Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
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

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

Entries in hard to say (145)


In Which We Have Recalled The Full Story Now

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.


Last March I had a brief relationship with a co-worker, who I will call Sam. The relationship ended when Sam was transferred to another part of the company - it's about an two hours drive away. I never heard that it was because another employee found out about us, and transfers are frequent. 

I miss Sam a lot, and I have thought about asking for a transfer or leaving my job so that this would not be an obstacle to us being together. When I talk to him about it, he is mostly focused on the repercussions for his career. He does say he wants to be together, but it seems impossible right now. Can you suggest any course of action?

Nadine A.


Dear Nadine,

A man is a beautiful thing. He smells of musk and Raisinets, and he always has a kind word for a tourniquet or bedfellow. A hour is not too far to conduct any relationship, but two can make it rather difficult on both of you. 

The facts seem to be these, though: if you did not tell someone about your relationship, then it is quite possible Sam did, which means he may not exactly want this relationship as much as it seems. It's a great cop-out, and we can add to the fact that if he wanted to see you on a regular basis, he probably would.

It can be tricky to get out of a work relationship, and Sam most likely felt trapped. This is through no fault of your own, but the fact that you are still pursuing this even when he has been transferred indicates the momentum in the relationship is entirely on your side.

Let me tell you a story. A man (Joseph Cotten) loved a woman (Ginger Rogers). When he found out that she had to serve three years in prison for murdering her boss when the man tried to drunkenly r her, he was like, "I will wait for you my darling." He was there outside the prison when she got out, and they had three wonderful children together, two of them addressed by their peers and parents as "Monsignor."

Instead of Joseph Cotten, who was also a war hero in this particular instance, you have targeted a mid-level functionary at your organization who has a lot of excuses that he can't be with you. He sounds like Scar from The Lion King, and while Scar's phallus was shaped like a can of tuna, Scar also had some pretty attractive qualities. Every single person in the universe can be the love of your life. Sam doesn't want to be. 

You can probably turn this around. Cut off all contact with Sam and start dating someone named Davidson LeGrue. Problem partially solved.


My cousin Jeff is planning to propose to a woman he met on a dating website. (Not Christian Mingle.) A little bit about her:

- Her name is Sandy.
- She loves to surf, sunbathe and she is always cold indoors, no matter the actual temperature.
- She calls bicyclists "flappy nerds" and joggers "pinwheels." Sometimes my mom can't understand what she is saying.

Given everything, she doesn't feel like the best fit for Jeff. If she makes him happy I feel like I shouldn't interfere, but I think marrying this woman would be a tragic misstep. What should I do?

Anna S.

Dear Anna,

The vagaries of American slang are only of practical use to those who are in a long term relationship with John McWhorter or Noam Chomsky. At least she doesn't ride a bicycle, because our experience is that almost everyone who does thinks their poop smells like a delicatessen.

The phrase "if she makes him happy" has lost all meaning at this point. Charles Manson is currently making a woman happy. Happiness is just a brain imbalance — too much serotonin — and is not attributable to one person, unless that one person makes cat sounds while eating. I would, theoretically, find that very amusing.

You need to find out what things are like between Jeff and Sandy when you or your mom is not around. Asssuming she can bring him to completion and is able to tolerate his very basic first name, you may not have a leg to stand on. Everyone is annoying to someone.


I went abroad for the fall semester in Paris. My boyfriend Tom and I talked and facetimed every day and I was missing him a lot. When I came back he cried and confessed that he had a emotional relationship with a girl in his dorm, but that they never touched or even kissed. I didn't really know what to say as the context of their thing seems kind of unclear to me.

Since we talked a lot while I was in France, I'm actually kind of amazed he would even have time or need to make a connection like this. On the other hand, since I was not actually there and nothing happened, there seems to be some doubt as to whether or not something dealbreaking occurred. He says that he doesn't want to talk to her anymore and only wants to be with me, and I believe him. I'm tempted to just forgive him considering the situation, but am I being too accommodating?

Raina C.

Dear Raina,

Some people are very good at telling lies, and others are not so good at it. You can work out for yourself which kind of person you would rather be with. What you need to know is that among those who are good at telling lies, many have learned the utility of telling half-truths.

The advantage of the half-truth is that is lessens a guilt compulsion that many people feel when they do something wrong, without exposing the liar to the reprecussions of the actual truth. Again, not all of want to hear the full truth all the time. If Tiger Woods' wife Elin did, she would most likely have run him over with that car, and his half-lie spared her decades in prison.

Now she's dating a great guy who is also rich, so his half-lie was the best thing that ever could have happened to both of them.

