Fun-Sized Advice

On the new normal

I miss you and I love you.
Honestly, I miss you too.

*screams dear coke talk into the void*
I hear you.

No question, just a message: its been a hot minute since we’ve heard from you. I imagine you living, observing, and absorbing. Thanks for reminding me to do the same, be it through your silence. Much Love.
I keep saying that the silence won’t be permanent, and I mean it. I still read almost all of your submissions, and the day will eventually come when I can regularly post more answers. In the meantime, if you have a quick question for me, you’re 99% more likely to get a quick response if you hit me up on Twitter. My handle is @coketweet, and I prefer direct tweets over DMs. Much love!

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Advice

On sharpening other people’s axes

Started a PhD program a few months ago. I’m surrounded by people with an ax to grind. Insecure, trying to find ways to look down on the people around them (especially regarding intellect). It’s also almost entirely men, and the toxic masculinity is palpable. Is there any way to influence these guys, make them see themselves and others differently? In other words, can I help people to grow the fuck up? Believe that they’re worth something and that the people around them are worth something too– even if they can’t see it right away?

Can you help people grow the fuck up? Yeah. Should you? Fuck no. You’re not their mommy, and you should never give away emotional labor for free, especially in a PhD program where you’re surrounded by narcissists with inferiority complexes who have neither status nor money.

You’re going to get eaten alive if you don’t recognize your environment for the shark tank that it is. These guys are not your friends. They are your colleagues and your competition. If you don’t believe me now, that’s fine, but I guarantee that one day you’re going to look back on this question and laugh at how naive you sounded.

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Advice

On solidarity

Regarding your “Fuck Bernie Sanders” tweet, would you vote for Bernie if he won the nomination, or stay home?

If Bernie won the Democratic nomination for President, I would donate all of my time, money, and bodily fluids to help get him elected. I would vote for him. I would kill for him.

That said, Bernie should sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. His time has passed. He’s not the fresh voice anymore. His platform will be better articulated by younger, stronger candidates, and his nomination would all but guarantee a third party independent who would split the vote and get Trump elected to a second term.

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Advice

On what to do next

I finish grad school at Harvard in May and will be living in D.C. I am lost. I will be well positioned to work in the nonprofit sector. What should I do?

Pick your favorite Democratic candidate for President, apply for a job with her campaign, and spend the next twenty-two months saving the world.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I know I’m not gonna fall in love with this guy but I’m still having a good time with him. At what point does it become disingenuous to keep dating? Just when I’m no longer having a good time?
It becomes disingenuous the moment you catch yourself being emotionally dishonest for the sake of having a good time. Also, who ever said the point of dating was to fall in love? Where did you learn this? Is that why you’re here? I doubt you even know what it means to fall in love, to be in love, to simply love, or to distinguish from these variations on a theme. Do yourself a favor and start thinking beyond the unspoken rules of modern courtship. The rules do not exist to make your life better. They exist to perpetuate a very specific flavor of contemporary Western culture. It’s fine if you want to participate in that culture, but learn to do it on your own terms, and don’t confuse the culture’s interests for your own.

I’m the one who broke it off because I can’t handle a LDR right now. So why am I the one lying in my bathtub at noon with too many glasses of wine feeling numb?
Because you’d rather anesthetize yourself with Pinot Grigio than begin the painful task of grieving the loss of your relationship.

My teenage cousin is in the hospital with a rare and terrifying auto-immune disorder. She went from being a girl who does CrossFit to a patient in physical therapy in a very short amount of time. You’d think she’d be scared, but in the face of the very real threat of becoming paralyzed, she posts duck-face selfies from her hospital bed. Pretty sure she’s not afraid of anything.
Nah. Pretty sure she’s angry and terrified, but when you’re in that hospital bed as teenage girl, you’ll do anything to break the boredom and achieve a brief sense of normalcy. You’ll also do an extraordinary amount of emotional labor to keep friends and family from acting weird. No doubt your cousin is strong, but don’t confuse her strength for fearlessness.

I hooked up with a filthy rich guy (it was really good) but his wealth disgusts me and makes me envious at the same time. I don’t want a guy in my life who makes me feel these feelings. Is that weird?
Here’s an idea: Tell him. Be brutally honest about your disgust and envy and see how he takes it. You’ll learn something about his character and yours.

