In Which We Discuss This As Carefully As We Can

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 or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


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.


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.

“Mi Lost” – The Bug ft. Miss Red (mp3)

“The One” – The Bug ft. Flowdan (mp3)


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