I don't know what kind of person Tom is. It's possible that he is telling you the whole truth, in which case you can forgive him and see where things go from there. Connections in college are unavoidable, and it can be very lonely to be by yourself when the person you love is away in the romance capital of the universe. But it might be best to dig deeper. Out of nowhere, shout at him, "DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?" and when he looks puzzled, whisper to yourself, "You're goddamned right I did."

Find out if what you are hearing is the whole truth, and get the full story from the other woman if you must. You might save yourself a lot of heartbreak later on.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


In Which There May Be Another To Call

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 make a large effort to make various occasions pleasant for my boyfriend of three years, Elias. He once threw a birthday party for me but besides that he never really goes to too much trouble. On the other hand, if I don't show the requisite excitement for whatever he is celebrated, he becomes sullen and morose. 

I don't personally need to show enthusiasm over the day of my birth, but the situation seems remarkably unbalanced. When I bring up Elias' petulant behavior, he says I'm making a bigger deal of it than it seems. Is there any way to remove myself from this vicious cycle?

Mark B.

Dear Mark,

The concept that every single relationship in the world need to be balanced is a deeply useless myth. Every relationship you will ever have in life will be unbalanced in one direction. Think of a relationship — whether it is with your dry-cleaner, your boss, your dog, your sister — one person is by far getting the better of it. When it tilts too far in one direction, the relationship usually ends.

Perhaps Elias does things for you that you are not mentioning here. Some people in this world require a certain amount of reassurance in a romantic relationship; if they do not provide it back it may mean they are selfish or ungenerous, or it may be you are there because they need to be a person who is more of a giver than a receiver, like whoever is married to Elon Musk at this time.

Being happy for someone else is a good turn, but if you resent having to behave this way, perhaps you are not really happy for Elias.



In 2014 my mom started dating a guy, Peter. About a year ago he cheated on her with another woman. She walked in on him and his girlfriend having sex in his home, and my mom dumped him afterwards. In the ensuing months, Peter began a relationship with this woman. When it didn't work out, he told my mom he had made a huge mistake and spent the next six months convincing her to get back together with him. He was so persistent about everything, and my Mom does love Peter, so finally she gave in.

When I found out that Peter was cheating on my mom, I instantly hated him. They are a couple now, and I have told my mom that I can't really see or interact with Peter without thinking of this awful incident. Trust is very hard to get back, and I don't know if I could ever see Peter in the same light, even though my mom seems to be able to.

It feels like I was the one betrayed and it's hard to see my mother with Peter again. Is there anything I can do?

Jocelyn R.

Dear Jocelyn,

At times you have to value what a person is instead of focusing on what he isn't. Peter is not a person you can respect, trust, or value in any way at this moment. Time might change your appraisal of him; people have been known to make a mistake for reasons that seem sufficient at the time. Understanding Peter's actions are not within your abilities at this moment, but appreciating that your mother has chosen to be with him is.

This individual must have some other redeeming quality. Maybe he spends time at a local animal shelter, or he services the women of a local shelter. You never know everything that is inside someone until you search the internet.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


In Which We Ride To Safety Thanks To Our Lieutenant

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 girlfriend of three years. Actually that is a neutral way of putting it since she met someone else and has informed me they are planning their future together.

It has been four months and I finally want to put myself out there again. While my ex and I were together, we used to attend various functions at her job. One of her coworkers no longer works there, but she and I had an easy rapport and her social media indicates she is single. Would it be weird to get in touch with her and how should I approach it?

Duane T.

Dear Duane,

Let's say an airplane plans to land at a particular airport. As the bird approaches, the pilot, who we will call Duane or perhaps Lieutenant Quail, is told that the runway approach is not clear. He must find some other place to land, and the likelihood is that he will crash and burn since he bears no real resemblance to Denzel Washington.

This is the risk you are taking, Lieutenant Quail, and it is best practice to be concerned with preserving your own life. You could maybe contact this woman as a friend; making things romantic from there is not impossible. She will see you coming a mile away, so this is very tough. Proposing any kind of real world activity is insane, but if you pretend to ask for advice and maintain some kind of internet thing for awhile she will probably give you a strong indication one way or another. Be indirect.


For various reasons I am only trying to date Jewish men at this time. My problem is that it seems like only non-Jewish guys are interested in what I am broadcasting, and I am not sure how many of them are serious about possibly converting down the road or if they are just saying that to fuck me. Is there any good way of knowing if someone is truly open to this?

Katey R.

Dear Katey,

Are you telling the Jewish guys you date that you only date Jewish guys? You should really not do this, because the second you do so they sense you are trying to look them to an economic and emotional contract that is likely to lead to divorce and impotence.

Men don't really need to know what kind of guys you prefer. Leave this question open, since restricting the type of person you are looking for is not really beneficial in any way. If you want to meet more Jewish men, go on jswipe or wear a yarmulke. If you want to know if someone will convert, force them to do it two years into the relationship by withholding sex.