Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

I found the city that vibrates at the frequency of my soul, but my partner doesn’t want to move there. What to do?
Make your choice and live with the consequences.

Even when I’m hurting, I never raise my voice or try to hurt my partner. Is this a standard I should expect from them too, or is everyone entitled to express their emotions?
People are entitled to experience their emotions. They are not entitled to express them, particularly when doing so is harmful. You should absolutely expect your partner to have the necessary emotion regulation skills to be able to effectively express their emotions without harming you. This is basic relationship health.

What do you think Thanksgiving is gonna look like this year?
Honestly, I can’t see beyond November 3rd.

I’m moving out to live with friends/flatmates in a month. My first proper moving out- dorms at university don’t count. Any tips?
Have house rules and a chore chart in place on day one. More important than the actual documents are that you all have a mutually agreed upon system for how responsibilities are shared and how conflicts are resolved.  

What’s the difference between self love and narcissism?
They have nothing in common. Narcissism isn’t thinking you’re a wonderful person. It’s thinking you’re the only person. Most narcissists are filled with self-loathing. Self love is a good thing, particularly when it’s balanced with love for others. 

Are you Esther Perel? And if not: what’s your opinion on her?
I am not Esther Perel. My opinion is that she is the real deal.

We’re a cis heterosexual (primarily) couple who have individually and collectively worked on our race, gender and caste politics. I currently work in the field of gender and sexual health advocacy. Why am I jealous of his past non binary lovers?
Yeah. Judging by your vocabulary, it sounds like all the work you’ve done has helped correct your shame-based thinking, which is great, but the problem is that your worldview is still governed by fear-based thinking. Jealousy is rooted in fear. Open-mindedness is not the antidote for fear. Open-heartedness is.

I am in the process of incorporating stoicism in my life. What other forms of living a better life can you suggest? I’m thankful for your recommendation of The Four Agreements. Also, missing your book recommendations. I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for everything!
Be careful with stoicism. It has a lot of good stuff to offer (pantheism, mindfulness, radical acceptance, etc.), but most people get it wrong, particularly those who wear it like a badge, and you will quickly find yourself in the company of assholes if you announce yourself as a stoic. I’m sure you’ve probably already got a dog-eared copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, but if not, that’s the next book you need to read.

Hey, thanks for helping me navigate the world. I found your tumblr at 17 and now I’m 27 and this year was particularly rough (not just the usual way) and having your voice in my head allowed me to prioritize my integrity and let go of a lot of bullshit—I wish I could buy you a drink and tell you this story some time.
Keep up the good work. You got this.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Sorry your comments section is overrun with fash trash. Yikes.
Yeah, it hurts my heart. I feel like it’s partly my fault for being gone so long. These dudes forget, I’m a libertine, not a libertarian. I’ve always been the type to hurl a Molotov cocktail through the Overton Window. 

I’m really sick of people telling me I’ll meet the right person when the time is right. Is that a bag of BS?
Of course it’s bullshit. There’s no such thing as “the” right person, and the time is only right if you put in the work to make it that way.

I am obsessed with my bf’s exes. I am aware that I am projecting my own insecurities, but I don’t manage to stop. What do I do.
You’re obsessed with your boyfriend’s exes because you know you’re going to be one. You need to accept that. It really will be okay. Besides, you’re not quite yet emotionally mature enough for a serious relationship. This is all just practice. It’s fine. Don’t hold on so tightly. Let go when it’s time, and pay close attention to how everyone behaves. This is how you learn.

Why are we unable to classify belief in god as insanity?
Because the APA isn’t as powerful as the Church.

A man who was really flirty and seemed interested just rejected me. Really arrogant of me, I know, but I’m not used to being rejected, how do I get over this inexplicably shitty feeling?
Quit making it about you.

We’ve moved in together. He is my forever love. I know this is our next step. Yet I’m heartbroken of moving out of my condo and been struggling with my emotions. This has him and others think I’m doubting moving in together.
What you’re experiencing is normal, and it is perfectly okay. Take all the time you need to grieve the loss of your condo life. While you’re at it, grieve the loss of your entire pre-pandemic existence. Remind yourself, your boyfriend, and the others (not that it’s any of their fucking business) that your grief isn’t about him. It’s about you adjusting to it all, and you will eventually be fine.

Do you think 9/11 was an inside job?
Still no. Why do you keep asking this year after year?

