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.)


45 thoughts on “On holiday fun-sized advice

  1. lr says:

    Merry fucking Christmas to you, too! Somehow this site is the only one from the old(ish) internet, I still read. This has been… quite a decade. Thanks for kinda co-raising me.

    2019. Let’s do this (deep sigh).

  2. Commenter 43 says:

    I was there with you for the longest time, about the void. But now I believe we are eternal. It makes more sense. The world is infinitely more complex than we can know, and it’s anything but random and stupid like science-minded thinking would love for it to be.

    I believe I have a fraction of my soul with me here in this incarnation, and my higher self has the accumulated wisdom from all of my incarnations. We have chosen our lives to learn and grow specific aspects of our being. All of this is grossly oversimplified of course, but any world view is inherently so.

    Happy Holidays everyone. Stay true. <3

      • Wellshit says:

        hah! @FLBL or whatever the fuck you are…
        What do YOU think “science-minded” thinking is? Which paradigm do you think current scientific study occupies? Can you articulate what science presupposes and cannot question?

        It’s alright to acknowledge that there is a limit to knowledge and that all knowledge is fallible. It’s okay to speculate eternity. It’s also okay to speculate nihilism (as coke is so fond of doing) as long as both realize this is speculation.

        (Coke doesn’t seem to understand that she speculates. She does actually seem to think that she has drawn a bead on truth. I mostly read this for the eyerolls now)

        • flblbl says:

          To answer your three questions first : I know what it is (an empty concept loaded with value judgements). Most of what’s not occupied by art, politics or philosophy at this point (with huge overlaps between the four, of course). It doesn’t presuppose much that is consistent throughout all fields of studies, and it can virtually question everything.

          Speculating eternity presuppose a very limited understanding of time, one that just doesn’t hold up when you look at things like life and death, so it’s okay as long as you like to deceive yourself (which sure, why not).
          If you think what Coke has been presenting on this here advice column is nihilism you need to revisit your philosophy 101 (or reread all of her posts, whichever option hurts your inflated ego the least).
          IIRC she also has said it herself that she is no ontological mastermind, she just serves whatever ontological views she thinks will help the reader live a satisfying life. This is, after all, an advice column.

          (boy does it feel like the coke readership is heavier on the shipping than the reading those days)

          • Wellshit says:

            Ahem. You actually didn’t answer ANY of my questions (not a single one) and I *teach* philosophy 101, 204, 310, and 400. It’s Dr.Wellshit to you.

            The status and nature of time is deeply contested. See Heidegger’s “Being and Time” or Kant’s first critique or even see McTaggart or Richard Rohr. There are arguments supporting expanding time and block time. These are all interesting speculations that have given rise to theoretical, though not “normal,” “paradigm articulating” science.

            And as far as advice columns go, this one has a perspective. It has an inconsistent perspective on human connections and “meaning” as an enterprise. (“What does it all mean? Nothing!”) a petulant recapitulation of some of the more basic existentialist/nihilist positions. It’s clear that coke isn’t an ontological or a metaphysical mastermind, but for all that a hermeneutical approach isn’t hard to fathom. There’s a lot of material here.

            Coke was better in the early days. Heather Haveilesky was too, but at least she isn’t as attached to her own coolness. I don’t buy that Coke assumes an ontological position that is helpful for her reader because I don’t see a lot of sympathizing in her responses—just some quick attempts at clever branding. If one were to assume an ontological position in an attempt to guide the reader, one would have to have something like ontological sensitivity, and without being a “mastermind” that would be hard to do.

            If you like it, go ahead and like it, but don’t parrot Coke’s rejection of eternity and think you’re more clever than someone who is willing to admit that they’re “not sure.” Eternity has way more philosophical support than you realize.

          • flblbl says:

            Doesn’t applying hermeneutics imply one must have a good grasp of the source material to begin with ? As inconsistent as this column might have been over time (which does happen when you have 3 or 4 people in their twenties writing a blog for a couple years), I still find your summing up of the views Coke present here very dishonest. You have no business calling Coke a strawman nihilist and lumping together nihilism and existentialism, since the average Coke commenter has an above average grasp of the distinction (or at least I hope so ?). She talked about nihilism and absurdism and whatnot herself not too long ago IIRC, and her understanding was far from being *that* basic. You’re reaching for centrist cred and it’s showing (also the worst kind of cred to try to get, tbh).

            As for myself I just see people who can’t analyze a corpus for shit in the comments section sometimes so I try to push them back towards what I see as a more sensible reading, is all. That’s certainly not a personal endorsement. Sure, I have no time for that Mahayana nonsense too, but lots of different people do. If you’ve seen me in the comments section before you’d know better than to call me nerdy names.

          • CQ says:

            I love it when you guys fight at this level!

            As for Dr. Wellshit, I think you’re suffering from a bit of confirmation bias. I don’t reject eternity. I reject unsupported truth claims about the nature of the universe, and where it starts to get fuzzy around the edges, I’m perfectly comfortable acknowledging the limits of our understanding. You’re confusing the shrug of my shoulders for nihilism, and when it comes to meaning, you’re conflating inconsistency with subjectivity and attentiveness to the level of person asking the question.

            Also, I wasn’t better in the early days. You just grew up, and for whatever reason, you have a blind spot to my “ontological sensitivity.” Maybe shake the Etch-A-Sketch on your opinion of me and then take a look with fresh eyes. At any rate, thanks for reading, even if you’re just here for the eye rolls.

            As for FLBLBL, I don’t know where you picked up the idea that 3 or 4 people have been writing this over the years. It’s just been me, one person, the whole time.

            Keep it up, y’all. I love reading your comments!

