In Which We Have Definitely Come To Love Susan

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


I have been dating my girlfriend Susan for over a year and I can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right. Don’t get me wrong – we get along great and have so much in common. At times she feels like she is a part of my family because she gets along with my sisters and parents so damn well.

We did have a weird incident where she accused me of cheating. I know she has trust issues but it completely was not true at all and she jumped to conclusions about some texts I had received. Essentially, an ex was texting me and I could have just deleting what was written but I forgot. Susan made it sound like there was still some reason I had it on my phone, when there wasn’t.

It is not so much that which bothers me as the fact that maybe there could be someone out there better even though I definitely love Susan. What is wrong with me?

David P.

Dear David,

There comes a time in every man’s life when he thinks, I would do anything to be with this woman forever because the prospect of finding someone new sounds like the drizzling shits to me. You are obviously not at that stage yet.

It is best to do something to test your appreciation of Susan without dumping her and ending up regretting it. A few women will allow you to couple with them again after such an event, but most can never bear the sight of your face again.

Things that you can do to evaluate the depths of your love include taking a trip by yourself someone for reasons. How often do you think of Susan? How often do you think of her as God made her? How often do you think of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails? How often do you think that masturbating is wrong and effectively punishable by a trip to hell?

The answers, respectively, are not much, a few times, frequently, and from time to time.


My new boyfriend Keith is a great guy. He is very well-read, though and never lets you forget it. When he met my mom, he talked about Spenser for like fifteen minutes. Books are kind of his passion; often when we’re together he will read quietly for long periods. Sometimes this isn’t so bad – it’s better than hearing about Spenser, for example. But I’m starting to wonder if he maybe needs someone who shares his hobby. I like to read, but am I wrong to think this is extreme?

Jana S.


Dear Jana,

One person’s dream is usually someone else’s nightmare. Bradley Cooper talks about the theater all the time, a fact his previous girlfriend found dreadful and a situation which I assume was the thinspiration for your question.

In High Fidelity, Nick Hornby whined for upwards of thirty pages… wait, sorry I’m talking about a book. There was a movie, too. John Cusack was upset because his girlfriend, who weirdly never was in another movie after that, didn’t share his same hobbies. The odd part of it was his only discernible hobby was listening to music, which can be done conveniently during other activities, like protests against the police or masturbation.

It seems like if Keith takes the humblebragging too far in front of other people, there is a subtle way to reel him back in. Try these words, “Keith, wasn’t Spenser a murderer? No? I thought I read that. I refuse to read the words of murderers. Are you sad Marco Polo was canceled, or did you think it looked as fucking stupid as I did?” Problem solved.

As for the actual reading itself, just read the internet while he is doing this or watch Rachel Maddow.


Is total silence during an orgasm normal? It’s not a very gratifying absence of sound to hear.

Alexis T.

hard to say mia nguyen.jpg

Dear Alexis,

I have heard a variety of noises which sufficiently signify for orgasms. Here are some of the best and some of the worst.

Excellent: barking, meowing, reciting the Star Spangled Banner

Mediocre: singing, talking like Chappie, whistling

Pretty Bad: humming, whistling songs, doing that annoying heart-pounding thing from The Wolf of Wall Street

Horrendous: silence, talking about the perils of taxation, death

Encourage your partner to make all noises he wants. Most people learn to be quiet when they masturbate so as not to alert others to what they are doing, and bad habits stick around longer than good ones.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


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