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Entries in hard to say (165)

Wednesday
Aug162017

In Which It Is A Torrid Kind Of Perserverance

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.

Hey,

I recently got out of a nine month relationship that was really intense and satisfying. Unfortunately she had to move to Seattle for work, and my own job and my family are keeping me here in Boston. We decided we don't want to ruin what we have by trying to make it work at such a long distance. 

A month or two has passed since my ex moved, and she has now been contacting me (we said we wouldn't do this). She is having some trouble making friends in her new city so she frequently calls or texts if she finds herself alone. I don't know how to deal with this: I do still have feelings for her, but I was a bit upset she would want to stop seeing me in the first place - she had a good job here and I wouldn't have done the same thing. 

She is locked into her contract until mid-2018, and I don't know if I really want to go through this until then. There was a reason we decided long distance wouldn't work, right? How should I handle her apparent change of heart?    

Joe P.

Dear Joe,

We all make mistakes, although some people are more prone to making them than others. The fact that she put her career before you is no big whoop, since it's not like you sound particularly committed to this woman. If you were, believe me you would be ecstatic, not disappointed to hear from her. 

On the other hand, it sounds like you were hurt in this process and you should take some time to get over that pain before arriving at a firm decision about how you should react to your ex's current behavior. But how to create the space you desperately need to evaluate things dispassionately? Just tell her you lost your phone. 

I am kidding, this is the rare time you will ever hear me advising anyone to tell the truth, which is usually painful and nuncupatory. You will have to expose your true feelings and it is best to request a discrete period of time before reporting your findings. 

In the end, you will probably find that this angry decision is what is best: you can't hang around and be the outlet for your ex's predictable sadsies for the next year. If you want, visit her at some point, have sex, and see if you want to flee back to Boston on the next train. If you don't, maybe it is worth the occasional drunk dial to keep this person in your life.

NB: The intercourse during your reunion should be tender yet opaque. Afterwards, light incense that smells of rosemary and penitent coquettishness.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Hi,

What is the right time to introduce sexting?

I don't ask this question because it particularly turns me on. The women I've gone on dates with recently seem to expect a great deal of texting before we actually meet. On one hand, I understand this is a decent if potentially misleading way to get to know someone. On the other hand, I feel like sometimes the conversation peters out or loses a spark because of a lack of physical presence. It's also tiring to keep up with some of these women, and I'm not sure how often to communicate with them.

I feel like if I introduce how attracted I am to them early on it will prevent me from getting friendzoned, so when is the best time to make that move?

Mike C.

Mike,

In my experience, there are three types of texters we need concern ourselves with to properly answer your question:

Women who don't seem particularly texty. Some women just don't love to text guys they haven't met yet too much, since they view it as a waste of time if they don't like you in person. Others are probably furiously texting other people and the fact that they don't have time to text you indicates you are not exactly a priority. You can still make yourself a priority from there, but it is tough.

The best thing to do if you are getting mediocre responses to your texts is change lanes. Just call her and see where it goes. If she doesn't call you back, she's not interested anyway. If she does, you can accomplish everything that texting does in a fifth of the time and spend the remaining hours watching Workaholics.

Women who will text you a lot. If a woman is texting you a lot, she probably is looking for a relationship with a guy who will answer her texts. If you don't answer her texts, you are not the type of person she wants to reproduce with. The positive side of this arrangement is that it gives you a lot of possibilties to flirt or as you call it, "sext." You should only do this with a woman you don't know in real life if you are (1) solid in terms of a connection or (2) you don't give a fuck. Otherwise just stay flirty but keep it light. Otherwise she's probably just interested in the attention you give her.

Women who will text you a little. The story of Goldilocks and the three bears is a homophobic metaphor for almost everything in our lives. Did you know that Goldilocks was originally a disgusting old woman? The point of the story in Goldilocks is that we can never truly know who is in our bed, and afterwards, who has been there. She may have eaten the porridge also, she may not have, but we have no way of knowing. The truth is, the food is gone.

Many women fall in love quickly and heavily like Myrcella Lannister, but others are not so apt to be entranced by the text you send that contains the words "how r u?"

It's important to know your strengths. If you're not clicking with this person over text, I doubt that will suddenly change when you start telling her how much you loved Gifted. Text communication is important, but it doesn't represent how much you might enjoy spending time together, or even how she would text you once she gets to know who was in her bed.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
Aug092017

In Which We Finish Our Work For The Rest Of The Week

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.

Hi,

I live with three roommates. Recently, one of them got married and moved on, and we replaced her with a new roommate, Ana.   

