Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

It’s been about 12 years since I was last in love. Why hasn’t it happened again?
Is it possible that twelve years ago you were a person who didn’t understand what it meant to be in love? Is it possible that you’ve held on to an erroneous idea of love all this time, or worse yet, an idealized version that wasn’t even real? Every relationship is different. Every love is unique. Whatever happened back then will never happen again. It is gone forever. Let that shit go. Quit using it as the standard against which all other relationships are measured. Allow yourself to be open to something altogether new.

I’m doing my Masters, after it taking me two bachelors degrees to figure out what I wanted to do. I have a full scholarship and I’m passionate about what i’m studying. But 8 months in, i’m so so tired and so disheartened. I am working harder than I’ve ever worked at anything, but my grades are average. I feel like i’ve always done well while coasting, and now that i’m throwing my all into this, i’m ‘failing’ (by my own standards, anyway). I don’t know if I really have a question. But if you have any advice on how to avoid burnout it would be much appreciated.
Those aren’t really your standards. That’s why you’re burning out. Let them go, and allow your standards to adjust. You aren’t failing. You’re doing just fine. Let it be enough that you’re getting through the program. The prize isn’t a degree with honors. That’s just a trophy. The prize is a specialized career that you love in a rarified field of professionals to which you will one day belong. Keep your eye on the prize, not the trophy.

I feel like I could get into and go to medical school if I put my mind to it and if I really wanted to. Should I? I’m so conflicted over what career path to take.
I didn’t hear anything about wanting to be a doctor, and that’s something you gotta really want. Medical school is a series of hazing rituals that puts you into a quarter million dollars of debt. The mere ability to run that gauntlet isn’t reason enough to do it. You should have a burning desire to be a physician or a surgeon. Otherwise, you will be making yourself miserable for a career that isn’t nearly as lucrative or esteemed as you think it is.

I’m seriously interested in doing the whole sugar baby thing. How difficult will this be?
I don’t know you. There is a range of personality traits as well as physical and emotional attributes that might make sex work particularly easy or a living hell. Odds are, like most jobs, it’ll just barely be worth whatever money you can make, but in our economy, that’s more a reflection on the job itself rather than the person doing it.

how do i untie my self worth from my appearance?
Live in a different culture.

Do you have good posture?
Well, we all just sat up a little straighter, didn’t we?

My twenties have been really shitty. Will my thirties be any better?
They will be different. I can’t speak to better.

What do you think of the term “fainting couch feminism?”
It’s just another way for right wing assholes to call us snowflakes. It’s fine. Let them continue to mistake our compassion for weakness as they slowly asphyxiate on their own irrelevance.

Standard
Advice

On pumping your fuck brakes

Being told that the reason men leave is because I sleep with them fairly quickly. A therapist told me to wait months before fucking. It’s the hardest thing I have never done. I just want to know what you think because you’re smarter and funnier.

 

God, I hate this myth, that a woman’s value as a long-term partner is arbitrarily determined by whatever length of time she waits to have sex. It’s nothing more than an outmoded, patriarchal notion of sexual virtue, and it is so fucking gross.

Men do not stay or leave based upon when you sleep with them. They stay or leave based upon their phase of life, their emotional availability, and how much they’re into you. You’re probably dating immature, emotionally unavailable men who run for the hills regardless of how much they’re into you. Waiting to fuck them would only delay the inevitable.

If your therapist is telling you to pump your fuck brakes, she’s either a shitty therapist or she recognizes that you’re the type whose judgment gets cloudy once you let a dude cum inside you. I don’t know what your deal is, so I can’t say for sure. Maybe ask your therapist. If she says something moralistic about sex, fire her on the spot. If she expresses concern about your dating patterns and the type of men you consistently choose, maybe listen.

Even if you have legitimate reasons for changing up your fuck patterns, that still doesn’t mean that men are leaving you because you sleep with them quickly. There may be a correlation between the speeds at which you’re having sex and getting dumped, but that doesn’t imply causation.

Again, this is more about the type of men you’re choosing to fuck, not how quickly you’re choosing to fuck them. Honestly, I doubt that men leaving you is even the underlying problem. After all, you want the wrong men to leave you. That’s a good thing. The problem is likely that you’re a crush-junkie who mistakes big swoony emotions for good judgement.

