Friday, January 25, 2013


Boyfriends' Mothers, "Compassion," and Les Misérables

1. My husband and I are religious, so that meant no messing around — at all — before we got married, which ... obviously has pros and many cons, but after a year and a half I think we have the basics down. BUT. I just cannot get myself to give him a blow job. I can't do it! It seems so gross to me. I feel bad because he's gone down on me lots of times, and I've never returned the favor. We've talked about it and he's really nice about it; he says he would like to try it out, but he doesn't want me to do anything I'm not comfortable with. So part of me thinks, great! I'll never have to worry about it, but the other part of me wants him to experience that. So, two questions: 1) should I worry about it at all, and 2) if yes, how can I make myself do it? It's all salty down there ... Please don't say I don't have to swallow. That's not the only gross part to me.

A Lady: She has to give him a blow job, obviously, right?

A Dude: Well, first of all it is in no way obvious to to me that no-messing-around-before-marriage has any pros whatsoever. Second of all, is it actually "all salty" down there?

A Lady: What do you mean? Yeah, sperms are kinda salty.

A Dude: But is a penis, like, more salty than human skin, because we're pillars of salt who turned to look back at Sodom or whatever? She's clearly not saying sperms are salty, she's saying his nether-regions are salty.

A Lady: Okay, well the overall bouquet is some combination of penis skin and sperm.

A Dude: Oh, this is interesting. 

A Lady: The skin is usually normal-salty, though I guess it can be sweatier than, like, arm skin, because it's all in your drawers all the time, and sweat is salty.

A Dude: Right. So is it the case here that maybe he needs to wash up better or something? Maybe she should give him a blow job in the shower. IF that is the major gross point for this person. If not ... then, well, I think these two have just made a horrible, horrible mistake.

A Lady: Hang on, I think this marriage can be saved. Remember when we were talking about the kinds of blow jobs?

A Dude: No.

A Lady: We were talking about this the other day. So there is the only-mouth all-the-way beej.

A Dude: Oh yeah we did talk about this.

A Lady: Then there is . . .

A Dude: What, licking and kissing?

A Lady: Just quiet snuggling. That's the other kind, snuggling. No, there's hand on the shaft, mouth on the tip.

A Dude: Where are we going with this?

A Lady: Okay the point is (1) if you have never done a blow job and you think all mouth is the only way to go you might like to know there are options, and (2) I forgot you can also use your hand near the top and do mouth stuff further down the shaft, which, in any case, the shaft is the least weird part, so can she try to basically jack him off while doing some limited licking and kissing stuff away from the tip, in the shower, Sam I am. And then it's right there and sometimes you get inspired by proximity.

A Dude: I'm still worried about these two. If she can get zen about it and learn to think of blow jobs (in whatever style they settle on) as an extension of kissing all over her husband or whatever, then maybe she'll like it . . . so yeah, if she can get herself into that zone (which he clearly gets himself in when going down on her, because frankly many of the same principles apply) . . . I dunno the really important thing is to not marry someone who wants to do sex things you don't want to do.

A Lady: Thank you, Dan Savage.

A Dude: Just because Dan Savage said it doesn't mean it's . . . what?

A Lady: In a perfect world where we all recognized our desires and their relative priority, it would be perfect if obsolete advice. And in this dumb world, it is still pretty good advice, but sometimes you accidentally marry someone who thinks dicks are gross, and there you are.

A Dude: And the joke's on you. Sigh.

A Lady: Quick question. Like, she has to give him a blow job, duh.

A Dude: You said it, I didn't say it.

A Lady: But why did I say that? I don't think I'd say she HAS to have anal sex. Probably.

A Dude: Right. I think she doesn't have to give blowjobs, but to answer her question? Yes. Yes, she has to worry about it.

2. So tell me about 'Les Misérables.' What does it have to do with Occupy? And what does it have to do with Christianity? And have you ever seen a tongue as pearly and perfect as Hugh's? This is the advice I want: Should I see it again in theaters? Should I buy it? Should I re-shoot it, shot-for-shot, in my living room? Look, I have a pedicure that looks like the French flag. It really affected me. Vive la France.

A Lady: Did you see this? I didn't see it. I saw Django? And Lincoln?

A Dude: I didn't see Les Miserables. Like, i've never seen the musical either

A Lady: I've seen the ads on bus stops? For both the musical and the movie.

A Dude: And yet this letter writer seems nice and I say she should go for it. Yes to all the things.

A Lady: BUT ALSO what DOES it have to do with Occupy and Christianity? Occupy France! Wait. Shit

A Dude: Because this is Ask A Lady & A Pretentious Twat, I want to remind everyone to watch Raymond Bernard's four-and-a-half hour 1934 adaptation of Les Misérables, because ugh it is so good, that's all I've got. Sorry.

A Lady: Yeah. Pedicure sounds cute. Pix pls. Toes or GTFO.

3. I'm a lady in my early twenties, currently in grad school, and many of my friends are in a similar situation. Maybe this is just how life works at this stage in the game, but lately I can't help but feel like several of my otherwise fabulous lady friends have been making decisions I'm struggling to understand. I know that none of us are exempt from life's occasional (or frequent) fuck-ups, and I know I sure as hell don't have it all figured out, but when one friend thinks marrying her mentally unstable and extremely needy boyfriend of less than a year is a great solution, and another recently decided to move back to the middle of nowhere to live with the military-school-employed boyfriend she's had doubts about for months instead of pursuing her own artistic goals ... what's a lady to do?

How do I manage to remain supportive and compassionate when all I want to do is bean them with the nearest weighty volume and give them a clear, bulleted summary of why what they're doing seems irrational and, to me at least, like the absolute wrong decision? (Of course their positions are much more complex than that, and I'm definitely not saying I have all the answers.) I love my friends so much, and I wish I could get behind them 100%, but I think I need some serious advice on how to do that when every instinct I have is screaming that these choices aren't what's going to make them happy. Please help?

A Lady: Early 20s makes me want to be like THROW IT BACK.

A Dude: I am confused about what's bad about working for a military school, is that not a reasonable job?

A Lady: You can never tell your friends anything about how to manage their shit. Liferule #1.

A Dude: Resolved.

A Dude: I also want to point out that we have absolutely no way to give advice about what her friends should do because letterwriter is what we call and unreliable narrator. "Thinks marrying her mentally unstable and extremely needy boyfriend of less than a year is a great solution." That sets off my unreliable narrator alarm like nuts.

A Lady: Tell me more, tell me more/like did he have a car.

A Dude: Oh god, it's an all-musical-theater episode. Do we have advice to give her? Besides chill out? EARLY TWENTIES THROW IT BACK?

A Lady: I mean, there could be advice on HOW to chill out. Like, when you see me about to do something intolerable, how do you deal?

A Dude: I just let the baby touch the fire. None of these babies are actually going to fall into the fire, and that's why I'm so hung up on this letterwriter's attitude. Even though entering a terrible marriage with a terrible person is, I guess, kind of falling into the fire, not just touching it. But I strongly suspect that she's exaggerating the awfulness of her friends' dudes.

A Lady: Also when has this conversation ever happened: friend 1) Imma get married friend 2) Don't get married friend 1) K cool. All you can really do is live a just and wise life. All you can do is not get wifed by idiots and live as an example of joy in serving that rightful order which leaves idiots unwifed.

A Dude: So she should read Epictetus or what?

A Lady: Yes.

4. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with my boyfriend's mom. She's a perfectly nice lady who's always asking me to do things with her one-on-one (go to lunch, see a movie, etc.) that I don't really have any interest in or time for. I feel like I barely have enough time in the week to see my friends or relax on my own, so why should I cut into that precious time by hanging out with someone 30 years my senior who I don't have a lot in common with? I almost always accept her invitations, because I don't want to be rude or blow her off, and I feel some pressure from my boyfriend to see her, too. But he's not the one who has to put the time in! Can I start making excuses to avoid her? Or just accept that putting in parent time is part of being a good girlfriend/person? Thank you for your help.

A Dude: I like this one because it's clearly from my ex-girlfriend. That one hit close to home for me. My mom was always wanting to hang out with the former future Mrs. Dude.

A Lady: Your mom is awesome.

A Dude: I know you like my mom. My mom likes you. My mom also liked my ex and was inviting her to hang all the time. And I was always like "do it! it'll be fun!" And i thought she (the ex) was all about it, too. But then she went ahead and wrote to The Hairpin and now I'm all second-guessy. In other words this is all about me and I apologize to the letterwriter for THAT. I will say I don't like this writer's attitude about the mom being "30 years her senior." I mean we're all adults here. We can be friends with older people. Get over that aspect of it.

A Lady: I bet you LW is in early 20s Throw It Back, so 30 years her senior is like 29.

A Dude: Also can we just say "be glad his mom wants to hang out with you"? "Your boyfriend's mom seems to like you, and I don't think I'm wrong when I say that's not a standard thing"?

A Lady: His mom is probably cooler than he is. 65 percent of moms are cooler than the people they are moms of.

A Dude: My mom is cooler than me. I bet my ex still hangs out with her.

A Lady: Dump him, date his mom.

5. Why does everyone on 'Intervention' have a boyfriend and I don't? I'm serious. The episodes of 'Intervention' where the subjects aren't stealing drugs or money from their significant others are the exception, not the rule. And yet these people stay together! WTF? When I read about the incest twins in Dear Prudence, I thought, that's it. This is definitive proof that I am the only person on earth who can't get a boyfriend. When I was younger and more insecure I totally swallowed all the self-help baloney about how you have to be happy with yourself before you can be with someone else. This is clearly a lie. Plenty of terrible people are in relationships. (I don't mean people with addictions or incest twins are terrible; they just present extra challenges, and yet they are loved by someone.)

I have no illusions about my great beauty or charm, but I take care of myself, I'm smart, independent, financially secure, funny (or at least have a sense of humor about things), I'm not a drug addict, I care about pets and small children and stuff ... what gives?? I've had a few boyfriends over the years, but I'm definitely the more perpetually single type than the other way around. While I'm mostly happy I'd also like to try being in a long-term relationship, because why not? I feel like that's probably one of life's biggest experiences/challenges. Am I not codependent enough? How does one become codependent? Maybe my breath stinks and no one told me.

A Dude: What is the question? Yeah, she could totally date someone on Intervention.

A Lady: I don't think . . .

A Dude: Actually that's probably not true. Very very few junkies actually make it on TV. But she could definitely date a junkie no problem.

A Lady: I should have given her one of my junkie boyfriends. I don't think they would have noticed.

A Dude: I'm curious why caring about pets and small children should get you a boyfriend. I don't think it matters if her breath stinks.

A Lady: I'm spiraling here. I'm totally codependent and I can't get a boyfriend EITHER.

A Dude: That's definitely wrong.

A Lady: Well, I can't get a new boyfriend for like another three hours, because I'm in the office and no one else is here. So that's bad enough. Also, "one of life's biggest experiences/challenges." Hm. I think it is more one of life's medium experiences. This girl is rubbing me the wrong way. I really don't know what to say, she was just trying to be funny. What is up?

A Dude: Yeah, I feel bad.

A Lady: Maybe you should go out with her.

A Dude: I doubt it a lot, no offense? But I think it's that there is something funny about "I'd like to try a long-term relationship, where do I sign up?" Insofar as that's not the way things work. Also, though, where you sign up is on the internet. If all you want is a long-term relationship with literally whomever then just go on the internet and say that, and don't be weird about it.

A Lady: Was that the question? Or was it "how do I become more codependent?" Because I know the answer! And it is "get God and some dude's cock confused."

A Dude: Big sighs all around.

A Lady: Hey, the words kind of sound alike. It's an easy mistake to make.


A Dude and A Lady are two of several rotating dudes and ladies. Do you have a question for either or both of them?

Photo via Flickr/zoetnet

428 Comments / Post A Comment

Porn Peddler

Idk I think dicks are really more yeasty than anything, if they've been sweating all day.


@Porn Peddler DING


@Porn Peddler Yeah. I mean, dick is not my favourite flavour (in the ice cream shop of life I wouldn't get a double scoop of it, you know?) but it's a taste I put up with because it's a fun activity for both of us. It takes a little getting used to the concept, and I am absolutely 100% against feeling like you're forced to do it, but a little post-shower experimentation wouldn't go wrong here.

Porn Peddler

@packedsuitcase Yeah exactly. There is nothing natural-feeling about sucking a dick, if you ask me, and I WOULD get regular scoops of dick ice cream (or maybe my man's dick is just made of biscotti NOW YOU'LL NEVER KNOW). I had a pretty major mental block about it before I tried it-- and I had to try it quite a few times before I was like THIS IS FUN OMG-- it just seemed like it would be terrible. So I don't even know if I want to be like wellll maybe the religious thing is mediating this mental block~ because dude it's weird.

but also, it's so fun.

I hope I get throatfucked tonight.

Springtime for Voldemort

@packedsuitcase I wish genitals came in ice cream flavors. Like you could just be like "ok, bf/gf, today, you're gonna taste like Pralines & Cream, and then your cum is going to taste like Chocolate Raspberry Truffle."

Porn Peddler

@Springtime for Voldemort oh man wait this would be fantastic, cum tastes horrible.


@Porn Peddler OMG, that would be awesome! We need to make this happen. Preferably in the next two weeks.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Porn Peddler Word. Now we just need Slightly Pervy Willy Wonka (so, the Johnny Depp version) to create a gum that can make this happen.


@Porn Peddler "Nobody likes Benjamin. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he'd be Pralines and Dick."

Porn Peddler

@packedsuitcase Considering bringing home some flavored lube for the first time ever because...curiosity.


@Springtime for Voldemort Whoever invents this will never have to work again.


@Porn Peddler Wait has anyone ever tried eating magic berries beforehand? WHAT IF THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!?

Springtime for Voldemort

@beebz I have not! I mean to, but they don't exactly grow around here and I'm having a hard time justifying the price on Amazon.


@Porn Peddler
For the "cum tastes horrible" contingent, it is said (ask Google) that a man can spiff up the taste of his splooge by changing his diet, and that some food choices definitely take things in the other direction.


@purefog Smokers and/or meat eaters = frowny face. In my opinion.


@beebz so I may have Googled this... and sadly the tastes (slash taste receptors) that magic berries mess with are not present in jizz.

that was a huge bummer of a day for me.

but also explains why nobody has started marketing this idea yet.

but can you imagine??


@beebz no but get the dude to eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts beforehand, it definitely helps make it taste better UM I MEAN I HEARD FROM A FRIEND.


@remargaret you beat me to it! glad I scrolled down before I replied.


@purefog Word on the street when I was a young'un is that eating pineapple is supposed to make man-juice taste better.

Also, you could just go down on ladies, because BOY HOWDY, ladies taste approximately 1000x better than dudes. Srsly, y'all. It's a revelation.*

(* - I realize that was not actually helpful advice...I kind of just wanted to say it? And also to let the LW know that her husband probably has the better end of the deal, taste-wise, and that she shouldn't feel bad if she never gets to liking the taste of man-come, even if he likes the taste of lady-come.)

Springtime for Voldemort

@wee_ramekin Huh, see, I actually think dudes taste a little better than ladies, on average.


@aphrabean "Smokers and/or meat eaters = frowny face. In my opinion."

(Shhh -- don't tell anyone in my zipcode.)


@Springtime for Voldemort I STRONGLY DISAGREE (by which I mean: "Woah! How interesting!").

I feel like dude-come tastes strongly of salt and bleach and has the consistency of tapioca-snot and my mouth is like "GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT WHY ARE YOU SWALLOWING THIS?!?!?! THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEANT!". Whereas lady-come tastes like all different things depending on the lady, but mostly slightly salty, with some spices and/or fruity notes thrown in and does not have a horrible, disgusting texture.


snips, snails, puppy-dog tails
sugar, spice, and everything nice

No contest?

Besides, I think the wee one just prefers the laydeez in general.


@wee_ramekin yeah, it is always the texture that gets me. what is even up with that stuff.


@purefog Oh man, don't be so sure. If the wee_one could figure out which gender she preferred, her life would be A LOT easier.


@mangosara Thank you! I was feeling worried about googling "magic berries blow job berry magical" at work. Disappointing news though.


@wee_ramekin I learned from watching Justified that drinking pineapple juice definitely helps mask the saltiness/musky taste. Now I keep a can in my nightstand. My dude doesn't care if I take a gulp of juice before I go to town on him as long as he gets a blowjob. FWIW.

Porn Peddler


(mister smokes and eats mad animal protein. me? clean-livin vegan UGH LUCKY HIM)

Springtime for Voldemort

@wee_ramekin I think it's that the fruit ladycum tastes most like is grapefruit, which I personally think is too icky to really qualify as a fruit. But, the tastiest person ever was a lady, so it depends a good amount on the specific person.

Porn Peddler

@Springtime for Voldemort Congratulations, grapefruit ladyjuice is going in my book.


@mangosara Someone *has( decided to market this idea, though! Masque works pretty well, though the chocolate one is kind of watery-tasting, and of course it does nothing for the texture.


@Kinloch I thought the guy was the one that was supposed to drink the pineapple juice? Though, I haven't tried it either way, and I'm with wee_ramekin on the guy vs lady taste issue.


@notfromvenus So if a guy drinks pineapple, then yes, their "taste" will change gradually. BUT if you don't want to wait that long, if you take a drink of pineapple yourself, the pineapple juice is so sweet and overwhelming, that when you go down on a guy, you won't taste the salty/musky skin taste at all.


