In Which We Try Not To Make This More Than It Was

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 friend Sheila is getting married in January to a guy she met on an online dating website. I haven’t spent much time with them as a couple, but from what I have seen they get along really well and he’s a genuinely nice person who cares a lot about Sheila. With that said, I have only socialized with both of them a handful of times.

Sheila recently approached me and confessed a number of hesitations about the wedding. She is worried that she and her fiancee don’t have enough in common, and wonders if she is moving a bit too fast. I told her it was just cold feet, but she wants to talk to me about it again soon and I feel like I need a better answer for her. Do I blindly push her towards the altar or give credence to her concerns?

Teresa T.

Dear Teresa,

I remember when I used to date online; like half my dates informed me with a straight face that they were taking improv classes.

Marriage is a serious commitment, but moreso for a man than a woman, because Halle Berry is one of only twenty-five women in the entire country to pay child support. But seriously, Sheila can always get an annulment, unless she actually believes the death do us part bullshit.

If she doesn’t marry him, the relationship is pretty much over. There js no coming back from that, even if you explain to the groom that “you just need more time.” Eminem was married once, and he seemed happier single. Some people are just afraid to be alone I guess.

I would lie to your friend and tell her everything will be fine. If it does work out, you will be the heroine who encouraged Sheila at her darkest moment. And if it doesn’t work out, you can be damn sure she will blame him and not you.


My daughter recently became pregnant by her longtime boyfriend, Anthony. They decided that they should get married and had a bridal shower, bachelor party and a lovely wedding. The expense to our family was considerable, and even more so because my husband recently had to take a lower-paying job.

Last month I found out from my daughter that her and Anthony had not actually gotten legally married in this ceremony. When I confronted her about this lie, she blew me off and told me that “marriage means different things to different people.” Am I right to be upset?

Louisa F.

Dear Louisa,

No. The American Wedding Industry exists to take money from vulnerable, naive individuals such as yourself. Did you know that in some cultures, such as those of the Incans, a married couple was required to administer blow jobs to everyone who showed up at their nuptials? A gift bag was also provided.

You gave a gift of your own free will. If it was conditional on something, you should not have given it. If it bothers you that much, ask for your money back. You won’t get it, but everyone will know you’re an insanely gullible person whose devotion to cultural norms will only be eradicated through shock therapy or divorce.

Lately, people have been asking me a lot, “How do I know when it is the right time to marry my partner?” The answer is twofold:

1) when you can’t imagine life without them

2) you ask them if they want to watch Scorpion, and they say, “What’s that?” or “No”

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


“Whispers” – Tina Dico (mp3)

“You Don’t Step Into Now” – Tina Dico (mp3)


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