In Which We Do Not Know How To Get Along With Him

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.


I am five months pregnant with my first child, a boy. My husband Theo and I are very excited for this new addition to the family, but lately I have been feeling a bit fixated on the guy who Theo wanted to be the godfather, Mark. Mark is a friend of Theo’s from college, and he still acts like he is still in college despite being closer to middle-age. He smokes pot and drinks, which would be fine in itself, but he frequently inebriates himself to the point of not remembering his activities. 

I’m worried Mark will continue this kind of behavior around the baby. Theo decided the godfather thing would be a bad idea, but says that Mark will probably grow up by the time our child is old enough to notice. Am I right to be worried?

Ashley T.

Dear Ashley,

Mark sounds like a bunch of human garbage, but he’s not going to be the baby’s parents: you are. Sometimes children need a bad example to understand how things can go so terribly wrong. You know those cautionary tales that head into juvenile prisons to educate youths on the dangers of drug addiction, prostitution and reading the Atlantic? Mark could play this key role for your chile. Upon his departure you can quietly exhale to your son, whose name will probably also be Ashley, that Mark just didn’t make the right choices in life. “Mark thinks Cristela is a really light-skinned black woman!” you can crow deliciously as this ne’er-do-well leaves your child’s house.

Also, Mark will probably be dead in a decade or more, so why worry about things that may never come to pass? Just pretend to be accomodating now and put your foot down later.

I assume you’re having a water birth?


My stepsister Joann recently got married to a wonderful man and is pregnant with her first child. The two are planning a wedding before the baby arrives. With the prospect of a baby shower, an engagement brunch (no clue what that is), a bachelorette party, bridesmaid dress and other incidentals, Joann’s fertility is probably going to cost me in four figures. I don’t have the kind of income where I can absorb these expenses; on the other hand I don’t want to let my stepsister down. What should I do?

Kate T.

Dear Kate,

Marriage is a wonderful institution, except when Lauren Bacall married Humphrey Bogart: that was completely gross.

Whatever you do, do not bring this problem up to Joann. Create an entirely independent drama that requires your attention. For example, your car broke down and needs a new hamburglarator. She has bigger issues on her mind, she’s not going to check if it’s actually part of a car. For a more plausible excuse, humbly reveal that you have to take a weeklong trip during her bachelorette party to accomplish a continuing education bonafide. For some reason, using the word “education” justifies any expense or behavior.

Failing that, is there the possibility of suggesting Joann’s fiance may not be the father? Because that could really shake up this loathsome set of obligations on your plate. Also, when you lie, don’t touch your face.

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


“Underground” – Ben Lee ft. Angie Hart (mp3)

“Protect Me (From What I Want)” – Ben Lee ft. Sean Lennon & Neil Finn (mp3)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s