How have flavoured condoms not come up in this thread yet?

Springtime for Voldemort

@TARDIStime I've found both flavored condoms and flavored lube to be less desirable than just regular people-taste.


That is good!@t

Jolly Farton

Yes, just have him wash? Try it right after he washes?

But YOU GUYS the descriptive language of all the sweat was... not helpful, though hilarious. I think it made me blowjob averse.


@lilly pilgrim ooh but then you get dick that is the flavor of whatever scent of soap was used to wash (which is how I discovered I don't like method hand soap--lavender dick was a bit much)

Jolly Farton

@bocadelperro Doesn't Philosophy have those delicious smelling soaps? I always sniff them creepily when I'm at Sephora. Don't know how they taste though... yet. Also Dr. Bronner's baby soap is unscented and all natural, so maybe try that.

+1 "lavender dick was a bit much"

does it need saying

@lilly pilgrim I prefer dick flavored to urine flavored. Blech. Wash that shit.


@lilly pilgrim yeah I just suggested to him that, in the future, should he need to wash beforehand, he should pull the bar of ivory out of the shower and use a washrag. (I also stopped buying strong-scented hand wash because yeeesh!)

So: wash first if you feel the need, but be sure to use lightly scented/unscented soap!

As for the philosophy stuff: I used to love their margarita body wash, but I think fake margarita scented dick would be just weird...

Jolly Farton

@bocadelperro Was racking brain to think what flavored dick would be acceptable - would flavored dick, in any flavor, ever be acceptable? Then came across this comment from The Hairpin Facebook page: "on item 1 it's clear to me that the answer is tequila. maybe a lime?"

I for one enjoy citrus flavors on almost anything, though not sure if man would appreciate lime squeezed onto his dick? Or am I misinterpreting this comment


@lilly pilgrim - I'm going to vote against any sort of acidic dong toppings.

Actually, I'm going to filibuster before this shit even gets to the floor of fuck-senate for debate.

Jolly Farton

@leon s Ooooh, toppings... [starts getting ideas]


@leon s I'm assuming from your name that you actually own the equipment in discussion, and I will defer to your expertise. (Personally, I wouldn't want foodstuff on my privates either) HOWEVER, I think the facebook person was maybe saying take the tequila before the blowjob? That's how I understood it.


@lilly pilgrim it definitely also made me blowjob averse


@lilly pilgrim Speaking in my capacity as a man who cooks a lot and doesn't wash his hand *before* using the bathroom very often:
Lemon dick ain't no thing, maybe if he's got like open wounds or something but otherwise, meh.
Habenero dick is lame, but honestly it's just more annoying than anything because there is nothing you can do by the time you realize what you've just done.


@Onymous oh man I got jalepeno eye the other day and I was in the shower for an hour rinsing my face. Habanero privates sounds so horrible I can't even begin to comprehend it. You must be a tough one.


@bocadelperro In the eyes is sooo much worse.

T A@twitter

@lilly pilgrim Bacon? They make bacon soap now.

the angry little raincloud

@bocadelperro I HATE my roommate (& her essentially live-in boyfriend). I hear them having sex a lot. I'm totally buying Method lavender hand soap for the bathroom from here on out.



@Onymous i got jalepeno in my ladybits (late night snacking of pickled jalepenos NEVER AGAIN) and that shit BURNED for hours.


this isn't really advice? i don't think these people deserve to be made fun of, these questions are kind of legit!


@bananab0at I think this was maybe a roundabout way of throwing some of these questions at the Hairpin commentariat? Because yeah, some of those questions deserve more answer than A Dude and A Lady gave here, although maybe not all of them.


@bananab0at Right? Like, I feel a bit Older and Wiser than most of these questioners but still don't think they should be belittled and made fun of? This dude & lady rubbed me the wrong way.


@SarahDances maybe? well let's do an answer then... where should we start?


@LadyDee exactly! when i was in my early twenties i needed ALL the advice and approx 1 unit of lifesnark would send me into a tailspin.

Reginal T. Squirge

Yeah, I feel like they were kind of shitty to that last one. Or... maybe I'm just taking it personally when they weren't even talking to me.


@Reginal T. Squirge um, no, i think it's fair to take it personally, considering anyone i know could've written in with that question at some point in their lives. that exact wording, too, and the Intervention citation.


@bananab0at I wondered if this was an outgrowth of what Edith wrote offsite recently (forgot when and where) about having basically given up on advice and advice columns as a concept? Which I guess I can understand from a writer/editor's point of view, but the thing is the letter writers and us readers aren't there yet.


@Cawendaw Then stop running a fucking advice column. It seems simple. It's really disingenuous to take people's letters and run them, if you're just doing it to show how worthless the genre is.


@SarahDances in lieu of writing "do what @SarahDances says" to every question, here are my additions:
LW1 - don't be too hard on yourself, you just got to a party that's been going on for hundreds of thousands of years! don't expect yourself to get the hang of everything all at once, and try not to be absolutist about what you do or don't like just yet.
LW2 - ?
LW3 - you're at a confusing time! everyone around you is confused and so are you. don't burn any bridges by giving unsolicited advice; try to learn from what your friends are doing without judging their choices.
LW4 - covered
LW5 - try being more proactive, maybe? i've heard many people make this exact complaint and then, some time later, start dating someone that makes them very happy. sometimes you're just in a dry spell and it's very frustrating! as long as you're taking the opportunities you DO get - saying yes to dates, asking questions, giving people the benefit of the doubt - you're doing everything right and it's only a matter of time.


@Cawendaw i have to agree with @adorable-eggplant.

also the thesis of Edith's article seemed to be that she doesn't like advice b/c (a) it's solely a reflection of the advice-dispenser and (b) the person usually won't take the advice anyway. both of those things may be sometimes true (although how would you know, in most cases?) but that doesn't mean that advice-readers don't get a lot out of it. a community of people reading and commenting on the same advice columns builds into kind of a beautiful thing - a sea of supportive voices offering different insights. no different from good Hairpin comments on any other article, really. it's good shit!

Miss Maszkerádi

@bananab0at As a person in my Early Twenties (cue dramatic music!) I took issue with it too - but especially the first one, holy crap! If the girl doesn't want to give a blow job, and her husband is okay with that, why is the entire response "omg, you stupid people who waited till marriage, of COURSE you have to give blow jobs, this marriage is DOOMED, religious people lol." You know what it's usually called when a person gets pressured into doing sexual acts they're uncomfortable with/horrified by/opposed to for any reason? Yeah, I know what it's called too.


@bananab0at Yeah I thought this was kind of terrible.


@bananab0at I am in my early 20's and yes, I do need all the advice and preferably no lifesnark.

I was kind of annoyed by this roundabout way of advice-giving because it was less advice and more an excuse to be funny.

@Cawendaw I agree that it's probably a reflection of how she feels about advice columns being futile, but I sheepishly love advice columns and I think it's not all people asking for permission to cheat, there's some really helpful stuff out there, on The Hairpin especially, I think.


@Countess Maritza Yeah, I kind had to stop reading for a second because their first answer made me so mad. Not cool guys, not cool.

This is my new username

@bananab0at I would also like to point out that although the responses to letter writers are just a reflection of the writer probably won't follow the advice, the discussions do provide a broader service. I know I have definitely grown as a person as a result of reading the hairpin and reading the advice columns, and the comments in those advice columns has been a huge part of that. It has helped me to think critically about why I react to certain situations and helped me see a lot of different perspectives for those situations. I know I could have easily written the letter about how my friends were making terrible life decisions, but I most certainly learned to be a lot less judgmental a lot more empathetic about that kind of thing.

This is my new username

@This is my new username Also to LW1. I was a late bloomer sexually and I was super weirded out by blowjobs, but after I tried it once it was a looooooot less weird. The strategy of a short period of time for a blow job as part of fore play was the way we went and it ended up being kind of fun.


All you can really do is live a just and wise life. All you can do is not get wifed by idiots and live as an example of joy in serving that rightful order which leaves idiots unwifed.

oh my god, a lady, i might rightly have to wife you now.

honey cowl

So how drunk were A Dude & A Lady when they wrote this? Because seriously.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@honey cowl I'm thinking pretty darn.

Judith Slutler

@honey cowl Did they try to pick the drunk questions and then answer them while drunk?


@honey cowl I was thinking other substances, but yeah.


@honey cowl I was wondering the same thing about the Les Mis letter writer.


Maybe it's the Pot Psychology People, returned and changing their game to advice columning.

saul "the bear" berenson

@purefog Aww, miss you Pot Psychology.


Yeah, can we not do this again? Fun experiment, but it seems like none of the people writing in got any help at all here.

Porn Peddler

@pixieg Agreed.


@pixieg I thought it was great, because we al get a laugh AND you know all of us are going to offer the real talk down here in the comments.


@iceberg Right, but laughing at people who are asking earnest questions?


You guys! Stop making me feel bad for loving these (non)answers!


@adorable-eggplant Well, this is the Pin, so read it as not malicious but that sort of "with love" way we laugh at oursleves or our loved ones.


@pixieg Yeah, I still can't get the mean girls taste out of my mouth about this. Ugh.


@iceberg I'm with you on this, don't do this all the time, but it was certainly entertaining, and you always get good advice in the comments, so screw it.


@iceberg But really, with love? It feels a bit more like a pillory to me: you're kind of concerned about this thing you've never done, but don't have a lot of venues to explore or talk about it? Or you feel sad that you are having trouble finding a partner and wonder if it's something inside yourself?

Those are not questions I'd brush off with snark. It just seems like pouring salt on whatever sad/lonely/confused wound lead the LW to write in the first place.

Everybody (LWs, too) if you want a real answer, submit it to Captain Awkward.


@adorable-eggplant Agreed. I'm not getting the "funny" or the "with love" vibe from this entire column. It reminds me why I should read less internet.


@BosomBuddy Yeah, I usually think of this place as the less-mean version of the rest of the internet, but damn. Nope, not this time.


@BosomBuddy I thought the Les Miz answer was funny, because it was a silly question. But for the earnest questions, it just felt mean.


@adorable-eggplant But the questions asked weren't real questions! I don't want to hang out with my boyfriend's mom? SO WHAT! Why don't I have a boyfriend but drug addicts on TV do? SERIOUSLY? The Les Mis question? I think the Hairpin is showing us some of the golden letters that we don't usually get to see.


@adorable-eggplant I agree - though I might have agreed with iceberg if this was actually funnier, no offense? - I like a nice catty takedown as much as the next person, but not of earnest advice-seekers, none of whom are in a Bob and Eli situation.

But iceberg also you are totally right, real answers will arise in the comments.


@thebestjasmine Yeah, just find a few more irreverent questions and this could've been ok. Instead it felt shitty. Feeling lonely and feeling unsure about trying something new, those are legit problems that most of us have faced at some time. Some compassion would've been nice. Actual wisdom would've been a plus, too.


@thebestjasmine @thebestjasmine I wasn't including the Les Miz question or answer in that assessment, because, you're right, they're both obviously silly.

I just don't know what the point was to these answers (and to some of the questions, I'll admit!). The answers were mostly a huge waste of space and time. And so are my responses in reaction to those answers!


@josefinastrummer The boyfriend's mom question is legit: I've had a similar experience. She had zero boundaries and wanted to monopolize my time and it was hard to deal with. We're broken up, so it's not a big deal anymore, but it certainly did take some effort to enforce an agreement about how often I was free or how often she could drop by. It's about someone feeling entitled to push in to your life and your personal space. How is that not a real problem?


@josefinastrummer You think a question from someone about why they don't have a boyfriend and feel terrible about it isn't a real question?


@thebestjasmine That's actually the whole problem with the tone of the advice for me. It reads like "whatever, not a real problem" and who the fuck are they to judge?


@pixieg agreed! For the first time I am super let down by the Hairpin. Way to build a safe space and then blow the door off. There is a difference between tough love and pointing and laughing at people.


@adorable-eggplant You know these questions might not even be real? If you have to get all of your advice from the Hairpin/advice columns on the internet, you have bigger problems than some snark.
I think this was a funny response to ridiculousness and that's my opinion. Are we still allowed to have those, along with a sense of humor, on here?


@adorable-eggplant Agree 100%. I am living through this with my MIL, who I think had visions of us becoming best friends when I wed her precious youngest son. I really think she imagined us hanging out like we were in a yogurt commercial together. And I'm just like the LW in that we really have nothing in common. The only common ground between us is the existence of Mr. BlueBlazes, and I'm pretty sure MIL disagrees with how I manage him too. It's a totally legit concern. I found the response really offputting and dismissive when it could have been helpful advice about Establishing Boundaries.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

@josefinastrummer I think they get enough real questions that they're not going to bother making fake ones up.


@y'all I just have to say: I am friends with @adorable-eggplant IRL, and shoooooooooot. She is pissed.

And rightfully so, in my opinion.


@josefinastrummer Hey now. Obviously senses of humor and opinions are allowed, and @adorable-eggplant isn't saying differently.

I think she's just disappointed that people wrote in with Real Actual Problems and the LWs just poked fun at them in a catty, clique-ish way.


@katiemcgillicuddy You know, I kind of skimmed before, and I think I kind of rushed through the last LW's question. That was just a shitty, jackassy response. I still think the others were just kind of smartassy, and I laughed at them, but that last one was super uncool.


@adorable-eggplant: In the boyfriend's-mom question, the thing that bugged me was the way he was pressuring her to hang out with his mom. Seems like kind of a dick way to be. Especially if HE isn't that inclined to hang out with his mom. Poor girl didn't sign up to be a mom babysitter.


@pixieg. They did answer one (and just one) question: "how do I become more codependent?" Because I know the answer! And it is "get God and some dude's cock confused."

That is one spot-on answer.


@wee_ramekin Aww @wee_ramey thx. I basically used up all my curses on this one. I'm assuming the letters aren't fake, but if they are I don't actually think it make us as an audience less complicit in this weird schadenfreude exercise: because they are presented as real people who are then made the butt of the joke. Read 'Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong' if you want to get a more thorough explanation of what I mean about a complicit audience in the context of fiction.

The genre of advice column at its best is about recognizing some shared human suffering and providing a nugget of hope. Belittling someone for feeling bad or invalidating their right to be upset is about the worst thing you can possibly do in that context. It's smarmy and weak and immature.

I am all for being tough when it comes to criticism: I told a friend who had slipped into the 'other man' spot and was having trouble slipping out, that he was inviting pain into his life and the consequences of his actions would be deservedly painful. I don't think that being compassionate means never sharing some harsh truths. But there was no truth and nothing of worth in these answers.


@pixieg To me these read not as mean but as a stream of consciousness (or in this case, initial conversation) for how they actually react to questions before delivering legitimate advice. And yes, these were fairly silly questions, which is probably why they were chosen.

My sister asked me the other day why my ex-sister-in-law (divorced my brother) already has a new boyfriend, while my sister has been single for two years. "Well, do you want to date her boyfriend?" "No." "If you had no standards, you too could have a boyfriend RIGHT NOW." The same is true of the people she was talking about.

I enjoyed it as more of a "peek into the mind of [A Lady]".


@blueblazes Sorry I missed this! I had exactly the same fear! And yes it was a youngest son! It left me feeling suffocated, and I think it would've been fine if my partner had been supportive, but he wasn't and it was terrible, so I would've loved to see some actual advice there, too.

Veronica Lemmons

@pixieg Actually, I didn't think that made sense at all. Lady/Dude were trying so hard to unleash the burns they neglected to make sure the insults even cohered logically. Letting one's religion prevent one from having a diverse sex life somehow translates to...codependency? How? I don't see it. I don't have a dog in that LW's fight at all -- I'm agnostic and was never in danger of letting god prevent me from enjoying dick -- but that line annoyed the hell out of me because it made no effing sense except as a dismissive barb.


No. 4: I think you should rethink the "I don't feel like having lunch" stance. Everybody likes lunch. And because it's mid-day, you have a built-in excuse to jet after you eat: you have to go back to work, run some errands on Saturday afternoon, get home for the Pats game OH WAIT NOT SO MUCH THAT LAST ONE HA HA HA SUCK IT TOM BRADY.

No. 5: I too have lamented that the crackheads and drunks on Intervention have boyfriends and husbands and I don't.

Judith Slutler

@Clare I agree on #4. Just go out to lunch with her a couple times!

She was a retail whore

@Clare What is up with that? I know so many crazy people who have boyfriends or husbands, and here I am, not necessarily the picture of mental health, but not as insane as they are, and I'm all alone. What the everloving fuck?

I used to joke that if I turned as batshit as they are, I would have more luck in the dating department, and now I'm starting to worry that it might be true.

Reginal T. Squirge

You have to think about how awful and/or boring those relationships are.

I mean, lots of people can fit into sandals and have a great time wearing them but that doesn't mean I should feel bad for recognizing that it's not my thing.

Reginal T. Squirge

Basically, I'm saying that NOT being alone forever is "not my thing".

Judith Slutler

@Reginal T. Squirge My basic position here is that a relationship has to be pretty amazing for it to coax me out of my singleness.


@She was a retail whore @Clare

I used to wonder about this as well, until I realized that it is better to be a single not-drug-addict than to be a drug addict in a relationship with someone who doesn't have the self-respect to dump someone who empties his checking account to buy crack.


