Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Why do you think we need to share our feelings in order to feel them fully?
You don’t, but it’s certainly easier to understand them if you do.

What’s the difference between selling-out and changing your principles?
The sale itself.

You say dignity is inherent and cannot be lost, but then in other instances you accept it as fact that dignity can be lost. Which is it?
It’s both.

The idea of nothing instead of this constant pain, irritation and nightmare of maintenance is actually quite appealing.
Yes, but it’s the idea that’s appealing. Ideas require a mind. They require that you exist.

I’ve been single for two years now and I think I’ve forgotten how to love. What do I do now?
Nah, you’re good. Anyone capable of saying “I think I’ve forgotten how to love” is too dramatic to actually forget how to love.

I’m getting married in a couple days. Everyone around me is busy and doing things to get everything ready and all I want to do is sit alone and cry.
Then go sit alone and cry. I think you’ll find it to be a damn good use of your time.

It often scares me that I love my husband so much, and fills me with a sense of foreboding. Is this a bad sign?
Nope. It’s a good sign. It means your life is so good at the moment that your brain doesn’t know where to aim normal levels of anxiety.

How do I accept the fact that I’ll never be pretty? I know this seems like a trivial question but I think about it every day.
Base your self-worth on something other than your looks — preferably the quality of your character. (Everyone should do this.)

I’m glad those cops are dead. I wish all cops were dead. And I still think the world will be a better place when you finally kill yourself with cocaine. You are an ugly person.
Just so you know, you’re one of my favorites. I love getting your batshit submissions. They’re fucking hilarious, and I’d be happy to autograph a copy of my book for you.


46 thoughts on “On fun-sized advice

  1. Chrissy says:

    Wow. I’d like to wield that kind of poise when someone wishes an overdose on me. Way to keep your nose clean.

    • Rainbowpony says:

      Me too. Although it’s a lot easier when you are anonymous; you don’t have to worry that some psycho would actually do something psycho.

      • O. says:

        It’s not really possible for them to be anonymous though, is it? If Coquette knows who the submissions are from, they must submit them through their email address to her. That, or she can tell an individual voice from the thousands of submissions received monthly.

  2. JC says:

    It’s fun to poke the trolls with comments like “how charming” and not take their bait. I wonder what happens to their impotent rage when it’s obvious they’re being laughed at?

  3. sTrawberRy's says:

    “Base your self-worth on something other than your looks.”

    I honestly don’t know how to do this! How do you do this? (Serious question)

    • Marie says:

      There are probably tons of ways to go about this from a practical standpoint, but I think it comes down to recognizing and reinforcing the great things about you that aren’t based on your looks. Nurture your personality. Develop your character.

    • Pamela says:

      To serious question re not-pretty.

      What I did, as a fellow non-pretty, was basically the following.

      a) Acknowledge the reality of the PAIN your non-pretty can bring you. Feel it, mourn, cry, move on, repeat (once a month or so). Same goes for the rage (why-am-I-not-given-what-others-have), feeling short-changed by life…

      b) Think about what you want that you think pretty can get you. Attention? Admiration? Safety? Love? Then think of other ways you can get the same things. You can be funny, loving, smart, warm…all qualities that will attract people to you.

      c) Specifically re love/relationships…It WILL happen, you just might have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime learn some skills to up your employability, or make your life easier in the long term.

      d) Also re love/relationships. ALL the Uggo’s I know, including myself, have found nice, loving relationships in the end.

      • Shanni says:

        Useful advice!

        Genuine question….
        How did you realize you weren’t pretty. I figure I’d know by now if I was stunning. But can I know which side of average I’m on?

        • O. says:

          Hi Shanni, if you haven’t already, read this:

          It might help to stop equating your reflection with western beauty ideals. That shit is photoshopped and edited so much to demonstrate what advertising executives and Hollywood film executives state what beauty is and by buying what they’re selling we perpetuate the cycle of ‘Am I beautiful?’ ad nauseam until we’re too old to give a fuck. It’s better to be healthy rather than equating your image with an unattainable standard of perceived ‘beauty’.

          It’s not really about recognising if you’re stereotypically beautiful or if you’re average, either. It’s about having intrinsic self-worth which can be found if you try looking at what else you have to offer the world. For instance, are you kind, intelligent, funny to be around, good at team work, etc. We’re all pretty much on the right side of average re: one eye slightly larger than the other, slightly smaller than the other, chests that aren’t symmetrical, muffin-tops, uni-brows that we tweeze incessantly, stuck trying to lose those last few pounds. And that’s just the guys.

