On an alcoholic prick


I was talking to a friend about why I cut an “alcoholic prick” out of my life. She responded that it was unfair of me to call him a “prick” because he is an alcoholic and alcoholism is an illness and he’s had a really rough life. She said I was being moralistic about an illness.

I was really irritated by her comments – I found them really moralistic, actually. I know those things, and I wasn’t making like, a commentary on alcoholism. And I also know that this person has consistently been an inconsiderate prick to me – and I don’t mean just being non-committal, frustrating, inconsiderate, etc. I mean some level where I’ve cleaned up for him, been shouted at by strangers for his behavior, felt like his human trash can, etc. I’ve come to think he’s not just an alcoholic, but that he’s an alcoholic AND an entitled prick.

But my mind still goes around and around and I do have guilt and questions – and my friend’s comments upset me. I’m not sure how to frame my question to you. But I’d like your broad thoughts.


If your friend thinks it’s unfair to characterize this guy as a prick because he’s also an alcoholic, then she doesn’t understand the disease model of addiction.

Yes, alcoholism can be considered a disease. That’s one way of looking at it, but alcoholism in no way excuses a person’s shitty behavior. Neither does having had a really rough life.

A prick is a prick. This guy sure sounds like a one. It’s okay for you to say it, and it’s okay for you to cut him out of your life. Quit feeling guilty about finally not being a doormat. While you’re at it, tell your friend that if she’s not gonna be supportive, then she should shut the fuck up.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


Your view on Syrian refugees coming to America?
We should be accepting 100,000 instead of 10,000.

Is 22 young? I feel like my life is over.
Your childhood is over. That’s what you’re feeling. Your life is just getting started.

I don’t have a handle on my drinking anymore. What now?
Address the reason why your drinking has become problematic. If it’s because you’re bored, find something else to do. If it’s because you’re self-medicating, get some help.

Deep down in your heart, are you an anarchist?
No. I just have a problem with authority.

How do you make a judgement between the legitimate suffering of a depressive illness and someone who is ungrateful and full of excuses? Where is the line drawn?
There is no line. A person’s depression isn’t delegitimized by a certain amount or type of shitty behavior. At the same time, a person’s depression does not excuse their shitty behavior.

Psychology or sociology?
They are the exact same disciplines at different scales. Just ask yourself, would you rather learn about the human condition or the condition of humanity?

Why does it annoy me, a Korean girl, that Sephora has recently begun selling Korean beauty and skincare brands (they call it K-beauty)?
What you’re feeling is a little bit exploited. Regardless of how good the products are, Sephora’s marketing strategy is basically just low-key Orientalism.

Why do some people have good shit land in their lap while I have to work 5 times as hard for my happiness? (Yes, I’m bitter but life is seriously becoming too difficult to deal with)
There is no reason. Stop looking at other people’s laps.

Have you ever planted a question so you would have a platform to share your views on a certain topic?
Nope, never. (I get dozens of questions on every topic, so if I feel like ranting, I just pick one.)


On a physicist with a secret


I am a physicist working at a fairly high end university researching fusion and renewable energy sources. Some of us here including myself recently made a discovery that, upon entering the light of the mainstream world; would drastically change how we view energy. The discovery was made quite a while ago but the research never saw the light of day and it has been about a year. The researchers obviously handed in all evidence of it and was initially hidden and we were all congratulated on our discoveries but we were essentially forced to stay quiet about it as other scientists took over research. I know the answer is looking me in the face, but why did it never see the light of day? Why did the school ever bother funding our experiments if it was just to be sealed in a vault and not actually put into application? Personal note: I kept a copy of some of our final experiments. What would you do in my position?


Send me the research and I’ll let you know.


On hateful comments


Lady-Coke: Speaking of your twitter, I just wanted to say that you are really good at letting people’s hateful comments just roll off like it’s no big deal. People say some pretty fucked-up shit to you. How do you do it? How did you get to that point? I experience maybe 1/10th of the hate sent your way and I always get flustered and come back with some garbage response.


It rolls off like it’s no big deal because it isn’t a big deal. It’s silly. All of it. Especially on twitter, and I know better than to take any of it personally.

