Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

59 Comments

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.

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Advice

On the inevitability of vulnerability

40 Comments

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.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

22 Comments

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.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

195 Comments

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!”)

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Advice

On grieving an old flame

11 Comments

The man I thought I was going to marry died suddenly and young, and while we’d both moved on and he married someone else, I feel like someone punched me in the chest. But also a part of me feels like I don’t have the right to be as upset as I am. We haven’t spoken in years. I was asked to stay away from the funeral out of respect for his widow (whom I’ve never met). I get why, but it just seems like now the business between us will never be finished. I guess I don’t know where to go from here. I have all this grief that I don’t even feel a right to.

 

You have every right to grieve in whatever manner is necessary.

I don’t know who asked you not to attend the funeral, but unless it was someone speaking directly on behalf of his widow, I would ignore them and go to the funeral anyway. (Since you’ve never met the widow, I doubt this warning came from her, and I’m guessing it was just someone with a personal opinion who’s meddling.)

Unless there’s some serious shit between you and the widow, it’s not at all disrespectful for you to attend his funeral. You don’t have to be all front-row about it, but he was a major part of your life, and you deserve to be there as much as anyone else.

However you decide to say your goodbyes and pay your respects, this is really only the beginning of your grieving process. His death is gonna fuck with you for a long time in ways that you won’t be expecting. Not only is it okay to feel all that shit, but you kinda have to. It doesn’t matter that your lives diverged. He was a part of your life, and you were a part of his. That will always mean something, and it will always be important.

 

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Thoughts

On my favorite ted talks

31 Comments

What are your favorite TED Talks?

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Fun-Sized Advice

On even more fun-sized advice

35 Comments

I’m 33, single, newly unemployed and for the first time in my life able to say “fuck it” and do some extended, no-return-flight-booked traveling. Where would you go?
I could name a bunch of cities, but fuck that. As of tonight, it’s Springtime in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. You know yourself. Pick your favorite season. Pick a place where you’ve always dreamed of having a love affair, and then just go.

If denial is drinking piss from a golden chalice, is acceptance drinking Dom Perignon from a party cup?
Yeah, okay. I can get behind that metaphor.

How do I accept the inevitable?
By realizing that it doesn’t matter whether you accept it or not.

What are your favorite movies about LA? I’ll be moving there next year and I’d like to imbue myself with the city beforehand.
LA Story, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Wonderland, Jackie Brown, Point Break, The Player, Clueless, Beverly Hills Cop, LA Confidential, Drive, Swingers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Boogie Nights.

I woke up naked next to my ex. How do I justify this?
It happens. No need for justification. (Just don’t make a habit of it.)

I’m 21 male and bored of sex and not attracted to anyone. HOW DO I GET MY DRIVE BACK?
Stop watching porn. (Give it at least a month. If you don’t notice a difference, hit me up in the comments and we’ll go from there.)

Do people generally submit enough concise questions for you to do a fun-sized advice post, or do you edit the questions to make them fun-sized?
I get a shit-ton of fun-sized questions. After all these years, my readers just kind of know the difference between fun-sized and regular sized, so there’s no need to edit them at all.

Are you addicted to anything?
Nope. Never have been, but with my history of decadence and drug use, it’s not really fair for me to take credit for that. I won the genetic/environmental lottery with regard to addiction. It’s just luck that I’m not predisposed to addictive behavior, and I know that about myself.

How many books do you own?
Dude. That’s kind of like asking how many people I’ve slept with. (I honestly have no idea, but it’s a lot.)

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Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice

47 Comments

Why am I constantly looking for a husband?
Because that’s what you’ve been programmed to do.

What if I don’t find someone to spend my life with?
Share your life. Don’t spend it. Quit worrying about the what-ifs.

I burned all my bridges. I cry all the time. I don’t believe in self-love.
Sounds like a good place to start. (I’m not kidding. You’ve burned it all down and wrung yourself out. Now comes the change, the whole “rising from the ashes” part. Step out into some new shit. It’s time for what’s next. It’ll be scary, but you can do it.)

Just had amazing sex four times in less than 24 hours. A couple years ago I was sending you messages at 4 in the morning, crying and tortured about my experiences with sexual violence. Life can be good.
Yes it can. (And for all of you out there who are crying and tortured, just know that this can be you too. A couple years may seem like forever, but it’s not. Healing takes time, but shit really does get better.)

I recently realised that my entire identity and existence is based on/revolves around other people’s opinions on my worth, and buying shit to try and keep up with this. Like, the whole thing, and a constant inner monologue berating myself for not achieving this bullshit standard. I’m disgusted with myself and want to change. What do I do?
Keep realizing it, every day, over and over again, until the realization itself becomes a part of your identity. Nurture a sense of your own self-worth. Develop some fresh self-respect. Let those traits become the voice of your new inner monologue, and I promise, the change will come.

