Best-Of Advice

On the gender of your neighbor’s baby

Our neighbours just had a baby and are trying out the idea of not revealing its gender in order to disrupt and challenge the gender expectations people will invariably place on the baby. I get it, but find this kind of self-righteousness nonetheless annoying.

They also have a 3 yr old boy and are delighted when he chooses to wear one of his many dresses – they bring it up at every opportunity. It’s like they’re in a competition to be the most progressive, challenging parents on the block, but it seems to be all about their own self aggrandizement. Thoughts?


Meh. Using your offspring to challenge gender expectations is pretty much like shopping at Whole Foods. It’s not really progressive anymore. It’s just something trendy hippies do.

I dunno, maybe it’s still controversial in your corner of the world, but rich white assholes in Los Angeles have been pulling this kind of special snowflake bullshit since before Laurel Canyon had its first Prius. I mean sure, if the boy next door wants to wear dresses, that’s perfectly fine, but that doesn’t mean his parents deserve extra kale in their smoothies.

Nobody should raise a waxed eyebrow over any child’s choice of gender expression, but if your neighbors insist on challenging you to a sanctimonious game of guess-the-gender with an infant, you shouldn’t hesitate to challenge them right back.

Obviously I’m not saying you should impose traditional gender norms on their baby. (Come on, it’s not like we’re Republicans.) All I mean is that it’s fun to fuck with people who love the smell of their own farts.

Trust me, I know these types. They can’t wait to correct you when you use gendered pronouns such as “he” or “she” when referring to their human larva. That’s why you should always refer to their baby as “it,” which has the benefit of being both gender neutral and passive aggressive.

If you really want to ruffle some feathers, instead of labeling their baby as a “boy” or a “girl,” go ahead and just refer to it as an “accessory.” That’s how they’re treating it after all, as a fashionable accoutrement for their smug sense of superiority.

Sure, it’s wonderful that this next generation will grow up with the choice to proudly and openly express themselves as something other than cisgendered and heteronormative. Good for them. Still, that doesn’t mean your neighbors aren’t jerks for using their infant as a prop for a self-righteous object lesson in gender politics.



Best-Of Advice

On an open marriage full of lies

My husband’s been cheating on me. We are supposed to have an open marriage, and the agreed terms are that we know what each other has been up to. Not that he hasn’t denied doing anything until he has to bring me antibiotics from the clinic because he’s caught something.

I don’t mind the sex, I mind the lying for I don’t know how long, at least a year. Not just not telling, lying when asked. I’m not possessive or weird, but we had an agreement about how this was supposed to work. If one of us wants to change the terms, it’s a negotiation, not an unilateral change.

We’ve been married for nine years. We both want an open marriage, but this whole time he has had trouble actually admitting that he is doing it with anyone else.

If it matters, we’re both bi, and he’s mostly hooked up with men, though I just learned there was one woman 10 months ago, maybe more, I don’t know. Now what?


It’s entirely up to you.

First, you need to make a rational and realistic assessment of your husband’s character, and then decide whether his potential for infidelity is enough of a glaring flaw to end your marriage.

You need to take into account that an open marriage isn’t enough for him, and it probably never will be. Cheating itself is obviously part of the thrill. He’d rather tell lies and keep secrets than put the minimum amount of effort required to keep an open marriage healthy, and that’s not something you can easily remedy.

It’s a terrible thing to learn that your husband can’t be trusted, and I’m sure he’ll come up with a long list of bullshit reasons why he lied, but at the end of the day, the fundamental reason is that he just couldn’t be bothered to be honest.

In an open marriage, he was morally lazy. It was simply easier for him to lie — and perhaps even more fun — right up until the moment it wasn’t. The question you have to ask yourself now is, can you see yourself ever being in a position to trust your husband again? Better yet, do you want to even bother?

Nine years is a long time. Maybe you want to try and make it work. Then again, nine years is a long time. Maybe you’re ready to move on.

What do you want to do?

Sure, it’s a tough decision either way, but if you do a gut check, you probably already know which way you want to go. Don’t be afraid if you have an answer. Even if he can’t be honest with you, you still have to be honest with yourself.