I miss when you wrote about dipping your tits in glitter. We’re so far removed from those days as a society. It’s really frightening.
It’s not frightening. It’s all quite predictable. The aughts were a decadent moment. There will be others. I’m a mild believer in the every-other-decade theory, and I’m hopeful for another slice of decadence in the 2020s. I won’t be the one dipping my tits in glitter on the next go-around, but I’ll be able to enjoy the experience vicariously as Post-Millennials find fresh ways to celebrate the pendulum swinging away from austerity and repression.

You said you’d marry your ex without hesitation – did your views on marriage change? What about him, or you, or the two of you together made you feel that way?
I just think we could pull it off and be happy. It’s not gonna happen, so it’s a harmless statement to say that I’d marry him without any hesitation.

I love how your haters can’t stop reading you. They can’t even keep themselves from getting knee-deep into your comments section. Respect.
I love my haters. Our relationship is symbiotic. I have learned a lot about myself from them, and they have learned a lot about themselves from me.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On holiday fun-sized advice

What’s on your Christmas list this year, Coke?
A waffle iron (for brunch at my place), a new KitchenAid mixer (I’ve been doing quite a lot of anxiety baking lately), a fancy fuck conical burr coffee grinder (I’ve been scolded for not having one), a new turntable and 2-channel mixer (I’ve also become a bit of a dinner party DJ these days), and a few other stylish treats that I’ll likely end up buying for myself because I’m picky as fuck and super impulsive around the holidays.

How do you turn a fwb into a boyfriend?
Honestly, what’s the difference anymore? Seriously. Do you even know why you want a boyfriend? What’s in it for you? Do you want some kind of life partner? A husband? Do you need commitment or do you just think you want it? Is that the same as monogamy? As fidelity? And how is any of it different from friendship? Can you articulate a distinction? Until you fully understand and appreciate these questions, maybe chill the fuck out with any attempts at relationship alchemy and just enjoy the benefits of your friendship.

Is it still too premature to get excited over all this Mueller business
Nah. 2019 is gonna be a big year.

Is it a bad idea to fuck an ex-professor?
Yeah, but it’s the good kind of bad idea.

I’m barred in Florida. Family is in Chicago. Should I live in Tampa or Chicago?
You should live in Miami.

Does it make sense to complain about the ‘patriarchy’ when someone drives their dad’s Toyota to campus every day and uses his savings to pay for their tuition?
The fact that you call it “dad’s Toyota” and “his savings” is literally the reason it makes sense to complain about the patriarchy.

I feel so disengaged. Friendships have languished. I don’t have a good relationship with my family. I haven’t been interested in dating or sex for a long time. I’m 27. What should I do?
Maybe quit being a lazy piece of shit. Get off your ass and go cultivate your relationships. Yeah, it’s been a shitty year. That’s over now. Quit whining and go do something.

if you’re not open to cultural exchange, then i’m sorry but that’s kind of a huge deal breaker for me.
Firstly, I didn’t realize that you and I were dating. Secondly, this is an oddly specific hill upon which to die, and finally, whatever gave you the idea that I wouldn’t be open cultural exchange?

Back in 2010 you totally called that Gavin Newsom would be governor one day. Just wanted to remind you. I think that’s awesome.
Duh. I still think he’ll be President.

Have you ever stayed friends with an ex? A real ex, not a fuck buddy, a young love, or a fling.
I can think of three exes off the top of my head with whom I am and will always be close. One of them I would marry today with no hesitation, and the other two I would help hide a body. Still, they are not my friends. They are my exes. There is a difference.

I miss you. What is your spiritual outlook these days? I know that back in the day you held staunchly to your conviction that this physical existence is all that we get, and that at the moment of death our perception of self ceases to exist. I used to hold this conviction as well, and maybe it’s just because I got sober this year and now I’m casting about for meaning, but now I’m not so sure. What’s your relationship to the void these days?
It’s the same. The void is the void. We end. You can cast about for meaning all you like, but there really isn’t any, and the recent sharpening of your perception may not be comfortable, but I promise, you’ll settle into it. Congratulations on your sobriety.

