In Which This Indicates He Is Probably Not A Man

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 son Damon is fifteen. Up until recently, he was pursuing his dream of playing the violin in an orchestra and doing extremely well in school. Recently he became infatuated with a girl in his class by the name of Andrea. 

I have met Andrea on several occasions, and while she is a lovely girl, she does not seem overly interested in Damon and probably just sees him as a friend type. On the other hand, he is obsessed with her, has lost interest in other things, and spends most of his time thinking about her. How can I get him to drop it?

Jani B.

just plain afraid to fail

Dear Jani,

Boy, this Damon sounds like a real piece of work. Are you sure he is your son?

Allowing people to put their love in context is best accomplished through art. Since reading is out of the question seeing as it is 2015, you are going to have to show him a movie that makes him realize the world is a lot bigger than one unrequited crush in high school. (Finding Nemo and Mad Max: Fury Road come to mind.) I would also try to send him away on brief conferences and sojourns where he might meet someone else. Nothing is more emotionally productive for a young man than a long distance relationship.


I have been dating online for about a year since I broke up with my boyfriend Steven. I am having difficulty gauging how long I should wait to be intimate with the guys I meet on the site. Any recommendations?

Barbara S.

hard to say mia nguyen

Dear Barbara,

If you have a physical connection with someone right away, it is best to postpone the actual penetration for two months. It’s not that long a period, and it’s enough time to know what you are getting into. If you don’t have a physical connection right away, it might be best to accelerate your time table. People can acquire chemistry early on, but not if they are dancing around each other like Victorians.

If a guy is pushing you really hard, he’s a dick. If he’s not pushing you at all, he’s probably not a man.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“I Want To Run” – Mates of State (mp3)

“Gonna Get It” – Mates Of State (mp3)

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