungal infections from the blisters (which would give you a whole new set of worries), you can use silver sulfadiazine. I was prescribed this many years ago when I was seriously burned. Although I remember a prescription, the wiki page for this medicine says that it is OTC for generic brands, prescription only for the name brand Silvadene, and that CVS requires a prescription regardless. I do see that it is available online, and probably you can call around non-CVS pharmacies and pick it up OTC. The wiki article also notes that some studies show it increases healing time, so there's that. Don't use it if you are allergic to sulfa medicines.
posted by Houstonian at 11:53 PM on March 13, 2012

I am a guy. The only thing that would weird me out is finding out about the burn once we're naked. If we're dating, wouldn't we be talking about what's going on in our individual lives?

Just mention you burned yourself. If he's weird about it, dump him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:40 AM on March 14, 2012 [13 favorites]

Am I forgetting anything?

Regarding sexy time, most likely his biggest worry is going to be accidentally hurting you by touching your burn. Think through the motions (are his hands naturally going to go there?) and be prepared to take control so he doesn't have to worry about it.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:58 AM on March 14, 2012

Lots of optimists on this thread.

But here, have something else from someone who has dated (lots of) guys who are incredibly judgmental when it comes to looks. In fact, in my experience *most* men are extremely judgmental about looks, and YES, this one could very well be turned off by the *sight* of your burned body and care more about his visual kicks being marred than he does about your actual welfare.

So, what you should do is dependent on how much it would hurt if he turns out to be one of those dudes. If you need more time to try to assess whether he is such a guy, there's nothing wrong with not getting more intimate. It's your body and there is no official timetable for getting nekkid. If he can't deal with your not wanting to bare all on this date, then he's not worth your time. Obviously, if he freaks out at your temporary deformity, he's also not the right person, BUT that could also leave you with an emotional wound to go with the physical one.

Good luck whatever you do.
posted by parrot_person at 1:46 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aloe vera and then ice works really really well for me. The faster you can apply after the burn the better. Still worth doing.
posted by zia at 2:38 AM on March 14, 2012

The burn should definitely be covered with a dressing. Your skin is one of the main ways that your body keeps bacteria out. Remove a bunch of skin and you invite infection. So cover it up. If it were me, I'd also consider a "check this out!" attitude. It invites a bit of body sharing. Everyone has scars and it's a fun way to share stories about each other.
posted by plinth at 3:15 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hate to reduce it to a kind of essentialism here, but if you're about to have sex with someone you're into, well, you kind have your priorities pretty well sorted. This is not something that will disrupt the Maslowe hierarchy of sex needs, unless you've just torched the shit, torched the shit right out of your vagina or something - and then only from a damage perspective, lots of people would be totally cool with it and all "oh let's put some cream on that, oh yeah you like that don't you? You're just burning up, well baby Ima put the fire out" (I paraphrase).

Unless your burn has a mouth that talks, with Bea Arthur's voice, your date won't care. Bonus points for mentioning it when you first start pashing, "hey just be careful with my inner elbow, I have a burn there." Truly this is no big deal.
posted by smoke at 3:15 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Treating: clean, cold water is usually more of an immediate first aid measure, but I've found it wonderful at relieving pain, and I swear at least once it made a burn heal faster. (I know it shouldn't, but . . .)

As for the guy,I'd suggest that once you're at a point where you're pretty sure things would normally be getting intimate, tell him up front, "I burned myself with coffee, and it's a little ugly and a lot painful. I've been worrying about whether it would be a turn-off." Trust me, he'll be thrilled you were thinking that much about getting sexy.