If you were 23 right now which city would you move to?
Am I 23 and broke with no degree, or am I 23 fresh out of college with parental support? Those are two very different cities. Either way, I would move to a city that calls me, one that vibrates at the frequency of my soul. 

What do you think is bad advice that gets repeated?
“Money can’t buy happiness.” (Yes it fucking can.) “Everything happens for a reason.” (No it fucking doesn’t.) “You can create your own luck.” (That’s not even a thing.) “Just be yourself.” (Not if you’re an asshole.) And finally, my least favorite thought-terminating cliché that passes for advice these days: “It is what it is.” (No, you have not suddenly achieved a Zen-like state of acceptance. You’re just lazy and dumb and can’t think of anything appropriate to say.)


On the end of trump

Am I wrong for thinking Trump needs to suffer and die in a very public way in order to atone the world for what we’ve gone through?

You’re wrong to imagine there could be any societal atonement in the suffering and death of one man. It’s an easy mistake to make in a culture steeped in Christian dogma, but that’s not how the world really works.

Don’t worry, though. There is plenty of room for justice. Aside from the gigantic fuck-pile of state and federal charges Trump and his associates will eventually face, Trump’s personal hell will begin with the unrelenting social exile he and his family will face the very second he leaves office. He will live out the rest of his orange-tinted days in a post-presidential prison, surrounded by psychopaths, sycophants, and other assorted lickspittle, unable to leave his own crumbling shit-hole properties without facing a wall of seething hatred, or worse, total fucking indifference from celebrities and world leaders who are happy to pretend he’s not even in the room.

His life will become a wasteland of permanent irrelevance as the rest of us go about our days erasing any trace of his presidency, strengthening the foundations of the institutions he damaged, and ensuring that his legacy is cast as little more than America’s brief, slightly painful, and magnificently stupid brush with fascism at the hands of an addled, narcissistic clown.


On friends who date fascists

My friend’s increasingly long term boyfriend works for DHS. Mainly citizenship interviews, so minor law enforcement. But his American exceptionalism rooted, ICE tolerating, patriotic beliefs always seem to be brought up as some point when I see them. We argue, my friend feels uncomfortable and hurt, rinse and repeat.

Do I distance myself from a close friend/major support system? It feels like we have less and less in common and I don’t understand how she can let such bigoted views slide.

She picked him. That choice has consequences, one of which may be a pause in your friendship until he’s either gone or he learns to shut the fuck up in your presence.

You say you don’t understand how she can let such bigoted views slide, but what you’re really misunderstanding is that those are her views too. Every day she stays in a relationship with a reactionary DHS officer, her actions are further proof of that.

I know it sucks, but act accordingly.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Ugh. Are you exhausted by having to constantly explain how gender works to people?
It’s mainly one idiot, but hey, I’m here for my readers.

You make the mistake of believing that people are a blank slate and that society imposes traits and values onto people.
It’s not a mistake. People are mostly a blank slate, and society absolutely imposes traits and values onto them. 

How do you deal with incompetence and/or unprofessional bullshit at work?
I don’t tolerate incompetence or unprofessionalism at work, though I recognize that I’m quite privileged in that I don’t have to.

Condemning the burning and looting of buildings and businesses (many owned by minorities and innocent people) is “fascist”…. damn Coke, when did you become so ideologically possessed? Are you really that angry at the world that you can’t see how insane you sound?
You’re the one going on and on about the buildings. Dude, fuck the buildings. I care about people, not property. I care about justice, not law and order. If you didn’t know that about me after ten fucking years, then you haven’t been paying attention, and yes, if you’re looking around at what’s happening in America right now and all you can think to bitch about is looting, then you are a fucking fascist. Deal with it.

PhD student here. Wrote a paper. Terrified of hitting send on a journal. I don’t really need advice, just wanted to borrow your confidence for a moment. I can do this. I’ve worked hard. I’ve double-checked my numbers. I have a solid argument to make. I got it. Thanks.
You do, in fact, got it. Also, hitting send gets easier. Also, congratulations!

What is the answer to the failing political institutions in the US? Please don’t respond: voting and electing new reps.
The answer is political engagement, and yes, that means voting. It also means relentless activism and participation in the process.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Biden’s potential VP picks. Who do you think is best for the job at this point? And who do you think he’ll actually choose?
In terms of best, I think it’s a coin toss between Kamala Harris and Susan Rice. I’d be ecstatic for either one.