Best-Of Advice

On setting emotional boundaries

I’ve been exclusively dating this guy for almost 2 months now. From our very first date, things seemed to click. We would spend hours talking and have no idea how much time had passed. I’ve never felt this way about someone before, and I think I’m at the beginning of starting to fall in love.

But, (and there’s always a “but”) he has really terrible anxiety that leads to depression. Like, sobbing uncontrollably for hours anxiety and depression. When we first met and started dating, it seemed to be rather well controlled with medication, but if he ever missed a dose, things went downhill very quickly. He recently moved to a new apartment, and the change has been enough to trigger what he says is some of his worst anxiety in years. For the past week or so, he’s been utterly depressed, and although I’m trying to be there for him, it’s extremely difficult. I struggle with depression too, but mine is extremely well controlled right now. I’m having quite a bit of trouble because as much as I’d like to help him, I can’t have him leaning on me as much as he has. We haven’t known each other long enough for me to be his entire support system (he doesn’t get along with his family, so I’ve quickly become his only support). I’m afraid that being there for him would be at the cost of my own mental health, which is something I can’t risk. When he’s normal, he’s absolutely amazing, and I could definitely see a future with him. I just don’t know what to do at this point. Thanks for reading.


It’s time for you to take a huge step back and get some fresh perspective on this slow motion trainwreck of a relationship.

First, you need a quick reminder of what “almost two months” actually means. It’s under sixty days. If you’d bought your boyfriend at The Gap, you’d still be able to return him and get a full refund. Two months is nothing. It’s definitely not “sobbing uncontrollably for hours” territory.

Admit it, you’re still holding in your farts around this guy, and yet he’s relying on you to be his entire emotional support system. That’s ridiculous. Even if he didn’t have what certainly sounds like clinical depression on top of a pretty significant anxiety disorder, it would still be inappropriate for him to burden you with all of his bullshit this early in the relationship.

It’s bad enough that he doesn’t get along with his family, but does he not have any other friends? Who else in his life knows that he’s on dose-dependent psych medication? Why is this all suddenly your problem, and honestly, how are you not seeing this procession of gigantic red flags?

Sure, I get that you’re falling for him, and of course that feels wonderful, but don’t let the temporary high of being lovestoned distract you from how much you’re being emotionally drained by this guy.

If you’re gonna stick this one out for a while (and I’m not saying you should), then you’ve gotta start setting some boundaries. You don’t have to be his entire support system, certainly not at the expense of your own mental health.

If you’re not in a place where you can be there for him, then simply remove yourself from the situation. If it ends up costing you the relationship, so be it.




On fancy fuck buddies

Is there a difference between fuck buddies, friends with benefits, and an “erotic friendship” (a term a guy with whom I’m beginning my first explorations into polyamory coined)? I feel like there is but I don’t want to be duped into some bullshit. Any advice from someone more seasoned would be appreciated, thanks!

Each of those three reductive relationship labels has its own unique flavor, even if their basic meaning is similar.

“Fuck buddies” is the most casual label, and can easily apply to anyone in your life who sticks around longer than a one night stand but who doesn’t otherwise qualify for anything particularly romantic.

“Friends with benefits” puts the emphasis on an actual friendship, which may or may not be worth anything if the benefits start getting complicated. Maintaining friends with benefits status can work, but only if everyone involved is emotionally honest, and only for as long as those emotions are purely platonic.

As for an “erotic friendship,” it sounds like your little polyamorous Magellan needs to back away from his dogeared copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and go rinse the douche out of his game.

Trust your nose. If it smells like bullshit, it’s probably bullshit. This dude obviously wants to fuck you, and that’s cool if you’re into it, but don’t let him smooth talk his way into your pants by taking credit for a line he borrowed from Kundera.

When it comes to labels like “fuck buddies,” “friends with benefits,” and yes, even “erotic friendship,” the only thing that really matters is whether everyone involved understands and agrees that the relationship is fundamentally platonic rather than fundamentally romantic.

If everyone’s clear on the platonic nature of things, there’s much less likely to be a problem once you start adding naked time into the mix.


