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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

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Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

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Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in hard to say (145)

Wednesday
Jun112014

In Which We Think It Is Important To Get This Across

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 boyfriend's name is Charles. Charles is a great partner and friend, but recently an issue has emerged in our sex life that I am not entirely sure how to address. Early on he said that due to antidepressants, it was not really easy to have sex more than once or twice a week. At the time I told him it did not bother me and it did not. While we still have regular sex, the frequency of these intimate moments is no more than once a week. The time we spend together is fantastic; do I have any hope? 

Jamie N.

Dear Jamie,

It’s fair to end a relationship if you’re not connecting sexually anymore, but it’s not fair to end it without giving the other person a say. It may be true that this didn’t bother you in the beginning, but it does now and you need to grow a pair and tell Charles.

Nobody’s sex life is perfect, even Gwyneth Paltrow’s. You have to be willing to work as a team or it’s going to get all weird and resentful at which point no, you don’t have hope. Not because of the sex, but because you’re working against one another. Make your decisions together - for example, maybe Charles needs to revisit his prescription (another dosage, another medication, etc.) Maybe you need to get sex therapy. Maybe you need to break up. That’s up to the both of you.

Most importantly, you need to spend time together learning about the different ways you can pleasure one another. These methods can include cunnilingus, sharing juice boxes, or the position we all know as the Downward Facing Meme. Even if "sex" is only happening once a week, various methods of pleasure can occur at other times.

Hi,

My boyfriend Tomas comes from a religious family in Texas. Outside their church is an eclectic, graphic depiction of the crucifixion. He has told me that he does not feel he could ever commit to someone who does not have some kind of faith, since he wants to raise his children as Christians.

It's hard to know exactly how I feel about all this, since my parents never really mentioned religion at all to me, and aren't observant themselves. From what I know of his faith, there are aspects that I might struggle with, specifically instruction in abstinence before marriage.

Tomas is a wonderful person and when we do talk about God I find myself wanting to hear his views, even when I don't feel entirely comfortable airing my own. Ultimately, I don't know if I would want to raise my children in the style of his family. What should I do?

Tina F.

Dear Tina,

It sounds like you know a small amount about his church, but you should probably get to know more. At an appropriate time, like after sex or while you are choosing a new job, subtly find out details about his worship. Casually ask aloud, "Hey Tomas, would your church by any chance be the same church that the murderer attended in True Detective?"

You need to learn more about your boyfriend's faith before you can properly judge it. Does child sacrifice play a role? Every Sunday, do people put things in their mouth? Dicks or wafers? Check on that.

A lot of things are said in a relationship at a young age. Once you have his child in your tummy, he's not really going to be able to say no to you. He can't well force you to go to church. If he does, call the cops. He is not going to go by himself. There are plenty of places to worship in private, ideally in another state with no income tax.

You say you have trouble expressing your own views. Fine. There are many ways to influence his instead, changing them to become more like yours. Example: he strolls in from a hard day's work and you're casually reading On the Origin of the Species. When he asks what you are reading, remark that it is more spiritual than you thought it would be, and did he read that thing in the Guardian about how a girl raised in the church rebelled from its strictures and had unprotected sex in a kangaroo's pouch? Eventually he'll get the picture.

Hi,

I read this advice column last week and thought I would seek some help from you. I have a very close friend who is an alcoholic. He has been to rehab twice before. He just got out of rehab and got together with his girlfriend. She swore to herself she would never get back together with him. One of the last times they saw each other he got really drunk and threaten to harm himself. The cops came and took him to the drunk tank, which landed him in rehab again. 

I don't see signs of him ever improving, but I want to be there for him. I feel like our friendship has exhausted itself. The only thing from holding me back is if I'm not there for him emotionally he will take his life. I really don't want to feel this burden anymore. What do you think I should do?

Evelyn A.

