Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

What does it mean when someone says “you’ve taught me and helped me grow and you’re someone I’m never going to stop loving”… the midst of breaking up with you?
It means it was good, but now it’s over.

I’ve unexpectedly found myself with a small chunk of time, alone in Geneva. What should I do?
Open a numbered bank account and buy some chocolate.

Why do I squirm and make plans to self sabotage when someone tells me they are proud of me?
Fear and self-loathing.

When I’m drunk, I hate him. When I’m sober, I can’t live without him. It’s me, right? Or is it him?
It’s both of you, plus alcohol, minus emotional intelligence.

Is anyone not broken?
Generally speaking, people aren’t broken. We all break occasionally, but most of us also heal with time and effort.

My fucked up snap judgment of 98% of straight, monogamous couples is that the male is lazy and selfish and takes the relationship for granted and the female tries too hard and is kind of pathetic for having such low standards. Insightful or insane?
It’s an insight into your own cynical prejudice, and it speaks to your core beliefs about relationships and the social order. Spend some time challenging those beliefs. You’ll grow as a person.

How do I stop binge-eating? I can’t seem to keep it under control.
People tend to jump my shit if I give anything that smells like medical advice, but you might wanna look into a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and naltrexone. (Or if you want the deluxe version, a combination of dialectical behavior therapy and Contrave.) Of course, this is totally one of those “ask your doctor” questions, so find a fucking doctor and ask her.

What mixes well with sambuca besides tonic water and coffee?
The Pikey has a cocktail made of muddled mint and lemon, two or three parts Jack Daniels, and one part Ramazzotti Sambuca shaken on the rocks. They call it the Prince Albert, and it’s basically a Bourbon Smash with sambuca instead of simple syrup. It’s fucking delicious, not too sweet, and I highly recommend it.

My mom says there’s some american indian in our blood somewhere back in the ozarks. Can I wear a headdress?
No. (And don’t tell people that. You sound like an asshole.)

I hate to spam you but I figure one day you might see this question… how do I know if being a good friend is telling the truth or keeping my mouth shut?
The quickest way is to applying the golden rule. If the roles were reversed, which would you rather your friend do for you?

Where are you? I must not be the only one getting used to daily updates. I already miss you.
Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Bali. Take your pick.

Best-Of Advice

On why you weren’t good enough for him

Why wasn’t I good enough for him?


Life will be miserable if you think like this.

In one simple sentence, you’ve managed to cram together an invalidation (why wasn’t I) , a value judgement (good enough), and a personalization (for him.) Let me help you see it another way.

First, you can’t take this personally. It’s not even about you. I know this is difficult to accept, but you have nothing to do with what he wants or doesn’t want. His personal preferences do not speak to your quality in any way whatsoever.

While you’re at it, stop judging yourself. This has absolutely nothing to do with you being “good enough.” Your value as a human being is not connected to his romantic whims.

Finally, don’t invalidate yourself. This isn’t a failure on your part. There is no reason to frame this negatively. I know it hurts. Believe me, I know how much unrequited feelings suck, but don’t let the pain trick you into believing you deserve it.

Strip away the invalidation, the value judgement, and the personalization, and “why wasn’t I good enough for him” becomes simply, “he prefers something else.”

That’s it, really. He prefers something else, and it’s not a reflection upon you, nor is it under your control.

Accept that. Learn to think this way. You’ll still feel the pain, but it won’t be agony. It will be bittersweet instead.


On cultural appropriation

In light of the baby name discussion–what are your thoughts on baby names with no link to the parent(s)’s cultural/linguistic background? Like, is a white, non-Hindu couple naming their white, non-Hindu baby Krishna (because they like the name, the meaning, etc.) crossing a cultural appropriation line?


I know all you social justice warriors have been trained to salivate at the slightest whiff of cultural appropriation, but please, have some chill.

Not all cultural appropriation is bad. Some of it’s just worthy of a shoulder shrug, and some of it is actually good. There’s a trick here that I want you all to learn, and it involves a deep understanding of context. It requires that you analyze cultural appropriation from a situation based rather than a rules based perspective.

There are instances where a white, non-Hindu couple naming their white, non-Hindu baby Krishna isn’t as culturally appropriative as you might think. They could be Buddhist or Bahai, or if they’re Californians with super hippy parents, Krishna could very easily be a family name. Again, context is key.

Of course, they could also be thoughtless white trash fruitcakes with no personal connection to the name Krishna who simply couldn’t decide between Kesha and Kristy, so they decided to split the difference.

Odds are, a couple like the one you’re describing fall somewhere in the middle of this culturally appropriative spectrum. Maybe they’re assholes. Maybe they’re not. You have to look at each situation and make that call rather than apply a hard and fast set of rules.

