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Entries in hard to say (179)

Wednesday
Dec132017

In Which We Refuse To Ask For Any More From You

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 have a friend, who I will call Nina, who is intensely jealous of the time I spend with others. Usually I do invite her along if it makes sense, but you can't always invite someone along every time, especially if it's just you and another person and they may not know or like Nina. Nina will make comments like, why didn't I invite her, she always invites me. This is not even true!

I have confronted Nina about this before, but I guess it is an element of her personality I can't change but addressing it directly. I do value Nina for other reasons, and I would like to continue having her as a friend - let's just say there are advantageous reasons to do so and she does have some positive qualities. How can I get her to change her behavior?

Jenette N.

Dear Jenette,

My first suggestion would be to fake cry, but the more that I think about it, the more I think Nina is not the type of person who is affected by vulnerability. If she cared for the feelings of others you both would not be in the position that you are in.

Instead, consider criticizing someone else for the exact behavior that you want Nina to change. If possible, have one of your friends act like Nina so she can see how ridiculous she is being from a third-party perspective.

If this doesn't work, more extreme measures will have to be taken. Consider fulfilling Nina's request, and inviting her to absolutely everything. Soon she will be overwhelmed and no longer need whatever approval she requires from you that you are currently not providing. If possible, get her to pay for things as well.

Hi,

I have been dating a wonderful woman for six months. I know in my heart that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I realize that it is probably a bit soon to drop this on her, and I do want to take things slow. On the other hand, I really don't want to anything to get in the way of my goal. How should I approach this?

Brent R. 

Dear Brent,

It seems you are putting a lot of pressure on you and your girlfriend. There are an incredibly large number of clichés that address this issue better than I probably ever could, but suffice it say it would be best if you put this emotion deep inside you, waited for her to express something similar, and reciprocated the feeling. In the meantime, do everything you can to make the relationship good for both of you, and don't lie or mislead her for any reason, even if the reason is small.

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

Wednesday
Dec062017

In Which We Have A Lovely Circle Of Infidels

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,

My fiancee Jerome and I have a lovely circle of friends. We want to include everyone in our pre-wedding preparations, but Jerome doesn't get along with one of my college friends, a woman named Kaitlin. I honestly don't know who to blame for the impasse, but the two seems like polar opposites in every conceivable way. Last time we all had dinner, the two got into a twenty minute debate about Christina Hoff Sommers. I cried.

I know there is a type of fighting that is kind of like flirting in a way, and I am worried this is an example of that. I mean why would they be talking about her in the first place? This has gotten out of control and I'm really worried. I have tried to avoid taking sides but being a peacemaker has officially ended its utility and I just want this resolved.

Brenda N.

Dear Brenda,

If you are picking up on some kind of sexual tension, I wouldn't worry too much about it. It is more likely that Jerome is assigned some residual anger/upset about his commitment to you on someone else, which is not exactly the worst case scenario. Christina Hoff Sommers is not really something to get upset about. She is just a person, like Meghan Daum or Carly Simon. They wake up, take shits, and go to bed; the things that everyone does.

Any argument that is not between family members, no matter how pervasive, annoying or visceral cannot keep building strength. It must either culminate in what could very well be an exciting murder, or fizzle out into discontented silence. If you have to side with someone, side with your fiancee by excluding Kaitlin from events if necessary. Otherwise, pretend they are having some tiff akin to the feuds between seventh graders. By diminishing it in your mind, you will diminish it in theirs.

Also, I suggest you never discuss anything other than Chris Pratt at dinner parties.

 

Hi,

My boyfriend Hal and I were recently watching a reality show for reasons. One couple on the show renewed their vows in Las Vegas. It was absolutely disgusting.

Hal started talking about his only trip to Vegas seven years ago, and confessed that during the trip, after some encouragement from his friends, he had sex with a prostitute in a brothel.

I guess I didn't really know how to react at the time. Maybe I still don't. I know STD-wise that Hal is clean, but I'm having trouble dealing with this admission. Am I right to be upset?

Joan R. 

Dear Joan,

I'm more worried about Hal's judgment. He could have lied about this and you would never know the difference until the prostitute in question came looking for child support. I had a friend who looked for sex on Craigslist for years before his marriage. He also patronized Asian massage parlors quite frequently.

Whether or not his wife knows about this period, I couldn't say, but I told him what I would have told Hal. Nothing good comes from telling the truth about sex with women for money. As is, there's no going back to the place where you did not know this information.

The bright side is this: not only do you have a get out of jail free card for anything you want, you can be sure Hal is super into you. Finding a man who can't lie is not the worst development. Make sure this is the case by going all "Did you order the Code Red?" on him and try get him to admit to other prostitutes. Also, ask the woman's name. It always helps to get all the information first.

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


Wednesday
Nov292017

In Which We Build A Bond Off The Court

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 daughter Jessica is two years old. Recently, we've made an arrangement with another couple in the building that also has a child around the same age named Theo, e.g. he will come over to our home and vice versa on certain days. 

Theo's parents are wonderful, educated people. They are very focused on teaching him all sorts of things. A recent lesson I walked on concerned me, though, as it did not seem terribly age appropriate. Theo's mother was explaining the historical plight of the Jewish people to the kids. Maybe they can't process it at this age, anyway, but I'm not sure I want my daughter hearing about this stuff without me present. 

Am I crazy, and is it all right to say something to Theo's mother about that?

Janet S.

Janet,

Ideally you would just be near your daughter at all times to mitigate what Theo's mother is saying. "Many other minority groups faced similar discrimination!" you could crow as a kind of victory lap. I don't know what you think you are protecting your daughter from, but she lives in the world. Lots of stuff will happen to her that she can't control. I mean, who knows, in a decade she could be referred to as a member of the Trump generation. 

If you want to give her a different narrative to latch onto, consider the work of the Catholic writer Garry Wills. I believe he does a fantastic set of flash cards.

Hi,

I have been dating this guy I will call Nate for around five months. He is very difficult to make plans with and will often want to do things on the spur of the moment. I am the type of person who needs to know where I am going to be and what I am going to be doing at all times. At first it was nice to be around someone capable of spontaneity, but recently Nate and I have gotten in fights because he claims I don't make him a priority, like I should be waiting by the phone for him to call?

Is this a fundamental lack of compatibility or is there something we can do to make this work?

Ilana W.

Dear Ilana,

I think probably you just need to think of better excuses. When you tell Nate that you can't do something that he suggests, here are some foolproof ways to get out of that activity without hurting this man-boy's feelings:

- it's the mensies oops

- I have a strigoi in my hymen ("feel better honey")

- I'm going to see a local production of The Cherry Orchard. Would you like to come?

- I have to work on a long research project that could be a useful excuse for the next six months

- Actually, it's Uncle Vanya. Still want to come?

- I want you so much. But like, not at this time.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.