On Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad


It really bothers me that while there were simultaneous terrorist attacks in Beirut and Baghdad at the same time as Paris, there is absolutely no publicity and/or support from the international community compared to the outpouring of good wishes for France. There’s the sense that ‘people in Paris are not meant to have their lives taken away in this way’, while when it comes to Baghdad and Beirut, ‘this is such an everyday thing’. Why is it that lives are so much cheaper in the Middle East (or actually, anywhere in the developing world for that matter)?


Lives are cheaper in the Middle East because Western culture values them less. To put it as bluntly as possible, brown people simply aren’t worth as much as white people.

An institutionalized sense of racial and cultural superiority has always been one of the defining characteristics of Western civilization, and let’s be clear, when you say “international community,” what you really mean is Western society viewed through the lens of American mass media.

In the American mind, Paris is where we send newlyweds, and Beirut and Baghdad are where we send troops. Unsophisticated people with no sense of history or geography believe that to be the natural order of things, and of course, mass media caters to their ignorance to such a degree that when ISIS sends suicide bombers into each of those three cities, the response is predictable — shock and horror for the people of Paris and a mere shrug of acknowledgment for the people of Beirut and Baghdad.

It’s a detestable aspect of our culture, but it’s very real.


On sapiosexuality


What do you do about someone who starts raving about how sapiosexuals are oppressed and part of the LGBT spectrum and are a real sexuality which should be respected too?  Because ranting back “intelligence is not a gender preference,” or “most of us consider a mental connection to just be a normal part of creating a close relationship,” or “holy shit you’re just straight, you are a dude who is only into chicks but is even more into yourself” obviously doesn’t go anywhere, and just gritting my teeth is really starting to wear out the enamel.


Sapiosexuality isn’t an orientation. At best, it’s a preference. At worst, it’s something you call yourself in a dating profile to seem more interesting.

It’s fine if you’re turned on by intelligence, but that has nothing to do with whether you’re LGBT or even Q. Only a magnificent asshole with a victim complex would try and claim they were oppressed as a sapiosexual, and you should feel free to point out the irony that no one with any intelligence would ever fuck somebody who says shit that stupid.


On swapping a little paint


I accidentally scratched the paint of another car while making a turn in a parking lot. I took a picture of the scratch and their license plate. I was going to report the incident to the local police and my insurance company. However, a friend informed me that I could be charged with fleeing the scene and sued. He recommended I keep the incident to myself. The scratch, although slight, is noticeable on both of our cars. I would have liked to pay for the damages. I don’t know if there were cameras around. I do not like being sneaky. I have been driving for five years and have never had an accident or violation before. What should I do?


The right thing to have done would have been to leave your contact information for the other driver to find, customarily in the form of a quick note tucked under their windshield wiper.

It’s too late for that now, unless you randomly happen to see that same car parked in the same lot again over the next few days. (If you do, your note should just say something like, “Call me about that scratch on your bumper.” Don’t apologize or make offers to pay in writing.)

Do not involve the police or your insurance company over minor accidental scratches. That is a waste of everyone’s time, and it will only cause you more problems.

It’s good that you don’t like being sneaky, but this isn’t you being sneaky. This is you fucking up. It happens. You’re gonna feel like a shithead for a few days, but that’s what you get, and now you’ve learned your lesson.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


I’m a high end escort. Is it wrong to sleep with men I know are married and/or cheating, even though I’m getting paid?
Willfully participating in infidelity is pretty much the only ethical grey area of your job, but in terms of moral high ground, that still puts you above the average lawyer.

I’m thinking of sending a letter to my ex boyfriend. Even though we love each other, we broke up because our relationship wasn’t realistic on the long run, and it feels like this letter would be the final closure for me. Is it a good idea to sign it with “love” then my name?
Yes. Write the letter, sign it with love, and then don’t send it. Trust me. Stick it in a drawer for at least three months. If you forget about it, great. If you don’t, pull it out and read it. If you still wanna send it, send it. If not, even better.

You once said “if you insist on adding anything other than ice to your whiskey, that list ends at vermouth and bitters.” Does this mean you don’t have cocktails? I can’t wrap my head around why you would deny yourself something so delicious.
Most cocktails are just a means of adding sugar to alcohol. Sometimes a bartender will impress me, but nine times out of ten, anything on the menu is way too sweet for my taste.

How do you resist the urge to rebound?
I don’t. I rebound hard and on purpose. It’s practically a ritual.

Why do most of your readers/fans tend to be female?
Because men don’t ask for directions.

Aren’t you sort of an anonymous life coach?
No, I don’t coach people. I just answer questions. If anything, I’m more of an anonymous pop guru.


On failing in Los Angeles


If failed actors become real estate agents, and failed producers become life coaches, what do failed writers become?



On the friend who’s into life coaching


I have a friend who is very much into life coaching, she actually quit her job and dropped out of college to become a life coach. She has been a friend of mine for over 15 years, but I don’t think she’s the same anymore. And I don’t think we’re friends anymore.

She seems to be very happy, yet there’s something that bothers me so much about life coaching that I can’t feel happy about her.

Am I a bad friend? What is it that irks me so much?


I’m guessing what irks you is her incessant saccharine positivity. That shit can get super annoying, especially when it’s accompanied by a bunch of emotional buzzwords and overwrought clichés.

I’ve had a couple of friends peel off and suddenly become life coaches. It’s one of the things people in LA do when their entertainment careers don’t take off. Failed actors become real estate agents and failed producers become life coaches.