That’s the trick, really — never taking any of it personally. Whenever someone sends me some hateful comment, I know it’s not about me. It can’t be, because they don’t even know who I am.

Whatever shit they talk, they’re just telling me about themselves. It’s always about them. They’re inevitably defending their own identity, so I automatically have the upper hand. They’ve shown me their weakness by reacting, so if I feel like it, I know exactly where to pinch.

Besides, I love my haters. I always have. They’re readers too, after all, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my stuff.


You Know Who You Are


For those who follow me on twitter (and all of you should, I’m fucking hilarious) you may have noticed that every so often, I’ll tweet out a bit of advice and end it with, “You know who you are.”

Those have all been responses to your submissions. They’re usually quick answers that are time sensitive, short answers to questions that you want me to keep private, or random and bizarre questions that I wouldn’t want to become full posts but still feel like answering.

It’s something I like doing, so expect to see more of it, and from now on, I’m just gonna use the hashtag #YouKnowWhoYouAre.

If I tweet out something tagged with #YouKnowWhoYouAre and it answers a question you’ve recently asked, then yeah, you know who you are.

(If I need the extra characters, I might occasionally shorten it to #YKWYA. We’ll see.)


On common fucking decency


Coquette, I agree with your views on organized religion. My question is, how can we separate our disapproval of the belief system from racism and discrimination against its believers?


It’s as easy as separating the ideas from the people. There’s a huge difference between saying “Fuck Islam” and “Fuck Muslims.”

I’ve had friends who are Egyptian, Turkish, Palestinian, Saudi, and Iranian. Some are royalty, and some are refugees. Some are devout Muslims, and some are proud to be apostates. They all have completely different backgrounds from wildly varying cultures, and all of them to some degree have experienced racism and discrimination here in America. That has nothing to do with Islam. It’s because they’re brown and have accents and America is full of bigoted assholes.

Racism and discrimination are products of in-group favoritism and othering. They’re what happens when willfully ignorant people come at the world with an “us vs them” mentality. That mindset is poisonous, especially when it’s accompanied with an attitude of “superior vs inferior.” Toss irrational fear into the mix and bad shit starts happening.

You can disagree with a person’s belief system all day long. Sometimes it’s even appropriate to call them out on their nonsense, but the second you start treating them as an “other” — as someone apart and less than you — then you’ve crossed the fucking line.

You don’t have to respect everyone’s beliefs, but you do have to respect everyone’s humanity. You have to be fucking decent.


On my view of religion


How can you say ISIS practices Islam when they don’t even pray in the right direction? When they go against the laws forbidding violence and forcing people to join Islam? I think you have a very Westernized, myopic view of the religion. Would you say the KKK is the Christian equivalent? Or do you just care less about black people being killed?

I always forget how Islamophobic you are.


If you knew who I was, if you had even the slightest idea of what I’ve been through, you would immediately apologize for coming at me with this punk-ass mealy-mouthed bullshit.

I did not come by my world view lightly. This is not theoretical or academic for me. I have more scars than you have opinions, and I have profoundly earned the right to detest organized religion.

Fuck Islam. Fuck it.

Fuck Christianity. Fuck Judaism. Fuck all that Abrahamic nonsense. Fuck it all, and while we’re at it, fuck you and fuck your delicate sensibilities and fuck all your half-formed positions that you’re parroting from another source, because you clearly don’t understand what you’re even talking about.

I could run circles around your sloppy notion of Islamophobia. I could make you violently dizzy with so much knowledge that you would regret ever being so casual with the meaning of words.

I am not to be messed with on this topic, and I could give two shits whether you think my politics are dainty enough when I criticize the horror men do in the name of their repulsive gods.

I have read all the scriptures, I have stared into the abyss, and I have been swallowed up and spit back out by death itself. The only wisdom I have comes from the constant acknowledgment of my own cosmic ignorance, and still, I have to listen to assholes like you come at me with weak tea and soggy crackers because my philosophy doesn’t pucker up to an imaginary friend in the sky.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I am done with the all right wing racist Christians who treat xenophobia like it’s a virtue. I am done with all the left wing Muslim apologists who make endless excuses for a horrible belief system. I am done with all the incessant pigeonholing and pearl clutching and praying. I have heard every justification for every last bit of irrational nonsense, and I am simply done.

