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Alex Carnevale

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Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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« In Which We Tell The World When It Is On Fire »

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.


I recently broke up with my boyfriend of eight months. He had never shown the slightest bit of craziness during the relationship, but in the wake of the breakup he has been sure to hang out with all our friends, some of whom were my friends long before we were a couple, and tell them “his side of the story.” This narrative recounts how I broke his heart and was generally a dick to him for “giving up on the relationship.”

The reality is that he was extremely controlling, including planning tons of activities, dates and appointments for us that grew to become excessive. He’s a very social person and it’s easy for him to do damage control, but I feel incredibly upset that I am being turned into the bad guy here. What can I do?

Erin D.

Dear Erin,

The best thing to do when someone lies about you is to tell an even bigger lie. Who cares if the rumors you spread about this ex-boyfriend are even true? It’s not like he is going to sue you for slander, unless you are in the UK, when this kind of truth-free talk is actually punishable by law.

Maybe it is best to just slightly spin the truth in order to stay in a legally viable position. Make sure everyone knows how controlling he was, and that he insisted on selecting your tampons during your cycle, and he called these devices “tampys” and gave you a big grin when he said it. What a disgusting asshole.

Actually, the truth sounds pretty bad in your case. Stick to the truth for many reasons, because you deserve it.


My girlfriend Mary has been struggling to meet new people after we moved to Denver. Since then, she has met a bunch of young women who enjoy rock climbing together. I thought I would appreciate the fact that she has found a hobby and people to enjoy it with, but there are a few issues I have with this. The first is that some of the "expeditions" she is going on seem rather dangerous, and people in her group have broken wrists and sprained elbows. Since our health insurance is a bit shaky at the moment, this seems especially concerning.

The second issue that I have with the rock climbing is that it sometimes involves going away for long weekends. I have tried to attempt rock climbing with Mary, but I apparently do not have the greatest balance and I immediately felt a strong sense of vertigo. I want her to have fun with her friends, and it's not like I don't spent a great deal of time with her to begin with, but it is a bit angsty to be missing her for a few days once or occasionally twice a month. Should I just get over it?

Leslie S.

Dear Leslie,

No one wants to be in a position where they are hoping someone they love takes a hard, but non-fatal fall so that they have to give up their hobby. I have a lot of hobbies — none involve ascending to great heights, except, you know, mentally and emotionally.

It sounds like Mary was an undercover adrenaline junkie, and you have awakened her addiction. Much like inserting a needle into the arm of a heroin addict, there is no going back or reversing this. Take advantage of this free time by developing your own hobby, e.g. eSports or reading. Then you can be doing your hobby while she is doing her hobby.

If you end up having to pay a hospital bill, I would bail.

llustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording's mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.

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