Sometimes it’s easy. All those ignorant dirt squirrels who still wear native headdresses to Coachella are privileged little shits showing blatant disrespect for a culture that suffered a forgotten genocide. They’re fair game. The various on-stage appropriations of African-American and Asian culture by Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry are also fair game. That shit is exploitation, pure and simple.

Then again, sometimes it’s hard. I recently had a woman write to me privately about a dress she wanted to buy that was made in Nigeria and featured a fabric with a bold African print. She literally wanted me to give her permission to buy the dress for fear she was being culturally appropriate. I told her to chill, that yes, it was a skirt from Africa, but that it wasn’t traditional African dress. (I also fell in love with this piece from the same designer.) I mean, come on you guys. Blending of cultures is often a good thing, and that’s clearly one of those times.

When it comes to cultural appropriation, analyze the situation. Look for willful ignorance, thoughtless disrespect, or exploitation for profit. Those are the litmus tests for the ugly stuff that deserves to be called out. On the other hand, if what you’re seeing is a blending of cultures based on understanding, respect, and mutual benefit, then get your ‘one love’ on and let that shit go.


On a wallowing wallower

He broke our engagement, then moved her in and gave her my ring. They’re very happy together. I moved cities, got a masters and a bangin job, but my romantic life has been in shambles ever since. How do I let the past go and tell my biological clock to shut the fuck up?


It wasn’t your fucking ring. Say it with me now, “It wasn’t my fucking ring.” Say it again, “IT WASN’T MY FUCKING RING.” Keep saying it over and over until you realize that she and that ring have nothing to do with you whatsoever.

You got your heart broken. Big fucking deal. It was years ago, and he was obviously a douchebag. Still, it’s not his fault that your romantic life is a shambles. It’s yours. You’re a wallowing wallower who likes to wallow. Get your shit together and quit being so pathetic.

This guy isn’t the one who got away. He’s just an ex who treated you like shit and dumped you for another woman. Fuck ’em both. While you’re at it, quit writing happy endings that don’t exist. They’re not all that blissful together. They’ve just got an Instagram account, and you can’t see past the filters.

Trust me, they’re just another boring couple who haven’t had sex in weeks and are tired of smelling each other’s farts, and I’d bet a thousand dollars right now that at least one of them (probably both) has cheated on the other.

Fuck letting go of the past. You need to let go of these two in the present. Delete, delete, delete. There is no reason you should have the slightest clue what’s going on in their lives. Unfriend, unfollow, and block. Make it so he won’t even know how to reach you when they get divorced. (That’ll happen in 2019, by the way.)

In the meantime, move the fuck on. Leave your biological clock out of it. You’re not that old. (I can tell.) You’ve just got a mother who likes to remind you that she was younger than you are now when she had you. (I can also tell.)

Enough with the bitterness already. No more wallowing. Fuck the past, and fuck your consistently shitty romantic choices. Get it together, woman. You can do better than this.


On naming your son

What should we name our son? He’s due in August, we like classic names that aren’t too common. We just can’t settle on one and I think you’d be great at this.


Off the top of my head, I’m feeling Gabriel, Rowan, Oliver, or Winston. If I think of more names that I like, I’ll let you know.

(Everyone feel free to jump into the comments section with your suggestions. Let’s name this little dude.)

Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

Coke, I’m dying to hear your thoughts on the Panama Papers.
I can’t wait to see who gets assassinated first.

How do you deal with the psychopaths in you life?
I cut them out. (And yes, that includes family members.)

I think I might actually be a bad person. What now?
Don’t act like one.

We dated for three years. We were engaged. I ended it. He got a new girlfriend in a matter of weeks and is still with her months later. Was he a psychopath? How is that emotionally possible?
You may have ended it, but he was done a long time ago. (Don’t act so surprised. That’s why you ended it in the first place.)

My boyfriend refuses to delete his okcupid account. Why does this bother me?
Because he’s going to need it again one day.

I’m haunted by my abortion. I’ve rationalized it. I’ve forgiven myself. I can’t shake the sadness. Help me.
The rationalization is for your intellect. The forgiveness is for your conscience, but the sadness — the sadness is for your heart. You’ll shake it, but in the meantime know that it serves a purpose. You’re not haunted. You’re grieving, and it’s a process. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.

The only times I feel relief and happiness are when I have a plan to kill myself.
Yeah. That’s a thing that happens. The good news is you’re still capable of feeling relief and happiness. With some help, you could feel that way without being suicidal. You gotta get some help, though. Don’t keep doing this shit on your own. Please.

Are you a pro-porn or anti-porn feminist?
Of course I’m pro-porn. Hell, I’m pro-drug too. (Come on. Just because I point out that something is addictive it doesn’t mean I’m against it.)

But can you have a healthy relationship with porn?
Of course you can.

Is it possible to walk away from your ego? Just realize that it’s a lie and let it go? Just like that.
Yep. Best way to do it, actually.