Then give him a choice: make love carefully, in the dark. Or wait till it's healed. As a guy, I bet I know what he'll choose.
posted by wjm at 3:42 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd probably take the lazy way of mentioning it... When you sit down at a table or something at the beginning of your date, go all "ouch" and then when he asks what's wrong say, "I spilled coffee like a klutz all over my [leg/arm/stomach], it's still all gross and annoying".
posted by anaelith at 6:49 AM on March 14, 2012

Sure, there are some guys out there who would be freaked out and turned off by this. But honestly, if a guy can't react with sympathy when you tell them on a date that you spilled coffee on yourself and have a pretty bad burn that might inhibit sex for a while, they're not worth your time. So, just tell him, like you would tell any other friend, and see how he reacts.
posted by peacheater at 7:02 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another point: You don't have to have sex the very next time. If you're not feeling sexy, then you're not feeling sexy, you know? While I or the someone else might think it's silly or you're over-thinking things, there doesn't mean we're right. Talk about it with him and do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

Talk to the guy. More than likely he'll understand and be comforting. If not, that's a clear warning sign that he may not be worth it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you find yourself heading towards sex/nakedness, I would tell him "I was a total klutz and gave myself a pretty bad burn with some hot coffee, so I think we should put off naked-times until it gets a little better." and then go back to making out.

I would be worried about raw-ish burned skin when in contact with another person covered in whatever foreign germs he may be covered with (we're all covered with germs, so germy-ness isn't necessarily gross, just a fact of life). And even if the burn itself doesn't hurt, hot things/bodies touching the burns might still feel uncomfortable, so I'd be pretty anxious about it.
posted by that girl at 9:14 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

But here, have something else from someone who has dated (lots of) guys who are incredibly judgmental when it comes to looks. In fact, in my experience *most* men are extremely judgmental about looks, and YES, this one could very well be turned off by the *sight* of your burned body and care more about his visual kicks being marred than he does about your actual welfare.

I'm genuinely sorry that that's happened to you, but this here single-data-point-that-walks-the-earth-like-a-dude isn't terribly bothered by either permanent scars or temporary injuries, aside from trying not to exacerbate them with the sexytimes. Anyone who's bothered by someone's body not having that fresh-from-the-shipping-crate-RealDoll look probably isn't worth being with in either the short or long term.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:02 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

If it's actually like that picture you linked, then relax. Many attractive people with healthy sex lives have far worse permanent scars than that. I would literally not give that a second thought. Especially if you pointed out that it's only temporary.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2012

I've had stuff wrong with my body before and sometimes gotten down, sometimes not. I based that choice on IF I wanted to. If I felt like hooking up, I did. i.e., one time I stupidly tried bikini line Nair and let's just say my parts felt pretty raw. I just made a quick smiling mention of it when my date was getting me naked "oh, by the way, I had a shaving incident earlier, so I'm a little tender there, so just be a little more gentle." (shaving sounded better than chemical burning Nair right? if coffee were plausible that one would have been better!). My date just laughed and said okay, and was more gentle. No big deal. The dude will not care. Seriously.

I see two scenarios for you:

You might also say, as making out starts, something like "So, I just want to tell you real quick, the other day I totally spilled burning hot coffee all over myself. It sucked and kind of hurts my (leg/whatever), so go a little easy on me okay?" and flash a flirty smile.

OR say "So, I just want to tell you real quick, the other day I totally spilled burning hot coffee all over myself. It sucked and my (leg/whatever) still hurts really bad and I don't feel up for (sex/whatever activity)--I want our first time to be fun and awesome, so can we hold off a few days until I feel 100%?"

And definitely cover it with some gauze or something. I would imagine sexy fluids might sting/get infected or something if they hit your burns.
posted by manicure12 at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2012

Maybe it's just the guys I've date but the whole OMG BOOBIES (assuming you're female or OMG Naked hawt guy if you're not) will outweigh any and all concerns about the look of the burn. Except for maybe clearly stating before your clothes come off you have a burn and to be careful, and maybe covering it just to help keep it clean and protected I can't see you have any concerns. If the guy is so shallow that the power of having happy fun naked times with someone he likes can't outweigh physical evidence that you're human, then he's not worth your time.
posted by wwax at 10:44 AM on March 15, 2012

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