          • WhoAmI says:

            Perfect bilateral symmetry is wayyyyy down the priority list of today’s beauty standards. Unibrows and hollow chests are no big deal either re : male models.
            Now, if you don’t have small pores and a low BFP you won’t be “that hot guy”. But those are very prevalent traits in the overall population, so no biggie. Some few people do actually look perfectly photoshopped on a select few days of the year. It’s a profession.
            Whatever. It’s not like people actually buy in the whole “skin that looks like it was made with the color gradient tool” thing. We know that kind of modification is fake as fuck. The problem is more that we are sold a very bland, repetitive, unadventurous beauty standard and we are fed it in abundance.
            Desensitization and habituation follow, with the risk to find yucky everything that may not look enough like it.
            More than abolishing beauty standards, it’s about creating your own and challenging it actively. Keep the whole “well at least I’m healthy !!” bullshit for people who read self-help books, they’re irrecuperable anyway.

      • JC says:

        Being pretty does not guarantee you love or make it any easier. There are ways in which it can be worse, like men care more that you are hot than they do that you are funny or intelligent. I resent this every bit as much as other people resent not being regarded as pretty. The interesting thing about it is that this is because my self-esteem was built on other things than appearance. It makes me angry that men do not love me for the reasons I love myself.

    • WhoAmI says:

      Acknowledge the fact that, even just visually, you are perceived as much more than your body. It doesn’t exist in a perfectly still vacuum. It is just as important to give off good vibes, a good nature, a strong personality or charisma. And you can’t develop those in a sunbed.
      Realize the unseen stuff that goes into that. Realize the unseen stuff that goes into presenting a perfect skin to the world (notice the first category of stuff is wayyy less tedious and more interesting than the second one). Realize you’re worth the same when you’re alone in a mirrorless room, and when you’re not.
      Admit that your self-worth shouldn’t be based off what worth others find in you. Admit that when you only base it on your looks, that is exactly what you’re doing.

    • AJ says:

      Also been struggling with this as a male. My twin bro and sister of similar age both have model good looks and there’ve been plenty of occasions even now in our 30s where I feel short-changed, esp. when people express shock that I’m related to either of them. Even as a pre-teen I noticed people were more drawn to them and treated them better because they are good-looking, and for me it has got harder with age to accept. Maybe because when I was young I still had hope I’d grow into my own.

      I do have talent and skills they don’t have, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t trade it all to experience life as a good looking guy

      • Lenneatte says:

        I’m a moderately-pretty and my first thought after reading this comment was that I wouldn’t trade my looks for more talent and skills. I’m not even a very-pretty and I still feel strongly about not wanting to trade my looks. Now I know I need to do some serious re-evaluating of my priorities and my self-worth. So I guess it may seem strange to thank you for this comment, but thank you.

        • WhoAmI says:

          Acknowledging that hot people have more fun (of course they do) and basing your self worth on your level of hotness are two different things.
          Just because something is more sellable doesn’t mean it’s better.

          • Cuttlefish says:

            Eh, hot people have more fun when they’re young. But the not-hot tend to have more fun later in life, while the formerly hot just get ever more obsessive and miserable and weird in their desperate pursuit to cling to what they’ve lost. And those that are funny and charismatic have the most fun of all at every age, regardless of looks.

    • nat says:

      One thing I guess I base my personality around is being honest. I think it’s something that everyone can aim to be, and be proud of being. I think it’s a good starting point.

      Other options include being generous (not just with money), being welcoming, being a good listener, having a well-developed moral compass, whatever you like… All of the above?

      Having integrity is good armour against every other way of measuring yourself. You can combat “I’m not pretty enough” with integrity, and also “I’m not smart enough” or any of those shitty comparisons.

      But I think that basing your self worth in your personality is only step 1. You also have to think about your body differently. Not thinking about it at all is better than berating it for not measuring up, but as cheesy/cringey as it sounds when you’re not ready to hear it, try to enjoy your body.

      I used to think of myself as living in my head; my body was just something that carried my head around. I think I’m a lot happier now that I take enjoyment in it for its own sake (just a low level gratitude for all the experiences I get to have through it) without trying to minimise it’s importance.

    • JC says:

      Here is a thought experiment for anyone having difficulty with this issue. Consider who you want to be when you are really old. Beauty fades, and we are all going to look like someone’s nut sack eventually. Me, I want to have a sense of humor, compassion and intelligence. Even if you aren’t funny or smart, you can still strive to be a beautiful person on the inside. Show some compassion for yourself first and foremost, and tell the nasty voice in your head to get lost.

    • tbunny says:

      Your fundamental self worth is, I think, a choice that you are making. There’s a part of Branden’s “Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” where he talks about asking people to declare publicly, “I have a right to exist.” Generally people have trouble with this. The choice you are making is to assert your fundamental worth, which is to say, “I have a right to exist.” Even better, “I have a right to be me.” You can’t find a reason or justification beyond your assertion of it-because, no matter who you are, you can always find someone who is prettier, smarter, more successful, funnier, etc. You have to get past all that, get over the addiction to comparisons and status. Your assertion of your right to exist is your reason. You have to practice this attitude. Now, various kinds of emotional healing can be helpful in getting to clarity about this, but that’s somewhat different matter…

    • VeryOff says:

      Be the best at something.
      Give more than anyone you know.
      Care more than you are cared for.
      Assume incompetence over malice.
      Respect the inanimate.
      Breathe deeply before answering.