@She was a retail whore I've had this same thing both watching people I know in reality, and whenever I watch those "I have a crazy obsession" shows, where the person, like, can't make herself stop eating the stuffing out of her sofa, or is obsessed with making crafts out of the tops of yoplait containers. Those people always have boyfriends or husbands! I'd just like to say for the record that I have never eaten sofa stuffing. The line forms on the right, gentlemen.


@Clare Yes, bingo, the key is that the junkies are dating people that you do not want to date. Y'all are not swimming in the same pool of fish.


@Clare Also, you never know, you might really like her? I sympathize with not having enough time for current friends, but I feel like boyfriend's mom is a neat opportunity to spend time with someone 1. hopefully cool if they raised a person you like 2. valuable source of valuable information and insights about a person you like 3. who might potentially be part of your family some day.

It wasn't clear to me how serious the relationship was, so 3. might be a stretch. I'm of the "you marry someone, you marry their family (unless they've made the decision to distance themselves from their family)" mindset, so I'd be THRILLED if it seemed like a potential life partner's mother wanted to build a relationship with me.

PERSONAL BAGGAGE CAVEAT: my last two serious relationships featured mothers-of-boyfriends who were actively trying to get us to break up because I was the wrong race/culture/religion, so I can't help but feel a little cranky about someone whose big problem is a mother-of-boyfriend who likes her.


@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails Sometimes (from the girlfriend with the involved (thankgodex)boyfriend's mother perspective) it feels less like being liked and more like being needed. And I definitely ended up with the oh my god give me some oxygen, I can't fix your family or turn your son back into a baby who makes you feel wanted, feeling. And it was honestly tough to navigate. I got no support or sympathy from the guy I was seeing, because he didn't have any boundaries with her, so why should I? And honestly, it lead to resentment. So I don't have any good advice, but I also know it's not necessarily a bed of roses.


@OhMarie Well, ok, true, but the junkies have found kind of their equivalents (codependents?). It's kind of like someone who's really into dressing up in medieval outfits pairing off with someone else who's really into dressing up with medieval outfits. Whereas I can't find my equivalent, anywhere, he does not exist and I will die alone forever, &c. Which is of course absurd because obviously the junkies would be better off alone and not on drugs than on drugs with a boyfriend, but these are the thoughts that go through our heads sometimes! We live in a coupled world and it sucks when you feel like you're the only one who can't "find someone."


@adorable-eggplant YES! Thank the heavens that my mother in law lives five hours away or else I'd be living this and it would suck. In the MIL lottery I am very lucky in a lot of ways- she's overall nice and funny and smart, same politics and religion non-affiliation as me, yada. But she is just exhausting to be around because she talks constantly and is very needy. And like you said, I end up having to hear about how she drives her kids nuts and she wishes they liked her more. Of course, she could be more self aware and fix the problem (the constant need to verbalize) but instead she just talks my ear off because I'm too nice. I love her in small doses a couple of times a year.


@Clare Jumping into safe thread to say I could have written letter no. 5 at any point between 2009 and the beginning of last year. And it's pretty horrible to tease someone for doing that.

LW5, you sound lovely and fun - please keep doing lovely and fun things and make connections with lots of people. Be aware that many have a vested interest in you 'loving' being single - people prefer women to be gung ho and too cool to care about being single. It's totally ok to have a fine time being single yet still also want to try out being in a long-term relationship.


LW5, you can have my junkie ex, he probably doesn't have a lot going on these days.


@clipse there's also this issue where junkies tend to die.

too much real talk?


Well, yes, "imperfect" would be the term for this advice. I'm glad you didn't let the letter writers' dilemmas get in the way of your wisecracks. Sexual incompatibility, supportive friendships and long-term loneliness are such a waste of advice column inches! Bonus points for telling them how insignificant, exaggerated, or hopeless their troubles were. You should look into this full time.


@Diana Yeah. What Diana said.


@thebestjasmine Real talk. This made me actually mad for the LWs.


@Diana yup, now I'm never writing in to "Ask A..." anything, for fear that my question will get answered by these assholes.


@Diana Word.


@Diana Yeeeeeah. And I'll add that it's come up a couple of times that religious folks can feel a little bit dismissed sometimes around these parts anyway. I'm not religious, and I'm of the hell-yes-premarital-sex variety of lady, but the "HA HA, your values make you an idiot and you'll never have good sex and probably your marriage is over, HA HA HA" is alienating to me -- let alone someone who is religious.

I mean, we want people to come to 'Pinners for advice instead of, say, Dr. Dobson, right?


@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails AND ALSO, can we just point out that Being Religious has nothing to do with Not Wanting To Suck A Dick? Plenty of agnostics and atheists also don't want to Suck A Dick!

My sense was that the LW just gave that info for context on why she and her husband were semi-inexperienced, and the LWs ended up being like "Ha ha. Your marriage is doomed because of your religious choices, you stupid numpties". That was way harsh, Tai, and uncalled for. No need to poke fun at peoples' faith, y'all.


@wee_ramekin Yes!!! And lots of religious people DO want to Suck a Dick!


@wee_ramekin I agree with you here...the context of the comment was A. no experience and B. probably no one they could comfortably talk to about it in their life. No reason to belittle their faith. I was pretty unimpressed by the this couple.


@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails 'Zactly! I think what I was trying to say - and didn't say very clearly - is that there was absolutely no call for taking potshots at this LW's marriage because of her religious views. That really lacked class.


@wee_ramekin this & the vadge v. dick discussion is why i looooooooove you, wee_ramekin.


I find that the actual skin of the penis tastes mostly like the rest of your skin might, though it often is a bit more pungent in terms of aroma.

Okay, LW1, in order to really help you, we need to know more about what grosses you out. Is it the taste? Is it just a mental block about it being his penis? Can you try to pinpoint the source of your discomfort? Have you thought about trying flavored condoms? If the source of your discomfort is the flavor, that might help (some of them actually taste pretty good, others are not great). In terms of worrying - I think you should try and see if you can get past your block. If you can't, you can't. There is no shame in having sexual acts that you don't like, though it can be a source of contention in marriages.

Once you've tried the flavored condom thing, if that helps, let me know, and I will hook you up with some more advanced tips and tricks in the art of fellatio (I have given many hours of blowjobs in my life).


@Blushingflwr Maybe I'm weird (definitely), but the thought of flavored latex grosses me out infinitely more than just regular penis-skin flavor. The penis you can make sure is clean and lovely beforehand, but what are you gonna do about a bunch of plastic in your mouth?


@WaityKatie - I like the taste of penis, and yes, you can take a shower and make sure it's clean and that will help. But some people don't like that taste, so it's an option. I mean, I'm also a thumb-sucker, so I obviously don't have a problem with the taste of skin.
(I've mostly only used flavored condoms when I have been in relationships where we were using condoms for all sex acts, because flavored latex is an improvement on regular latex, IMO)

profession: none, or starlet

@Blushingflwr dude, can you give ME some advanced tips and tricks in the art of fellatio? Because that sounds awesome.


LW1, last I checked there was no law, U.S. or biblical, that obligated married women to give their husbands blowjobs. So you're off the hook there. That being said, try it once or twice and if you don't like it, no worries - there are plenty of other fun ways to please husbands.


@Bittersweet Yes! You are not obliged to do anything sexual you don't want to. I don't understand how people can act all "sex-positive" and then spend 90% of their time telling women to do things they do want to do.


@Bittersweet WORD UP.

(But I don't think LW1 was like, I've tried it, I don't like it, I don't want to do it again. I think she was like, I want to like it, help me figure it out, which is also a legit thing.)


This advice doesn't seem very helpful. And not in the funny "I know this is bad advice but whatever, just do it" way, in the "Let me make jokes instead of addressing any of your questions" way.


"A Lady: This girl is rubbing me the wrong way. I really don't know what to say, she was just trying to be funny. What is up?

A Dude: Yeah, I feel bad.

A Lady: Maybe you should go out with her.

A Dude: I doubt it a lot, no offense?"

Ugh. A swing and a miss right here. This whole exchange, and particularly that awful 'no offense?' at the end, are the most unpleasantly smug and snarky words I've read all day.


@Kristen Yes. This was 100% horrible and insensitive advice.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Kristen This A Lady and A Dude are rubbing me the wrong way. I really don't know what to say, they were just trying to be funny. What is up? Maybe we should just keep getting advice from them. I doubt it a lot, no offense. (I don't feel bad.)


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Yeah, this is maybe the worst "Ask a..." ever. Unfunny, smug, disgustingly unhelpful. People who bitch about millennials being self-centered and entitled usually get the side-eye from me, but THIS IS WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. These two are terrible.


It was just really fucking cynical, that's why I frowned the entire time reading it. And cynicism is just pathetic and lazy.


Plenty of terrible people are in terrible relationships. If you just want to date losers, the threshold for boyfriend-having gets way easier to cross.


Okay, I grew up Pentacostal and I am totally befuddled by LW1. Blow jobs totally count.

And don't see Les Miz. If you didn't grow up loving it, you're probably not gonna start loving it now. Bam-money saving tips.


@parallel-lines But she's married? So the 'counting' can end, right?


@adorable-eggplant Oh shoot, I missed that vital part. I'm bad at reading today.

To this lady, I recommend without reservation: The Guide To Getting It On. Great book about all things sexxing.


@parallel-lines "I grew up Pentecostal" = so did I!! How was it for you?

Sometimes I feel like writing one of those "I grew up in this crazy religion" essays like the Moonies one & the Scientology one but I don't think I have the guts (yet?).


@rimy It was REALLY REALLY REALLY not a positive experience--I did the whole baptism at age 13, Jesus Camp and no secular anything run of it. I ended up getting thrown out of the church during my senior year of high school over an argument with my mom that involved Lollapalooza. I've been tempted to write about it but some of the stories are so out there I seriously question if people will believe them...

Our church was so strict kissing before marriage was taboo! I cannot imagine going into marriage as my first go at it, that is terrifying.


@rimy Please do, when you feel brave enough! I'd love to read more about the Pentacostal church and your experiences with it.


@parallel-lines My experience was also really bad. Thankfully I was able to go to public school, where due to my religious appearance and my levels of self-consciousness about it I was kind of an outcast, but that was still EXTREMELY better than going to the church school, where girls either got pregnant at 13-15 years old because they didn't know any better or if they made it through they were shipped off to Gateway College in Missouri so they could become preacher's wives.

My mom was really religious and it sucks that she put me through that childhood, but she is also college-educated and fairly rational in other arenas of her life, so I feel like writing a condemning essay would ultimately hurt her if she ever read it.

I still remember the day I cut my hair for the first time so viscerally... I think that was my true breaking point with the church.

@parallel-lines, are you still religious (curious?). I am athiest.


@rimy No, not at all. I left the church when I was thrown out in high school. I was also kicked out my home at the same time for kissing a boy and writing about it in my diary. (redacted for being too identifying). Well, that and they refused her for Deaconship even though she was basically running the place. I think our experience was a little different in that my mom converted from Catholicism while I was in grade school, so I had a frame of reference for what life was like outside of that lifestyle. I think in my teen years, when horrible things started happening to my family I just sort of stopped believing--how could a god we give so much time and worship to let these terrible things happen to us? I think we came from such a hardscrabble place that the religion offered hope to my mom (I've noticed that: most people who weren't born into it come from very difficult circumstances), but it was hollow promises. Ten years in I got pretty jaded and was told to leave shortly thereafter.

I don't really maintain any friendships with anyone from the church because they saw me as a "wild child" and as someone who was dangerous. When I cut ties with the church they cut ties with me. "I'll pray for you." Yeah, you do that.

I'm in the same boat--if I were to air any of this it would be extremely painful for my mother. Maybe someday when she's gone, but definitely not now.


@parallel-lines Oh wow, my mom was ex-Catholic too - she converted to Pentecostalism when she was 13. Probably because she liked being subversive yet came from a conservative family and the late 70s had a lot of cult-joining going on.

I was not the wild child, I basically just isolated myself and became very avoidant/eerily quiet and antisocial. To everyone at my church AND to practically everyone at my public school. I felt very stifled/confined and turned to books/fantasies/drawing/daydreams for escapism.

I only stopped believing in a God a few years ago, and it felt like a relief and like finally getting in touch with reality.

I don't have the strange vivid daydreams/nightmares that I used to get when I was religious & regularly speaking in tongues anymore though, which is both a relief and also feels like I've lost my muse or whatever. Mostly it's a relief.

I have three little sisters, one of whom is still strongly religious (but she's still young). I think I was the most affected - they all seem to have adapted in/out of religious restrictions fairly easily, where for me it was somewhat traumatizing. I think I'm too sensitive to "spiritual" things though.

Anyway hurray us, freedom of thought and deed forever, etc!


Wow -- you actually spoke in tongues? What was that like? Do you see the experience now in a different way from how you did at the time?


@purefog For me it was sort of like meditating or going into a trance, with the addition of letting your mouth sort of gibber and jab and chatter. Like, I thought about whatever it was I was praying about and in my head was talking in English to Jesus or whatever, and then letting my mouth and vocal cords sort of express those emotions while my mind was removed. I feel like I could probably do it stone-cold sober/not praying, although out of I guess superstition I haven't attempted it.


@parallel-lines I would read the hell out of this. Perhaps anonymously?


@rimy I got, like, 95% of the way there but never quite pulled it off. The pastor told me that there must be some evil in my heart that was "blocking" the holy spirit from entering. S


@parallel-lines Maybe we should do a 2-part anonymous Pentecostal series from mine and your perspective? If you want to? If you don't that's ok with me, too!


@rimy I'd be game, but I might have to change a few crucial details. The shit that went down was pretty epic.


@parallel-lines If you do end up writing something, feel free to email me hotelstraylight at gmails.

barefoot cuntessa

@parallel-lines @rimy

Just chiming in to say please, please, please do this! Reading the snippets of you're experiences has been the most interesting thing to come out of this weeks "Ask A..."

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

"Imperfect" "advice" from strangers, indeed.


@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter Shitty might be more precise.


Les Miserables is pretty explicitely about Christianity, or really about the transformative power of true faith. I mean, listen to the "Do You Hear The People Sing?" reprise at the end, with the understanding that "the future that they bring when tomorrow comes" is Heaven, or Kingdom-Come.

Advice columns are pretty stupid, so if this is an attempt to make fun of them I am all for it. Vive l'end of advice columns.


@muddgirl I always felt the real message was both that and the line right before: "To love another person is to see the face of God."


@anachronistique Oh yeah, the transformative power of love! Can't believe I forgot that!

Also, my favorite song in the musical (which was cut from the movie) is where the "bad guy" Thenadier sings about how he doesn't believe in God, so he's not afraid of retribution for his bad acts. Totally awesome as a moral atheist to watch that scene.


@muddgirl I agree with this, but I also would say that as a whole it's an intelligent and complex picture of Christianity, and not at all preachy.


@oboe-d-amore (I say as a non-Christian, but raised Christian, person.)


@oboe-d-amore I think Hugo had a lot of affection for certain expressions of religion and he was absolutely a theist (stridently and insistently in a poetic French way), but not a Christian AFAIK.


@par_parenthese I haven't finished the book yet - I'm just talking about the stage play (mostly) and the movie (incidentally).


I feel bad for the letter writers who's questions were wasted on this particular Dude and Lady. Can they get a redo?


@crisisalert Former A Dude here, this is kind of a travesty.

Ahem, Edith I know you have my email


@wilarseny Yup, I have never seen worse.


@adorable-eggplant I know! Hell, even the Ask a Spider one was pretty insightful for being, you know, written by an insect. Today's column just makes me feel bad for the LWs and bad for myself for reading it. (It just feels too Jezebel-y, you know??)


@Jinxie Spiders are arachnids, though, and arachnids are way better at advice than insects. Also, I don't think spiders drink or smoke anything. But I think this pair of advice-givers may have done so right before answering.

Buffy Summers

LW1: Maybe a happy medium is to start out not making blowjobs the main event. You can incorporate them into foreplay prior to the actual sex portion of the programming. That way you can spend as much (or as little) time down there as you are comfortable with without freaking out about him finishing. I don't mind giving blowjobs but tend to just go this route anyway- more practical time-wise and generally more fun for both parties.

She was a retail whore

@Buffy Summers And The Buffster totally hits out out of the park. Reading this column in the context of Sunnydale makes it make more sense to me. I'm starting to think that the Dude and the Lady up there are actually Parker and Harmony, or something. They cracked me up, but in a totally messed up way.


@Buffy Summers Yes, exactly. Neither myself nor my husband are big fans of the porno style crazy down the throat for the whole "event" BJs, but various mouth-on-penis action is almost always on the foreplay menu. They are exactly right that it's just like kissing any other part of the body. Just make sure he gets real clean and, importantly, real rinsed off, so you get neither funk nor soap in your mouth.


@Buffy Summers Yeah, this is what I was going to say. Just decide to kiss his penis a little from time to time, lick it some, do as much as you feel, then move on to other fun stuff. Don't even put it in your mouth at first! See how it goes. That's what I say.

I'm a huge fan of "take it slow, don't worry too much" in sex. Unless you're pretty confident about something, pressure is a huge turn off, from yourself or others. Create a space for yourself where mouth-on-penis is possible, and see what happens.

