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Ask Athena: Answers to Your Questions on Love and Lust in Burlington 

click to enlarge MATT MIGNANELLI
  • Matt Mignanelli

Where can I discreetly get it on in public?

— Getting Down All Around

Ooh, fun! Public restrooms are a classic spot — and the mirrored, low-lit lavatory at Light Club Lamp Shop is pretty spacious, just sayin'. Just lock the damn door.

If the thrill of being caught appeals to you, try getting frisky at night by — or in — the lake. In a parked car overlooking the mountains could be romantic and kinky. Overlook Park on Spear Street in South Burlington is a time-honored make-out spot. Ditto Colchester's Sunset Drive-In Theatre during the summer months.

But do bone up on laws surrounding lewd and lascivious behavior first. We'd hate to see you in handcuffs — for the wrong reasons, anyway.

Where the eff are the gay bars? LGBT resources?

— Gay and Bored

Sadly, since 135 Pearl closed years ago, the Queen City has lacked a true gay bar. Get on it, business owners of Burlington! In the meantime, try Three Needs Brewery & Taproom on Pearl Street; it's kind of an undercover lesbian bar. Over on Church Street, Halflounge Speakeasy is super gay-friendly. In Winooski, the Monkey House hosts LGBT events such as the Over the Rainbow Open House, and Oak45 has twice been voted best gay-friendly bar in the state.

As for resources: The Pride Center of Vermont on South Champlain Street offers education and advocacy for the gay community. Check for events and helpful info.

I had unprotected sex and am worried I got an STD. Where do I go?

— Freakin' Out

Two words: Planned Parenthood. Find the Burlington location on St. Paul Street. Don't mind the occasional protesters outside; just go in and ask for help. The staff is friendly and efficient. And good for you for getting checked out, but don't make unprotected sex a habit. Be safe so you can have fun, (relatively) worry free.

I feel like I know everyone in this town. How do I meet new people?

— Sick of the Selection

You'd be surprised whom you don't know, or whom you've overlooked. If you haven't already, try one of the many online-dating options out there. Shameless plug: Peruse the Seven Days personals! Maybe you'll discover that you already have a secret admirer in the I-Spy section.

Beyond that, just get out there. Go see live music and theater. Take some yoga classes. Join a hiking club or volunteer with a local organization. Get involved and push yourself to be friendly — you never know where you might find a connection.

A friend is dating my ex. How do I deal?

— Sharing Ain't Caring

Welcome to Burlington! It's a small city, so romantic tangles with friends are kind of a rite of passage.

Still, it can be awkward. Sometimes you think you're totally over an ex, but when they start a new relationship, you're hit with confusing combo of nostalgia and jealousy — especially if said ex is dating a friend. Move on, and mind your own business. While the idea of staying away from a friend's ex is good in theory, the heart wants what it wants. If the friendship is meaningful to you, try to keep their love life separate from your bond.

I just moved to Vermont, and I'm doing the long-distance thing with my boyfriend. But what happens if I'm attracted to someone local?

— Going the Distance?

First things first: Get on the same page with your current guy. Are you keeping things casual and seeing other people while you live apart, or are you still exclusive? If you agree on an open relationship, feel free to date around — as long as you're up-front with all parties. But as soon as you feel your heart tugging strongly in one direction, let the other guy go. No one likes to be played.

Oh, and while you may not be in danger of your two hunks running into each other on Church Street, you should still be careful not to call out the wrong name in bed.

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