Why not Warren for VP? She was the best candidate, and I feel like Biden’s VP is going to be POTUS.
2020 was Warren’s shot, and she lost. She’s too old to be a viable two-term candidate in 2028. That said, I’d be overjoyed to see her as AG or Treasury Secretary in a Biden administration.

If you could learn anything right now, what would you choose?
French, Arabic, and Italian.


On pandemic dating

How in the hell do we meet people and date during this? My city is super shut down and swiping is so uninspiring. Please give hacks.

I’ve been rewatching Downton Abby, and honestly, if the British aristocracy can fuck during the OG flu pandemic of 1918, then you crazy kids can figure it out today.

You have the internet. Use that shit. Dating and video chat apps are a perfectly good set of tools to find and get to know someone. Sorry if it’s uninspiring, but that’s not the technology’s fault. Don’t be acting like there was a hot singles bar scene back in 2019. I can’t think of one couple I know who didn’t meet on a dating app since before Hillary won the popular vote, and y’all have had five fucking months to hone your Zoom skills. 

Seriously, you can do this. If you want to date, expect that a much higher percentage of the first date stuff will be fully online. Expect to screen and be screened for health and wellness considerations before agreeing to meet in person. It doesn’t have to suck. The entire experience can be heightened by the circumstances if you have the right attitude.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Why do I spend a considerable amount of time daydreaming about being rich, winning the lottery? I know money is one element out of many to a fulfilled life, yet I put so much emphasis on wanting and HOPING to be rich. Why do I do this to myself?
In a capitalist society, money is freedom. You are merely daydreaming of being free. That’s fine. Escapist fantasy feels good sometimes, but don’t let it get in the way of things. You will never win the lottery.

If gender dysphoria is not a prerequisite to being transgender, then it’s a ‘choice’, right?
No. Gender dysphoria is a clumsy set of descriptive criteria. You are attempting to make the criteria prescriptive with your little equation, and it doesn’t work. Also, let’s be clear, the dysphoria itself is caused by social systems and culture, not by the person’s gender. If society wasn’t so quick to assign one of two prescriptive genders to every child (“girl” or “boy”), then non-cis people wouldn’t necessarily experience gender dysphoria.

Where do you get news nowadays? I really don’t even know what to consider my single source of truth, and this has never been more of a need.
The question of “where” no longer matters. We all get our news from social media nowadays. The more important question is “how,” and for me, the answer is by filtering the noise and triangulating stories from various trusted sources. I generally use Twitter as my platform for breaking news. I can get a sense of who’s pushing what story and why as well as who benefits from the various framings and spin. It’s not about finding sources you trust. It’s about developing a process you trust.

In the interest of learning how we’ve all morphed & grown: thoughts on Sam Harris lately? You know what trouble he gets into.
I’m done with Sam. His mindset is stuck in 2009, which sucks, because if he had kept his thinking fresh, I feel like he might still have a lot to contribute. 

What does indiscriminately destroying property and beating people up in the street accomplish aside from allowing a bunch of angry overgrown babies to live out their anarchist fantasies?
I don’t accept the premise of your question. Feel free to reframe your fascist worldview and then resubmit your question when you’re no longer a gaping asshole.

You’re the type that thinks drag queen story hour for kids is great huh?
It’s fabulous. What the fuck is wrong with you?

I miss my parents so much. I’m an immigrant. I miss speaking a different language. I miss eating with my hands. I miss the delicate and complex flavors of their food. I miss my dog.
I’m so very sorry. 

How would you battle minor depression?
I don’t battle minor depression. I dance with it.

How old were you when you first started this blog and what have you learnt from it?
I was eleven years younger when I first started this blog, and I have learned more from it than I could have ever possibly imagined.

I’m on my fucking period. Glad to see you’re writing again. 🖕👩


On apples and oranges

How is a man choosing to identify as a woman not as offensive as white people “identifying” as black? Being black is not a feeling, and neither is being a woman.

You are conflating race and gender as social constructs with race and sex as biological classifications. You are also doing a little trick with the concepts of choice and identity. In other words, your question presupposes similarity where there isn’t any while also blurring the idea of what’s really a choice. Allow me to point out the fallacy in your framing with the following two statements:

A man who chooses to identify as a woman is merely in drag, whereas a male who has no choice but to identify as a woman is a transgender woman. 