(I miss y’all too. Merry Fucking Christmas.)

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Would you suck Trump’s mushroom cock to completion if it meant he dropped dead immediately after?
Only after January 3rd, only on camera, and only if Mike Pence held a gun to my head and jerked off while I did it.

Should I be concerned that I’m drinking to get through the day?
Yeah.

You probably couldn’t give two shits but I’m interested in your take on Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s relationship. I’m a pragmatist at heart but I couldn’t help hoping that wild infatuation would last- that there could be a relationship where you get matching tattoos in the first month and never ultimately regret them.
Please. Ariana is going through her dirtbag phase. She likes her dirtbags harmless and sweet, but they’re still crusty-ass boys. That’s fine. It’s age appropriate, and I doubt she’ll regret any tattoos for sentimental reasons. For the record, wild infatuation never lasts. Never. Either it dies or you do. No exceptions. That’s not to say wild infatuation can’t mellow out into something better. It can, but the tidal forces of celebrity don’t really allow for that.

Would you stay in a relationship with someone emotionally abusive to inherit one million dollars?
As in all things, it depends. Personally, I’d put up with a lot of shit for a million dollars, but of course, there are limits. I’d need some context to give you a more specific answer.

He tried to kill me and I don’t have enough proof to prosecute. What now?
Again, y’all need to provide me with more context for any kind of detailed answer. Generically though, I’d suggest you get an order of protection, make public as much information as safely possible so that everyone knows what he did, and then you should move on with your life.

The pullout method has worked for me my entire life, and if I had to, I’d rather take a million abortion pills than take birth control because… I’m really biochemically sensitive, to all meds, not just hormones. Yet everyone’s always trying to get me to get on the pill. It’s clear I trust my own judgment. So… Why is that?
First of all, the morning-after pill is *not* the abortion pill. Know the difference, and if you’re “biochemically sensitive” to hormonal meds, you’re in for a few days of excruciating pain if you end up needing to take either of the two. It’s fine to rely on the pullout method if you’re super diligent and not at all worried about STDs, but if I were you, I’d keep a couple boxes of Plan B in the medicine cabinet. You never know when your pullout partner is gonna get his timing wrong, and given the current political climate, you never know when our country might go full Handmaid’s Tale and pull all those pills off the shelf.

Today at lunch my lesbian friend said, “even though it’s not like that with us, I could never date you because you’re bisexual. Even if you were the hottest girl in the world, actually perfect, I wouldn’t because you’re not lesbian. So maybe that’s why you’re having a hard time finding a girlfriend.” Ha ok WHAT THE FUCK? Please guide me.
Yeah, your friend’s shitty opinion comes from a place of insecurity and prejudice. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common with women, gay or straight. (Lesbian women who don’t fuck with bisexual women, and straight women who don’t fuck with bisexual men.) I’ve dealt with this kind of biphobia, and it sucks. The fancy fuck concept underlying this type of behavior is known as the androcentric desire hypothesis, which posits that people generally perceive bisexuals (male or female) as being more sexually attracted to men than they are to women. It’s an unfair and inaccurate perception, but of course, life ain’t fair.

Is it wrong to fuck other people to get over someone. My ex believes it makes me ‘not a nice girl’ if I have sex with someone else within a month of my relationship ending. Even though he left me out of nowhere.
Rebound sex is only wrong when you’re not emotionally honest with your new partner. They deserve to know that you’re emotionally unavailable. As for your ex, he sounds like a controlling piece of shit, and you should learn how to tell him to shut the fuck up and back up off your dick.

Are you over Sam Harris yet?
Getting there. Haven’t been able to listen to his podcast for a while.

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On forgiveness

He told me I’d amount to nothing and I’ve believed him ever since. I can’t seem to shake it and hate that any success I have will feel like revenge. I don’t want to live in constant reference to him. Is meditation the only way to deal with this?

 

Nah, boo. Meditation is lovely, but forgiveness is the weapon you need. Forgiveness will allow you to rise above him. Forgiveness will let you move on. Forgive that pathetic piece of shit for everything he put you through. Forgive every abusive word or deed.

Just forgive him.