If a person has to have at least one vice, which is the best to have?

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I finally watched some Broad City today. It irritates me that young women must be crass in order to be humorous. Who are the truly feminine feminist young women?
Fuck you, that’s who.

Okay, this is a legitimate question. Is it arrogant to think that if a random guy talks to you, he’s hitting on you? It’s not an experience I’ve had often but I’m always suspicious when it happens. I’m generally suspicious of people’s motivations anyway, and I couldn’t think of anyone else to ask and get an honest answer.
Close, but you’re using the wrong word. It’s not arrogant. It’s presumptuous.

I’m 23. Do I have time?
Maybe. Maybe not. You could die tomorrow or live another hundred years. Whatever ends up happening, 23 is a great age in which to chill the fuck out and just enjoy the present moment. Stop looking at the clock and go have some fun.

Does he miss me?
Nope. (For what it’s worth, he jerks off to you occasionally.)

The bitches in my sorority called the cops on us for doing whip-its in the back yard. What should I do?
They’re snitches. You should end them. Since I doubt you know how to make their deaths look like a suicide, it’s probably best just to get them kicked out of your sorority.

Why is it so hard to stop watching porn?
Compulsive sexual behaviors can be just as addictive as chemicals. Porn is a drug, dude. Act accordingly.

I kinda love reading your older stuff from 2009. Seem to have had a lot of super serious submissions lately.
People ask me super serious questions now. Deal with it.

Your book recommendations have helped me to learn so much more about the world. Thank you for posting them. I came across a recommendation on your style blog once, The Ethical Slut, do you still suggest your readers take a look at that book?
Not really. The Ethical Slut is an important document, but it’s from the 90s, so its politics and point of view will seem stale to new readers. These days, I prefer to start people with Opening Up.

Your blog must get lots of page views. Why don’t you monetize it? Throw some ads on the site, make some cash.
Ew, gross.


On the inevitability of vulnerability

My dad sexually abused me when I was a kid. And, maybe even worse, I acted as his wife during adolescence when my mom was away for long periods (his date on business dinners, housework, taking care of my younger sibling, making his drinks).

I’ve done years of therapy (over a decade), confronted him, told my extended family (years ago), and dealt with the fallout. I’ve done a shit ton of work. Now I enjoy my work, my friends, my family that I kept, but long-term romantic relationships have eluded me in the years since I dealt with the abuse.

I can fuck people (and I do enjoy sex and it feels like mine now) and there have been times when this felt fun and free, but I’m starting to really want a relationship and finding just sex to be empty. But, I can’t seem to make it work.

It’s nothing dramatic, just one mundane mismatch after another – I’m not attracted to him, he’s not attracted to me, he just wants something casual (this comes up a lot), etc. But I can’t help returning to the thought that I’m doing it wrong, especially since I’ve been dating for about 3 years now with nothing that lasted longer than 5-6 dates.

I suspect that I might be too protective of myself, that I don’t reveal who I really am, so people can’t really get a sense of me. And that I am looking for what’s wrong with people, instead of thinking the best until proved wrong. I can definitely be hesitant to express my positive feelings to men, especially without knowing they feel the same way.

I don’t have an exact question, but am wondering what you think.


You’re not doing it wrong. You’re fine. Normal, actually. You’ve just got one thing left to do, and it may require a little more therapy. (Not the heavy stuff. Don’t worry.)

I’m thinking you know yourself pretty damn well, which means your self-assessment is accurate. You’re too protective of yourself. You’ve got your guard up, and you don’t know when or how to let it down. So, how do you learn? What skills do you need? What’s the solution to your problem? In a word, vulnerability.

You don’t know how to be vulnerable in a romantic relationship. It’s too great a risk for you. You can handle five or six dates worth of emotional investment and intimacy, but you’re not willing to take it any further. You don’t reveal who you really are, because you don’t want people to get a sense of you. It’s all very deliberate.

Why is that, do you think? Could it be because falling in love makes you vulnerable to betrayal? Could it be because you’re simply not willing to put yourself in a position where you could be betrayed by a man that you love? I totally understand why that kind of thing would be too great a risk for you.

Your entire life has been defined by a betrayal of such magnitude that I can barely imagine how you’ve managed to recover. Still, you have, and I’m super impressed with how well you’ve got your shit together. Like I said before, you’ve really only got this one thing left to do, and that’s to embrace some vulnerability.

In order for you to have a long-term relationship, you are going to have to put yourself in a position where you could be betrayed by a man that you love. You are going to have to be vulnerable, and you’re going to have to reveal who you really are. There is no way around it. (The inevitability of it is why I suggest you walk this path with a therapist. You’ll need someone to hold your hand a little. Again, nothing too heavy, but you shouldn’t have to do this kind of thing by yourself.)