If you want a long-term relationship, be more discerning. Learn how to spot maturity and emotional availability in men, and place more importance on a relationship’s health than its length.

 

Standard
Advice

On your piece of shit father

My father has turned into an absolutely horrible bigot in the last couple of years and I can no longer stand to be around him. He is blatantly racist, homophobic, transphobic, and of course a lover of Trump. The most common words out of his mouth are “n*igger” and “f*ggot”, which he says aloud, in public, regardless of who is around. He becomes infuriated if he sees an interracial couple, gay couple, or even a person of color in the neighborhood. He thinks everything he says is right and everyone else is wrong, often saying “you’ll see how right I am one of these days”. He makes statements like “we stole this land fair and square from the Indians and now we got people coming to try and steal it from us and we should just kill them all”.

He’s called me everything from a stupid bitch to an “overeducated liberal idiot”. Moreover, he’s ruined several important moments for me, including my masters graduation get together and my wedding rehearsal dinner with his selfish, hateful attitude. I used to take the bait and argue with him, which is what I think he wanted, but the convo quickly turned petty and childish. So now when I visit I stare blankly ahead, bite my tongue, and just ignore it. I feel like I should try to make him see my point of view, but I also know it’s a lost cause. Not visiting isn’t an option because I want to see my mother.

I also think it’s important to mention that he often tries to idealize our father-daughter relationship in his mind (as he boohooed all over me during our dance at my wedding). We’ve never been super close and I’ve always gone to my mom for anything rather than my dad. He also believes that because he is my father, I should respect him and accept everything he says without question. I guess I am just ranting. Any advice on dealing with this?

 

Disown him.

Stop visiting your parents. Do not speak to your father. Let him know he is dead to you in his current form. If your mother wants to visit, she can come to you. Your father is not invited. I know you think your mother is innocent in this, but she isn’t. She has spent decades enabling your father, and you are blind to the fact that she has picked him over you all these years.

If there is any hope that your father will change, you will need your mother’s help, and she has no incentive unless her relationship with you is contingent upon that change. To put it plainly, if your mother isn’t willing to help you modify your father’s behavior, then she deserves to lose her relationship with you as well.

The problem is bigger than you think. Your father is more than just a racist asshole. He is emotionally and psychologically abusive. Our culture used to dismiss men like him as “mean old bastards,” but he is an abuser, and both you and your mother are his victims. He will only change if he absolutely has to, and the only thing that might work is if his wife and daughter team up against him.

This isn’t about your father’s politics or worldview. That shit is just a sideshow. This is about his malignant narcissism and abusive behavior. Do not allow it into your life. Do not allow him into your life, even at the expense of your relationship with your mother.

I know this seems harsh, but if you really disown your father, your mother will finally have to make a choice between him and you. She will resent being forced to change, but tough shit. Any mother worthy of the title will pick her child, and if she doesn’t, at least you’ll finally recognize her for who she really is.

Worst case scenario, you become an emotional orphan (which you already were and simply didn’t know it.) Best case scenario, you and your mother exert enough pressure on your father that he breaks, and you wind up with some version of him where he learns to act right and bite his fucking tongue.

The most likely outcome is that you read this, feel momentarily inspired to enforce your will on the family, but then quickly fall back into old patterns of behavior. After all, real change is incredibly fucking difficult.

I hope you’ll go hard, though. Your dad is a real piece of shit, and you deserve better. Maybe you can make it happen.

Standard
Thoughts

On my last relationship

When you are ready, will you share with us what happened with the last guy you were seeing? So sorry to be nosy, but I care for you, I’m curious and I feel like I could learn from it.

 

I still don’t know what happened. Not really. I thought that for the first time in my life I had found a human being worth making my actual husband. We were one of those disgustingly happy couples from day one. We were a team, and we made it look easy.

We traveled the world together. We moved in together. We started planning our lives together. There was a ring. We saved a date and picked a wedding venue. Things between us were wonderful for a solid year, and then suddenly they weren’t.