Dear Evelyn,

Whoa. Just kidding, Evelyn. Whatever you do, do not put your friend in the ground. Even justifiable homicide carries a short but emotional prison term with it that will include Jason Biggs at first visiting you every weekend but gradually becoming disinterested over time as your looks and general appeal deteriorates.

Still, Mike's point is sound. Half-measures accomplish little to nothing: if you have a problem the important thing is whether or not it gets fixed for good. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a troubling disease that lasts a lifetime. If this "close friend" really provides no other useful functionality in your life, just cut him off, and make him feel as bad as possible that you are doing this. If he thinks the reason is that you don't care at all, he's far more likely to make an impulsive, irreversible decision.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

"Never Gonna Let You Down" - Colbie Caillat (mp3)

"If You Love Me Let Me Go" - Colbie Caillat (mp3)

Wednesday
Jun042014

In Which This Is Very Tough To Communicate

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 was recently talking with my boyfriend about 9/11. He explained that he had been a freshman in college when the attack occurred, and described some of the things that happened at his Ivy League school during the attack - people crying, others screaming in shock and trying to reach their loved ones. Unfortunately all I could think about as he was telling this story is how I was in fourth grade when this happened. Before this anecdote, our age difference did not seem so important, but now I can't get it out of my mind. What should I do?

Martha S.

Dear Martha,

You are correct in stating that anyone who was in college during 9/11 is old, perhaps too old for you. In order to verify your hypothesis, here are some indications that your partner (#loveofyourlife) may just not be the right age.

- He was in graduate school during the Second World War.

- He thinks that penicillin is a "miracle life-saving drug" and defends it for hours whenever you rag on it.

- He wanted to name your cat Clementine or Archibald.

- His drug dealer asked him if he ever watched Fawlty Towers, and his response was anything except, "What the fuck are you talking about?"

- He soothes his feet by washing them in a water basin with Lucille Ball's face and torso on it.

- He asks you if that "upstart nation" Israel is going to be around for good.

Age isn't important, but not having the right opinions about things like John Cleese and Israel could come back to bite you in the ass later on IMO.

Hi,

I recently wrote to another advice columnist about my problems in a relationship. Not only did she say I was partly at fault for the problems that occurred in it, but she took a shot at the fact that I'm from England and naturally include the letter 'u' in all my wourds, even when it's for almost no reason.

The more I review the details of my relationship, the less I am convinced by Meredith that "You were both at fault." What do you think?

Megan B

Dear Megan,

Megan. Can I call you Megsy? Alright. You dated an obsessively creepy man who had to make things serious before there were even things to be serious about. Because he seemed interested and caring, you thought he probably wasn't a total asshole, but you were wrong in this. The worst losers in the entire world are great at pretending to be nice - if they were actually nice, they wouldn't have to pretend.

Eventually your boyfriend got tired of you and it was too exhausting to pretend. But instead of just admitting he had made a mistake, apologizing and telling you had a lovely accent for someone from that part of London, he had to put the blame on you, Megsy. If he put the blame on himself that would mean he was a super-controlling sociopath, and no one likes to think that when they look in the mirror except for Jennifer Lopez.

Hi,

I am in a committed relationship with my girlfriend of two years, Amy. We live together, and share many laughs and bon mots.

In early May I received a package in the mail from an ex. It was a box that my girlfriend unknowingly opened. While almost everything in the box only held a sentimental meaning obvious to the parties involved, there was one letter in the group, written by me, which could be described as romantic in nature.

The majority of the letter itself was chaste, but there was a reference to anal sex in it (a practice my ex enjoyed but is not a part of my life now). At first Amy seemed fine with what was undoubtedly a bit of a shock, but now she seems to have trouble overcoming the idea that the sex life I had with my ex was some kind of winsomely exotic menagerie, which it most certainly was not.

How can I get her to realize it wasn't all that important?

Henry L.

Dear Hank,

Telling Amy in minute detail what occurred is only going to open a Pandora's Box of insecurity. You need to give her an airtight reassurance to rely on in her mind: a recurring, comfortable phrase whose mere repetition is a solace. (Jonah Hill uses slurs.)

