In Which We Use All Of The Strategies We Developed In The Period

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 seem to struggle on first dates. Even if things are going incredibly well up to the point of first meeting in terms of texting or phone calls, I somehow ruin that initial experience of meeting me. This is weird for me because I am used to making a good first impression on people, and without sounding conceited, I consider myself an attractive, if normal-looking guy.

What can I improve to get a better reaction?

Jason B.

Dear Jason,

Be yourself. JK, that would be a terrible idea considering what you have just told me. You need to be someone else, preferably a 60s period Warren Beatty.

What did Warren do so well that all men would be wise to imitate? He projected a healthy sexuality without ever drawing attention to it. Except when he demanded sex or he would leave. But he could do that kind of thing, because the Beatty family owned the entire Los Angeles area police department during this period. Once he killed Dyan Cannon’s son and there were zero repercussions.

The important thing is to draw attention to yourself as a sexual object. Make sure to masturbate right before the date, but not after. Never after. Do a lot of posing and draw attention to your hands. Seem interested, but not overly interested. And don’t murder anyone until a month or so in.


I don’t really want to get into the details, but one of my close friends is now dating my ex-boyfriend. Am I wrong or should she have cleared this with me first?

Amy S.

Dear Amy,

Make as much trouble for them both as possible. Remind your friend of your previous relationship with the guy at every juncture, including in depth discussions of his sexual prowess. (She’ll want to know this to be sure her carnal relations are an improvement over the duration and frequency of yours.) Keep saying, “But I’m fine with it,” every time you acknowledge the relationship in a negative way.

By dating this man, you established a claim over him for all time. He can never so much as walk into a Nordstrom without knowing that your unsuccessful coupling with him is the dark cloud that will follow him to the clearance rack.

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


“Magnolia” – Iron and Wine & Ben Bridwell (mp3)

“Am I A Good Man” – Iron and Wine & Ben Bridwell (mp3)


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