It was him, not me. He just fell out of love. Hard. In a matter of weeks, his feelings for me changed, and I still don’t know how or why. In the final days, I knew something was wrong, and I tried talking to him, but he was reassuring and highly skilled at avoiding conflict. In other words, he was very good at lying to my face about his feelings and intentions.

The end came without warning. He simply moved out one afternoon while I was at work. He conspired for weeks to end the relationship while resisting even one single conversation about his change of heart, and he gave me literally one hour’s notice before the moving truck arrived.

The last time I saw him, it was as if I was speaking with a stranger. He was all business, zero compassion. His ability to cut off his emotions so completely kind of scared me a little, and we have not spoken since the breakup.

Of course, I miss him, but the person I miss no longer exists if he ever existed in the first place. The person capable of that level of conspiracy and emotional cutoff is not the same person I thought I loved, and the manner in which he ended the relationship precludes any possibility that I might let him back into my life.

I recently learned that he left his previous ex in a similar manner, though throughout our relationship he’d led me to believe that his previous ex was the one who had left him. Who knows? If I had to guess, I’d say his family also may have played a role. I never quite felt like his mother approved of us. Again, who knows?

I’m not sure what, if anything, you hope to learn from this. The only lesson in it for me is that life ain’t fair and you don’t often get any answers as to why. Naturally, I already knew that shit.

I am dating again, though only half-heartedly. The single men here are mostly religious and/or Republican, and there’s not a craft cocktail in the world artisanal enough for me to put up with that kind of conversation.

Still, life is grand. I love what I do for a living, and I love my new place in the world. I am ever hopeful. Not that I’m hoping for anything in particular, but I am broadly optimistic about the future and unabashedly good at savoring the human condition regardless of whether I exist in a state of singlehood, couplehood, or some creative variation of the two.

Standard
Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

It’s come to my attention that conservative voters are low information voters.
Stupid is as stupid does.

Baby Boomers need to die faster.
I don’t care if they live or die. I just want their wealth to be redistributed with extreme prejudice.

So you would vote for Cynthia Nixon?
Over Cuomo in the primary? Fuck yes. Over any Republican in the general? Double fuck yes.

How is someone as wise as you so willing to support the worst politicians?
You are such a fucking child. Please grow up or shut up, because the rest of us are here to win and we are are done babysitting spoiled brats like you.

Do you listen to Chapo Trap House?
I tried for a minute. I really tried, but I couldn’t get into it. I don’t find them particularly likable, insightful, or entertaining. (I’ll take the crew over at Crooked Media any day of the week.)

How do I get laid when I hate people?
I dunno. It’s never stopped me.

My boyfriend and I are planning to do molly together, it’s my first time, but not his. Any advice to make the most of the experience?
Stay hydrated. Make sure you don’t have anything planned the following day that requires any significant concentration. Any special feelings that either of you express towards one another while rolling should not be held against one another afterwards. Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Feel all the feels!

Is it wrong/weird/immature if I have absolutely zero interest in remaining friends with any of my exes? Regardless of how the relationships ended.
It’s fine. Don’t overthink it.

Is radical kindness a good idea or am I just setting myself up to be a doormat?
Radical kindness is a great idea. The only way to end up a doormat is to be unskilled at setting and maintaining proper boundaries.

I had all of your playlists on my old computer, which sadly died and has since been replaced. I noticed the old playlists are lost in the ether and was wondering if you have plans to bring them back to life. If not, I’ll plan a weekend of building them all out in Spotify over some whiskey. Thanks for putting together such great mixes!
The old playlists are not lost in the ether. They’re all right here. I’d love it if you built them all in Spotify for me. Thanks!

Standard
Thoughts

On my latest book list

Alright, we got a playlist THANK YOU! Now could we please have a book list?

 

Yes, yes. I know what time of year it is. Fair warning, though. I’ve spent the last long while coming out of my own personal dark night of the soul, so this year’s book list is pretty intense. It’s all about nature and art and death and resurrection. There’s some old-school wisdom and some new-school wisdom. Some of it is candy, and some of it is just plain weird. All of it has helped me gain perspective on who I am and what I believe to be true about the universe.

