On having nothing to be ashamed of


I used to be a call girl when I was at college. I live in my small hometown and ‘a friend’ told a guy she was seeing who told everyone. I feel so ashamed, I don’t want to go outside or go to work. I can’t move away for at least 3 months, what advice do you have on how to ride it out?

You have nothing to be ashamed of, so fuck ’em. Simply be shameless. I know that’s easier said than done, but you’re tough — you’re a strong woman — and perhaps most importantly, you didn’t do anything wrong.

Hold your head high, babe. Turn the shame back around on any small-minded asshole who throws you a side-eye. Hit ’em with brazen self-respect, and don’t put up with a single ounce of judgmental bullshit.

Best-Of Advice

On magical jesus baby souls


I am pro-choice. But when those pro-lifers start banging on about abortion being murder and “your choice? what about the child’s choice?”- I hesitate… maybe due to years of religious brainwashing.

Help me be smarter about this?


When religious wingnuts chant on about how “life begins at conception,” what they’re really expressing is their ridiculous belief that White Jesus up in sunny heaven reaches down into every woman’s uterus the very instant that a sperm fertilizes an egg and magically imbues the resulting single-celled zygote with a fully formed human soul.

They really truly believe this, and you will never convince them otherwise, and that’s why this is a dumb-fuck religious issue instead of a pragmatic scientific one.

Here’s the thing, though. There is no Jesus. There is no magic. There is no soul. THERE IS NO CHILD.

More to the point, a zygote isn’t a child. It’s just a clump of cells. Same goes for an embryo, as it’s just a slightly bigger clump. Hell, a mid-term fetus still isn’t a child, even though it kind of looks like a squishy one. Only when we start talking about later-term fetuses that are viable outside the womb can anyone start making a rational argument that it’s a child, but post-viabilty abortions aren’t even an option unless the mother’s health is at risk.

So, why is any of this still controversial? Because babies are cute and make people emotional and America is full of half-wits who believe in magical Jesus baby souls.

That’s why you hesitate, because there’s enough irrational static out there to make you feel like somehow an innocent child is involved, but there isn’t, because THERE IS NO CHILD.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


Why am I so afraid to be mad at my boyfriend?
You are mad at him. You’re afraid of something else.

I had sex with a sleazy guy in the bathroom at a party 10 minutes after meeting him. It didn’t hurt anyone, so why do I feel so shitty about it?
Because that’s what you’ve been programmed to feel.

Do you get better at choosing people as you go on? This year’s been full of getting burned by people I trusted.
You only get better at it if you actually change how you choose them.

I’m terrified of taking medication for depression because I’m afraid that I won’t ever be able to do without it. Is that a thing that can happen? I can’t ask a doctor, I really don’t think they’d be honest with me.
Okay, but you can ask a doctor. You should, actually. If possible, ask more than one, and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions. They’re not gonna lie to you. (I appreciate that you trust me, but don’t let your anxiety prevent you from getting the treatment that you need.)

I miss him so much that I cry myself into a half-sleep every night. But it’s been a month since we broke up, and I have shit to do. How can I speed up the process?
You can’t, but that’s no excuse not to get your shit done.

Is refusing to shower a justifiable reason for ending a friendship? His whole house smells like his feet but all my other friends adore him.
It’s a justifiable reason to not go over to his house. If that ends the friendship, it’s not on you.

What does it mean when a guy doesn’t want to get into a relationship with you because he doesn’t want to disappoint you?
It means he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you.

What happens when everything is on point but the attraction?
Friendship. (Or disaster.)

What do you prefer to be called when you’re a domme?
You assume I even give permission to speak.


On banging your head against reality


In one of your past pieces of advice, you say that men in their 3os, 40s, 5os and beyond are generally only interested in women 10-20 years younger than them. You have said that as women, we should just accept that that is the way things are rather than letting it bother us, and that we need to either accept the fact that we’ll be dating older men or “lower our standards.” This sounds so entirely fucked to me. Maybe you and I just have different ideas of what a low-standard dude looks like. To me, the kind of dude who is exclusively interested in much younger women is the kind of dude I’d have to lower my standards to date, regardless of his money or status. Any dude who genuinely views women as equals would not balk at the idea of dating an age-appropriate woman. I’m having a hard time understanding why you think privilege-soaked dirty old manbabies are who we should be settling for, because “that’s just how men are.” That strikes me as no different from accepting that a dude shouldn’t do his own laundry or change a diaper because “that’s just how men are.” Fuck that.  There are definitely plenty of dudes out there dating age-appropriate women. Maybe not in the elite SoCal circles you frequent, but in the rest of America, it is happening. When you reference “standards” do you actually mean “status?” Because sure, most high-status dudes might gravitate toward barely legal arm candy, but that doesn’t make them quality men.

