In Which We Accept That You May Require Different Remedies

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 Aaron and I have been seeing each other for six months after meeting on Tinder. He is something of a nervous guy at times, never more so than when we are being intimate. He is extremely well-endowed so has nothing to worry about on that front. Still, he gets a little anxious and as we start, begins narrating every aspect of ahat is happening. The amount of apologies on offer is amazing, but quickly gets old. If my head is accidentally bumped he will stop completely and ask me if I am OK. Once, completely unprompted, he left to get me ice.

I have tried to talk to Aaron about this, but even after I explained, he looks verbally constipated during sex and I can tell he’s not himself. Is it possible to get him over this hump?

Lucianne R.

Dear Lucianne,

I despise puns.

Some men are brought up to think women are very delicate. At the same time, they ignore pretty clear evidence that Angelina Jolie keeps the souls of the men she couples with. Do you think she was like, “Hey Brad, I’m heading for your anus” on that fateful first date? Some things are better when you don’t know about them beforehand, like Ellie Goulding and the Batmobile.

I suggest physical intervention in this case. Aaron won’t shut up, but he probably wants to, so put your finger on his lips and shush him as you take over. Failing that, cover his mouth and nostrils tightly. When he begs for his life, remind him, “I thought I told you to close your trap.”

If you are keen on a more psychological approach, tell him a story about a friend named Marcia Hamsbottom who had an ex-husband who would not stop quoting The Big Lebowski, no matter how many times she told him she hated it. If he says that the name Hamsbottom sounds made-up, wonder aloud how he has not heard of RCA recording artist Duracell Hamsbottom. I think he was in Outkast?


My girlfriend Anne really loves to discuss political issues. Sometimes these arguments can get a bit out of hand; to a certain extent I have gotten used to leaving emotion of such discussions, but when we are socializing with friends or family, Anne is just as vociferous about her views. I’m not trying to change who she is, and I really don’t mind. But these arguments lead to conflict that gets us not invited to places and affects other people’s enjoyment of these events.

Anne seems to understand that everyone does not share her views, and I don’t think she holds grudges or even argues in anger. What can I do to alleviate this situation?

Markel S.

Dear Markel,

People who are confused about their views are far less likely to articulate them to others. You need to cloud Anne’s thinking on a number of issues, and a subscription to National Review isn’t going to get the job done.

If necessary, approach her from the left and right on each issue. Make her feel like she isn’t going far enough – she is already advocating for taking rich people’s hard-earned money; why not their houses, cars, and children too? If she feels like her views mean that she is going to have to be the mom of some insolent teen portrayed by Amanda Bynes, she’s going to have reexamine her viewpoints closely. Playing the devil’s advocate is just a gaudy old-fashioned way of saying you’re a professional troll.

Then again, the last person who did the wrong thing for the right reasons ended up married to George Clooney.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording’s mobile site at

“Put Your Number In My Phone” – Ariel Pink (mp3)

“One Summer Night” – Ariel Pink (mp3)

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