I have an announcement to make. I have a girlfriend now. By “now,” I actually mean for about nine months, but she didn’t really feel comfortable with me writing this column for a while. What? Why are you making that whip-cracking noise?

Wait, don’t stop reading! Please don’t stop reading!

Yes, this is the column that previously ran headlines like “Google your way to play” and “Searching out the Quality Skank.” Except now I have a girlfriend. It appears I have, well, “found” the quality skank. But don’t worry — this isn’t going to turn into a cutesy relationship thing where I talk about how “happy” I am now and how I use the pet name “cuddle-bunny” not only for her, but also for most of my friends and TAs. There will be no “10 ways to have a really creative Valentine’s Day” column.

Don’t worry. Girlfriend or no girlfriend — I still completely suck at life, and I still use the word “boo-ya.”

But there is, however, a downside to being in a relationship. Now I’m not going to say it’s that I miss “freedom” or I sometimes “wonder” what it would be like with other girls. No, my girlfriend is hot — only guys with ugly girls wish for “freedom.” The problem has nothing to do with other girls; it’s that every day, slowly and steadily, I am becoming a bigger and bigger tool — yet some things remain frustratingly small.

There are some guys at Yale who naturally end up in relationships — these are the sweet, presentable-looking “boyfriend guys.” You only seem to see one of these guys at brunch (they don’t go out anymore), sitting with his girlfriend’s friends, making mildly funny pun-based jokes, and saying things like “holy guacamole.” Not me, I thought. My girlfriend and I will still go out and I’ll still get drunk like we always did.

But that’s been changing. Neither of us goes out as much — we always get drunk by 11 and have to go home. Now instead of going to Tuesday Night Club or Late Nights, we watch movies. We used to know the bouncer at Toad’s; now we’ve both gotten to know the night-shift guys at Blockbuster. Know them a little too well, actually — and to tell you the truth, I hate those guys. They sneer at me every time I come in, like they are already envisioning me renting Hugh Grant movies. My girlfriend, Em, is actually not on speaking terms with one of the guys right now, because he was a little too fresh with her the other night. Em’s from New Jersey, and holds grudges. The whole walk back afterwards that night I was subjected to an N.J. Socratic inquiry: “Hey was it me, or was that guy fresh back there? I come here every night, what does he think? I want the movie in a bag this time? Does he think he can act like that with me? He was being fresh, wasn’t he? (As they say in Jersey …) What the fuck?”

Just then we ran into some friends of mine, including my friend Fasir. Fasir, since I started dating, has given me betrayed looks like he’s about to rap a version of 2Pac’s “I ain’t mad at ya.” They were going to Richter’s and asked if we wanted to come. I said no. He looked at the Blockbuster bag.

“What’s in there?”

“Nothing … I mean just a movie.”

But even that wasn’t true. I used to say we watched movies, but then one of my suitemates walked in on what we were ACTUALLY doing. We weren’t naked or anything — that would at least give me some street cred. No, the “act” in this case was something much, much more embarrassing, and it wasn’t an isolated incident.

My girlfriend and I were watching a rented “Sex and the City” DVD on my computer. My suitemate had heard the theme song from the common room, and came in to see what was the matter.

“Oh my God! Sorry!” he immediately closed the door. Nothing castrates quite like the “Sex and the City” theme song. Perhaps it’s because it’s the show’s subject matter — but something tells me that masculinity cannot be found in a xylophone glissando, no matter how hard you try. What’s worse, he caught me in the middle of a catty comment I was making about Samantha’s outfit.

Holy Guacamole.

Burt Helm is way better than Samantha — better than Carrie, even.