If New York is just eight million people agreeing to be uncomfortable with each other for the privilege of living in New York, and LA is twenty different cities swirled together, each with half a million people, none of whom are aware that the others exist, what’s the Bay Area?
The Bay Area is five million people who secretly think they’re better than everyone in New York and LA.

What are your thoughts on Deray McKesson running for mayor of Baltimore?
I think he would make an excellent mayor, and I would urge all of my readers in Baltimore to vote for him.

Do you have any exes that you would consider getting back into a relationship with?
Nope. There are a few I’d fuck for old times sake, but none I would ever revisit emotionally.

What kind of writing do you like best?
The kind that teaches me.

What is your deepest flaw? The worst of your bad habits?
At my worst, I’m arrogant, and I have a tendency to self-sabotage.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

121 Comments

At what age do guys learn to take care of themselves and get their shit together, because I’m twenty-one and all I see are twentysomething babies.
Unless life comes along and forces their hand, these days it typically doesn’t happen until their late thirties.

He loves baby talk. I can’t keep this up anymore. He’s great otherwise.
Yeah, this one’s easy. Enforce a zero tolerance policy on baby talk. Don’t put up with that annoying bullshit for a single second. Make it painful for him. You’ll be surprised how quickly his behavior changes when there are consequences.

Are all beauty standards cultural or are some grounded in biology?
Everything about the human condition is grounded in biology, including culture itself. We are animals, after all. We may be gifted with the cognitive ability to recognize our own social constructs, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re a bunch of talking monkeys.

I’ve had a couple dreams that your identity has been revealed. Why is that?
Those dreams are about you. I’m guessing that you’ve got some kind of secret that’s causing you some anxiety.

So, I’ve got the job and the guy, the baby and the house are on their way. What now? Just stay the course?
Like you’ve got a choice.

Why do the Underwoods need a “Tom Yates” (or a “Meachum”) and what role does Tom particularly play for us viewers?
The Underwoods don’t have children. There’s just the two of them, and a dyad is an unstable relationship unit. They consistently need a third person to make their relationship unit a triad, which has a stabilizing effect. This is actually a real thing that happens. Most normal couples without children do this with a mutual friend, but the Underwoods aren’t a normal couple, so they have to carefully and mutually groom a third person to fill that role. For viewers, Tom’s role is that of an audience surrogate. He allows us to be a part of the Underwood relationship while still having a conscience.

Do you have a favorite character on The West Wing?
I always had a soft spot for Toby Ziegler.

My life is a fucking mess. We’re both intelligent people. You seem to have it together. How?
Dumb fucking luck.

What’s your Myers-Briggs personality type? I know it’s dumb but I’m so curious.
I’ve answered this question sarcastically in the past, but now that I’ve got a flourishing comments section, I’ll let you all take a few guesses before telling you. This should be fun.

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Advice

On the end of a long-term relationship

26 Comments

I just had a four year relationship come to an end, he said he did not have romantic feelings for me anymore. He also said we had no disagreements or arguments, that we were complimentary, and it wasn’t what he was looking for. I’m so confused. It hurts, and it is shit. I love him and all the moments we shared. He still comes to me when he deals with some issues and says he finds comfort in me. I absolutely want him to be happy even if it’s not with me, and will be there to comfort him. It’s been very hard to rid of the feelings, but what am I even doing. Yet, I have a question or a few questions. 1) How can someone feel all these intense emotions for another person who has stopped feeling the same? 2) How can someone just not be in love one day? 3) How do I stop having feelings for him? 4) How can I still be a person to help him, without hurting myself?

 

1. He’s already had time to come to terms the end of the relationship. You haven’t. It’s perfectly normal for you to be feeling intense emotions right now. I promise, those feelings will eventually subside.

2. It didn’t just happen one day. It was a process, one that took time, and one for which you are not responsible. Your instinct will be to find ways to blame yourself, but this isn’t on you. Four years is a good run. The relationship simply ran its course, and he was ready to end it before you were. (I doubt you’ll believe me, but if it hadn’t been him first, eventually there would have come a day when you would have been ready to end it.)

3. Time, distance, and personal reflection. Those are the ingredients required to stop having feelings for him. I have no idea how much time it will take you. Distance includes both emotional distance and physical distance. As for personal reflection, that’s going to be tough. This is your first time dealing with a broken heart, and being new to the process, you’re just gonna have to find your own way.

4. You can’t continue helping him without hurting yourself, nor does he deserve to find comfort in you after ending the relationship. Stop being there for him. Stop comforting him. Stop letting him take advantage of you. (Yes, he is taking advantage of you.) This will prove difficult at first, but it is absolutely necessary in order for you to move on. He broke up with you. That means he doesn’t get to have you anymore. I can’t stress that enough. He doesn’t get to have you anymore.

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