      And don’t take ambien before commenting

  4. Dee says:

    To the bride: I had a meltdown 3 days before my wedding – left work, slept and cried and watched grey’s anatomy and felt great the next day. As long as it’s not because you don’t actually want to get married/marry the person you’re marrying, I think a day of crying will do wonders.

    • Kelsie says:

      Yep, before my wedding I also had a similar meltdown. It’s part of the process of adjusting to the fact that something major about your life is going to change, possibly forever, and that you might be entering into a new stage of life with additional priorities (if you want to have children or pets together, if you weren’t cohabiting before but now you’re going to, now you’ll also have a marriage to maintain, etc)

      Like Dee pointed out, there’s a difference between a short period of grieving for your unmarried life, and a realization that you really don’t want to marry this person. The difference matters a lot. And if it’s the first, you’re going to be perfectly fine.

  5. Cate says:

    I’ve almost sent in that exact question about not being pretty, so I’m glad someone else got theirs in first. The answer is correct, but it does make the process sound much simpler than it really is…especially as a woman in a society that trains us to base our self-worth on how well we conform to beauty standards. Unlearning that is so hard, I barely know where to start. Thanks to everyone who answered Strawberry’s question about how to go about it!

  6. Jessica Sen says:

    Your life is the life that you lead, that belongs to you.

    You’re life is a suggestion or statement that you comprise the essence of existence.

    It’s your life.

    Do I get an autographed copy for correcting typos?

    • Jessica Sen says:

      Fuck that. I don’t want some beansprout graffiti on my book. I want a picture of you when you were dirt poor and ugly.

  7. NELL says:

    To the person who says they’re not pretty, repeat this mantra everyday. Hell do it every 10 minutes if you have to:
    It works, I swear to the godless nothing.

    • to be very tender says:

      imo, in certain situations it absolutely is your business. if you’re fucking up a relationship and someone’s trying to communicate you their feelings and what they think of you, that’s a necessary opinion.

      what other people think of you doesn’t have to be your business (and you don’t have to accept their opinions as truth), but it’s good to understand why people think of you in the ways that they do

      • NELL says:

        What someone else thinks of your actions, your words, your impact on them is absolutely your business. I’m talking about the YOU that is your core, your “soul” or whatever you want to call it. That is something that should be untouchable by anyone and what anyone else thinks of YOU in that sense shouldn’t matter. Only what you think of yourself.

  8. Anna says:

    Love the discussion on beauty, thinking about this kind of thing always brings me back to :

    “Beauty privilege is very real. None of us are imagining it, and if we aren’t born genetic lottery winners, our only option is to compensate with style, grace, and charm. Of course, none of that shit comes cheap. That’s kind of the whole point. It’s all meant to be aspirational and exclusionary. We’re supposed to feel depressed by our skin, agitated by our bodies, and anxious about our invisibility. That’s the insidious subtlety of social control.

    The worst part is that we know in our rational minds that it’s all bullshit, and yet we’re still plagued with self-loathing when we can’t live up to unattainable beauty standards. No matter how much self-acceptance we achieve, we can still look in the mirror and instantly catalog all the things about ourselves that we don’t think measure up. It’s maddening. It makes us feel like hypocrites even though it’s not our hypocrisy.”

    This is Coquette for Adult Mag (read the full exchange here : Brilliant, right ? (Also if there is any way to include this in your book CQ…)

    Also, personal recommendation to the OP, read Jean Genet’s “The Thief’s Journal”. Everyone talks about how beauty is relative, and ugly can be beautiful, etc, but no one seems to put that to practice as well as Genet does. He understands beauty and aesthetics, he can communicate in a few words the warmth and the wonder of beauty better than I could in pages and pages of writing.
    When you have a true personal understanding of what beauty means to you, I assure you it’s much easier to wake up and see the face of a Picasso portrait in the mirror and be more or less fine with it.
    Full disclaimer, I’m objectively gorgeous, a bit out of shape, and still rather awkward. But damn, a few years ago I felt entirely ugly, and never imagined there would ever be this much beauty in my life.

    • VeryOff says:

      I forgot about that. Beauty.
      It could never be anything other than what it is.
      It reminded me that the world is its own perfection because it’s a process and not an end. If anything was perfect, that would be the end of it.

  9. One Of Those says:

    Don’t want to be an asshole, but in too much husband love – *your

    I actually have the same problem. It’s such a great problem to have. 🙂

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