Learn how to be vulnerable in a romantic relationship, even though it means risking betrayal. Of course, be picky. Choose your partner wisely, but when you do, put yourself out there. Reveal who your really are. You might get hurt, but it’s the only way a long-term relationship will ever work.

Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

I was raped when I was 15. I’m now 18 and still not over it.
Of course you’re not over it. That’s perfectly normal. Also, you don’t ever have to be over it. Don’t ever feel obligated to heal at someone else’s pace.

I need to stop falling in love with the guys I sleep with. Is the solution to stop cuddling with them?
It’s not the cuddling. You’re just a crush junkie. The solution is to recognize that about yourself and stop getting high off the butterflies.

I can’t stop submitting questions to you, even though I realize my problems don’t matter.
That’s okay. My answers don’t matter either.

Please tell me who I am before I die from not knowing.
You’re a person who’s desperate for an identity.

Any advice on entering the art world with a fresh MFA?
Don’t tell people about your MFA.

every time i hear someone say sex is no big deal i cringe. yeah, it can be no big deal on some level with some random, but at the end of the day it really is a big deal, it should be.
It’s not that it should be. It’s that it only matters when it is. (This applies to anything that makes life worth living.)

I was sexually abused as a child. I thought I would learn to cope with it as I got older. I’m 23 now and still not okay. Give me the push I need to go talk to a counselor.
You’ve been coping all along. Now it’s time to heal. You’re ready. Go talk to a counselor.

how do you choose new books to read? word of mouth? bestseller lists? i want to be more well-read. also, will you always finish a book/movie once you’ve started, or do you walk away if it’s not holding your interest?
I don’t choose books to read. They choose me. They’re like people that way. They come into my life somehow and either flash by or stick around, and of course, I will always walk away if they don’t hold my interest.

Do you delete all the messages you never get to?
Fuck no. I have a massive archive of every single submission you all have ever sent me. It’s kind of awesome.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I still check his social media. It still hurts. It’s been 4 years since we last spoke. Help. Please. Why am I doing this and how can I stop?
You’re doing it because the pain serves a purpose. It’s filling a need. It’s not healthy, but that jolt of negative emotion you get from thinking about him is preferable to the emotional void you’ve been dragging around since that period in your life. At this point, it’s not even about him. Not really. It’s about what he represents. You’ve turned him into everything that could have been but never was. He’s an idea, a wish, a fucking lottery ticket that’s one number away from a jackpot. You’re chasing a high that doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s poisoning you, but you won’t stop until the pain no longer fills the need, and it will always fill the need as long as you’ve got that emotional void. You gotta move on, not from him, but from yourself. This is about you letting go of who you once were. It’s about living in the present instead of the past. It’s about you finally forgiving yourself.

I went to my first Nar Anon meeting last night, as an agnostic… The god thing — how would you define it?
When I’m pressed to define a god concept, I’m most comfortable with the idea of god as universal oneness. The problem with universal oneness in a twelve-step context is that while those programs allow you to define god for yourself, you’re still required to surrender to a “higher power.” It’s inherently dualistic, and universal oneness is about as monistic as it gets. I dunno. As an agnostic in a twelve-step program, your best bet is to just surrender to your own insignificance and call it a day.

Why am I so afraid to go to law school? I kicked ass in undergrad and this has been my plan since before I can remember. The fuck is wrong with me now?
You’re not afraid of law school. You’re afraid of the great unknown that comes after law school. Your plan never extended that far. Not really. Sure, you always had a few ideas about what you might do with the degree, but for the first time in your life you’re peering into the future and realizing that you don’t have any control over what happens. That’s what’s really freaking you out.

Best way to invest inheritance money in the $50,000-$80,000 range?
I don’t know what stage of life you’re in, but that’s “down payment on a house” money, or maybe even “start that small business I’ve always dreamed of owning” money. I’m not suggesting either of those, because you wouldn’t be asking if you were ready for them yet. Whatever you do, don’t stick the money in a checking account and live off it. At the very least, get a brokerage account and find the nearest entry-level wealth management professional who’s willing to help you pick a couple mutual funds.

I have to choose between my boyfriend and my cat. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but I’ve worked through the parts about moving in with him, giving up my rental, sharing space, collaborating on housework, working towards getting to a place where I can have a baby before I’m 35, and all that complicated stuff (made more complicated by the fact that I decided to read ‘All the Single Ladies’ right now…), but the cat. I love my fucking cat. I should just get over it and find her a new loving home, right?
Um, you’re not choosing between your boyfriend and your cat. You’re choosing between a major life transition and your cat. Of course you love your cat, and of course you should just get over it and find her a new loving home, but you should also be careful not to let your cat become a totemic symbol of your former singlehood when this imagined future with your boyfriend doesn’t go exactly as planned. (In other words, check yourself before one day you end up screaming “I gave up my cat for you!”)