Sit her down with her favorite beverage. Perhaps she likes a piping hot tea? Who doesn't, as long as it's not a cherished part of anal play. She'll associate the taste of those ground beans with your definitive statement that she is in every way better than your ex. Having imprinted that idea, if Amy mentions it again, clearly state that you feel you have already addressed the issue, and that if she continues bringing it up she is liable to be shown the door.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

"The Grass Ain't Greener" - Apathy (mp3)

"Back in New England" - Apathy ft. Chris Webby (mp3)

 

Wednesday
May282014

In Which We Find This Onerous To Explain

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'm 22, but I have the dating experience of a 14-year-old. I didn't even kiss anyone until I was a senior in college, and now that I'm out of college I'm trying to "put myself out there" or something. I finally got an OkCupid profile, and now I have kissed two whole people in my life. The problem is that it's so hard for me to "casually" date because it's impossible for even just kissing someone to be "casual" for me. How do I stop being so insecure about myself and my inexperience with dudes?

Kelly H.

Dear Kelly,

Your problem isn’t your insecurity or your inexperience. They haven’t stopped you from being able to recognize what you want and to work for it. You have created an online profile, and you have kissed two people. At least none of them (presumably) murdered you, Kelly.

You need to do two things. First, stop beating yourself up for being a late bloomer. It’s likely that Blaise Pascal never kissed anyone at all. You’re not in high school anymore. Nobody cares. Nobody’s keeping a tally. You shouldn’t either. By risking your life you have shown you’re not afraid, so get out there and get what you want.

Which brings me to my next point: you need to figure out if you want to have a bunch of casual flings or if you want long-term relationships. Just because you started later doesn’t mean you have to make up for lost time – unless you want to. This isn’t about what you think a person should or shouldn’t have done by the age of 22. It’s about what you want and what’s good for you right now. Use a condom, or failing that, pepper spray.

Hi,

I'm at (yet another) crossroads in my life where I have to choose whether I want to aim for short-term gratification and personal improvement or if I should go for employment security. I've found that for me it boils down to a decision between a postgraduate liberal arts or science degree. When, if ever, is it too old to pursue very expensive and degrees which are almost purely for self-improvement? What's the value of the liberal arts during a recession?

Linda S.

Dear Linda,

When we started college, we gravitated towards a science degree in hopes of finding financial stability, but  ended up being miserable. It was not really a revelation to see that if we wanted to be happy we had to maximize our abilities on a different path.

Training for what you want to do is important, but just doing it is better. If it's in the arts, no special qualifications are really required; I believe Lewis Lapham once killed a guy. Do you need this degree to get a specific job? If yes, then it may be worth pursuing. If not, books are freely available to read without paying some institution an exorbitant sum to explain them to you. Or we can explain them over some hot cocoa and several Thomas Bernhard novels. What are you doing on Friday?

Hi,

I feel like I'm backsliding into a relationship with an old flame. We broke up after six months and didn't speak for a while after, but we recently rekindled our romance. We have been flirting through text and phone calls without any definite plans of actually getting back together. We currently live in two different states and he always backs out when we make plans. I feel comfortable around him and he conveys mutual feelings. I feel like I'm wasting my time, but I can't seem to move on from the thought of us being together. What do you think?

Jen A. 

 

Dear Jen,

If he's not Ryan Gosling material we don't think you should pursue this relationship any longer. You want someone who will go the extra mile for you, day and night. He is probably hooking up with several side babes in his area and you're his long distance virtual side babe. You're a thriving beautiful human being and you don't need to wait around for him.

Think about the reasons why you two broke up in the first place. You might feel comfortable relying on him for comfort, but you're better off finding someone who will make you writhe with pleasure without any nonsense. 

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

"Just Say When" - Mindi Abair (mp3)

"I'll Be Your Home" - Mindi Abair (mp3)