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Entries in hard to say (173)

Thursday
Oct122017

In Which We Take A Lesson Out To Dinner

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 or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,

I have been friends with a guy I will call Alan for a few years. We both play music but never play together (different styles); still we have kept up with each other over the years.

We have good chemistry when hanging out one-on-one, and I've always enjoyed it whenever that happens. Alan's made it clear that he would be open to something more, but I am concerned that things might get competitive with both of us sharing similar goals. The few times that it has come up, arguments have tended to ensue. Am I right to be wary of conflict?

Bess M.

Dear Bess,

No happy relationship was ever described by the words, "we fight a lot about about melodies." With that said, ground rules for a relationship can accomplish a lot, just as the security of a prenup can assuage the mind of the more financially sucessful party.

Here are some ground rules to keep in mind considering your situation:

1) What kind of music does he play? House? Cool.

2) What are his thoughts on Savage Garden? Neutral. Cool.

3) How well does he know the lyrics to "Girlfriend in a Coma"?

4) Did he seem really low-key and collected when he found out that Thom Yorke unexpectedly released an album? Great.

That should do it. Tread carefully.

 

Hi,

I go out with a group of friends who always order wine at every meal. At first I didn't mind not being the only one drinking, but our dinnertime conversations are becoming progressively sloppier and it makes the evening something of an ordeal. 

Is there any way to improve these circumstances without coming off as a killjoy?

Maureen A.

Dear Maureen,

Wine, or sad juice as it is called through the greater Pennsylvania area, was created for Europeans who have less problems and anxieties than Americans. Wine is highly addictive: some experts believe it is even more compulsive than cocaine.

Your friends are therefore ensconced in the saucy, grapey grip that won't let go. The only way to free them from their urges is to take things even more thoroughly in the messed up direction, until the entire group can barely wake up the next morning. Next time y'all meet up at dinner, you can meekly ask for a dry evening. It will be that day that each of your liquored-up friends will understand one of life's most important lessons: sobriety can, at times, be as exciting as chardonnay.

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

 

 

Wednesday
Oct042017

In Which We Forget An Important Ingredient

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,

My friend Davia broke up with her last boyfriend over two years ago. (He cheated on her with prostitutes.) Since then, she has compared every new possible mate with him, and usually found the new prospect unfavorable. She finds the littlest things to fixate on in order to dismiss me — they don't text her enough, they text her too much, they use emojis, she doesn't like their smell (ok that's possibly valid). Often she says she they don't share the same values, although I am a loss as to what that means since Davia doesn't seem to have extraordinary values, and I say that as a friend. She is a good person though, and I want her to find happiness. Is there any way I can snap her out of this funk?

Ellen C.

Ellen,

Often men and women will think of reasons to reject potential mates that don't necessarily strike at the core of why they are not pursuing the relationship. The fact that it has been two years of this on Davia's part, however, indicates a greater problem. It is not simply that she is not finding anyone that she likes well enough to get serious, it is that she is in no position to have a committed relationship with someone to begin with.

For some people, cheating is a deeply troubling act that strikes at the core of how they value themselves and the opposite sex. This might come across as sexist, but I'm going to say it anyway. The reasons men cheat are sometimes, but not always, different from the reasons women cheat. I tend to have more sympathy for women who cheat on their partners. Maybe this is fucking stupid, but it's what I feel inside.

If this guy was really stepping out just for sex, maybe Davia has some problems thinking she is decent in the bedroom. You can alleviate some of her concerns for her. Ask what her particular techniques are. What school of sex did she study at? Does she know all the most sensitive and erogenous zones on a man's body? What about a woman's body? Getting over whatever hangup is holding her back should end the nitpicking.

Hi,

I have been trying without success to meet people on various online sites. I think I'm an attractive guy, but I tend to stumble when I'm introducing myself and who I am. I just end up saying a "hi" or a "hello I'm Evan" since I can't think of anything better. More often than not I get no response. How can I get better at initiating these troubling conversations?

Evan S.

Dear Evan,

It's not my job to tell you what specifically you should say to meet women. Maybe the type of woman you should be with is the kind who responds to a simple "Hello." She hears your cry in the dark and she reaches out for the echo of how boring you are.

Don't be discouraged by the lack of replies. The fact that you are not receiving any replies is a warning sign you need to change things up, but think of all the possible reasons a woman is not replying to your message:

- she gets a million messages

- she's not even single and likes the idea of getting messages from strange

- she forgot to delete her account

- she's deeply bored by the fact you are the seven hundreth person she has seen on top of an elephant. Like, why would we care that you rode an elephant or touched a snake? Get over yourself.

- she matched with you by accident

- she's upset with you and has chosen the silent treatment as her delicate revenge

With that said, a bare hello is never going to get the job done. When you're writing something, throw out an introduction that can't help but make her reply, and she'll reply. Comedy is usually best, so hire ghostwriters. I'm not paid enough for that.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
Sep272017

In Which We Wait Longer Than Is Really Necessary

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 recently met a great girl who I will call Lauren. Eventually we got around to talking about past relationships. At first she became somewhat quiet, and then explained something that was difficult for her.

She said that she was engaged to a guy named Kevin until she found out he was gay. When confronted, Kevin confessed and the wedding was called off. This was all fine if a bit unusual, but Kevin is still a big part of her life. She also shared he was not the only gay guy she has been involved with.

I don't know exactly what kind of red flag this is, but I sense that it is one. Can you parse this better than me?

Lane R.

Hiqfo2C

Lane,

If this is something that happened when she was fairly young and didn't know any better, then I'd be inclined to give her a pass. It is completely reasonable to have a boyfriend who isn't demanding of you sexually if this is an area in which you are hesitant or possibly sensitive.

Imagine some guy places himself inside you and it hurts like hell. On a conscious ir subconscious level you might think about dating a gay, too.

If this episode in her life is occurred at a later point, it is likely reflective of some larger dysfunction. The fact that she still has a relationship with this person isn't the greatest sign, but maybe she just doesn't have many friends.

If you see the two of them together, you'll know quickly how much of a problem it is. If you are still concerned, then you can blow the whistle. So early on it's probably not the best to demand she cut off important people in her life she might need if and when you bail.

Hi,

Recently I was seeing a guy named Javier. Things seemed to be going well until we had sex. After that he ghosted me but very slowly, making up an entire litany of excuses before finally not responding. We waited a month before fucking and it seemed like forever. What is the best way to handle sex in the early stages of a relationship?

Kyoko E.

Dear Kyoko,

If a guy isn't interested after sex, there could be a variety of reasons for this. It is best to not fixate on any particular one. Of one thing we can be completely sure: if you had waited another two months, it is extremely doubtful the result of the relationship would be different.

It is usually not the sex so much as how it happens. If Javier was coming off a relationship, intercourse that approximates this will remind him of his past. In this case it is better to have sex spontaneously in an unfamiliar place. If he is more of a flighty kind of guy, make him express some significant emotion before getting more intimate. Many people don't know what exactly they are feeling until they articulate it.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.