Caveat: he should be fully committed to being wildly enthusiastic about whatever you give him, no matter how minimal at first. Unless he actually hates it, in which case everyone should just stop and move on the cunnilingus, cause clearly everyone's into that.


@Buffy Summers Absolutely. LW1, if you want to do it, you can start with some kisses and stroking, see if you want to lick and kiss more, then move on to something else for a while. There's no need at all to do a "full", deep-throaty blow job!

Let's play a game. It's called: "Les Mis" or "Occupy," which one was it???

-A young woman dreamed a dream of relative comfort and was completely shafted because of her inability to make a decent living due to the social conditions of her time, the cost of living as a single woman with a child is ridiculous, and the system is abusive.
-Unjust imprisonment is fairly common and CORI reform might be needed.
-Political corruption.
-Being poor and starving is seen as the fault of the impoverished.
-The feeling that something isn't quite right with society so you're going to burst in with a massive attempt at creative, musical genius that ends up being kind of campy but darling. You develop a band of devoted followers.
-Underlying populist themes.
-Some sort of revolution.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

- Stuff blocking the streets.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose people, chain gangs, Anne Hathaway in a coffin, whatever.

Springtime for Voldemort

@S. Elizabeth But more like the constant threat of revolution, just bubbling under the surface.

-Revolts/protests that seem to disproportionately feature men and their male rage, despite women having it even shittier.

@Springtime for Voldemort Yes. White men acting like they're heroic, women being fucked over.


Yes, lets all laugh at the lonely folks who don't have much luck in the dating department! Clearly they are horrible beast-people!


@JanieS "She's just rubbing me the wrong way, man. Let's make some catty in-jokes about her and pat ourselves on the back for not being single. No offense."

Yeah, ugh to that.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I think having "compassion" in quotes in the headline is quite apt for this A Dude and A Lady.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose YUP.


Let's not have these people answer letters ever again. If you would like A Couple, I will volunteer myself and Runner in the Garden. We are even a Non-Monogamous Couple, so we can handle those sort of questions. And I am A Queer Chick.

Basically, I got this.

@thatgirl If you need help, my Ladyfriend and I would probably be able to take a few. We're a monogamous couple but pretty nifty, and we're a law student and seminarian Making It Work.


@thatgirl For reals. My Gentleman Friend mentioned that he'd be down for an "ask a non-monogamous couple" gig, and I'd definitely be down for "ask a kinky person".


LW1: Sex is weird. It's messy, sweaty, sometimes smelly, funny, or awkward. Blowjobs are just one part of that continuum. While no one should make you want to do things you don't want to do, if you're happily receiving them, it might be kind to at least attempt to return the favor? Although just like among ladies, they are less important to some dudes than others. If you decide to try, though, a non-illustrated guide:

Step 1: I used to have a boyfriend who... didn't shower well. But he loved a good beej. The solution to this is positive reinforcement on your part. "Oh, I love how you smell right out of the shower!" [leading him by the belt buckle to the bathroom] Sexy warm shower= ultimate clean components. Soap him up real good yourself-- it doubles as foreplay, which he'll like, and you'll know he's actually clean.

Step 2: Hand around shaft is good advice-- lets you control the depth and speed. Light kissing/ licking around the tip is a good way to start. He's going to like basically anything you do to his penis (except teeth-- keep teeth out of it), so just experiment and see what you're down for.

Step 3: You don't have to finish this puppy. No one who deserves a beej would demand that you swallow, if you get him that far (your other option is just letting it run out-- some dudes like that). Alternately, you can lay him on his back, get him worked up with a blowjob, and then climb up on him and do your thang. He still gets his TLC, you don't have to swallow (which, really, isn't the worst, but I can see why some people don't like it).

TL;DR: If you're willing, take charge and experiment! It should be FUN, though-- there's no point otherwise. Enjoy yourself! If you decide it's not for you, is there something else he'd like that you are willing to do to even the score?


@sparrow303 Now, this is some good advice. LW1, if you're reading, Cliff at The Pervocracy also has some good, funny, well-written, do-what's-fun, no-pressure experimentation tips.


@sparrow303 All the likes for this reply.

So much better than mocking a couple's sexual choices while dismissing the LW's question and providing no actual advice. Ahem.

does it need saying

"get God and some dude's cock confused." This right here.
Thank you for that.


@does it need saying Truth. That single line almost makes up for the misuse of the more earnest questions in here for snark-target practice.


LW 1) Do you drink? Ferreals, alcohol isn't always the answer but I think you should have a couple glasses of wine, hop in the shower with your hubbie, hold your nose and take the plunge. But don't actually hold your nose. Put your hands to better use. You can do this.


@LadyDee Seriously, I think trying new sex stuff is why wine was invented.


Les Mis and Christianity: Javert represents the law (the Torah and the over-the-top legalism of the Pharisees of first century Judea) and Valjean represents mercy/forgiveness (Jesus).


@Dancercise As an atheist who still mostly identifies as a Jew, I suddenly feel a little less love for Les Mis. Though I still like it a lot.


Oh dear, that was not my intention at all. If it helps any, I only meant that this is the Evangelical spin that many Christians put on the play/story. I highly doubt this was the original intent of Hugo or Schonberg and Co. Don't let the interpretation of one group sully your love for the musical! The musical is not to blame! :)


I'm pretty sure that, when crazy people have boyfriends and you don't, it's because the crazy people are doing a bad job of rejecting unacceptable boyfriend candidates. You're probably better off?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Right, aren't most people on Intervention either with someone with the same addiction or someone who feeds their habit making them essentially a prostitute?

Buffy Summers

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll YES. This is the only acceptable answer. Also- being able to be alone and be OKAY is an amazing skill that very few people learn!


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Yeah, I'm pretty sure the LW wants an actual boyfriend, not an enabler. It's easy to confuse the two, sometimes, but the differences are astounding.

elysian fields

Hey LW1. I feel you. Blowjobs seemed really gross to me at first, but now they seem totally normal and not gross at all. You may find that you get a lot more comfortable with practice. Ask him to shower or at least wash his junk (with soap!) first to get rid of the salty/musty smell. If it seems scary to shove the whole thing in your mouth, just lick the outside, then practice putting just the tip in your mouth, etc. Use your hands, too. Oh, and I never swallow, it's really not necessary. I keep a cup nearby to spit, then rinse with mouthwash in the sink. It's cool that you seem willing to try this, even if it scares you. Good luck.


@elysian fields I would agree...I enjoy going down on my guy, but I want him to be clean. Even if he's just worked in his air conditioned office all day, that area of the body gets sweaty, plus germy from the bathroom. A quick cleanup isn't too much to ask for. Also, it might help if LW1's man trimmed his pubic hair. I don't mean shave bald, unless he wants to, but a good trimming can really help with eliminating those musky smells. I saw a couple of other comments, too, about using flavored lube, which I agree with.

I also agree with you about going slowly. Choking yourself won't help. Start by using hands, maybe just kissing the tip, until you are comfortable enough to lick a little, etc. Even if LW1 never gets to a 'full' bj, her husband will enjoy this.


UGH, PARTNERS' MOMS. My husband's batshit bananas mother (who lives across the country, THANK BB JESUS) got into the habit of calling me all the time a few months ago right after I had a baby. I laid that shit down with him that I didn't want to talk to her, & let him deal with it. You don't have to be grateful somebody likes you, you have the right to your own boundaries even if they concern your in-laws.

lavender gooms

@hallelujah Yes, what was up with this answer? No, you're not in any way obligated to hang out with your boyfriend's mom instead of your own friends. Harping on the "ageism" in the question is ridiculous. I can't imagine my mother ever wanting to hang out with any of my friends, or spending quality time with my boyfriend when I'm not there or expected to arrive shortly.


@hallelujah For serious. This was the worst answer in the bunch. I could see maybe going once -- ONCE -- to lunch with your boyfriend's mom if she were trying to go out of her way to make you comfortable. Anything more than once in six months is crazytown - I have awesome friends I don't get to see that often because we're all so busy, why on earth would I made time for a solo lunch with my boyfriend's mother (who I'm sure the LW already has to hang out with a bunch with her boyfriend, so the solo time is even more unnecessary).

And for the dude to say "my mom is cool!" is total bullshit. Most of the time, people who think they have cool moms are people who have borderline psychotic moms. And almost 100% of the time, no matter how "cool" your mom is, your friends don't want to hang with her alone.


@finguns @lavender gooms Real talk! I'm a firm believer in "your family's shit is your responsibility." Even (especially) if his mom is trying to work out some kind of insecurity, it is soooooo not her responsibility to deal with that. Relationships are difficult enough without throwing in any mom-mental-health. Do not stand for it!


@hallelujah Word. I wish you had been my friend when I first got married. So painful, my then uncontrollable desire-to-please rubbing up against my MIL's still desperate desire-to-be-adored-by-and-control-all-those-around-her. I am seriously stunned at the number of comments here that are all "just go out with her once or twice a month, no biggie."


@finguns Yes! You nailed it with the "desire-to-be-adored-by-and-control-all-those-around-her". But I think until you've been an unwilling participant in that sad tango, there's no words to prepare you for how rough it can be.

granny squares

@hallelujah OOF. Yes. This whole thread, everything you all said.

My future MIL is usually nice, but often uses guilt and passive-aggression with my SO. While this is rarely directed at me, watching her do this time and time again to my SO makes me furious (even though he has pretty good boundaries). That + having absolutely nothing in common = I don't see myself ever doing anything with her alone. And I would not expect my SO to go out to lunch alone with any of my parents.

@finguns @adorable-eggplant YES. "Sad tango" sums it up perfectly.


@granny squares This thread makes me sad about everyone's ideas related to families.


@MrsTeacherFace Don't be sad! I've got a lovely relationship with my folks! My current bf and I play bridge with them on the regular, and his folks gave me a coffee maker that changed my life, so I'd say we hit the lottery on both sides. But I've also seen (as the girlfriend/bystander) shitty family dynamics play out in unfortunate ways.

I'd say if someone has a healthy relationship with their parents, it's easy to step into the role of significant other and feel comfortable. On the other hand, if there's a pre-existing issue in the relationship, it's almost impossible to fix it singlehandedly.


@lavender gooms The response to that question made me super sad too, because I really related to it. In my case, my boyfriend and I both live in the same metro area as our families. I love my family; and I even love his family. We attend some sort of family gathering together at least twice a month - often more frequently. And I enjoy those!

But as a person in my twenties, I really, really hardcore am struggling with time-management. My job easily takes 60 hours a week, and could eat up more if I let it (I'm a teacher, I have 4 different preps and run journalism club). I feel like I hardly see my own family and friends. And keeping in touch with everybody + getting my own adult life shit (showering, cooking, cleaning) done is the biggest most overwhelming difficulty in my life. Like, it brings me to tears on a weekly basis.

Add to that a boyfriend's mother who has been struggling with depression and become sort of needy, and it is genuinely difficult. She contacts me more often than her son, I think partly because I feel like I have to agree to her demands on my time and her son is better at setting boundaries. I also feel like there is a weird gender dynamic with our families where EVERYONE contacts me and my boyfriend's brother's sister to schedule things rather than their own sons, because we are the ladies and therefore in charge of social calendars. The funny thing is, I'm so much worse at this than my boyfriend!

His mother is perfectly nice, and like I said, I love her. And I really feel for the fact that she is depressed and going through a hard time. At the same time, we DON'T have much in common and mostly she wants me to go to church and church events with her all the time. We have very different religious beliefs and it is sort of uncomfortable. She also likes to surprise call us 12 hours before an event and pretend she already asked about it. Or call with open ended invitations like "when in the next week can we go out to eat?" and won't take "I don't have any time, I'm sorry!" as an excuse.

I don't mind seeing her at larger family events, with my boyfriend, but I just can't take the burden alone. I saw her twice in the last week. I haven't seen my own family in over a month.

Yes, it is better than having a MIL or boyfriend's mother hate you. But this is a real problem!


LW4, this may sound counter-intuitive because you're trying to find ways to see less of your boyfriend's mother, but I recommend initiating stuff sometimes. ESPECIALLY with your boyfriend around. So going out to dinner (or you guys can make her dinner!), or all of you going to a show, or the two of you inviting her with you to see that art exhibit you wanted to see, etc. She gets to feel included and like you want to spend time with her, but the pressure isn't on you alone, and also she can see that you aren't interested in taking her son away, etc.



I second the "initiate activities" motion because I think it will do a better job of reassuring her that you guys get along/you're a nice person/whatever her anxieties are. Whatever her insecurities might be underlying this relationship, they'll likely be assuaged at least partially if you suggest the hangouts first.

The Lady of Shalott

LW3....I don't understand. Can you not just think to yourself "Man, I don't get it, but my friend is my friend and I'mma do whatever I can to be supportive of her" and then do it? God knows if I had to support every single one of my friends' decisions, I wouldn't have any more friends.

Keep your mouth shut. Keep being friends with them. The end?

Springtime for Voldemort

@The Lady of Shalott For reals. I think 80% of being a good friend is just learning to shut up about your opinions on their life.

And the Pin did a thing about being supportive and validating when you don't approve of your friends' decisions that might help you out, LW3. http://thehairpin.com/2011/03/dont-do-this-no-2-validating-with-purpose


@The Lady of Shalott NO ICE CREAM CAKE FOR YOU.


@The Lady of Shalott by which I mean to say, I concur.

The Lady of Shalott

@redheaded&crazy I love you, never change.


LW5! Your question is relevant to my interests! And since this Dude and Lady could not be troubled, I will attempt to answer it.

I too have had this experience of looking around at other long-term couples and being all, "Seriously? These terrible people can find someone? I am pretty not-terrible, why can I not find someone? I am confused." And you know that if finding yourself or whatever had anything to do with it then these people would not be in relationships, so what on earth?

I get that feeling. I had a pretty great, smart, super-attractive friend who gave me an ego-boosting speech about how less-cool people have more options of mate because their standards are lower and therefore super-cool people have to wait longer for the cream to rise to the top, so to speak, and while it made me feel temporarily better and kind of Special, it was definitely reliant on me thinking I am cooler than everyone else, which I do not actually think is the case.

So here is the best advice I have: figure out what you actually want in a relationship.

Like, not just "someone who is nice to me and maybe has a job." Get as specific as you can about what kinds of activities you would like to do with this person and what personality traits are really important to you and what kind of relationship HE would ideally want from you.

The more specific you get, the easier it is to reject/pursue people that match up with this list. You basically go through all your potential candidates much more quickly and stop wasting time pursuing people who seem pretty cool and smart and cute - but who do not actually fit what you want. i have wasted years at a time mooning over what-might-have been with several people-who-are-great-but-not-great-for-me-specifically. This helps with that problem!

Then go out and meet lots of people. Preferably doing whatever it is you like to do best. Because you are more likely to meet the kind of people you want doing that. Apply your List of Specifications. Reject and pursue accordingly.

Eventually you will find someone you like who meets your hopes for a partner, and you will date, and it will be awesome.

AND THEN likely you will find out something about this person that you did not think to include on your list because you had never encountered it before, but now you know this is definitely On The List and you cannot date this person anymore.

This blows. Feel free to be really sad at this point.

Then add that Thing, and any other Things you have discovered on the way to your List, and rinse and repeat.

So far this method has gotten me two really excellent long-term relationships. The first did not work out but was COMPLETELY worth it for all the good times we had together, and helped me make a better list that has gotten me to the wonderful guy I am currently with. I have hopes it will work out with this guy, but if it does not I fully intend to do this whole rigamarole again, because it has helped me date people whom I feel satisfied to have dated, even if ultimately we decided not to walk into the sunset together.

I hope that helps. And please, please, please - go meet people! You cannot reject/pursue people you have not met! There are a million 'Pinner threads that suggest great ways to meet new people if you are stuck on that point.


@Linette YOU = LOVELY. :)


@Linette this is GREAT advice.


@Linette LW5 (and anyone else in a similar situation): this is really good advice!

ayo nicole

@Linette A+ advice. I hope LW5 is reading.


@Linette I would only add this. I think sometimes those of us who have spent a long time single and having standards (which is great, well and truly) forget something essential about relationships: they are not just about two great people hanging around each other.

They are about two great people hanging around each other allowing love to flow out of their hearts and making the deliberate effort, every day, to overlook the other person's faults, to fill the other person with joy, and to be filled with joy oneself. Love just happens, and it's unpredictable and uncontrollable, but it's also a choice. An activity. A thing you do.

When you're single, you can get out of practice. You spend your time on yourself and making yourself awesome (and loving up your friends, to be sure). You don't just walk into a relationship and present yourself like "I'm awesome! Love me." You walk in and say "how do I make this other person feel good as much as possible?"

I'm saying this because I'm working on it myself, as I try rub the rust off my love bits (read: heart. my junk is a well-oiled machine), and step up and be a real girlfriend after several amazing years of being single and learning how to love myself like that.



You'll be sorry Jo March

@Linette WOWIE was this good.


@Linette THANK YOU for this. I feel similarly to LW5 sometimes and this was wonderful to hear. Sometimes we just want someone to encourage us to persevere and tell us we're not crazy.


@JanieS AUGH my little heart just went thumpa-thump.

Thanks, all of you. I'm glad the long exposition was helpful. Sometimes it is just long exposition.