    • Perspectivator says:

      I think all world views are grossly exaggerated. “World views” are the hyperbole of self. We are hallucinating nothings. For fuck sake, realize you aren’t even at the table for deciding the fate of earth, let alone the value of your retirement fund. Your pieces are only partially eternal. And your specific configuration is fleeting. Quit trying to galaxy mind this bullshit and appreciate what you do have.

    • Mononucleotide says:

      When did we ever decide that mystery = meaning? When did we decide that not knowing everything = souls probably exist?

      Humans anthropomophize and fetishize mystery.

    • Ted Leighton says:

      We are like the atom. Moving and moving and moving. Expanding with the universe. Here today, but there (not gone) tomorrow.

  3. Bruce says:

    A dinner party DJ? Haha amazing! Way to live your best life. Any small gathering is improved by someone breaking out their musical talents but this is a step above.

  4. Helena says:

    Just wanted to say thank you.
    I’ve increasingly started to remain passive in situations I might otherwise give my unsolicited response to, and do so in practically every situation possible. In my response to friends’ drama, co-workers’ trashtalk about other co-workers (I now pick my battles, instead of relentlessly trying to defend all), relationships when I should remain in the background because of someone’s crush on me, and most importantly; regarding my closest ones who are in various versions of pain, where I now am better at identifying what I can vs cannot do. Yesterday I had one of those moments and thought of you, and realized I picked this up by continuously being fed this approach (amongst others) by reading your blog and this column.

    It feels like deciphering a code to living, and every time I feel a bit reliefed and a bit more aware of the freedom I hold. So thank you, and I guess a middlehanded, unknowing thank you from the people whom were subjected to less things to deal with, as there really never was anything to gain from it.

  5. Sarah says:

    Regarding a few comments above, you used to describe yourself as a nihilist. Is that no longer the case? (I know that not being a nihilist doesn’t mean you’ve become religious or believe in purpose in the Judeo-Christian sense or whatever, I’m just curious where you stand now).

  6. Just Wondering ... says:

    I learned the phrase “dirt squirrel” from this column. Would that be an accurate way to describe Kellyanne Conway? Or is she something different?

    I just happened to see a video pass thru my Twit feed of her sing-song yammering about guns ‘n’ abortion …

  7. Cuttlefish says:

    Ah, to be wealthy enough to have posh, douchebag friends that “scold” me for not owning an overpriced coffee grinder…

    • bambi_beth says:

      So I was guilted long ago (when I was soooooooooo broke I have no idea how I scraped together the money) into buying a conical burr grinder. I ditched the guilt-er but I still have the grinder. It’s a Capresso, and it’s incredible, and their customer service is, like gum, perfection.

      • Chris says:

        Wow, might have to actually start making my own coffee if it makes that much of a difference. I currently drink the Stok cold brew.

  8. Flour without a place says:

    I think you might be watching the Great British Baking show Coke. Not that I NEED it or anything but it’s therapeutic AND musing. Easy to watch, cathartic. The absolute best way to spend time watching a screen (for me) lately. I planned to make a ginger bread house. Got the perfect rolling pin, mints, gum drops, brown sugar, molasses…. etc. but I am missing something. Perhaps it’s …?

    • CQ says:

      I haven’t watched it. People keep recommending it, though. These days, I’m addicted to the Bon Appétit YouTube channel. It’s SO GOOD.

      • flblbl says:

        It really is. Nothing eases the soul quite as much as watching a passionate food-loving chef do their work. (their videos featuring Miz Cracker are better than the ones on her own channel too, I SAID IT)

  9. Chris says:

    Didn’t realize how much advice columns were an escape for me from work until the government shutdown started. Been working for the fed gov’t for 3 years now, and have avidly followed Coke and a few others, but didn’t think to even check the site until today, and only because I’m standing here waiting at Lowe’s to talk to a lady about carpet.

  10. Rex Bologna says:

    Coke, I don’t follow the one about the father. If it’s his car and he saved the money, why shouldn’t each be described as such?

    This is not a naive troll, I honestly want to understand this.

    And if Coke doesn’t have the time or inclination, anyone else?

    • Chris says:

      Maybe because mom and dad put the money away? Not sure. We don’t have the whole story.

      In my house, I went and got a 2nd FT job to get the first $12k for my oldest’s tuition, and then got a PT job at a college so that we can get them through the 1st 2 years.

      Obviously, I could not have done this if my wife was a money-burning shrew, and it also wouldn’t have happened if I was too busy making 4 more daughters with some little idiot who thinks I work overnight at the firehouse, or some-such.

      But according to my wife, the 529 is all because of me, as is the kid’s Roth IRA that she started with her first paycheck from the job I schmoozed her into.

      Having said that, if people outside my home referred to my kid’s tuition as “dad’s money” and the Honda Civic she’ll be using to get to class as “dad’s car” then, yeah, they have bought into the hierarchy where I’m the big boss, and are dicks.

    • flblbl says:

      Because you’re looking at the problem from a factual standpoint, where coke is looking at it from a moral standpoint. Is versus ought.

      Since they’re relying on their dad for their car and tuition it makes sense to describe them as such. To be informative with as little text as possible, etc.
      But should one have to rely on their dad for such things ? Why does it have to be the dad ? And if they are the one using the car and the tuition money, how is it even the dad’s ?
      Those patterns of speech are revelatory of the system’s* relationship to paternity, property and masculinity at large. And it’s a very unhealthy one. It follows that given what we can get from this short question, the poster’s reality is one where complaining about the patriarchy makes perfect sense.

      *the one where the asker is evolving, at least

      • Rex Bologna says:

        OK that makes sense.

        It’s a little like when my boss said one time that he bought my house. Um, no you didn’t, dude.

  11. chibi says:

    “Still, they are not my friends. They are my exes. There is a difference.”

    i needed this and didn’t even know it. thank you.

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