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On failing

You say you’re here to relax, and I believe you, but how do you manage to not feel or become involved with how your words impact the life of others? I’m doing my PhD in clinical psychology. While my life has constantly provided me with evidence to believe I can sit in front of another human and be present with them, I can’t help but feel an incredible amount of anxiety in regards to the possibility of failing them. I’m 36 thousand dollars deep into student loans, and I’m terrified I’ll fail my future patients. Yet, I look at you, and maybe you’re free of certain anxieties because you’re anonymous, but I am convinced that you have a heart and soul that beats to the pain or vanity of those who write to you. I guess I’m trying to ask, how do manage to believe you won’t ruin those you answer to?

 

You won’t fail your patients. You won’t break them. You won’t ruin them. It’s not like that. You will have a responsibility to your patients, but you are not responsible for your patients. They are the ones who will do the work. You will not do it for them. You will help. You will guide. Maybe sometimes it won’t be as efficient or as tidy as you would like, but that’s not failure. It’s how you will grow as a clinician.

The anxiety you feel is perfectly normal, and it can be quite useful if you channel it towards self-improvement. It can keep you frosty in the room and hungry for the latest research, but don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t allow your anxiety to become a false belief about failure.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

What is God?
Deus Sive Natura

How is it possible that my dumbass is dating the most wonderfully kind, intelligent and simply gorgeous woman in the whole world?
You’re sweet. Don’t fuck it up.

If you, um, felt the need to look into acquiring a dual citizenship somewhere, what country would you choose?
Canada.

I know weight-loss surgery is a valid option. I know people can fix their lives with this. I know it would greatly improve my health. Why does it feel like cheating? Like I couldn’t do it with exercise and a balanced diet.
It’s not cheating. You’re still gonna do it with exercise and a balanced diet.

I’ve written to you countless times about real shit in my life. Stuff that you probably can’t even come close to relating to in your frivolous, smug, faux-party-girl existence of yours. And the only responses I’ve ever received from you have been needlessly vicious and petty attacks on my character. You’re honestly such a cunt.
Gee. I wonder why I attacked your character?

How do I tell someone or explain “You’re a wonderful friend but I don’t want your creative input or assistance, ever.” Under normal circumstances I don’t mind just listening and ignoring it but they constantly want to collaborate and I absolutely do not want to do that.
I think you’ve chosen a lovely set of words to use. By all means, use them. Set your boundaries with kindness and compassion, and remember that you are not responsible for this person’s feelings.

My cousin’s new husband is an idiot dirtbag racist (“all Muslims should be exterminated” levels). He’s also applying to the Secret Service and has asked me for my full name and SSN (I was born on a military base overseas and apparently he needs that info?). I A) DO NOT want to give it to him and B) DO NOT want this guy serving in the Secret Service (though he is dumb as shit; an assassination attempt on 45 might actually go through). Do I flat out refuse, possibly instigating a family war? Do I report his racism (documented online) to the Secret Service? Do I just comply and wait for his inevitable failure? I feel gross and uncomfortable and stressed already. Coke, what would you do?
Yeah, this is an easy one. Tell him to go fuck himself, and when the feds come to interview you for his background check, spill the tea and show receipts.

I wrote to you in 2012 panicking about climate change and you said “calm down, Chicken Little.” It’s strangely comforting to see that on Twitter now, you’re on the same page about the climate being fucked and the future being bleak. Your writing has helped me come to terms with the fact that I’m not having kids. I do dearly hope to get to be an old woman someday, though.
I think the not-so-distant future on this planet will be unimaginably horrible and then potentially really interesting. The climate will change. Our species will adapt. Humanity will survive, but there will be about five to seven billion fewer of us over the course of about a hundred years starting about a hundred years from now. I just hope we retain science and knowledge and don’t fall into another dark age. I prefer to live this current life of relative comfort and ease, but I still think it would be kinda cool to skip to the other side of the impending extinction event just to see how it all turns out.

I know weed did/does make you paranoid. Is that still a thing, or do you smoke more now?
I’ve gone the way of the THC vape pen. Clean, easy, and a consistently good high.

Do you consider what you do here “emotional labor”?
This is how I relax.

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