@Linette and @RNL - LW5 here. I wrote Ask A Lady (or dude? Can't remember) some time ago in a fit of pique and then forgot all about it. As for the official Lady and Dude advice, honestly, I feel kind of relieved. I knew the phrasing of my letter was over the top, and since they didn't sincerely attempt to answer me, I'm off the hook. The point I was trying to make was not that I'm better than assholes in relationships. It was that even assholes find happiness in relationships, at least some of the time.

BUT. You two gems have a lot of wisdom that I'm taking to heart. Thank you, pinners.

Scary Wollstonecraft

@Linette This is such good advice, thank you! I was wondering: how can I find a few of the "million 'Pinner threads that suggest great ways to meet new people"? For some reason the search box isn't helping me find anything (any threads, I mean--not, er, boys). And I'd love some suggestions on where to meet new folks and how to approach them.


@Linette What you said!
And LW, if you're at all interested in something like theater/comedy, I would encourage you to take an improv class if there's one available near you- the ratio of mens to ladies is super high, and personalities tend to be friendly and outgoing.


@Scary Wollstonecraft
Me too! Living in a new city. Would be maximally useful advice.


LW4, Obviously his mom cares a lot about you to want to spend so much time with you! What a double edged sword. I went through a similar thing with my mother-in-law when my husband and I were dating. We got along well and went out together a few times, but she knew from conversations with me and my husband that we both had our own lives. She was always understanding about that.

I would let your boyfriend's mom treat you to lunch like once a month or so. You can also ask him to drop some hints about your busy schedule in order to curtail her enthusiasm a bit.

Also, is she asking her son to get together with the same frequency? He could certainly pinch hit for you on a couple of these requests. Don't feel like you need to take his place. It's still his mom and he needs to manage his own relationship with her.


Okay, LW in your twenties, here are the times when you tell your friends they're doing it wrong: 1. When they are being abused. That's pretty much it. And even then, you've got to approach it in a "I'm worried about you, I'm there for you if you need me, this doesn't seem like a healthy thing for you" way, especially at first.

This isn't to say that other relationships can't be unhealthy, but for those your responses can (like Jeopardy) only be in the form of questions. "How did it make you feel when he said he wanted a tenth cat?" "Did he know that you had allergies?" "If all ten of the cats have to sleep on the bed with him, where do you sleep?" "Does he have ideas for where you're going to find bridesmaid dresses for the cats, since he wants them wearing pink tulle?" etc. Be supportive, be a good friend, be there for them for their successes and their failures, don't say I told you so.



YES! The key is to make them say these things out loud themselves. If you say "your boyfriend stinks" they'll get defensive and it's useless. But if you draw them into conversation and they start naming the issues with the relationship out loud, well, they said it, not you. And if they can't see the problems with the relationship, well, maybe they're having a great time so you can stop worrying about their well-being and be happy for them. The point is, it's much more productive in the long run for you to be supportive and gentle, so that if they do realize they're making a huge mistake somewhere in their lives, they have a loving network to fall back on when they have to make the hard choices.

Springtime for Voldemort

@thebestjasmine I would disagree on the abused one, mainly because when people are being abused, they normally already think they are doing it all wrong and that's why they're with this juicebox in the first place. There's a reason shelters are all about "you are the expert in your own life".


@Springtime for Voldemort Well, in the case of abuse, you can't tell them they're doing it wrong. You have to say "He is abusing you, that is not normal, that is not good, you need to get out of this relationship and here is how I will help you." They may not listen that time, but if there's ever a time that they want to get out, they might remember that you said that and call you for help.

This is my new username

@thebestjasmine As a person who spent a lot her early twenties judging her friend's crappy boyfriend I wish I would have done this instead of saying "uggghhh he is TERRIBLE!".

It is also important to keep in mind that if the response is "yes I am very excited for the tenth cat, I have booked allergy shots with my doctor and we're going to sew the dresses as a couples project while we drink some wine" that maybe that is really what they want to do with their life. I had a friend who got engaged to a guy kind of quickly (during my judgmental early twenties) and I totally had reservations when that first happened, but they have ended up being a lovely, supportive couple who seen each other through some tough crap.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

LW1: I was well into my 20s before I felt comfortable giving blow jobs. You are not weird, and your marriage is not doomed. Spend some time down there, with the lights on, not blowing but just exploring: how does he react to touch? How does it move? Smell? Learning to give head can be empowering and awesome, so don't be afraid! Also, if this isn't a thing you dig, then keep talking openly and honestly about what y'all *do* like.

LW2: I have no idea what you're talking about.

LW3: Your early 20s are a time for fucking up - your friends (and you) are doing just that. Cut out the people who are toxic, forgive the people who make mistakes, and resist the urge to say "I told you so" if shit goes south. These people may not be your friends 10 years from now, but they are now, so treat them right.

LW4: Hello, free lunch. Once a month or every six weeks is totally acceptable and you don't have to accept anything else. Ask her to run errands with you if you feel too unproductive at lunch, and get your boyfriend to host a lunch for her and you at your place.

LW5: Fuck, being lonely sucks, doesn't it? Keep being your awesome, independent, non-heroin-addicted self, and maybe add some new things into the mix that might lead to coupleship - online dating, asking your friends about their cute cousin, buying the hot guy at the bar a drink, etc. And rest easy that the folks who are okay with being single are much better off than the people who skip from dong to dong just to avoid being alone. TRUST.

*mic drop*

elysian fields

@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter "people who skip from dong to dong" is cracking me up


@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter I am imagining someone
skipping from dong to dong now and it pleases me.


@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter
Well played! Can we copy and paste this back into the column above?


@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter This is fucking DELIGHTFUL.

And I worked at a military school. It is the shittiest. job. ever.


@Porn Peddler "Nobody likes Benjamin. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he'd be Pralines and Dick."

Oh, squiggles

Love this two person advice team. Fun read (which is what advice columns are about, since advice is futile?)

1. I understand religious reasons (not personally, but intellectually) for not boning before marriage, but didn't you discuss it? Didn't you think to yourself "I think sucking dick is gross" and maybe, just maybe, rethink marrying a person who has one/might like to get his sucked? I'm also curious to know what the other 'gross' parts of a blowjob are. If he has good cleaning and grooming standards, it doesn't seem any grosser than kissing with tongue. Actually, human mouths are disgusting, blowjobs seem way less gross than open mouth kissing.

5. No one is obligated to fuck, kiss, love, like, or in any way possible, be in a relationship with you. So the reason you don't have a boyfriend, is that you just haven't met any willing applicants who you approve of. That's it really. It's not a personality thing, it's not a mindset thing, and it's not a matter of deserving it. It is blind chance, chaos, and entropy out here! At a certain point, if you get desperate enough, you can have a boyfriend if you want one, but do you really want one that way? I'm guessing not, because if you did, you would have a boyfriend, and would probably be starting your letter "I love my boyfriend a lot, but..."

Oh, squiggles

@Absurd Bird And since I have decided to stop pulling my punches, here is another thought:

Some people are complaining about this advice. They seem upset that it is jokey, not compassionate enough, or not well thought out. But here is the thing, it has always been billed as being imperfect advice from strangers. Strangers, not professionals. In fact, I don't think I can remember the last time I saw actual credentials for someone giving advice in an advice column on the internet. Is there a certification process for that?

These people will ultimately do what they think best, and if they are serious about making changes and big life decisions then they will probably seek an actual professional to help them in that goal, and are not relying on a jokey advice column and strangers from the internet to fix their life.


@Absurd Bird Sure, but there's no need to be an asshole to people about their problems.


@Absurd Bird Sticking a disclaimer on something isn't an excuse to churn out shit. There's a lot of room between imperfect (because all advice is imperfect, especially given the limitations of an advice column) and filling up space with pointless blathering.

I actually wouldn't be pissed if the answers were amusing, but they're just lazy as hell.

Oh, squiggles

@Absurd Bird ALSO! All of these problems seem so familiar, because everyone goes through the same shit, all the time. People just being people, basically. So they could have just looked up advice given to people in similar situations. At least the advice isn't cookie cutter, even if the problems are.

I'm also coming from a perspective of someone who has always given compassionate, thoughtful advice to friends and loved ones, and been ignored, if only to be uselessly vindicated later when they realize they should have listened to me. People will do what they want to do anyway, so eh? Maybe I'm just having an asshole day. I'm kind of okay with that, because I have tried so fucking hard to be compassionate to everyone, all the time, and all I see is more and more people being shitty (for real shitty, not 'giving snarky advice over the internet' shitty) to each other, and I guess I am over being nice, because it seems pointless.

If you can't be part of the solution, because one doesn't exist, then be part of the problem, and help the whole thing fall apart faster! (sarcasm, btw)

And also, after Edith's article (http://www.theawl.com/2013/01/advice-is-futile) who didn't see this coming?

Change is scary you guys, so lets all get mad about it!


@Absurd Bird Ehhh... discussing sex when you've never had it has to be like discussing restaurants in Paris before you go to Paris. No frame of reference, no basis for opinions until they actually get to Paris and start trying all the restaurants.


@Absurd Bird I am probably a mean old bitch but I was not really bothered by this advice either. It's like a stoned conversation version of Coke Talk's one-line advice (whatever she calls it. Bite sized?). Which is atypical here, so.

Writing creative, interesting advice content that doesn't rankle is probably hard. The answers to so many problems boil down to it's none of your business/learn to set boundaries/give it time/see a therapist. Everything else is style.

Speaking of, the best advice a therapist ever gave me was, "your life is not always going to work out the way you want it to so you need to learn how to deal with that."

Like I said, mean old bitch.

Oh, squiggles

@par_parenthese I guess I imagined something like this would have been helpful:

Him: I'm looking forward to seeing what oral sex is like after we are married. What about you?

Her: The idea of blowjobs is gross to me, so I don't really want to give them

Him: Oh

Sidenote: I was a virgin til my mid 20s, so I did do a lot of talking about it, and I did find it helpful in figuring out what I was and wasn't comfortable with, before the act happened.


@Absurd Bird Ah, see, I imagined this (which has been a quite common experience among my friends who were virgins when they got married):

Him: What do you think about oral sex?
Her: I don't know! I've never seen a penis in real life, much less touched one or put it in my mouth, but I'm theoretically ok with the idea of a blowjob. I mean, how weird can it be? I've eaten popsicles before.
(cut to honeymoon)
Him: Why don't we try some of those things we talked about?
Her: *panics, is grossed out, wants to try it but can't bring herself to, finishes him off some other way*

See what I mean? The reality might not have fit her preconceived idea of what it would be like.


@Absurd Bird Agree with all of this. I wasn't bothered by any of this advice because, as you state, all these questions have been asked before in some form. I actually read it as "this is how your advice sausage gets made, folks!" Then probably gets edited into its more appropriate, print ready version. First drafts are a bitch. But a 300 comment pile on is more fun, I guess.


@par_parenthese Exactly. If someone had asked me how I felt about *insert whatever sex act here* before I'd ever had sex, I don't even know what I would have said. Probably "that seems...fine?" and then maybe thought to myself "that seems really weird and I can't imagine myself ever doing that." But then you do it and...you like it, or you don't. How could these things possibly be settled before either party had done any of the things?? That is crazy.

This is my new username

@WaityKatie Yeah before I first had sex, my response to the would be I don't know it all makes me feel kind of anxious because I haven't done it yet and for me it definitely took trying stuff out to know what I did and did not like (for the most part).


LW3:one friend thinks marrying her mentally unstable and extremely needy boyfriend of less than a year is a great solution, and another recently decided to move back to the middle of nowhere to live with the military-school-employed boyfriend she's had doubts about for months instead of pursuing her own artistic goals ... what's a lady to do?

"Congratulations, how wonderful."

Springtime for Voldemort

@Diana Or, "Congrats, I wish you two the best."


I dunno, I enjoyed it. Also, I feel like "I dunno, why don't you just have a calm open discussion with that person," or "Would you wannt people to do that to you? No? Then don't do it to them." or "I mean, look, if you wanna suck on that then suck on that, and if you don't, then please don't" are probably the only three pieces of advice ever worth giving, and maybe "REALTALK" advice was maybe a starting to feel a little repetitive, so I enjoy the effort to answer 'advice' in a new / fun way, and hope more new approaches get tried in the future.


@leon s oh phew, I'm not the only one that totally enjoyed them. are we terrible? maybe we're terribles.


@thisisunclear @leon s I'm in this corner, with you two. Being terrible.


@maevemealone yay! Then I will confess: I was totally imagining Jane and Mr. Jane in the roles of A Lady and A Dude.


@thisisunclear I enjoyed it. I don't think that means that any of us are terrible.


@leon s It seemed a little drunk, but like any good drunken ramble, the answers had some actual honesty at the core.


@leon s Oh good, I was waiting for the other people who didn't think this was a terrible/horrible/mean/heartless advice article. People in your early twenties, I've been there and I can tell you, you usually just need to chill out and learn to differentiate between real, dire problems and noise.

LW5, asking the world why you can't get a boyfriend is like asking why bad things happen to good people. There's no answer. It's pure luck. That's ALL. Calm down!


@leon s I totally agree with your real talk. I've actually stopped reading the advice posts here, so I didn't even read this one until today when my sister told me there was a firestorm in the comments section.


Once this guy that I had a massive crush on told me that he was attracted to the "walking on sunshine" lady from intervention. Also Farrah from Teen Mom. And then a different time after I asked him out he told me that he wasn't interested in me. So in conclusion I have definitive proof that people on Intervention are more desirable than me.


@Diana Fucking genius.


@Diana - Congratulations, you have just won the internet.


I am having so much trouble with LW1. Of course no one is obligated to do anything sexual that they don't want to do. She shouldn't feel pressured or uncomfortable. Telling her "oops, shoulda slept with him before you got married" isn't helpful at this juncture. Telling her to get drunk/brave and just try it when it squicks her out so bad also makes me uncomfortable (Why don't you just tryyyy it? Creeps me out somehow.) But...I can't imagine marrying and trying to spend 4eva with someone whose junk I did not at least occasionally want in my mouth. I'm really into BJs though so maybe I'm having trouble getting into her mindset. I also put salt on all my food.
The commenter wants to help the person but cannot understand! Alas. I feel like I'm in the same place as A Lady and A Dude with this one, I am just trying not to be an asshole about it.


LW5, clearly this Dude and Lady are kind of terrible and that is not useful advice. Seriously, I'm also perpetually single and I sympathize with most of your list. You are probably awesome! I think the reason why you are alone is probably just Standards. Like, do you really want to date someone on Intervention, really? I would be willing to bet there are people hovering in the peripheries of your life ("Friendzone," kind of a horrible word/concept) who would be your boyfriend, but you are not into them, and that's fine. If the choice is "lower your standards" or "hang out by yourself, be generally happy," I prefer the latter. I find that, while I like the *idea* of having a boyfriend, the day-to-day practicalities of arranging your life around another person are irritating, so that person better be Worth It.

ayo nicole

@bluewindgirl Yeah, I agree. I throw pity parties every now and then because ohhh I am sooo sad nobody wants to date meeee but that's not true. I just don't want any of them. I could've had a boyfriend within four minutes of signing up for okcupid if I had gone for the first "helo how r u" message that I got. Someone is going to have to get me pretty fucking excited for me to enjoy more than just the idea of a relationship, and the good parts like having someone hold my spot in line at Trader Joe's. Hang in there, LW5!


@ayo nicole FWIW, LW #5, you did not "rub me the wrong way (no offense)". Your problems are the problems of a lot of folks out there, and I think @bluewindgirl's advice is really great. As you probably know, relationships take a lot of work and compromise, and unless the person you're with lights a spark in your heart and loins, there doesn't seem to be much point in being in one, to my mind.

My advice to you would be to just keep being awesome. You'll meet someone eventually, and - if worse comes to worst and the Very Unlikely happens - even if you end up Dying Alone, you will have led a really awesome life.


@wee_ramekin My favorite song of singletude has always been Me Against the World by 2Pac. On a loop if necessary.

Speaking of good advice from strangers: "Be grateful for blessings / Don't ever change, keep your essence" Seriously, I think about that all the time.

Also, there are a lot of messages from the world that any relationship is better than no relationship, so it can be hard to shake that feeling. But it's a big old lie, as anyone in a shitty relationship can attest.

Springtime for Voldemort

LW1: Ok, perhaps this is a longshot, given the whole religious thing (but then again, maybe not!), but have you considered getting a bit intoxicated first? Because when I was learning to go down on people, being a bit tipsy/highish really helped get past the original mental block of like "eeewwwww... and also, but how? They will know I've never done this before, even though they already know that, and it will be embarrassing that I'm not basically a pro at this stuff on my first time." If your someone who finds a glass of wine helps with being less self-conscious about dancing or saying somewhat TMI things to your close friends, then try a glass of wine and some cock.


Yeah, not particularly funny or useful this week. In my experience, about 1 in 20 of posted "chat snippets" are funny. This was not one of them.

I'll take a stab at LW#1:

I feel bad because he's gone down on me lots of times, and I've never returned the favor.

How grossed out do you get when he is going down on you? I am gobsmacked that you don't find it gross to receive oral sex - that is, his mouth on your genitals - but you do find it gross to put your mouth on his.

My best guess is that you find it sinful, not physically gross. If that is the case, I don't know exactly how to help. I don't speak that particular language. Under these circumstances, however, I don't think you should receive oral sex, because of the whole sin thing.