My boyfriend fantasizes about having a threesome with me and another girl. One night when he was rolling he was so obsessed with the idea that he wouldn’t shut up until I agreed to go forward with it in the next 6 months. I later told him I wasn’t down and I felt pressured into agreeing and he got sad and said he started questioning other facets of my identity and my overall interest in him. We’re both 21, we’ve been together for 4 years, and he’s never pulled anything like this before. Help?

You’ve been with this dude for 4 years and you’re only 21? Honestly, I’m surprised it took you guys this long to start circling the drain.

The only help I can give is to bluntly tell you that your relationship has almost run it’s course, and you should prepare yourself for it to end, most likely before the holiday season. Whatever you do, don’t start having threesomes that you don’t want to have. It’s not going to save your relationship either way.

Don’t freak out. You two had a good run, but eventually you both need to move on and experience other things. He can go have threesomes. You can finally date an adult. Everyone will learn something new.




On tough shit

I cheated, came clean, and after some work, he forgave me. We’ve been together for over a year and shit has been fantastic. He’s my dream dude, so why am I the one having trouble trusting him?

You’re the one having trouble trusting him because you’re the one who cheated. Cheaters are always plagued with trust issues. It’s a little slice of karmic retribution I like to call cheater’s irony.

I’d tell you I’m sorry, but I’m not. You cheated, and now you’re worried he’ll do the same to you. Tough shit. That’s just how it goes.


I’ve been with this man on and off since middle school. We have an eight year old daughter, which is the main reason why I’m still with him. He is a great man, but I am not truly happy. We have built a home for our daughter together, and I feel wrong to end it and have to put her through the heartbreak and mess. What the hell would you do?

It doesn’t matter what the hell I would do, because I wasn’t stupid enough to get knocked up by some guy I met at recess. What the hell you should do is continue putting your daughter first, and get ridiculous notions of being “truly happy” out of your head. “Truly happy” doesn’t exist. It’s just another bullshit manifestation of the “happily ever after” fantasy.

You’ve built a home for your daughter with a great man. Nicely done, but you don’t get to fuck it all up over a mild case of existential ennui. I’m sorry that you’re bored, but tough shit. It’s not your daughter’s fault that you regret settling down with your first pre-teen crush. She’s eight, so for at least the next decade, her best interests come first, and your best interests come second. That’s what it means to be a mother.

Now, as for becoming happier more often in your current circumstances, take a hot minute to examine what exactly you feel is missing in your relationship. Do you want more passion? More excitement? Or do you just want a shiny new dick to sit on every once in a while? There are any number of obvious solutions to all kinds of unfulfilled needs, but if your problem really boils down to a bunch of “this isn’t how I thought my life would turn out” angst, then please just shut the fuck up and go do some yoga like all the other listless housewives.




On long term and long distance

I can’t stop thinking about the person my partner dated before me. They only dated for a few months but I know it was really intense and even though we’ve been together for ages it keeps cropping up in my mind. I never used to be jealous before, why is this happening now, so far into our relationship? It’s completely irrational and it’s driving me fucking crazy. I don’t know what to do anymore.

Let me make the problem obvious for you by translating some of your bullshit:

When you say, “I can’t stop thinking about the person my partner dated before me,” what you really mean is, “I can’t help projecting my own relationship insecurities onto the nearest available target.”

When you say “I know it was really intense and even though we’ve been together for ages it keeps cropping up in my mind,” what you really mean is, “I’m terrified that they had better sex than we do, especially now that things are getting stale between us.”

When you say, “It’s completely irrational and it’s driving me fucking crazy,” what you really mean is, “I’m not self-aware enough to recognize self-destructive patterns in my behavior.”

And of course, when you say, “I don’t know what to do anymore,” what you’re really saying is, “I’ve never really known how to handle the inevitable ennui that sets in with every long-term relationship I’ve ever had.”


My boyfriend and I have been together two years. We’re gonna have to do the distance thing next year— we’re graduating, and I found a job here while he found a job at home. Is this a terrible time to tell him that I still want to explore being poly? It’s either the best idea or the worst and I can’t tell which.

This all hangs on your use of the word “still.” If you’ve already explored polyamory together, or at the very least brought up the possibility of being polyamorous, you should already know how your boyfriend feels about it.

Don’t act like this shit is a mystery. You two can either handle it, or you can’t. Factor in the added stress of a long distance relationship, and you know damn well whether this is the best idea or the worst idea.