Believe in whatever crazy bullshit you want. If you need a savior, feel free to pick one. If you need a heaven, go ahead and hope. If you need a god to make sense of it all, that’s your fucking business, but I will not let anyone else make it mine.

My church is the church of reason. My religion is common fucking decency. Come at me with anything less and I will teach you a lesson in disrespect, because my patience has ended, and I don’t have to be tolerant of bad ideas.

None of us do.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


He has a girlfriend, but we chat & meet all the time. I know I shouldn’t, but he makes me laugh like no one else.
Please tell me to quit it.

Quit it.

Do you think open relationships aren’t recommended for young people?
Nah, open relationships aren’t recommended for immature people.

What’s the difference between self-loathing and self-pity?
A victim mentality.

Am I doomed to a life of lovelessness?
Don’t be so dramatic.

Why is skinny sexy?
I don’t accept the premise of your question.

Why is my biggest nightmare being fat?
Because your ego justifies itself based on your body’s ability to conform to beauty standards.

I just had a rich kid tell me, “good luck trying to escape middle America.” What the fuck. How would you handle this scenario?
The proper response in that situation is, “good luck trying to get your parents to love you.”

In your opinion, is it ever acceptable to marry/spend the rest of your life with your very first boyfriend?
Sure. Even in marriage, your first doesn’t have to be your only. (And I hope you understand that “marry” and “spend the rest of your life with” are two very different things. It’s naive of you to conflate them.)

Is Trump rich enough to own ISIS?
No. That’s not even how it works. (On a side note, consider this: the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is ranked #57 on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People. Donald Trump is only ranked #74, and that number will plummet once he’s no longer a presidential candidate.)

What is your opinion on the illegalization of hijabs?
A national law telling a woman what she can’t wear is just as oppressive as a religious law telling a woman what she must wear.

You know what? Fuck you.
Ooh. I challenged your belief system, didn’t I? For a second there, you almost changed your point of view. It’s okay. You’ll get there.


On booty call 101


I’m in my mid thirties and have just become single for the first time since college. Last night I ran into a guy I used to work with. He offered to buy me a drink so we went to a bar and chatted, and then we made out in the parking lot like high school kids for like ten minutes before I went home. He’s invited me over for friendly sex tomorrow which I’m totally down for. I feel weird showing up at his place empty-handed; should I bring wine? Is there etiquette to booty calls when you’re no longer in your twenties?

Sure, if you want, bring wine. Also bring condoms and a change of underwear.

As for etiquette, don’t expect to sleep over unless he specifically asks you to, and even then, don’t feel obligated unless you genuinely want to. (It’s best to have an exit strategy in place to avoid any post-sex awkwardness. A simple, “I have to be up early tomorrow” will get the job done in most cases.)

Other than that, just have fun.


On books about the middle east


Oh, Coquette. How can one possibly start to understand ISIS, ISIL, the Saudi regime, the Syrian crisis—hell, the entire Middle East as something more than a bewildering source of violence? I read The Grand Chessboard when you recommended it a while ago, but now I need something that helps me gain a little more perspective about that part of the world; I’m thinking about big-picture surveys of the history, political and economic control, and shifts in cultural and religious thought in that region. It’s a tall fuckin’ order, I know, and I recognize that I’ve got an icky Western stance that imagines a huge diverse part of the world as one big blanket mess that can somehow be understood through a few books. But I want to learn—or at least start. Any reading suggestions?

If you just want some general perspective on that part of the world, I’d recommend James Gelvin’s “The Modern Middle East.” (Be sure to get the fourth edition.)

If you want a little less history and a little more “Grand Chessboard” style politics, I’d recommend you go with Karl Yambert’s “The Contemporary Middle East.”

They’re both offer big-picture surveys of the region. With either book, you’ll learn a ton.