In Which We Have Run Away In Fear Of So Much Less

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 Ami has a new boyfriend names Jacques. Jacques goes out a lot to the clubs and although Ami never took drugs before this, her life consists of taking them and going dancing. I really miss my friend and worry for her. She is so messed up the other night that I had to carry her home and put her to bed.

P.S. Jacques is not a bad guy, he is just fun-loving.

Frederique N.

Dear Frederique,

The role of the caretaker is a time-honored one in the drug culture. I hope I’m not being too broad here when I say you should never take of anyone for any reason except hefty financial remuneration.

If Ami ends up in the hospital or dead, do you really want to be the person who enabled her all this time, allowing her to think she could act however she wanted and someone else would pick up the pieces? You think you are helping her but the reality couldn’t be more different: you are the one putting her in danger.

This Jacques fellow sounds like a real prince. He is not really interested in your friend’s well-being, and he is not nice. He’s just wearing a nice sweater.


I am in a committed relationship with my girlfriend of two years, Amy. We live together, and share many laughs and bon mots.

In early May I received a package in the mail from an ex. It was a box that my girlfriend unknowingly opened. While almost everything in the box only held a sentimental meaning obvious to the parties involved, there was one letter in the group, written by me, which could be described as romantic in nature.

The majority of the letter itself was chaste, but there was a reference to anal sex in it (a practice my ex enjoyed but is not a part of my life now). At first Amy seemed fine with what was undoubtedly a bit of a shock, but now she seems to have trouble overcoming the idea that the sex life I had with my ex was some kind of winsomely exotic menagerie, which it most certainly was not.

How can I get her to realize it wasn’t all that important?

Henry L.

Dear Henry,

Telling Amy in minute detail what occurred is only going to open a Pandora’s Box of insecurity. You need to give her an airtight reassurance to rely on in her mind: a recurring, comfortable phrase whose mere repetition is a solace. (Jonah Hill uses slurs.)

Sit her down with her favorite beverage. Perhaps she likes a piping hot tea? Who doesn’t, as long as it’s not a cherished part of anal play. She’ll associate the taste of those ground beans with your definitive statement that she is in every way better than your ex. Having imprinted that idea, if Amy mentions it again, clearly state that you feel you have already addressed the issue, and that if she continues bringing it up she is liable to be shown the door.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


“Thick As Blood” – Stubborn Son (mp3)

“Head Above Water” – Stubborn Son (mp3)


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