Ana plays music very loudly and doesn't really socialize with the rest of us. The latter is fine and the former is whatever, but when we ask her to turn the music down or join us for some activity, she is outright rude. We have gone from living with three friends to an adversarial relationship that affects every aspect of our lives. Furthermore, we are not really sure the reason that Ana acts like this.

After four more months, we can kick her out without much of a fuss, but it is going to be a long four months. Do you have any suggestions as to how to alleviate this problem in the interim?

Rachel S.

Rachel,

Once Ana needs you for some reason or another, she will become a lot more pliable. Your challenge consists of putting her in the situation of needing her. Any number of lies or deceits could get her into this position, but it is perhaps best just to inconvenience her in a legal and practical way. Three against one is an advantage that she cannot possibly overcome.

Asking the super to kill your water for a day and then acting like you did Ana a huge favor by taking care of it for her is the kind of harmless favor that could really put you in her good graces. Unless she is a like a plant that would shrivel up and die, the consequences are relatively harmless.

Hi,

One member of my family, my cousin Arnold, is a major Trump supporter. At our gatherings and holidays, he always wants to talk politics and makes things particularly frustrating. He is the type of person who is not really emotionally involved in what is going on — it seems like he cheers Trump on as you might a local sports team.

Is there any way to change this poisonous behavior? We have asked him to stop talking politics before and he laughs it off.

Yasmine W.

Dear Yasmine,

The easiest thing to do would probably to get the President himself involved. This is not difficult at all, as Mr. Trump has plenty of free time, most of which he spends on twitter. Make a recording of Arnold saying something potentially questionable about the president, and take the clip completely out of context. I mean, sometimes he might critique Mr. Trump's hair or bib, and that would be a moment to record.

Mr. Trump will immediately step out against Arnold, postponing all national security decisions, sleep and intercourse with his wife to post about Arnold. He will post something like, "Never heard of this Ahnold. Is he as impotent as Schwarzenegger? Where's my brisket?" When you've been attacked by the president on twitter, you're not really going to be praising him at family gatherings anymore.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
Aug022017

In Which We Pretend That It Never Happened

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.

Hi,

I know that no one is perfect, but bad puns really bother me. I guess even more so when they are not actually puns and more like metaphorical descriptions of my boyfriend's own invention. I have told him that I do not want to hear about his penis meadow or anything "humorous" about his balls. It's not that the subject itself grosses me out, and testicular cancer is a leading cause of death among young bros. 

It's more just his entire way of speaking has started to get on my nerves. We have been together more than two years and I know I should not let these niggling, trifling aspects of our relationship bother me. Is this indicative of a broader problem or am I simply nitpicking/blowing this way out of proportion?

Jana L.

Jana,

It is easy to get on someone's nerves when you know them pretty well. At some point you gave your boyfriend a response to this behavior that he liked, even if that is not at all what you were trying to indicate. 

Since this is a problem with a simple solution, you need to approach it in the same way. Obviously you need a way to seriously communicate with him that this is unacceptable and potentially un-American. Sit him down like you are going to break up with him, and then reveal the situation. He will do anything you say after that.

Hi,

In the wake of my recent breakup, I have had a really hard time meeting people. It is very difficult to tell whether a guy is looking for something serious or not, and I find myself becoming more withdrawn – this is not the kind of person that I am, and I sense it is not super attractive when combined with the fact I sometimes bring up my ex or seem cynical about relationships. I don't want to be like this, but questions about why I am dating online seem to come up no matter what I do. 

The larger problem is that I seem to be either moving things too slowly, or not giving off the right vibe to find a relationship. Do you have any tips for this?

Moana C.

Dear Moana,

I have tips for everything, even great lunches you can give kids. 

You have to demand the best from potential partners. If you do not, or excuse them for things, they will either identify you as not a romantic option, or learn that they can treat you however they want. Let me tell you a quick story about my friend Laura. Laura was dating a guy and he stood her up one time. He had an excuse, but I don't remember what it was, but it sounded flimsy as fuck. She really liked him so she pretended it didn't happen and accepted his apology. Two weeks later he was killed in a car accident. 

Did you like the twist ending? If someone isn't treating you the way you want to be treated, you should tell them. The fact that they may not know you very well is all the more reason to set up those boundaries now. 

At the same time, it is important to push the momentum of a new relationship. If you like someone, you should want to spend a fair amount of time with them. Such activities not only leave a distinct impression on men, but they reveal a whole heck of a lot – like if he is texting other girls, or as he probably refers to them, possibles.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.