Quantcast

Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

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

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in hard to say (161)

Wednesday
Jun072017

In Which We Will Appreciate Your Honesty

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,

It's been almost four months with my new boyfriend Steven. Every time I try to quantify or talk seriously about our relationship, which is rarely, Steven feeds me this stuff about how it is best to take things day by day and not put labels on it. In the meantime, he has introduced me to his friends and some family (not his parents) and we spend a lot of time together on a daily basis.

I really don't understand why he is so uncomfortable with labels. My family lives farther away and while I would love for them to meet Steven, I hesitate to mention this to him because of his attitude towards talking about the idea of us. What do you think I should do?

Althea R.

Althea,

Normally I would say that Steven's actions speak louder than words, but the more I thought about that expression, the more like garbage it really sounds. If he really cares about you, he should either articulate that in whatever form you desire it, or articulate why he is unable to articulate it.

The reason Steven is not OK with talking about things is because he has some essential reservation about you. The reason he introduced you to his friends and family is to see if that reservation disappears or if his feelings change. In the meantime, he is basically using you until he finds something better. In order to gain the upper hand, simply tell him that while you've enjoyed being with him, you're interested in something more serious. If he doesn't immediately reassure you, you have your answer.

Hi,

I have a problem. I had already been in a relationship with my girlfriend Tess for about a year when an ex, Ana, moved back to New York. We had already been really close when she was transferred to London for her job. Initially I did not tell Ana about Tess, but it all came out once she got back to the city. I said that I didn't want to break up with Tess, so she suggested not telling her that we were having sex.

I know I should have said now and ended things with one of them, but I didn't. It has been six months of being with these two women, and it is the happiest I have ever been in my life romantically. Things have gotten so much better with each of them than they ever were when I was in a relationship with one alone. Normally if I am focused on one person I get a little bit clingy, but having both of these wonderful women in my life makes things with Tess a lot better, and screwing around with Ana is about a hundred times more exciting than it was when we were exclusive.

I honestly believe I could conceal this from Tess for a long time, and since she says she is happy, I don't see how it is really hurting our relationship. I'm tempted to simply keep this up for as long as it can, and if it all blows up, it will have been worth it.

Dave D.

 

Dear Dave,

I'm glad you're happy, but if you need the idea of "screwing around" to enhance your main relationship, there is either something deeply wrong with that relationship, or something deeply wrong with you. I would say that at the conclusion of this effort you are probably going to be left alone, but since Ana seems interested in being with you no matter the circumstances, maybe you will still have her. You won't ever have her respect, or her full attention, and you will have hurt someone you claim to care about in the process, but you might still have her.

It is hard being with one person, but if you want your best chance at actual, verifiable happiness, end things with Tess and try them out with Ana on a full-time basis. If you only broke up because she left the country and she's now back on a more permanent basis and you couldn't resist her, it sounds like you really care for her. If things don't work out, Tess may still be there as a viable option, and you won't ever have to deal with the detonation of her anger that is likely coming when she eventually finds out that you're a piece of shit.

Hi,

I have been seeing a girl named Shanda for a few months. I met her through a friend of a friend. Shanda is very focused on taking things slowly when it comes to the physical side of our relationship. It seems to be having the effect of making me want her all the more, but at some point the lack of sex does seem frustrating. I really like her, but this is starting to feel like a waste of time. Should I just bail?

Arlin B.

Arlin,

A few months is extreme unless she is a religious person and maybe just doesn't want to tell you that she has no plans to be with you.

If you are a man, it is best to have sex as quickly as possible. You will know if you are compatible, and feel more connected. If you are a woman, it is best to wait a bit. If a guy can't wait a few weeks to be with you, he is most probably human garbage. Any longer than that, and she most likely does not want to have sex with you in general.

I would take a hard pass, but make sure she knows exactly why you are ending things.

 

Hi,

I am running into a problem in my relationship with a guy I will call William. William has a group of friends from his college that he spends a lot of time with. This in itself is no problem; I also enjoy being with my girlfriends although our activities and outings aren't as focused on drugs and alcohol.

The issue is the astonishing amount of discussion between us about each other's lives. Did you see that episode of The Mindy Project when Peter Prentice pretended the plotlines of Grey's Anatomy were his real life at the hospital in order to make his wife think he was still working? Well, the incredible amount of storylines revolving around these people usually concerns the most mundane shit posturing as intense drama. There is no drama, but I am having to hear about it a lot more than I have ever wanted to hear about anything.

Any suggestions for bringing this annoying practice to an end?

Ally K.

Dear Ally,

Some people talk out of nervousness, or just to fill the pauses between the penetration. While on six or seven various types of drugs, Benicio Del Toro once talked for ten straight days without stopping. You can bet all of it was not super-interesting.