When I say standards, I mean standards. When I say status, I mean status, and the reason you’re having such a hard time understanding what I think is because you’re the type who insists on bringing your own box of wine to the party.

You’ve misinterpreted (and embellished) quite a lot of what I was saying. It’s not deliberate or anything. You’re just too busy banging your head against reality to effectively hear my point.

The truth of men dating younger women has nothing to do with whether men view women as equals. It has to do with the dating options available to them, and I’m sorry if it frustrates you, but the more attractive and successful a man is, the greater his options, and the more likely he is to date younger and more attractive women. Is this good and right? That’s an ethical question, and completely irrelevant to the fact that things are the way they are.

I get that you’re angry with the kind of world we live in, but hurling denial against double standards won’t make them go away.




On guilt and shame


I fucked up and I do feel bad and I realize I should feel bad. Still, attaching “I wouldn’t have expected this from you of all people” every time something like this happens feels manipulative to me. Am I just seeing ghosts here?

You’re not seeing ghosts. This is just you having different reactions to guilt and shame.

Guilt is realizing you should feel bad and then feeling bad, which you seem to accept. You’re okay with feeling guilty and accepting guilt. Shame, on the other hand, is someone saying “I wouldn’t have expected this from you of all people.” You’re not okay with feeling shame and being shamed. (And yes, shame is a tool people can use to manipulate, which is why it feels manipulative to you.)

Feeling guilt means you have a conscience, and that’s a good thing. Recognizing that shame might be manipulation means you’ve got a bullshit detector, and that’s also a good thing.

You want to be a person fully capable of feeling guilty. Guilt is a necessary component for a strong moral compass. What you don’t want to be is a person who is too easily shamed. Personally, I consider shamelessness to be a virtue when it’s tempered with thoughtfulness and grace.


On putting your foot down


My boss increasingly treats me like a personal assistant, which has become a vicious cycle because it decreases the time I have available to devote to assignments that would better demonstrate my non-administrative abilities, and I believe that no matter what the task, you should do it well. For this and other organizational reasons I have determined that the best course of action is for me to find a new job, but I would like to avoid repeating this scenario in the future. What’s the best way to prevent a manager from viewing you as an entry-level employee? Given my degrees and skill set (I’m an economist), I often think I am hindered by my gender (I’m busty and short), ethnicity (Latina), and youthful face (I’m 33). I understand that sometimes everyone has grunt work to do; my problem is that it seems like my caliber of assignments continues to deteriorate despite getting significant raises and other praise indicative that I am valued, so it can’t be that I suck and they can’t trust me with anything more advanced. I don’t want this to happen again: to feel grumpy at being asked to print documents or compile minutes when more junior male colleagues are not assigned these tasks; I want that it instead be recognized that wasting an economist’s time on these assignments is just bad business.

It’s fine to start looking for another job, but I feel like you’re missing an opportunity here. You’re in a stronger position than you think you are, especially since you’re willing to move on to another job anyway. Trust me, you have very little to lose by flexing a little muscle here.

The first step is to put all this into a formal letter.

Write to your boss directly and let him know what needs to change. Cite specific examples of how you are treated differently than your colleagues. Make reference to the fact that this is a pattern of discriminatory behavior based on your gender and ethnicity where you are repeatedly and consistently assigned assistant-level tasks when more junior (white) male colleagues are not. Be sure and list all your qualifications and accomplishments.

If the company is small, consider cc’ing the owner. If the company is medium sized, cc the office manager. If it’s a big company, definitely cc someone in human resources, because the point of the letter is to go on record. It’s a chess move. It’s a preemptive defense for later when you start putting your foot down.

Deliver the letter and have a frank conversation with your boss. Tell your boss what needs to change, and see what kind of reaction you get. If it’s positive, you win. If it’s negative, then you were already willing to leave, and the letter will most likely protect you from any overt retaliation. (Mention discrimination in a formal letter, and they will take you seriously. They may not do everything you ask, but they will do something.)

Whatever happens, nothing is gonna change unless you ask for what you want. Protect yourself, of course, but just fucking ask.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


My boyfriend is part of said “ever-growing man-child demographic.” Can they ever become men?
What would be the point?

I have my first counseling session tomorrow and I’m nervous. I’m terrified of being judged for my issues and criticized for my choices. I’m sure everything will go smoothly, and this is just my anxiety talking, but today and tomorrow are going to be a struggle. <3
Your counselor isn’t gonna judge or criticize you for your choices. That’s kind of the whole idea. (It’s fine to be nervous at first, but you’re really gonna enjoy the counselor/client relationship.)

