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Alex Carnevale

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Mia Nguyen

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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

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Entries in hard to say (145)


In Which We Decide To Take A Trip By Ourselves

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 have been dating my girlfriend Susan for over a year and I can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right. Don't get me wrong - we get along great and have so much in common. At times she feels like she is a part of my family because she gets along with my sisters and parents so damn well.

We did have a weird incident where she accused me of cheating. I know she has trust issues but it completely was not true at all and she jumped to conclusions about some texts I had received. Essentially, an ex was texting me and I could have just deleting what was written but I forgot. Susan made it sound like there was still some reason I had it on my phone, when there wasn't.

It is not so much that which bothers me as the fact that maybe there could be someone out there better even though I definitely love Susan. What is wrong with me?

David P.

Dear David,

There comes a time in every man's life when he thinks, I would do anything to be with this woman forever because the prospect of finding someone new sounds like the drizzling shits to me. You are obviously not at that stage yet.

It is best to do something to test your appreciation of Susan without dumping her and ending up regretting it. A few women will allow you to couple with them again after such an event, but most can never bear the sight of your face again.

Things that you can do to evaluate the depths of your love include taking a trip by yourself someone for reasons. How often do you think of Susan? How often do you think of her as God made her? How often do you think of a hotel room somewhere in Russia? How often do you think that masturbating is wrong and effectively punishable by a trip to hell?

The answers, respectively, are not much, a few times, frequently, and from time to time.


Things have been going decently well with this girl Paisley. On our third date something happened that has made me a bit worried. We were at the movies and we were holding hands. When the lights came up, I displayed a visible erection that Paisley seemed to take notice of. She seemed a little out of sorts for the rest of the evening, but I'm not sure what her reaction really was.  

In the ensuing days nothing seemed all that different. When we went back to my place though she made an excuse and went home. I'm trying to figure out how to proceed, since I haven't had a connection this positive with someone in awhile.

Jeff P.

Dear Jeffrey,

Our minds all go to different places when we see a signifier. You have entered the realm of the purely semiotic. Each individual brings different experiences to the idea of a large p rising through some bro named Jeffrey's shawts. Maybe she didn't expect it; or maybe it triggered an identification with some negative moment in her life. Who knows, you might never know.

On some level she was probably aware your penis was living a quiet and flaccid life before this, and at the slightest hint of contact with a human being it would choose to spring to alert, screaming with the urethra as its de facto mouth, "I am aware of the current circumstances, Jeff!"

It is important not to let this slow you. If you do not show a woman that you desire her sexually, she will not be able to respond in a concomitant fashion. There is no such thing as taking it slow. The faster you are able to establish a connection between the body and mind of a woman, the sooner you will have a real relationship, versus the penis-observer functionality that you and Paisley are currently operating under.


In Which We Hand The Bite That Fed Us

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 have an old friend named Carina who I have stuck with through thick and thin. Carina's been through some tough times in her life and I'm really proud of the person she has become.

With that said, I feel like recently Carina has been making some decisions I find concerning. She has met a guy and within a few months she feel like they are going to be together for the rest of their lives. I haven't even met him yet but I know that if I don't support her she is going to be crushed. They are already living together.

How should I handle this?

Jamie I.

Dear Jamie,

Some people don't mind when those they care about make mistakes, because they recognize that every one of us is capable of making one. It's not like I have never heard of two people who knew they wanted to be together really quickly working out; it is just that this kind of arrangement has an absolutely terrible success rate.

At some point, it is key to determine which you value more — Carina's continued friendship, which will presumably exist regardless of how deep down the rabbit hole she goes, or doing what you feel is right. We can't protect those we love completely, so say what you feel and drop it after that. This gives you the best chance of preserving your feelings for this woman.


The amount of time my girlfriend Harper spends with her friends is truly astonishing. It is like she is in a cult — they plan constant outings, talk on the phone every night, and their world revolves around each other. I have never quite seen anything like this. On some level I am probably jealous of Harper paying attention to other people besides me. It isn't really the time it takes away from our relationship that is the issue, but maybe I'm just sick of these other relationships? What can I do about this, if anything? I love Harper and the feeling is mutual.

Brent D.

Dear Brent,

Wanting to change the people we love is the only valid use of the slippery slope argument. If you want to spend more time with your girlfriend, do it. She likely will not say no. If it conflicts with the attention that she pays to her friends, complain. But a general band-aid on this situation is not impossible without destroying your relationship. The only thing you can do is slowly arc her towards you over time by offering superior experiences. People do not have just one life.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


In Which We String Them Along For Years

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 have had a long-time platonic friendship with a guy I will call Bernard. When we met we were both in relationships with other people and we supported each other and gave advice. Over Christmas Bernard informed me that he has feelings for me.

I don't want to lose Bernard as a friend and although I am not technically in a relationship right now, I may be soon and I want it see where it goes.

What can I say to Bernard without losing his friendship?

Kayla I.

Dear Kayla,

If you really reciprocated Bernard's feelings, you would be open to what he is bringing up. The fact that you are looking for a way out indicates that this move failed miserably from Bernard's perspective. He probably had this in mind from the moment he met you. He waited for you to become single and he prayed you had not put him in the friendzone. 

Bernard played his cards absolutely wrong, and he will suffer for his choice from a jury of his peers. If you really want to keep this guy hanging on, you will have to lie. Tell him that you're confused about what you feel and make sure he knows that you're involved with someone else right now but you don't know what is going to happen. He will cling to these vague promises of hope and you will be able to control him for upwards of another year. If he presses you on what you're feeling, explain that the timing is wrong. With this meager validation, he will probably be subdued off for a period. 

Keeping him around long term will be more difficult. You will have to back him off a bit by claiming your new boyfriend knows there has been feelings between you two. After this distance occurs, he will be overjoyed to be brought back into the fold as a friend, since the alternative has been made perfectly clear: he was almost dismissed from your life entirely. 

See what kind of interest he would have in potentially picking up your dry cleaning.


Since I was dumped by my girlfriend over Thanksgiving, I have tried to launch myself back into the world of online dating. The women I meet seem really flighty and it is clear they have many options. It's most important to me to find a genuine, loyal human being who I can spend the rest of my life with. We'll grow into old age with one another, travel around the world and enjoy each other's company. Are there better places to meet someone new than this disgusting online situation?

Trent S.

Dear Trent,

Despite your proclamations that all you want is something serious with the right person, I am sure you are not open to this with every woman you meet. For a relationship to work, both parties have to believe that they are the lucky ones: in other words, that each has selected a fantastic partner that they are lucky to be with. 

In order for you to receive that feeling from someone else, she cannot be too interested: otherwise it would be clear that she is the lucky one and you are just a good thing happening to someone else. Men who believe women are inattentive to their positive qualities are usually very judgmental about the same qualities when looking for someone else. You're not going to find a replica of your last relationship, at least not right away, and the fact that you haven't taken any time for yourself indicates you are probably not ready for what you say you desire.

It really doesn't matter where you meet someone you love.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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