Either way, it’s still probably better than the alternative.




On the subtleties of betrayal

I fucked a guy last night. He has a girlfriend, and has for over a year. I was aware this girlfriend existed when I fucked him, and in fact had met her before. They are not in an open relationship, so him having sex with someone else is bona fide cheating, and not okay. He’s swore me to secrecy on the subject and we agreed it wouldn’t happen again, though I have a feeling a part of him wants it to happen again. I don’t, because (at the risk of sounding like I’m wallowing in self pity) I’ve spent the entire day berating myself internally for having acted like a morally reprehensible whore. I guess what I’m asking is how is the best way to make peace with it, or should I make peace with it, or maybe I just want you to give me the metaphorical kick up the ass I deserve for this. Help.

I can’t help you. This shit’s on you. You did wrong. You deserve to feel like a morally reprehensible whore, and if you have the slightest bit of integrity, you’ll make peace with this incident by resolving never to do it again.

Don’t have sex with another woman’s man. It’s as simple as that. Obviously, the guy in this situation is a deplorable asshole, but this isn’t about him. It’s about his poor unfortunate girlfriend who you knew about ahead of time. Put yourself in her shoes, and recognize that she’s the one you hurt.

The good news is that you seem to have a conscience. Listen to it in the future, because this is some basic golden rule shit: Do unto other women’s boyfriends as you would have other women do unto yours.


My boyfriend knows I’m bisexual. The girl I’m seeing on the side (with his consent) know I’m bisexual. Hardly any of my friends know and the ones that do have reacted poorly, more so to the openness of my relationship with him than anything else. How do I explain it so that they understand I’m not betraying him?

You don’t have to explain yourself to close-minded people, but if it’s important to you that some of your more vanilla friends understand the type of relationship you have, start by letting them know that monogamy and fidelity aren’t the same thing. Being true and faithful in a relationship has no inherent connection to how many sexual partners you have.

Open relationships aren’t that big a deal. Bisexuality isn’t that big a deal. A bisexual woman with a primary boyfriend and a girlfriend on the side really isn’t that big a deal. In the spectrum of non-traditional relationships, your situation barely moves the needle on the freak-o-meter.

Not that your lifestyle choices are anyone else’s business, but if your friends aren’t even capable of wrapping their pointy little heads around the concept of open relationships, you might want to consider finding some new friends.



Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I just got dumped. I thought I would be devastated, but I am so fucking relieved. Am I kidding myself, or is this real?
Nah, it’s real. Your ex made the right decision for you both.

Why do relationships feel sticky and tiring to me?
Because you put up with that shit.

What do you with someone who is hell bent on being self destructive but is intelligent enough to know better?
Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Also, try not to confuse actual self-destruction for behavior that merely conflicts with your personal morality.

I want to ask her out but I’m in a monogamous relationship.
You have three options: You can cheat, you can not cheat, or you can modify the terms of your monogamous relationship (which for most couples means breaking-up.) Choose wisely, and accept the consequences.

Why does it bother me that four of my friends have referred to their boyfriends as sociopaths, yet continue to date them?
The boyfriends aren’t sociopaths. They’re just self-absorbed assholes, and it bothers you because friends are annoying when they chronically date self-absorbed assholes.

Is it fucked up that no one bats an eye when a girl uses a vibrator but there is massive societal shame towards the use of a pocket pussy?

Massive societal shame? Don’t be so dramatic, dude. There may be a bit of a double standard, but I submit it has less to do with gender, and more to do with design. Pocket pussies are hilarious contraptions that anyone would look ridiculous while using. Vibrators are simply more elegant, whether being used by a man or a woman.

I want to be in love with someone who is kind, witty, and sexually attractive, and have them love me back. Why does it this seem so impossible?
Because you’re confusing kindness, wit, and sexual attraction for long term compatibility, and you’re confusing love with infatuation.

I love him but he wants us to be monogamous.
I feel your pain. To me, that’s like saying, “I love him, but he wants us to be Mormon.” Stick an asterisk next to monogamy if you must, but don’t set relationship terms that you can’t live with. Talk this shit out with your partner. Find common ground. If it ultimately ends up being a dealbreaker, don’t let it be because you didn’t explore every possible consideration.