So, without further ado, here is my latest book list:

 

Religion Without God by Ronald Dworkin

Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C.G. Jung

The Gift by Hafiz

The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell

Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell

On Having No Head by D.E. Harding

Letters From A Stoic by Seneca

Metamorphoses by Ovid

The Republic by Plato

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

The Dark Half by Stephen King

The Omen by David Seltzer

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Tinkers by Paul Harding

I Married You For Happiness by Lily Tuck

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor

M Train by Patti Smith

The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Loving & Hating Charles Bukowski by Linda King

I Knew Jim Knew by Jim Walrod

How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art by David Salle

Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren

Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky

Standard
Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

Met a super hot older man a while back. He was passing through my city, we’ve stayed in touch since then. He’s married and has at least two lovers, one in his home city and one in my city (whom he was visiting). He writes me poetry and recently told me that he thinks he loves me. I’m being played, right?
Like a cheap violin. Unless the wife knows about you and the poetry, don’t entertain this douchebag. (And to be clear, he doesn’t love you. He doesn’t even love the idea of you. He loves himself, and he merely enjoys the way you make him feel.)

If I’m not physically attracted to him, that means I need to break up with him. Right?
That’s not what it means, but that’s what you’ll end up doing.

I feel super unhealthy around my family and always leave thinking I am a fuck up, both physically and mentally. But gosh am I healthy.
You’ve got a family of origin (mom, dad, etc.) and a family of choice (friends, mentors, etc.), each with its own system that governs your roles, your values, and your patterns of behavior. You feel unhealthy around your family of origin because the system itself is unhealthy, and you are its symptom bearer. Once you’re back amongst your family of choice, you feel healthy again because that system is (relatively) healthy. I don’t know why you’ve taken on the role of “fuck up” with your family of origin, but it definitely serves some sort of purpose, not necessarily to your benefit.

Why does he want to reconnect on social media after 10 years of not being connected?
I don’t know. Maybe ask him? Use your words.

I’m on my way to getting a picture book published, and all I can think about is that I’m going to fail to meet my deadline, that it probably won’t sell anyway, and that I just used my connection with the publishing house instead of working hard like a real artist. I’m doing my best to blow up all these self-sabotaging thoughts, but if you have any additional advice I’d really appreciate it.
Shut-up and get it done. Pour every ounce of your soul into the art. Do not give one solitary fuck if it sells.

How long do you give it before the college industry bubble bursts?
It already burst, but not like you think. Academia is capitalism-adjacent and not subject to the same market forces as, say, the mortgage industry. Nevertheless, there was a massive cultural shift over this past decade in the perceived value of higher education. The shift is what matters. It was a cultural bubble that burst, not an economic bubble. Now, if you’re asking how long before tuition drops, that depends entirely on who wins the 2020 election.

Finally admitted to myself that I’m in an emotional affair. Now what?
Now admit to yourself why you need it. The affair itself is just a symptom of a much larger problem. What is that problem? Once you figure it out, maybe try and solve it with some integrity.

What do you think about Jesus H. Christ and his teachings?
Overrated.

Just letting you know I had the best sex of my life last night.
Why wasn’t I invited?

Do you actually speak Latin?
I read Latin. Don’t really have anyone to speak it to.

Are you still friends with that guy you were madly in love with that suddenly moved on with that woman he just automatically hit it off with?
Yep. That seems like a long time ago. We’re all good friends now. They’re getting married.

Standard
Advice

On leading an examined life

Maybe it’s just because my 28th birthday is in a week, but I’m feeling extra shitty about my life choices lately. By all accounts, I’m doing pretty ok: I’m making a living off a career I chose in high school and still love (with a fucking art school degree), I’m living in one of the best cities in the world and I’m about to move across the country to another one, I’m fairly attractive, decently in shape, and I have a boyfriend who loves me. I’m healthy, I’m paying off my student loans, and I’ve got amazing credit. So why do I feel like I’m wasting my life?

 

You’re basing your entire sense of purpose off of a checklist, and it’s not even your own fucking checklist. You’re trying to attain spiritual fulfillment using cultural capitalism’s default settings for being a good consumer. Sorry, but that’s a recipe for a big fat existential crisis.