If your boyfriend is this much of a chatterbox, maybe you can emphasize to him that, "Isn't it great when you're close enough to someone not to talk all the time?" This is grade-A bullshit, but William doesn't sound very intelligent, so you can probably get away with it.

If this doesn't work, attempt to create an actual schism between William and his friends. Best practice is to claim one of them hit on you.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
May312017

In Which We Wait For Him To Return Home

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, 

Recently a girlfriend of mine, Lois, asked me a question I did not have the answer to. For the last four years she has dated a guy named Jake.

Jake is kind of a mixed bag. He's a wonderful guy but his job is unusual (I can't say more about it). He is gone for long stretches and can't necessarily be relied on to be present at particular dates and times. He is very apologetic about this but over the course of time I have sensed he could have told Lois more but he just doesn't for whatever his reasons. 

It's like when you have a valid excuse for something, sometimes you can chalk up a lot to that, beyond which is actually attributable to reality? That's Jake. He's hard to argue with. So Lois asked me if I felt she was being run over in this. She gets upset from time to time but she is never sure how upset she is justified in being.

Can you think of a way to handle this without writing Jake off?

Frederica S.

 

Dear Frederica,

It is a very powerful situation to be able to explain anything you do in private through one convenient excuse. By nature this is not a fair situation, and trust would be key in making this work long term.

It sounds from what you say that Lois does not have this trust, which is not to say she could never obtain it or would never be offered to her. Wives are often permitted knowledge never offered to long term girlfriends, even. Still, your friend has more power than she knows; she is just probably wary of using it for obvious reasons.

On some key level, instinctual level she must be the judge of this man's character. It is not for you to make this choice for her, or even define the parameters of her decision. Without knowing anything more about these individuals, I would say she is far enough down Jake's road that she will not be bailing no matter what he tells her.

 

There are two possibilities to account for Jake's behavior. The first is that he is truly innocent. If this is the case, virtuous people who are cavalier about accounting for innocent actions can quickly be turned into darker lifestyles. If you question something who is not doing anything wrong, he or she will quickly be able to surmise that he could get away with what he is being accused.

If Jake is already guilty of something, as seems more likely, offering him amnesty is a great way to ensure he will not be doing this again, because few people believe they will be forgiven twice.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
May242017

In Which We Refuse To Watch Her Break Up This Happy Home

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,

For a number of years, I have known a wonderful woman I will call Helen. Recently, she confided in me that she has been seeing a married man. He tells her that he wants to be with her, and that he will divorce his wife to do so.

Through some covert research I have learned this is rather unlikely. I find myself attracted to Helen and I think we would make a great couple, but this married guy keeps stringing her along. Other advice columnists have informed me there is nothing that I can do that won't make me look like a total asshole and end up reminding Helen of this for-shit period of her life.

You are my final hope.

Alan X.

 

Dear Alan,

These days people are more sensitive to not getting involved in the business of others. To recognize the achievements of shit disturbers of the past, we need only look to the cinema of yore. Joan Crawford starred in an amazing 1941 comedy about this very subject, which was humorously called When Ladies Meet. She played this stuck-up trash novelist who wouldn't give Jimmy the time of day. Instead, she planned to spend the rest of her life with her editor, whose first name was Rogers and who was a grade-A asshole with a wonderful wife named Clara (Greer Garson).

Joan Crawford was already getting hard to look at by this point. Nevertheless Jimmy was in love with her for some reason. Actually, I know the reason: she has this great fucking apartment that sort of looked out on Brooklyn and the view of the bridge was grand. It was implied that the rent on this place was a whole eight cents per month.

Jimmy (Robert Taylor) does not want to see his friend hurt, so he befriends Rogers' wife Clara and brings her up to this summer palace in Connecticut where Rogers and Joan Crawford would meet to "review" her "manuscript." He tells Joan that Clara is his cousin. The whole thing climaxes when the two women have a heart to heart. Clara explains that she really loves her husband, even though he's human shit. Joan informs her how deeply in love they are.

By this point Rogers has started to sour on Joan Crawford's character. He was never very fond of her novels to begin with, and through various dialogue we come to understand that the book in question is about a wonderful woman who breaks up a marriage. How topical. After the reveal, Rogers dumps Joan Crawford but his wife is disillusioned, so she dumps him. 

What does this mean for you? Several things, I'd imagine. First of all, do you really care for and respect this Helen of yours? Because she sounds like she has lax morals. I'd have a hard time trusting a person like that, and you should never date a writer anyway. They lie too much.

You are probably just attracted to Helen because of her self-destructive streak. Still, you would most likely be doing her a favor by busting up this most untenable situation. If you are going to ruin some lives, either commit to it or wait for it to happen on its own. Don't bother inching towards Hell. It's a part of the most fantastic binary ever constructed by Man or God.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.