How do I stop romanticizing my personality flaws? How do I stop secretly loving being “broken”?
Grow the fuck up.

Read this week’s column over at


On the future of your relationships

Two years ago I’d describe myself as a pretty badass bitch who handled relationships with confidence and dignity. Now, post first big love, I find myself having to consciously fight sexual jealousy and struggling to be vulnerable with the newest infatuation. What gives?

Two years ago you didn’t know shit about love. Now you know a little. Keep it up, and in two more years you’ll know even more.

Is knowing that someone will be a good father, and knowing that someone loves you immensely in a way that you have never been loved before enough of a reason to marry that person? Also best sex of my life.

Maybe. There are worse reasons to get married. There are also better. You’ll end up bored as hell sometime around 2020, but that was probably gonna happen anyway.

Find out if you can cohabitate with the dude before you go squirting out any of his babies, and don’t expect the best sex of your life to be a thing you keep on this list indefinitely.

My boyfriend of three years won’t let me move in with him. He says it’s because he wants to “have something that is just his” (referring to the house he bought last year). This stresses me out all the time, because it makes me feel like he doesn’t want a future with me. We work together, so I often worry that our mutual work environment is what holds us together for him. Should I cool it, or is this something that warrants a huge discussion?

A huge discussion? Ugh. No wonder your boyfriend doesn’t want you to move in with him. I’d tell you to cool it, but first you’d have to be capable of actually being cool, and you’re way too insecure in your relationship to pull that off.

Are you prepared to break up with your boyfriend? Didn’t think so, which means that brow-beating him with “we need to talk” level conversations isn’t going to get you what you want. All it will do is reinforce his need for personal space.

You already work together and socialize together. It’s not outrageous for your boyfriend to feel that living together might be too much, and I’m sorry, but if your mutual work environment really is the only thing holding you two together, then you’re screwed. That’s a huge red flag, and there’s no way your boyfriend will ask you to move in with him if he’s already emotionally checked out from the relationship.

I know this answer won’t alleviate your stress, but maybe it will get you to take a step back and start looking at the bigger picture. Three years is long enough to know whether you should be planning a future together. Do you really want a future with someone who’s still keeping you at arm’s length?

Read this week’s column over at


On why she’s lying

My girlfriend lies to me. She works until 11 but sometimes has to stay after for prep/clean. She doesn’t get home from work until 1:30 or later though. She always smells like booze. She walks in the door saying, “What a long day, had to clean blah blah, the alcohol reps were in tonight or they gave us a couple beers to stay late…” There have been a few times where people have mentioned to me that they saw her out at a bar or something when she was telling me she was at work. The problem that I’m having is, I don’t care if she goes out for drinks after work with her friends, I do that too. It’s unwind time. She knows I don’t care. We have a really mellow and open relationship so she can’t be cheating on me. There is absolutely no reason, whatsoever, for her to lie. I can’t stand lying. It makes me not trust anything she says. Can you please help me? Why is she lying?


Your girlfriend is a functioning alcoholic, and she’s lying because alcoholics lie. That’s just what they do. Of course, you’re asking about petty bullshit while playing down the glaringly obvious problem (“She always smells like booze”) because you’re an enabler. That’s just what they do.

You’re going to read this and not believe me. (I can smell your denial through the internet.) That’s fine. This isn’t an easy thing to hear, so let me tell you what’s likely to happen next: Nothing. You won’t say anything to upset the delicate balance, and she’ll continue drinking and lying.

Eventually, her lies will grow from little and white into something bigger and considerably more shady. She will betray your trust in some manner that you finally deem unforgivable, and it will cause the relationship to dissolve.

It won’t stop there, of course. This kind of thing will become a pattern. There’s always another slow motion trainwreck waiting around the corner for a “mellow and open” enabler like you. I imagine in a decade, you’ll have quite a few of your exes calling you out of the blue to apologize as part of their ninth step.

Then again, maybe you’ll prove me wrong and confront your current girlfriend about her drinking immediately. I hope so. It still doesn’t end well for you two as a couple, but at least it’ll play out much faster.

The sooner the better in her case.