Set the checklist aside and start leading an examined life. Go deep. I’m talking about religion here. Not the canned stuff, obviously, but real religion. Primal stuff about nature and consciousness and the mysteries of the universe. Ask the big questions. Explore the human condition. Get busy with moral philosophy, metaphysics, and aesthetics. Soak it all up. Learn, and then go do.

It doesn’t really matter what you end up believing or how you end up putting it all into practice. The process itself is how you discover a life worth living.

(Oh, and happy fucking birthday!)

Standard
Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

You can’t just go marching back here like you didn’t ABANDON me for MONTHS on end with no real explanation MOM.
I can do whatever I want.

Look….I understand being too busy for the blog, I understand being too busy for the advice column….but can we, pretty please, get a playlist? I miss those so much!
Boom.

A friend just told me she 100% believes in ghosts, and I’m just so irritated. I don’t have a question.
This is America. You’re gonna have to get used to all the dumdums believing in a vast array of painfully stupid shit.

I listen to music that is much cooler than I am.
No you don’t. You are exactly as cool as the music you love.

How do you make friends as an adult? Moved to a new city, have a decent job but am the only person in their early 20’s, everyone else is married with kids and acts like it.
Making new friends in a new city after college isn’t automatic. You have to work at it like it’s a second job. You have to put yourself out there. It’s almost like dating. (I mean, shit. There’s a reason BumbleBFF is a thing.) It also takes time. In my experience, it takes about two years to develop a new and genuine friend set from scratch. If every six months you get to know one new person you want to keep in your life, you’re ahead of the curve.

Guys from dating apps keep asking me to FaceTime before meeting up. What the fuck? Is this what we do now?
It’s what you do apparently. It’s not what I do. A grown-ass man wants a piece of my time, he’s gonna invite me to dinner or drinks like a proper goddamn adult. Fucking hell. If you post-millennial shitbirds start making me do the whole “back in my day” routine I swear to god I will burn this motherfucker down.

What is Jordan Peterson wrong about? I love you both by the way.
Ugh. I am so sick of hearing that man’s name. I get why there’s some crossover in my readership and his fandom, but I don’t want anything to do with that Canadian hack. He’s not worth my time. If you want a deadly accurate assessment of Jordan Peterson, go watch ContraPoint’s YouTube video. She nails it so I don’t have to. (Actually, go watch all of ContraPoint’s YouTube videos. She is hilarious and amazing and deserves her own Netflix series.)

Does it get easier, making conscious choices to change in the moment? Or is it always a slog?
Making conscious choices to change in the moment will always be difficult. What gets easier is everything else.

Going to a music festival alone. Good or bad idea?
Go. Just go. Quit worrying about the stupid idea and just go do all the things.

How would you like to be remembered? How do you actually think you’ll be remembered?
I won’t be remembered. None of us will. We will each be known briefly by the few who love us, and then we will all be dead forever.

Standard
Advice

On hitting the reset button

After 3.5 years together, he ended it. Out of nowhere (from my perspective.) I thought everything was fine. I thought we were going to get married and have kids. He led me to believe that was the case. Now all of a sudden it’s over. I live in his apartment – everything is his. I own nothing, have no money, no plan. I centered my life around him, which was my own fault. I feel like I’ve been cracked open and nothing is left. I’ve never felt so low and I’m starting to feel genuinely scared of what’s going on in my own mind. I don’t want to be here anymore. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything’s dark.

 

Pack a bag, empty his bank account, and buy a one-way ticket to a city far, far away. Better yet, take his car and drive there. Find an apartment with roommates. Get a job, go to school, make friends. Build an entirely new life.

I’m deadly serious about all of that, but if it seems too extreme, then just start by packing a bag. Get out of his apartment as soon as possible. That’s the first step towards feeling whole again.

There’s no way you can see this yet, but you’ve been given a rare and precious gift. You get a fresh start with a clean slate. You get to hit the reset button on your life, and as terrifying as that sounds, it’s likely going to be one of the most profound and necessary experiences of your life.

Get going. You can do this.

Standard