I dunno. Maybe becoming a life coach is different where you are, but I’ve always thought of it as going to rehab for people who never got addicted to anything. My last friend who decided to become a life coach showed up with a bunch of three ring binders one day sounding like she’d just joined a cult. I’m not sure if she ever got certified, because I didn’t really talk to her much after that.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s okay if you two aren’t friends anymore. You don’t have to stick around and listen to her bubble on about her latest seminar.

People change, and when they do, sometimes friendships have a natural end. You’re allowed to move on.


On responding to a wingnut


My bro is over my head sometimes and I have no idea how to respond to this text. Can you please help me understand??

“Historically democracies die by suicide; by excesses of liberties, lack of virtue, by “values clarification” and multi-cultural relativism to a point that society disintegrates. For instance, the UN’s plan for civilian disarmament that is gradually being imposed upon the world. There is an implication that freedom has been attained and tyranny has been banished; an idea diametrically opposed to all of human history and therefore a dogma, a statement of faith. Incidentally in The Republic it is stated that tyranny, the offspring of democracy, takes his father’s place after having disarmed him.”


This isn’t over your head. It’s a bunch of jumbled nonsense. Here’s how you respond:

“Plato was wrong about tyranny, John Adams was wrong about democracy, and you are wrong about everything. There’s no such thing as “multi-cultural relativism.” There’s multiculturalism and there’s cultural relativism, neither of which cause any damage to democracy. Also, there is no UN plan for civilian disarmament. That’s a hoax. Stop letting ultra-conservative chain emails influence your already ridiculous world view. Pull your head out of your ass and check your fucking sources, because you sound like a methed-up tea party kook.”

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


I miss the menu and searchable archive. Is there a way to bring that back or was it lost with tumblr?
At the top of the page is a little black tab with a  ≡  on it. That is a menu symbol. Click it. (You’re welcome.)

What’s the difference between modernism and postmodernism? (Just curious; not looking for an idea to use for an essay or for a thesis.)
Pick whatever field, and in some way or another, modernism can be reduced to a belief in objective knowledge, and postmodernism can be reduced to a challenging belief that knowledge is inevitably subjective.

I’m new to this. Is it okay to have sex with a married man who is in an open relationship with his wife? We are colleagues and friends.
Sure, it’s fine. As long as all three of you are down, go for it. (If you’d like to learn more about open relationships, I’d recommend you start with Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up. It’s the perfect beginners guide.)

My immediate superior emailed me several complaints about my work (some justified, some just micromanaging) in quick succession, so I called a meeting to get ahead of it. Now, how do I handle the meeting in such a way as to stay as promotable as possible?
Fix whatever’s fixable before the meeting, go in with an agenda that features you getting your shit together, and most importantly, don’t waste your immediate superior’s time.

How do you feel about the claims that Bernie would be an ineffective president because he doesn’t know how to play well with the Washington types?
He was in Congress for sixteen years and the Senate for nine. Bernie is a Washington type, and anyone who thinks he doesn’t play well with others hasn’t been paying attention.

Do you ever get sick of all these questions?
Nope. Still crazy after all these years.

Why does reading your advice feel different even though nothing has changed?
It’s called reframing. I’m good at it.

I keep deleting my questions because I know you won’t answer, and then I’ll have made myself feel exposed for nothing.
Now how do you feel?


On never giving up


I’ve been going through in my head reasons not to kill myself. I’ve read through your posts, your fun-sized advice, anything that seems to mention this even slightly. . . and the one thing that sticks out to me most is that the most important thing–the only thing that matters–is never giving up. But how do I even get this kind of strength?


You will eventually find the strength inside yourself. You will. I promise. Right now though, you need to get the strength from other people. This isn’t something you should be doing by yourself, and that’s okay.

What I’m saying is you need to seek some professional treatment. You just do, and that’s okay too.

I don’t know your circumstances or where you are in the world, so I can’t really point you to any specific mental health care resources, but you’ve got the internet. Please use it to find some help.

And yeah, you’re right. The most important thing is never giving up.


Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


I spent the night with someone. Before we went to bed, I said I was going to get some condoms. She said that I didn’t have to worry, because she takes pills. I’m right now a bit restless about it. How can I tactfully ask her if she does indeed take them?
You can’t. Now you have to spend an entire month in a constant state of anxiety praying to a god that doesn’t exist that this sloppy bitch gets her next period. That’s what you get for being an idiot.

I went out dancing last night with some friends, took molly and then took home a friend of a friend of a friend and had sex with him. Found out this morning he is married, and apparently my friend told me that last night but I have zero memory of this. Why do I feel so shitty?
Because you got messy and fucked a married man.

Can a straight white cis man be slut shamed?
Absolutely. Straight white cis men constantly shame each other for having sex with fat and/or ugly women, which is a particularly abhorrent form of slut shaming unique to them.

What’s the best way to start over after you’ve run your life into the ground?
Change your patterns.

Could you ever be in a monogamous relationship again?
I could do monogamy for a year or two, but it would be an examined and thoughtful version of monogamy in the larger context of a long term relationship with a like-minded partner.

What’s your average refractory period for falling in love?
About two years, give or take.

What’s the most dismal state you’ve ever visited?

I’d love to participate in the comments of your posts, but there’s no way I’d ever give you my email address.
Put in a fake email address. Duh.