In Which We Hate None Of The Things You Hate

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 girlfriend is hinting that she wants me to propose, but I am not financially or emotionally ready for such a big decision. If it matters, we have been together for three years. We are otherwise happy, and I do see her as my wife one day, but now is not the right time for me.

Artis L.

hard to say mia nguyen

Dear Artis,

Is prison too dire a punishment? Back in medieval times, a woman could be stoned for hinting on social media that she might enjoy a long term committment. But it is awful to have someone love you, unless that someone is Ariana Grande; then it is just artistically inspirational.

There is no perfect time for an engagement. Conversely there it is always the perfect time for a very long engagement. Put yourself in her shoes: would she rather tell the world – “we broke off our engagement, it wasn’t quite right” or “he never proposed to me because I am a worthless bag of trash that Mayor De Blasio won’t even pick up because he’s terrible at running a city”? I may have gotten a bit off topic there, but my point is still completely solid. The former sounds like something that happened to Helen Bonham Carter in Majorca, the latter sounds like a typical week in the life of Shannyn Sossamon.

You can always get out of an engagement, but a woman will remember that you did not want her forever.


My boyfriend Wesley and I have been dating for about six months. Recently he has explained that he has preferences for the kind of makeup he wants me to be wearing. He says that he likes bright red lipstick and a lot of blush – not a style I usually embody. Part of me doesn’t see the harm and wants to please Wesley, and another part of me is a bit weirded out by this sudden declaration. What should I do?

Alexis T.

just plain afraid to fail

Dear Maxi,

It seems like your boyfriend doesn’t want to confess on his most recent discovery. It probably involves three words: NARS Orgasm collection. According to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book club, the NARS blush in orgasm is a dream and matches every skin tone. It’s bright without being too red. Yes, it makes your face look like you have had sex for days on end. Maybe this is what he is referring to. If not, we can trace his trajectory of his last shopping experience.

It probably involved a bored sales associate from Sephora mongering him with samples. Most likely untrue, but it could happen. He most likely walked around the mall entranced by the brightness of the orgasm blush that he had to go back. Again, most likely untrue. Shopping mall experiences vary from person to person.

You’ll have to stumble on clues. Depending on your living situation with him, you can check white towels for any blush or lipstick residue. You still have time. Make-up is just an enhancer and you don’t have to wear it all the time. Next time, you’re repurchasing your stock bring him along. He’ll probably know a thing or two.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Alligator” – Lone Wolf (mp3)

“Crimes” – Lone Wolf (mp3)


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