If you are intimidated by the act, however, I may have some guidance. Blow jobs are incredibly intimate - I have never understood the folks who think blow jobs are less than sex. In my experience, oral sex more intimate than intercourse, both for the selfish and the selfless factors.

My advice here is to experiment with how oral sex can turn on the giver. When your husband goes down on you, and you writhe and moan and react? That is a ridiculous turn on for him. When you go down on him - touching, licking, full mouth - pay attention to how his body reacts. His sounds, his reflexive movements, his moans - these are the payoffs and the turn-ons of oral sex. You will see where he likes to be touched, what makes him lose control and lose all inhibition, and what he looks like when he is fully turned on. And I am here to tell you that learning all of that information about someone? Is a righteous, description-defying turn on.

I guess what I am trying to say is focus less on the job aspect of "blow job", and more on the sex part of oral.


OMG your last 3 paragraphs. Yes. Especially the final sentence.


@karion I did wonder if the "gross" was less about physically gross, and more because of lingering "sin" feelings -- or because on some level LW1 felt like it was degrading-gross.

No matter what, karion's advice is really really good. Maybe think "enjoying each others' bodies" and "exploring each others' pleasure" instead of discreet acts, like, "Now is the time for the blow job!"


@karion I agree with and love and thumbs-up your second-last paragraph but I don't think it's at all helpful to try to guess at a person's motivations like that. I know a lot of religious people and am religious myself, and while I don't know a single person who believes blowjobs are sinful, I know many women who weren't comfortable giving them at first until they found a method that worked for them.


@karion Seeing blowjobs in porn put me off for a lonnng time, so I can see where this lady is coming from. Something to do with it feeling like a submissive position? (often in porn it's portrayed that way – quite violently). But! It can be fun in real life, not violent at all. However there is no set time-frame or rules for these things. LW1: Do what you want! There are other ways to get to know what your partner likes and what you like rather than seeing blow-jobs as a requirement. Sexual relationships evolve, it's no fun if you feel like you need to do everything straightaway out of some misplaced sense of duty.


@par_parenthese: you know, I need to own that - my bias was showing.

I went to grad school at a Catholic university, and my female friends - all of whom were razor sharp, funny, and otherwise well-adjusted - had the most fucked up perspectives on oral sex. Many years later, I still shake my head at some of our late- night debates on the topic.

@angelene: you know what's funny? I actually considered suggesting she rent some porn, then realized that was disastrous advice. Hot blow job porn exists, but fuck if I know where.


@karion Totally. It's a thing, for sure, and I admit my bias is showing too -- I get overly tetchy when I feel like people are attributing hiccups in a non-premarital-sex-having couple's sex life to their supposed fundie hangups. I grew up in a very conservative religious environment and am, in fact, still a virgin for partly-religious reasons, and I have never, ever heard any authority-type person or mentor in my own life talk about sex like it's dirty or bad, or about individual sex acts like they're dirty or bad (I've heard that crap, of course, just not from anyone directly). All the religious teaching/mentoring/conversations about sex I got as a junior high and high school and college student were very pro-sex and very pro-individual-sex-acts within marriage. So that perspective is out there -- it's not just people telling newly-married girls to limit it to P-in-V once a week max because everything else probably makes baby Jesus cry. ;)

(Re: Catholics, though. I went to camp every summer with a Catholic girl who proudly proclaimed her virginity while bragging about having thigh- and tit-fucked and given hand jobs to boyfriends and God knows what all else, but blowjobs were not a Thing? So... any Catholics about who can give insight into that?)

This is my new username

@par_parenthese I do think there is a bit of a difficult switch in going from "you must not have sex, you are not married" to "okay you've signed the papers have at it!" even when sex is portrayed positively within marriage.


@This is my new username Oh, absolutely -- probably half of my friends who were virgins prior to marriage had some kind of struggle in that department. I just optimistically want people who don't come from that perspective to realize that that difficulty in moving from "not yet" to "yes, now" isn't because of residual hangups about sex being dirty or sinful. It's just a practical hurdle.


@par_parenthese As a Catholic who is currently working on her MA in theology, I can assure you that the girl at camp wasn't doing it right. You're not supposed to do anything beyond kissing before marriage, and even then some people will say that making out is sinful if it turns you on too much. A lot of people place so much emphasis on virginity that a lot of young people (especially girls) will do whatever they can to "have fun" while hanging onto that label. That's probably why she was doing what she was doing.


@desjardins Woooo serious Catholics on The Hairpin! I feel as though there aren't many of us... In any case, that's all I've got to say on this one.


@This is my new username How positive do you think "you must not have sex" really is, though? Everyone's experience is different, even in our own little segmented groups. I'm religious and went to a religious college, but I was the only one of my friends who waited until I was married to have sex. Even then, for me, it was not a difficult transition in terms of swapping "not okay" for "okay." Now, the logistics? Awkies. But it's been seven years and I am proud of my bangin' sex life.

Heads up LW#1, if you're the type who waited for marriage, I assume you're the type not to get divorced due to sexual inexperience/incompatibility. Y'all have a long time to figure this out. A year and a half doesn't mean you have to have all of your sexual interests and skills down to a fine science, and there is some great advice here.


The only blowjob secret I have is to suck tiny dicks, because you can lock on at the base and just suck and the dude will be all, "Oh my God, you are so good at that!" and then you can go get dinner, like, 5 minutes earlier.

I may have a tiny mouth


HAHAH. Perfect.

I was going to throw in a suggestion for weed, but then realized... oh, right. This letter writer probably doesn't do that? (Please correct me, religious couple!) Anyway, blowjobs! I happen to enjoy giving them, but much more while high.


@Nutmeg "Lock on at the base," Hahahahahhaaa.




LW who wants a boyfriend: I have been where you've been! I've spent 95% of my dating years NOT in a relationship. I always wondered how/why certain people went from one relationship to another when I could not get a date, much less get anything to stick. I know it sounds too obvious/trite/disappointing, but I wouldn't be with the wonderful boyfriend I'm with right now if not for online dating. G-fry, it's a numbers game. Just keep trying them on until one fits.


LW 1: Don't think about it in terms of giving/receiving an eye for an eye. That's bad juju for the bedroom! It opens the door for resentment later down the line. Even if one person is the focus of attention, the other should genuinely enjoy the process of making their partner feel good. It's not like bj's are the be-all-and-end-all of sex. If you try it and hate it, experiment with something else.

The shower idea is a good one. All skin tastes like clean skin in the shower. Also: take it slow? Use your hands first? Even try it over a condom to get used to the sensation (although, really, if taste is the issue, the latex may taste worse)? Maybe a flavored lube (or honey, or chocolate sauce)?

LW 4: Talk with your boyfriend. Figure out to what extent forming a bond with your partner's family is important to forming a relationship for the both of you, and in what ways you both need to compromise. From your letter, it sounds like he's expressed that he thinks it's important that you spend some time getting to know his mother AT LEAST every so often. It also sounds (and I could be wrong!) that you could take it or leave it.

If a weekly thing really isn't happening, you could say that your schedule is going to be hectic for a couple of months and suggest a standing, bi- or triweekly date. Start peppering your conversations with comments about how busy work/school is for a bit before you suggest the standing-date idea. Ask your boyfriend to do the same. Hopefully you'll find a balance.


@Boots I so disagree. I have truly awesome amazing friends I am too busy to see on a tri-weekly basis, much less an tri-montly basis. There is just no need to hang with your boyfriend's mom that often, particularly since you (presumably) see her with the boyfriend fairly often. Also, it will set LW4 up for failure when she tries to draw boundaries later because she'll hear nothing but "we used to hang out alllllll the time, are you mad at me?"

saul "the bear" berenson

@finguns Also, what if they break up? Why should she have to invest all this time in cultivating a relationship that might end if/when the relationship ends? Live yo life, LW. You do you.


@saul "the bear" berenson I think the more important question is - What if they *don't* break up? (see comment below)


LW4: I get you. When I was first dating my now-husband, my MIL invited me to lunch and signaled that she'd like that to become a thing we did. And I just did not want to. It's terrible, right? She's just taking me to lunch. It should be fine and I should be grateful. But I really, really didn't want to do it.

In my case it had to do with two things. One, my husband has a sometimes prickly relationship with his mom, and I couldn't help but feel that his mom was reaching out to me because it was easier and more comfortable than dealing with her own son. And, two, I watched my mom be the primary interface with her MIL for years, and I didn't want to replicate that ever.


Since I wasn't overwhelmed with like for the answers the writers got, here's my own imperfect advice:

1) Have you actually tried it? I think you at least have to try it, unless the very idea makes you dry heave or something. I know society treats BJs like they're the most amazing thing you can get, but I know lots of men who either find them enjoyable, but not as good as sex, or don't really get much out of them. There's a good chance once your boyfriend gets to try it, he'll feel like it's something he can live without. I'd suggest only doing it for a few minutes then going on to other sex things, doing it when he's freshly washed, and using your hand too so you don't get the taste in the back of your mouth. And when you're doing it, don't focus on the taste, focus on seeing what noises/faces you can make him make and it's kind of fun despite the taste.

3) I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing up concerns if they don't seem happy in their relationship and bring that up to you ("I feel like you spend a lot of time being concerned about your boyfriend's emotional needs over your own, are you sure you can sustain that as a life-long marriage"?), once. And then you support them not because you approve of the guy they're marrying, but because they're doing the best they can to build the kind of life they feel will make them happy and your job as a friend is to support them in making those choices and to be available if it makes them less happy than they thought it would.

4) Go to lunch with her and do the things that sound like they might be fun, but if it's something you hate, it's ok to say no or to suggest something else. You don't like the movie? There are other movies, suggest one.

5) I have been there with you wondering if there's something secretly horribly wrong with me, since all sorts of people could get dates but I didn't seem to be able to. The thing is, it's not really a game or contest with rules and a points system. If you were more codependent, you'd probably appeal more to certain men, sure. and if you were more independent you'd probably appeal more to certain men. And for some men you're at the perfect dependence level. And same for every other characteristic. Dating really is about 80% luck, and while there are some things that increase your chances, like online dating or brushing your teeth or lowering your standards, there's not really much you can do to influence luck. If you try, you'll end up like those people at the bingo hall who bring in a pile of good luck charms and lucky pens and rituals, none of which actually help them at all. Don't make the mistake of seeing a codependent person with a partner and assuming that or anything else about them is the reason they have a partner and you don't.

Leslie Green@facebook

Oh my gosh, reading these comments is making my tummy hurt! A lot of commenters seem really pissed. I can understand where they're coming from in not loving the tone of the Dude and Lady, but the main thing I love about this site is its sense of humor, which I think is on full display here. My old favorite site has become way too PC...so much is verboten on that site that I don't enjoy reading it anymore. I hope this site never loses its unique and interesting voice--it would be sorely missed!


@Leslie Green@facebook I think there's plenty of room for snark, humor and the unique hairpin voice, without taking a turn into condescending and heartless. The Dude n' Lady's response to LW #5 really came across as kicking someone while they're down - that's not the kind of thing that screams "The Hairpin" to me.


@Leslie Green@facebook. I think the irritation has to do with the track record of solid advice from people who take it seriously. "A Dude" and "A Lady" are established (if rotating) entities now, so we've come to expect a certain level of attempts to help. If the column had been titled "Ask a Ball Point Pen and a Wad of Gum" or "Ask an Empty 6-Pack," our expectations would have been drastically altered.


@meaux I have a few questions for an empty 6-pack.

Springtime for Voldemort

@meaux Yup, this is totally it. I would basically never recommend any advise columnists to anyone looking for actual advice (but would totally recommend many for those looking for entertainment), with the EXCEPTION of The Hairpin.


@JanieS This felt more like Gawker/Jezebel than The Hairpin to me. Ugh. Please, never again.


@meaux I think this entire ridiculous "outrage! smash!" thread is because people are taking these advice things waaay too seriously! All advice columns are for entertainment value. They are answered with zero sense of urgency, months after they're submitted. The red line ones where the LW indicates some genuine sense of danger are the only ones that have received truly serious, urgent attention, which was: Go get Help. Otherwise, this is just an echo chamber of sour grapes.

saul "the bear" berenson

@maevemealone thank you. yes.


@maevemealone Yes, but clearly the commenters in question did not find it amusing, Rather, the angry responses are because people found it flat out mean-spirited. Ask a Spider was non-serious, but it was a surreal and silly take on the advice column format, rather than mean. And it was amusing as hell.


@maevemealone Too many people identifying with the LWs, apparently. It only reads as "mean-spirited" if you want it to sound that way.

Queen of Pickles

@Amphora I think perhaps it's that people need a touch of compassion in their lives, because too many are surrounded by feelings-numbing snark 24/7.


@Queen of Pickles It all depends on your perspective. I might argue there's too much hand-holding over these kinds of outward-focused social anxieties (I might not, too, it kind of depends on the day).


@Queen of Pickles I think that's mostly it for me. I don't have anything in common with any of the LWs (except the boyfriend's mother question, but that was an ex, so it ain't no thang anymore) but I do like reading a column that is normally witty and well-written. There's a reason I don't read xojane or gawker or the million other websites that think ironic detachment is the only way to approach other people and their problems.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Amphora Honestly, that mostly sounds like saying there should be more jerk behavior out there. Is it really so bad to want one place on the internet where people are nice to each other? When I want callousness and smackdowns and people behaving like jerks, I can go to basically anywhere else on the internet.


I'm pretty sure I've waxed angrily about my evil ex's penis before. It was horrible. There were some serious odor issues with it, and my gentle/flirty suggestions to clean it were met with "don't be so prissy". I thought I would be scarred for life, but ALAS! Most men's dicks don't have that problem!

So, LW1: If there is an unwashed urinal/nasty sweatsock/rotten stink from your husband's genitalia, there may be a problem, and it is not upon you to "buck up" - the cleaning thing may be a real godsend in this department. Otherwise, we all have our preferences sexually, and you don't have to compromise what you do or don't like, but I've found (healthy, non-putrid) cock to be an acquired taste, and once you develop a fondness for it, it makes BJ's really super fun to do.


LW4: I feel you girl, sorry you got no advice at all.

Some people have really busy lives. I'm one of those people. I know we choose our lives, and we do not get to throw "busy" around like it's some kind of handicap that other people must accommodate. But nevertheless, when you have a demanding job, several hobbies (or just like to exercise semi-regularly), a relationship, a home and pets, and a bunch of friends who you value and feel compelled to tend to, adding another regular social commitment you feel like you can't say no to is stressful.

My own mom does this to me. I love her and value her and like to spend time with her, but I really don't want to spend a whole night a week with her. But I feel very badly about saying no. So I'm constantly in a bind, and it's stressful.

LW4: Here's my advice. Reach out to HER. Buy tickets to the symphony or something, 6 weeks from now. Invite her. Make a night of it. She will feel special and appreciated, and may back off on the invites. You will also be in a much better position to turn her down for things in the meantime because you have clearly indicated your interest in spending time with her.

It's just a thought.


ANMD: A Non-Monogamous Couple here. We just wanted to chime in and assert that this column is in no way associated with us, despite being formatted similarly. We may not be asked to write columns anymore, but we have our tiny legacy to consider.

ANML: And we do not endorse its views. LW1, you don't HAVE to give your husband a blowjob! Nobody has to give anybody a blowjob, not even if they're in prison at knifepoint. And if your husband loves you the way you deserve to be loved, he will respect that.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

@ANMC You guys are awesome.


@ANMC <3 u guys! And also you're way cuter too. ;)


@ANMC AWWW I wish that had been the answer!!! There's a whole world of sexy things to try and enjoy LW!


@ANMC THANK YOU, A Non-Monogamous Couple!


@ANMC Also, I hope this Dude and Lady are A Monogamous Couple. Based on these responses, they deserve each other, and I wouldn't wish either of them on anyone else.

(Or perhaps they are lovely people and were just drunk at the time. Or on the moon, with Steve.)


@anorktopus They are obviously not a couple.

@ANMC Your comment and your column and your legacy are fantastic. Thanks, ANMC. Your attitude somehow makes me think of Liz Lemon high-fiving a million angels. You're great!


So... that happened.


Reading this post really bummed me out (seriously, dude and lady?!), but reading the comments has redeemed my faith in The Hairpin. *blows kisses to everyone*


Please refrain from this mess in the future. I am not a fan.

Queen Elisatits

Am I a terrible person because LW:5 also rubbed me the wrong way? Basically saying "I think I deserve love more than these other people because I'm better than them" is pretty off putting.
But yea, the advice wasn't advice at all. I would say constantly comparing your life to the lives of others is not a healthy way to live (easier said than done, but worth the effort)


@Queen Elisatits I read it more as "What's wrong with me? I'm the only single person left on earth and even people with completely messed up lives are paired off and I will die alooooonnneeeee!" (Which is something that all of us perma-singles have felt from time to time, I'm guessing, although you're spot on about comparisons always leading to despair.)

Queen Elisatits

@WaityKatie Fair point. It guess it was just a little to close to sounding like the rants that Nice Guys (TM.) go on with that part about "doing everything right" and such so it set off some red flags.
Wherever you are LW5 I hope at least one persons advice in these comments has helped or made you feel better.


