In Which This Jonathan Fellow Disorients Our Sense of Well Being

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 ex-boyfriend Jonathan is a very considerate and caring person. When I decided to move on from our relationship, I had an idea he would remain friends with a lot of my friends who we had interacted with as a couple. They enjoy Jonathan’s company and I don’t have a problem with the situation.

The problem is that I keep getting these pseudo-considerate e-mails and texts from him asking if it’s OK if he shows up at a particular event, or meets up with a certain individual. I don’t mind staying on good terms with an ex, but something is rubbing me the wrong way about his communiques. What should I do?

Ann C.

Dear Ann,

The reason that so many breakups are explosive is entirely self-preservational. It ensures that both parties can get sufficient separation to begin the process of forgetting. In what is apparently a very annoying fashion, Jonathan has denied you this.

At any time from the fifth to the fifteenth century this would have meant death or at the very least a light stoning, but now you need to use essentially the same means he is employing to eradicate this pestilence from your existence.

What Jonathan wants is for you to engage with him on his terms, so you must make sure that those terms are equally painful ror him as they are for you. If you start showing up to these places with a new guy, he will either start texting you or self-destruct. If you can’t actually meet someone, hire a non-union actor and make sure his persona is the antithesis of everything Jonathan values in a person. Only then will you be free.


Women often tell me I would make a great friend. I think that I am very respectful and confident when I go out on dates, so I am not sure what I am doing that gives off this impression.

Joseph P. 

Dear Joseph,

Probably it is the jean shorts.

The issue is not with you, it is with masculinity. Most boys either become sexist PUAs named Bobby or mincing nice guys with no concept of the fact that because a woman is not attracted to the former, she is no more drawn to the latter.

Most women respect only one thing: your complete lack of interest in them. There are a few rare human beings of both genders who can tolerate receiving affection and return it in kind, probably because they come from a great family.

This is a psychological weakness mostly individuals transcend in their mid-twenties, so I would just target slightly older women. When the younger women see you with your new, older experienced girlfriend, they will be turned on by this. They will assume you know sexual things to please a woman, when the reality is that you do not.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Purge” – Rrose (mp3)

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.23.58 AM


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