I recently just got into my first same sex relationship. Right now, I’m dealing with a lot of my family members who aren’t comfortable with it, because they’re using my facebook profile to determine my sexuality and then ‘rat’ me out to the rest of the family. Is there a way to deal with this without being an asshat?
Block the shit out of them.

I broke up with him. I didn’t waiver. I broke my own fucking heart in the process but I didn’t expect this much pain. What now?
Feel the pain and move on.

I’m having a tough time finding a smart dude who’s masculine enough for me.  I also sort of feel like a shithead for having masculinity on my radar at all. What’s up? Are these just daddy issues talking?
I dunno what your dad was like, and I dunno how you define masculinity, but if you’re finding it to be mutually exclusive with intelligence, then there’s definitely an issue somewhere.

I think I’m in love. Why am I crying?
Sorry to break it to you, but crying is a big part of being in love.

why does it bother me so much that my boyfriend thinks Mike Tyson is innocent?
Because if you were raped, all it would take for your boyfriend not to believe you is for your rapist to be someone famous.


On what you say


Someone asks you why you’re not interested in them. You don’t find them physically attractive. What do you say?

Gentle and evasive: “That’s not an appropriate question to ask.”

Gentle and straightforward: “I don’t think we have any chemistry.”

Hard and straightforward: “You’re not hot enough.”

Hard and evasive: “Go fuck yourself.”


On when I don’t respond


I’ve written you so many times about my past sexual trauma and you’ve never replied. I know it’s not your job. Your a busy woman. But you always are so protective of other rape victims who wrote you and man it fucks me up. That rejection. Not being damaged enough. No one cares.

I know. You’re not my therapist. It’s not your job. But somehow I’ve attached your acknowledgment to a sort of validation. It’s not your fault. But it fucks me up.


It’s not your fault either. Believe me, it has nothing to do with “not being damaged enough.” Please don’t take my not responding as a belittlement of your trauma.

I simply cannot respond to all the submissions I get, even the gut-wrenching and deadly serious ones about rape and abuse and suicide. I wish I could, but it’s just not possible.

Try not to take it personally when I don’t respond. At the same time, I know it’s kind of a shitty thing for me to ask that you not take it personally, because I know how personal it is for you to write in about things like that.

Still, I’m very sorry for having fucked you up by not responding. (That goes for everyone who’s never heard back from me.) I hope you understand that it’s not because I don’t care, and it sure as hell isn’t a rejection of you.

Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice


The major I’m pursuing in college is an individualized study, meaning I can essentially create my own major. My question for you: what would coquette do?
I would create a Bachelor of Science in Morality. The major would be a mix of traditional philosophy, psychology, sociology, and ethics courses with a little bit of comparative religion tossed in for seasoning. At the upper level of independent study, I’d design a curriculum and subsequent thesis that resulted in some kind of original contribution to the field of moral science.

Is it patronizing to buy a friend’s art if you think it’s really good but are mainly doing it because they’re struggling financially and would never accept help?
You just described exactly what it means to be a patron. So yeah, it’s literally patronizing, but that’s really not a bad thing in this context.

I’m so fucking sick of Star Wars everything. Why won’t it go away?
Because a few years ago, Disney bet George Lucas that they could squeeze at least four more billion dollars out of America’s ever-growing man-child demographic.

Should I buy a bag that cost two months of my rent? I saved up for it and it’s my 35th birthday, but it seems wrong.
Maybe hold on to your money for now. Maybe knowing that you *could* own the bag brings you more joy than actually owning it. Maybe it goes on sale and maybe you treat yourself, or maybe you spend the money in some other way that finally feels right. Whatever you end up doing, happy fucking birthday.

What do you think about the porn kills love movement? ( I feel like I disagree, I am a woman who likes watching porn and I know my boyfriend does also and we have a very loving relationship.
No, no. “Porn Kills Love” is not a movement. It’s just a bunch of slightly creepy yet freshly scrubbed Mormon kids who found a clever way to squeeze tax deductible donations out of every pearl-clutching PTA mom from here to Salt Lake City. At most, it’ll become suburbia’s next annoying bumper sticker, and you really needn’t waste your time disagreeing with things you read on minivans.

Self respect is important. But to what extent is it important to gain respect from others? Should I care? I don’t mean to sound shitty. I say this because I knew this girl who I always wanted to gain respect from. Her opinion mattered to me, I’m starting to wonder why it did and whether it should have.
You didn’t want that girl’s respect. You wanted her approval. (Not understanding the difference is why you never had her respect.)