@Queen Elisatits I guess I see it as different from the Nice Guy rants because women are pretty much constantly told that "if you don't have a man there's something wrong with you" and I think a lot (most?) of us internalize that message to such an extent that we spend our time running around frantically trying to Fix Ourselves, because if we're single OBVIOUSLY we're doing something very wrong/we ourselves are VERY WRONG. Because our self-worth can only be validated if it is reflected in the adoring gaze of a man, etc. Whereas the Nice Guys are just entitled d-bags who expect The Best in the form of a woman to dote on them, and when they don't get it they get mad at the world for not giving it to them. I think when women don't get what we are expected to have (a man) we blame ourselves and turn inward trying to rehabilitate the deeply wrong unloveableness than must lie within.


@WaityKatie Yes indeed.


No but it's a really good column if you imagine the sunglasses people in the picture giving it!

fondue with cheddar

@allifer are the sunglasses people Richard Gere and Melora Walters? Because you can't really see their faces but it really looks like them!


Hi everyone, LW4 here. Thanks to all the commenters for your kind and (not in quotes) compassionate advice. As for A Dude and A Lady's advice? No help at all, but I laughed. I guess it was sort of a bratty question. The real issue is that this is getting to be an almost every-other-week affair, not including the time we spend with his parents as a couple. I don't really have an interest in becoming friends with his mom, and while I'm polite, it's just an awkward dynamic. I think I like the advice of preempting her invites and asking her to do stuff on my terms. That way I can at least loop my boyfriend in and maybe do something fun.


@letterwriterfour Maybe accept one out of every three invites instead of every single one? I'm sure she'll understand that you have a life as long as you make it clear that you're not just trying to blow her off.

saul "the bear" berenson

@letterwriterfour Dude. If you don't want to be friends with the mom, you shouldn't be friends with the mom, and you shouldn't have to be friends with the mom. Try to delicately introduce that idea to your man, and if he can't hear it, then try it without so much delicacy. Basically I'm just saying "you do you, girl." What she's expecting of you is weird. Accepting one out of three invitations seems generous. Boundaries! What if you break up? Why should you have to invest all this time building a relationship with his mom? Please. If you were married it might be different, but you're figuring out how you relate to her son and how your lives mesh together now, and how they might mesh together in the future, possibly, maybe, someday. Get lost, wanna-be-mom-in-law! Ain't nobody got time for that.


@saul "the bear" berenson No, no, a million times no. If this relationship does work out and she does marry the guy, she doesn't get to restart this relationship with his mom. If she is totally dismissive of Mom now, that could be horrible for their relationship as wife/mother-in-law, which may be why the boyfriend wants them to hang out. If you picture this as (potentially? depending on life goals?) the future grandmother of your future children? Yes, this is a relationship that matters.

However, if you are sure that you will never marry this guy and fully intend to break up with him, yeah, totally, blow off his mom.


@MrsTeacherFace Even if she does marry the dude and want to have a good relationship with his mom, that doesn't mean they have to be buddies and hang out all the time. (And it definitely doesn't mean they have to hang out while the boyfriend/theoretical-future-husband isn't there. I feel like that's actually kind of unusual even if they do become in-laws -- the only time I ever spent with my mother-in-law without my husband was one time when he had to work while she was staying at our place, and same goes for him and my parents.) She can set boundaries for that relationship in a way that allows her to be friendly without being friends.

saul "the bear" berenson

@letterwriterfour If she stays with the guy forever, then she's stuck with a mom-in-law friendship she doesn't want forever. No time like the present to establish boundaries. It'll just be harder to change later. Obviously she shouldn't be dismissive or rude about it, because don't be mean and also keeping the woman happy is a good investment. But protecting MIL's feelings and doing exactly what she wants don't have to be the same thing! It's just one of those relationships you have to carefully manage. If there's a way to establish a comfortable boundary and also make the future-maybe-MIL feel happy and cared about, great. It would be cool if the boyfriend can help figure out how to do that, since he knows her pretty well and all. But ultimately the LW should live her life the way she wants.


Whoops! I landed on Jezebel's shitty advice column where Tracie makes fun of their readers. My bad.


@Slutface Jezebel recently upped the ante for Bad Advice with their Slutever column, mind you.

You'll be sorry Jo March

I agree with much of what has been said above about being unhappy with the dismissive and mocking tone of the article. I also wanted to respond to something else I've seen come up a few times: the idea that people don't actually take advice? Where did that come from? I take advice! When I seriously don't know what to do about a problem, or if I'm between two choices, I usually crowdsource opinions, and weigh them based on how much I trust the advice-giver's knowledge and wisdom. This actually helps me make decisions. I can't be the only one, right? I love hearing people's ideas!

LW1: If you want to try, that's cool, but you definitely don't ever have to do anything you don't want in bed! EVER! EVER EVER EVER

LW2: Def re-shoot it. Tumblr would approve and probably respond with lots of funny gifs. It would be so worth it.

LW3: If they ask you for your opinion, give it gently. If they don't ask, don't say anything.

LW4: Just be really busy whenever she wants to go out. You don't have to actually be doing anything, just say you already have plans. If that means you have plans to be in bed watching Wives and Daughters on your laptop while drinking root beer and vodka, that counts. Maybe go out with her every once in a while. Or don't, if you don't want to! If you keep saying you're too busy, she'll soon get the message and stop asking.

LW5: I just saw this documentary on Anne Lister, a queer woman in the early 19th century who not only had several serious girlfriends but also married one. In a church. In the day of Jane Austen. It made me feel super inadequate for not having a girlfriend in the day and age of OKCupid and whatnot. But! Anne knew what she wanted, and she was incredibly proactive about it. So that's what I'm trying? No girlfriend yet, but dates are starting to happen. I've also heard that you can think of dating as a numbers game. Like, if you go through a large number of people, you have a better chance of finding a good one. (By "go through," I don't necessarily mean dating all of them. But certainly meeting and subsequently evaluating a lot of eligible people should help.) I have a writer friend who keeps all his rejection letters from publishers, because it's evidence that he's out there trying to make it happen. He's had quite a bit published now. Don't lose heart!

Quinn A@twitter

@You'll be sorry Jo March I didn't take advice when I was very young (see: "I know this is a completely crap relationship, but I love him! I'll give it a little more time..."), but now that I'm near 30 I absolutely do take advice. Even when I get advice that doesn't work for me, that tells me something about my priorities and makes me more confident in a choice I struggled with.


OK, I like the penis skin part of the blowjob-flavor. But then, I like sweat in general*: funky armpit? Yes please. If you can put your mouth on an oyster or some stinky cheese, you can put your mouth on your man. 

Spooge on the other hand is just foul. Whoever described it above as a salt+bleach chaser had it about right, which is a little horrid after you've been feasting on man-meat-skin. The only thing to do IMO is hold your breath until he's done spewing, then swallow fast before you can taste anything. There's nothing wrong with having a glass of water or a water bottle handy as long as you wait a beat or two before drinking--grabbing at it like you're drowning and it's a buoy is just awkward. 

*Note I said sweat and not urine. Nobody wants to lick the floor of that dark corner in the subway station, at least I don't. If there's any chance you've got some peepee on your peepee, well, wash that shit off. 



log lady

I just have to say, I get excited to read the "Ask A" column every week and this was a huge disappointment. I would've embraced a little cynicism if it had been funny or well-written at all, but it was just smug and annoying. Please don't do this anymore, Hairpin!


@log lady Can we please have Ask a Log? What does the log say??

log lady

@WaityKatie One day my log will have something to say about this.


@log lady I want to marry your username.

T A@twitter

LW5 - a lot of relationships are dysfunctional. You probably don't want that kind of long term relationship. However, nobody's perfect and I think you've been led to believe that perfection is the foundation for a good relationship. The reality is openness is the foundation. If you haven't felt that you were perfect enough, or the people you met were good enough, or the timing was right, etc, you've put up walls against relationships. (I do this, too so I'm speaking from experience.) It sounds like you're ready to be open to a relationship so start thinking of people as potential partners and see what happens.

Dirty Hands

But doesn't anybody else love giving blow jobs because of this?




@Dirty Hands Penises are not cute.

fondue with cheddar

Is that Richard Gere and Melora Walters in the picture?

Deb of last year@twitter

OMG " Dump him, date his mom" and "I should have given her one of my junkie boyfriends. I don't think they would have noticed" is the BEST. I love this Lady.

superfluous consonants

might i suggest to the lady who's not ultra into blowjobs that she wait until she herself is turned on? even after many years of giving oral sex, i am still "eh" on it, and would flatly turn down a request to go from zero to blowjob. HOWEVER, when the foreplay has gone on long enough and is good enough that basically anything (WITHIN previously agreed-upon boundaries, that is) feels awesome, i find blowjobs way more fun and do a way better job. could her manfriend be doing something to her at the time? if 69ing is overwhelming or complicated, maybe he could use his hands or a vibrator? for me, a thing feeling awesome tends to get me past my apprehensions more reliably than anything else.

CAVEAT: i have been with my manfriend for over a decade, and we have been sexually active for almost that entire time. it took me MANY YEARS to get to my current place of comfort with blowjobs. you are married, lady, and have a whole lifetime to develop your sexytime skills and preferences! nothing has to happen at right this second!


LW3, it can be tough to watch friends make crazy life decisions, but it take it from a reformed advice giver, don't say anything unless abuse or hard drugs are involved. The 20s are the best times to make crazy mistakes and bounce back wiser. Also, I am just going to throw out there that grad school can be kind of stressful and intense and affects everyone's decision making. Maybe some of your friends are realizing grad school isn't for them. Maybe you'll come to realize these friends are too crazy impulsive and you need calmer friends. If you bite your tongue, hopefully you can drift away without drama and cherish fond memories of each other. I am someone that didn't do that and saw a fading friendship star explode into a huge drama nova. Maybe it's none of the above. Take heart I think everyone (including you, ) will all have much better perspective after you graduate.

saul "the bear" berenson

I get that there are a lot of Feelings here from everybody, and I like the pintariat and stuff, but I liked all of this snark.


I wish Emily at The Dirty Normal had an advice column, because I think LW1 would get really good advice from her.


I feel like pointing out that Incest Twins letter was widely considered a fake, so if the last LW is comparing themselves to some loser who decided to troll an advice columnist--you're better off, even if you're single.

Also, please remember that a lot of people with significant others are only paired off because their standards are too low. Or their partner's standards are too low. And plenty of relationships involve manipulation and outright abuse, and being single is always better than that.

It's better to end up alone then end up with a loser. And if you really want a long-term commitment with someone who will always love you devotedly, get a dog. (Not a cat, cats spend at least 63% of the time plotting their owners' murders.) Sure, a human adult may not ever shit on your rug, but trust me, no human adult will take you yelling at them for misbehaving and then be trying to crawl into your lap in under an hour.

Also, you want (co)dependency? Really, I recommend the dog.

You also will avoid issues like your dog's mom trying to dominate your time. (Bonus: you can call your dog a "son of a bitch" and it's hilarious and 100% true. If you call your boyfriend that, he'll probably get upset for good reason). Plus, there will be zero issues with blow jobs or any other sexual act. (At least I hope not, because even really smart breeds like border collies can't legally consent.) Oh, and your friend in grad school won't judge your life choice if you get a dog. She'll probably just want to come visit and play with the puppy. (You should let her, puppies are good for stress and anyone in grad school has stress.)

And a dog will probably be happy to watch Les Mis with you once it's out on DVD. See, I solved everyone's problem. I'm kind of on a lot of flu meds right now, but I'm sure my ideas will still look GREAT in the morning.

artificial owl

I wrote an advice column for my college paper and errythang, check it.

1) Yes, the answer is to give your husband a blowjob. Your decision to wait until marriage to have sex for religious reasons probably does play into your reluctance to go down on a dude - you just aren't comfortable with sex in general, probably. Oral sex is mainly about making your partner feel good and turned on, and you're going to have to undo the psychological patterns of years of actively avoiding creating boner situations in order to be turned on by them/ want to put your mouth on them. But seriously, it just comes down to: if you're receiving happily, you best start giving. Otherwise you're in the camp of douche bro one night stands who "just don't do..that".

2) What does Les Mis have to do with Occupy?! People stood up for a cause, but ended up losing the "battle", but hopefully it will spark some real change in a few years? Or something? Probably just buy it, it'll be like $5 more than seeing it again.

3) I think the main frustration here is that you're seeing your awesome female friends alter their potentially awesome life-arcs in order to be with sub-par guys. To which I say, it happens, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is a subject that comes up quite frequently in the annals of hairpin advice, and every time, the answer is: give your opinion on the sub-par person if asked about them (kindly, gently, but honestly!) but otherwise, keep your mouth shut. Part of your frustration may lie in the fact that you see these friends becoming more distant from you (literally and figuratively) by prioritizing their relationship - you'll have to ask yourself where that anxiety stems from. In the end, your own happiness is all you need worry about, those friends will learn their lessons in their own way.

4) This is an easy one. Why on earth is your boyfriend not involved in these outings?! I just don't understand that at all. Make sure he's invited to the next lunch or movie, and he'll probably realize where you're coming from when you tell him you just don't have the time to hang out with his mom 24/7. And really, don't feel bad about declining her invitations due to having other plans. Maybe your tendency to accept has given her the idea that you don't have a whole lot going on, and you should change that misconception right-quick.

5) Crazy attracts crazy, that's why! Also see: some of the relationships featured in the reality television program Teen Mom. It's just insane. You're not crazy, you've had some relationships, you're probably an awesome person who might be picky or just don't have the chance to meet new people often. I'd say, although I'm skeptical about recommending online dating, you'll certainly find some like-minded people there, so you may want to give that a go. Or just...get another cat? Crazy cat ladies 4 lyfe. If you get enough of them you might get to be on Animal Hoarders, which is basically Intervention.

I should totally start writing advice columns again, right??!! don't hate.

Porn Peddler

@artificial owl Dude...back up off LW1. I think a woman having a mental block about giving blowjobs is a little different than a douchey dudebro who won't go down on a chick during a one night stand. yikes. KEEPING SCORE DURING SEX: IT'S USUALLY NOT GOOD.


@artificial owl Seriously? She has to give a blow job? That's bullshit. If she's genuinely uncomfortable with it, why should she? If that's a dealbreaker for the marriage, then it was a terrible marriage to begin with. If the husband likes going down on her, that's his choice. If he's only doing it in hopes of getting some in return, then he's free to stop.


About the tone and content of this advice column in general: Meh.

As a reader, some of what I get out of Hairpin advice columns is seeing someone else's perspective or experience. It doesn't have to be "perfect" advice; it just has to be another person's thoughtful response, because I enjoy seeing the thinking that's gone into it. It's like a little window into someone else's life, and into their ways of coping with various issues. If some care has gone into crafting a reply with some substance to it, then I feel invited to think along with the columnist. I find myself reflecting on the issue in more depth, reflecting on on my own response to the issue, or caring to see what the other Hairpin readers write in the comments.

This reads more like the columnists were more interested in bantering with each other than engaging with the letters. That's fine if I want banter, but I don't read these columns primarily for banter. I read them because of the stuckness, the yearning, the sweetness, the fear, the befuddlement, the variety, the existential difficulty of life. Because relationships are hard - and at the same time they matter. Because sometimes it's like Irvin D. Yalom wrote (and I paraphrase): we are like little boats bobbing around at sea, lost at night. But as we gaze out across the waves, we can see the lights of other boats, also tossing about on the same vast ocean. And even if we're each in our separate boats, that tells us that we're not alone.

It's possible to banter about everything, and skip along the surfaces of difficulty, pain, stuckness. Sometimes it's healthy to do that. But it's usually also more challenging to make a heartfelt, soulful response which requires more feeling, more thought, more care.

Advice - well, yeah, people will take it or leave it. But caring, and thought and some sense that their struggles are seen, even from a vast distance away - that can transcend any fundamentally "imperfect" advice, you know?


LW 1: You don't have to do anything you don't want to do in bed. If you feel like you have to put out in some way, I think that can create a mental block that makes it harder to relax and experiment and see what you dig, and what your partner digs. If you know that you don't have to do something, then I think that gives you a real choice, which can include being generous or curious enough to try something new, as much as it can include saying: "No. I really don't want to do that."

There are things I definitely won't do in bed, and because my partner respects that and doesn't pressure me, I feel free to experiment in other ways to see what is pleasurable for both of us.

So if you can, let yourself off that hook. This is about the process of messing around in bed, and not about achieving a fixed result. Messing around allows for creativity and adjusting to BOTH your needs, rather than needing to feel as if you have to deliver a particular technique in a particular way.

As part of that, you will have preferences about how you try things. If he's sweaty downstairs, his skin might taste more salty than usual. So yeah, I echo the other comments about trying it in the shower if you want to. Also, don't be afraid to mix things up: a blow job can involve using hands too, licking lightly, sucking more robustly, making swirling or strumming motions with your tongue, using just the tip of your tongue and flicking, using just your lips, going slow - whatever. It doesn't have to be deep throating, or full on swallowing. Break the exploration down into smaller, less intimidating things to try, if it feels like it's too full on at first. Eg: you could try just gently applying suction, or licking with the tip of your tongue to small areas on the underside of his penis. See if there are any spots which are more sensitive than others. What happens if you lick a sensitive spot and tickle his balls at the same time with your fingers? What happens if you swirl your tongue over a sensitive spot, while wrapping your hand around the bulb of his dick and giving gentle, pulsing squeezes.