A white person who chooses to identify as a black person is merely in blackface (or co-opting blackness or appropriating black culture), whereas a person of European descent who has no choice but to identify as a person of African descent isn’t actually a thing.


On sex and gender

You must know that scientists and biologists disagree on the trans women debate too. For some issues we must also use common sense. Pretending that there is no difference between women and trans women is painfully ignorant, Coquette.

I’m not pretending that there is no difference between cisgendered and transgendered people. Those two prefixes (cis and trans) quite conveniently spell out the very obvious difference.

You’re the one pretending that there is no difference between the social construct of gender and biological sex, and it’s why you’re so maddeningly wrong. Your invocation of “scientists and biologists” makes you seem even more ridiculous, because this stuff has been settled science for decades. There is no serious scientist in any field who disagrees on the distinction between gender and biological sex. I can’t stress this enough, your resistance here isn’t scientific. It’s purely philosophical. You have a fundamental belief that is wrong, as is typical for anyone who invokes the painfully stupid concept of “common sense.” That’s okay. You are fully capable of changing your mind. 

Before we dive into the philosophy, we have to agree on the meaning of certain words. If I say man or woman, I am referring to gender. If I say masculine or feminine, I am also referring to gender. If I say male of female, I am referring to biological sex. A male is not equal to a man, and a female is not equal to a woman. Masculine traits are not equal to male traits, and feminine traits are not equal to female traits. For example, if you insist that an XX chromosome determines a woman, you are wrong. An XX chromosome determines a female. If you insist that having a penis is a masculine trait, you are yet again wrong. Having a penis is a male trait. If you refuse to accept these fundamental distinctions between biological sex and gender — which are settled fucking science, by the way — then there is no point in continuing this discussion. Hopefully, you aren’t a complete fucking idiot, and we can have a healthy philosophical disagreement. 

Come with me now as I shift our discussion from the settled science to the unsettled philosophy. I can’t know what’s in your head, but I’m speculating that your resistance is grounded in the theory of gender essentialism. That is to say, at some level you believe there are certain fixed, universal, and innate qualities that distinguish men from women. You believe there is an underlying feminine essence to a woman, and you believe that there is a separate underlying masculine essence to a man. Honestly, I can almost get behind that idea. It’s a bit limited and binary, but there are some pretty obvious differences between men and women, and I bet we can agree on most of them. The problem arises when you insist that these qualities are fixed and universal, and the problem becomes intractable when the only fixed and universal quality you consider is what’s in someone’s pants. 

It’s childish, really. That’s why I treat people who can’t make the distinction between sex and gender like children, which is a bit unfair to the average child, because most kindergartners are capable of grasping this concept. Besides, I probably lost you the moment I suggested that having a penis is a male trait rather than a masculine one. (I would absolutely love to watch your head explode during a conversation about the differences between the masculine and feminine penis.) I bet that’s most of the issue here, that you insist a penis is inherently masculine and a vagina is inherently feminine. They’re not. Scratching your balls may be inherently masculine, but simply having them is neither masculine nor feminine. It’s just male. Same with menstruation. It is a female biological function, but how we choose to feminize it is entirely a construct of gender. 

I could keep explaining this stuff all day, but if you refuse to acknowledge the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender, then there’s really no point. You’re just fucking ignorant, and your shitty beliefs have the potential to cause harm to a lot of people. 

I hope you’ll come around one day. I really do, but until then, from the bottom of my heart, please go fuck yourself.


On the basics

A woman is an adult human female. Nice try though.

Aww. How adorably essentialist of you. Are you a full-fledged Trump supporter, or are you just a confused JK Rowling fan? Either way, I’d be happy to provide you with a basic lesson on the difference between gender and biological sex. While we’re at it, maybe we could catch you up on the fundamentals of social constructionism.

Of course, we both know you don’t need those wikipedia links. You’ve already done the reading, and you just don’t care. You simply refuse to eat your vegetables. You’re a spoiled toddler who only wants chicken nuggets, and even if I make airplane noises while spooning them into your whiny little face, you’re still gonna resist swallowing even the tiniest morsels of postmodern theory.

To that, I say fine. I’m not your fucking mom. If you want to stuff your head full of garbage, I really don’t care. The rest of us adults are happy to carry on our conversation without you. Good luck getting out of that high chair.