What I've found is that sometimes by messing around, I accidentally create a sensation for the boyfriend WHICH HE HAS NEVER HAD BEFORE. I mean, not even when getting busy with himself. His reaction of surprise and delight can be super exciting. So much so that sometimes I start giggling, I feel really powerful about turning him on, and I just want to keep on seeing what makes his eyes roll back in his head, or whatever.

So don't be afraid to start with a small exploration. And if both of you stay open to messing around, that is the best, because again, it is not (or should not be) about pressure to do something in particular. It is about seeing what you can do together which is fun enough for BOTH of you.

dj pomegranate

@antilamentation THIS is great advice. Thumbs up to this advice.


@dj pomegranate Thanks!


LW 4: It seems fine to me to not want to spend all your free time with your boyfriend's mom. I echo the other comments about saying: "I'm afraid I have other plans for that date", as well as suggesting an activity/time that works better for you. Perhaps also break things up by saying something like: "Carol [or whatever boyfriend's mom's name is], you know what? I miss you, me and Joe [or whatever boyfriend's name is], spending time together, all three of us. How about I pick out an activity we can all do together, and then I'll co-ordinate dates, and let's see if we can plan an outing?"

That gives you another option to break things up by having boyfriend join your outings too, and also, having to find a date that works for 3 people is usually harder than one that works for 2. So you can always fob her off a bit by saying: "I'm afraid I can't make this Tuesday; I've got prior plans. But I've talked to Joe about our going out for coffee and a trip to the bookstore, and I think we can make the third Saturday afternoon this month. I have something else going on in the evening, so we'll have to be off by 4 pm at the latest, but I'm really looking forward to that if you can make it too?"

Something like that, where you keep the ball more firmly in your court, and include boyfriend as a buffer.


LW 5: Don't give up on yourself. Sometimes it takes being stubborn and scheduling in a lot of activities where you can meet new people, or taking online dating seriously, or finding a speed dating evening near you, or asking your friends to help set you up, etc.

Basically, if you make it a priority to meet more people and date more people, odds are better you'll find someone who wants the same things you do (eg: longterm relationship.)

I had an epiphany a while ago, with the help of friends, that if I put even a fraction of the effort into finding people to date, that I habitually put into work and other activities, then I would definitely meet someone sooner or later. Because I can be incredibly stubborn about work, or learning something new. I was just giving up more easily on myself when it came to the idea of a new relationship. I needed to see dating as a priority, and think logistically about how I could make space in my life for searching for someone new.

Plus I wouldn't write off your previous relationships just because they weren't long term. You can use those as experiences which tell you what you do and don't prefer, and which help you refine what you're looking for now. So for instance, you might want someone with Tom's lively sense of humor, but more reliable than he was. Maybe Jeff taught you that you prefer a laid back guy, but not so laid back that you end up staying home every evening instead of going out on the town. Whatever. See it as information you've acquired, through experience, and that points the way to a clearer sense of your own preferences. That will help you in your search, and also may help you not be so down on yourself in terms of what you've done or learned through the experiences you've already given yourself.

Good luck!


I've always thought of "Les Miz" as super Catholic and here is why. (By the way, I'm a fan of the book over the musical, but it comes to the same point.) Jean Valjean "sins" (steals the bread) but instead of asking for forgiveness (confession), he goes to jail, tries to escape, more punishment, finally "freed." Except he's still not "clean"; he's an ex-con and can't get a break. He steals again, but gets forgiven, and yet, he still won't "confess" his original sin. He does dedicate his life to God, as the Bishop asks him to.

Years and years of trying to be a good guy still won't do away with his original sin. He is hunted by Javert, he has to go into hiding (even after rescuing an orphan, because good deeds alone are not enough.) JVJ tries so hard his entire life: he builds a factory, he rescues people, he helps soldiers, he forgives Javert, and all of that isn't enough: even Cosette leaves him, and he is alone.

BUT, in the end, he writes his confession. He comes clean and asks for forgiveness. And that's the magic bullet: Cosette comes back and he's welcomed into heaven.

Now, if that isn't Catholic, I don't know what is.

@ama I've always thought of it as social commentary on corruption and the ethics of imprisonment, but the joy of great literature (and stories and shows and movies) is that it's about all of those things.

Jonas Silva

php I don't think that means that any of us are terrible.


I was... kind of not into this? Maybe it is because I too, like others have confessed, am a person in my 20s. But mainly, I think two advice-givers changed the dynamic of the piece -- it felt less like, "I have read your question and am providing my opinion, even if it is informed by my own life and therefore not applicable to your situation" and more "haha! we are showing off for each other! let us be kind of unnecessarily harsh to show that we also are funny!" which... is probably not the kind of advice these letter writers were seeking?


@lebvs Yeah. This dynamic shows up on The Awl columns sometimes, and I rarely like it there, either, because I think conversational jokes are kind of hard to make funny for a third-party reader, and because it turns into not saying anything real about the movie/political thing/whatever they're commenting on to begin with. Doing that to actual people writing in for advice is just...rude. If I was one of the LW's I'd feel like I'd been made fun of and I'd feel shitty about ever having written to the internet for personal advice in the first place.


@itiresias exactly!


@itiresias Yep, this made me angry on the LW's behalf. Behalves? Ugh.


Maybe it's because I'm on my period and there fore a hateful bitch right now (ha, no really, all the time), but I liked this! And I wouldn't date LW5, either. Girrl, I bet you're rad and wrote that in a low moment, but desperation does not attractive make. Masturbate more. Go to the bouldering gym*. Bake a bunch of cookies. Get a new haircut. Treat yo bad self. Make a "No Boys Allowed" sign for your apartment, hang with ironic detachment.

I know everybody's trying to cheer you up with, "Well, you don't have a bf because you have standards," but there are lots of ladies who have standards and also dudes. Meeting someone you like and want to hang with, who also likes and wants to hang with you, is just random chance. Everything works/nothing works/all dharmas are empty/use the force.

*The bouldering gym is a banging singles scene, and climbing dudes are ridiculously hot. Take your lady friends and ogle away! Plus, learning to climb is super fun.


@babs whenever i go into outdoor stores the dudes who work there are RIDICULOUS HOT. like REI, north face, ETC. mmm, beards.


@LeafySeaDragon in high school i just used to assume i'd eventually move to vermont because of the outdoorsy bearded men there.

in other news, my boyfriend has been slowly gravitating towards this appearance, and it's the best. when i met him 5 years ago he was really into graphic tees, and recently he woke up and put on an earth toned waffle knit thermal shirt and has like a 2 inch beard, and i told him he finally looked like my "type".


@babs but like, i think the advice you just gave is already so much better than the advice they gave her -- you're probably awesome, maybe whine less, do some things to get out of your comfort zone, etc. etc.


Okay. So since this Dude and Lady are busy giving letter-writers the brush-off, I'll chime in with my two cents.

LW1: If you never feel comfortable with it, that's fine! You're husband seems pretty chill about it, so don't worry. But if you do want to try it, there's loads of good advice above. Just take things slowly and do whatever feels right.
Also, Dude and Lady, your advice here was not cool. There are those of us, religious or not, that choose to wait until marriage, and that's our business. Obviously we feel there ARE some pros or we wouldn't be making that choice. So lay off. Please. Provided everyone is being safe, healthy, and considerate of their partners, can't we all just agree to not judge each other's sex lives? There was really no need to go on about how their marriage is doomed and pressure this lady into doing something sexual she might not feel comfortable with.

LW2: The uprising in Les Mis is quite like Occupy, particularly in the concerns that motivated it and the general demographics of the participants, except in Les Mis they have guns and lots of people die.
Regarding Christianity, Les Mis is rife with Christian themes, but not in a preachy way, I don't think. Rather it venerates the core values of Christianity, namely understanding that not everyone in the world has a fair deal and one of the best things we can do is to offer those people a compassionate hand and work toward changing our social system into one that gives more people a chance at a good life. The message is all summed up in that one line just before the end: "To love another person is to see the face of God." If you read the book, you will find that Hugo disliked many aspects of religious organizations, but he was himself religious and felt strongly that people should just try to be genuinely considerate of one another.
I can't say I've especially noticed Hugh Jackman's tongue, but he's quite nice looking in other ways, so it wouldn't surprise me for him to have a nice looking tongue as well.
See it again if you want. It was a good movie (even if the camera work was occasionally nutty). I saw it twice.
Yes, you should buy it. Because if you're thinking this much about it, you'll probably want to watch it again several times in your life, right?
Should you reshoot it, shot-for-shot, in your living room? I mean, if you want, I guess, but good luck finding a satisfactory cast. And again, the nutty camera work. Don't recreate that part.
You should also go see the live stage version if you haven't before. The movie was a pretty admirable attempt at translating it to film, but there are several parts that just look better with a full stage view (the song "One Day More," for instance). You should also try to read the book if you have the determination required to finish it. Hugo's writing will give you even more food for thought on a variety of subjects (but I warn you--he takes MANY long tangents while telling his tale).

LW3: Well that's frustrating, I'm sure, but there's not a lot you can do. My general policy with that kind of situation is that if your friends ask for your opinion or advice, you should give it to them (honestly but kindly) but realize that there is a good chance they won't follow it. Otherwise, just stay out of it and be generally loving of them as you're able to.

LW4: I actually don't really have anything to say for this one. I've just never been in that situation and I can't think of any of my friends who have either. :/

LW5: Well, sure, if you're willing to date an addict, an abuser, or various other incarnations of sub-par boyfriend, then you, too, could be dating somebody, just like those people on Intervention! But you probably don't really want that (you don't, do you?). Just remember, being in a relationship isn't everything. Being with someone who's actually good to be with is kind of a crucial detail. If you don't know anyone who fits the bill, your only options are to content yourself with being an awesome single lady (which, come on, is really not so bad) or else take the first guy who will have you regardless of whether he's good for you to be with (which IS kind of bad).


Ya know, if you actually gave a crap about promoting a healthy attitude toward sex, you wouldn't completely dismiss a lady who is trying to deal with a huge sexual stumbling block just because she has different values from you. If you truly believe it's not okay to tell someone they have to do some sex act they aren't uncomfortable with, it shouldn't make a difference what that person's value system or experience is. Since WHEN does marriage require sex acts that make someone feel uncomfortable? If you don't want to do advice columns anymore, just stop the advice columns.

So many people talk about religious people treating other people like shit for their sexual choices. Why the hell is it okay for you to do it to them?


LW1- i agree with the advice i've read in the comments about taking it slow. you don't need to go 0 to porno. there are many levels of blow job/hand job and you need to find your comfort level. and i honestly think the statistics of women who swallow are way lower than the internet would like us to think.

and to get tmi for a minute - if my guy has not been keeping his undercarriage trimmed (not shaved, just a couresty trim) my face is going no where near it. pubic hair is a sponge and it soaks up stink. maybe it's not his actual penis that is putting you off. just putting that out there.


Wow. Just wow. The response to LW1 made me so crazy angry I couldn't even read the rest of the column. There's advice that I disagree with, and then there's advice I think is a disgusting thing to tell another person, and this falls into the latter category.

Let me break it down for you, Dude and Lady (mostly a Lady, since these are quotes from her):

"She has to give him a blow job, obviously, right?"

1. She doesn't "have" to give anybody a blowjob, including her husband. She doesn't "have" to do anything sexually she doesn't want to do. There is this thing called "consent". "Consent" means that you get to choose what sex things you do based on whether or not you want to do them. "Consent" has nothing to do with society's expectations of what you will do in a certain relationship context.

"sometimes you accidentally marry someone who thinks dicks are gross"

2. LWI never said she thinks dicks are gross. For all we know, she's quite enjoying her sex life with her husband, she hasn't said anything negative other than that she's having difficulty with the idea of blowjobs. You're stereotyping her because she didn't have sex before marriage, because she's religious and because she thinks that blowjobs sound gross. Just a thought: maybe she likes peen (she did marry a dude, after all) but the thought of beejs is squicking her out a little? Maybe those two states of mind can coexist?

"I think this marriage can be saved."

What the fucking fuck, seriously. What makes you think this marriage is on the rocks? There's nothing in LW1s relationship to suggest it's a major issue. Her partner seems understanding and doesn't want her to do anything she is uncomfortable with. All there is is your own assumption that blowjobs are an essential part of a married heterosexual relationship. Allow me to deliver unto you an earth-shattering revelation: not every dude and lady needs to do the same things in bed as every other dude and lady. For you it might be a beej or a divorce, for these two it may not be a dealbreaker.

Seriously, Hairpin, I would love to know why you thought this article was fit to publish. I honestly think it's an irresponsible way to respond to someone who is earnestly asking for help as they explore their sexuality.


@rougemarie I really wish I could thumbs-up this about 400 more times.


Late to the game, but I felt like posting anyway with probably TMI for the internet. I am dating a dude who didn't like getting blowjobs before our relationship. He says he felt like it was always something the girl felt like she "had" to be doing, and that she never seemed to enjoy it anyway, so he couldn't mentally separate himself from that enough to really enjoy it. He, however, genuinely enjoyed giving head to girls, so that was the dynamic in all of his previous relationships.
Before I dated him, I never loved giving head, but I never hated it either. I just felt like it was a "treat" that dudes would only get if they'd been like, particularly nice lately. And when I did do it (which never went as planned, and wasn't so much "you get a present now" as it was "i always forget that i like dick") I would pretty much NEVER let them cum in my mouth, but rather give head for a while and then get on top. However, I was also always in pretty unhealthy, unbalanced relationships where I was giving more than I was receiving all the time outside of the bedroom, so I liked reserving blowjobs and forcing dudes to give me head all the time because I liked the feeling of power.
Now that we are together, we are super open with and supportive of each other and it's great. And I love going down on him, for a multitude of reasons. First, I love his dick. It's beautiful, it (on its own) turns me on more than anything in the world, and I just want to be nice to it. Sometimes it doesn't smell that great down there and that can be kind of gross, but I feel like I would despise everything about sex if I couldn't put all feelings of gross-ness and objective thought completely out the window. Since he sees how much I enjoy doing that to him, he's able to relax and enjoy it, and I love how happy and good that makes him feel. Also, talk about feeling sexually powerful when I'm the reason he's able to feel that way.
I'm the first girl he's been able to finish during a blowjob with, and that's fucking sweet too, but I still don't like doing that most of the time because it takes a lot of effort and I like having sex too much. And that's okay between us, and it makes for a great dynamic. I have never done anything but swallow - I think not doing so would be a mark of me not really liking what I was doing in the first place. It certainly doesn't taste good - I think it's like a combo of Coke, dish soap, and maybe bleach too, and the aftertaste stays around fucking forever - but...dude, whatever. I also think it would be plain awkward to spit it out, plus it would be sitting in my mouth for way longer as I fumble for a tissue or something. That has never made sense to me.

End dick rant. Morals of the story are (1) do what you want to do, but make sure you're enjoying whatever that is, because otherwise it's bad for everyone. (2) just think of his dick as a part of him, this person that you're so attracted to you want to hump, and want to do things to in order to make him feel good. if you don't feel like you want to give him those feelings, there is a wayyy bigger issue than just blow-j's. (3) just don't finish if you don't feel like it, he'll appreciate it anyway - possibly more, if it makes you happier.


@itiresias The line about the dick being part of him... yes! My instinct is to think of them as odd, hidden, mysterious objects, since they're so hidden in everyday life (you usually don't even see the outline, thanks to clothing norms) and because I pretty much never saw one until I was 19. But they're everywhere and your guy has had one forever (usually) and it's just part of his body that he deals with every day.

Everything else you said was good too.


LW5, I have been there before. In the deepest darkest parts of my singledom I would look at other couples and I would go, "Ugh, I am [subjectively better than that person according to my own personal biases and judgments], how come THEY have someone and I do not?"

What you have to remember is that for that person, the standards and biases and judgments are not your own. They are with that person because they want to be with that person (I mean, of course there are plenty of exceptions to be brought up, but let's just go with "this is your run-of-the-mill relationship" for the sake of example). YOU would not date either one of those people, would you? I know it's pretty much ingrained in us from birth to compare ourselves to each other, but it's never healthy. Do what works for you and don't worry about what works for others.

Like was suggested above in a few different threads, just figure out what you want, and then do your best to find it. I mean, clearly there are things you see in those people on Intervention that you don't want -- start there. Build up your list of wants and needs and then stick to it. It's hard to find people, especially once you're outside of academia and you aren't forced to see the same people every damn day for the whole of your life (I mean, unless you wanna date a coworker, which is a whole new can o' worms). So you have to make the effort. Which is hard and scary, and as an introvert myself, I can tell you that was my hardest obstacle. I ended up finding my husband through a mutual friend. Which you can do! Recruit your friends! See if they know people you may like! And of course, you have to prepare yourself for the inevitable mismatches. It's just part of the deal.

Good luck, LW. And hopefully you find what you need in the comments here, because clearly these guys weren't feeling up to giving you and your fellow LWs any real effort this time around.


This was by far the worst advice column I've seen on the Hairpin. Please never attempt this "he said/she said" thing again as it is both unhelpful and unfunny. And truly abominable advice to LW1. I hope she doesn't read it.


I feel like in their hurry to diss this totally terrible advice, a lot of the commenters maybe took it a little too far, to an unhelpful place specifically with LW1. I totally hated the snarky and dismissive attitude and just about everything about this advice, but re: the beej issue I had no problem with the "she has to give him a blow job right?" response. Cuz it's not like, she HAS to because that's a wife's role or because patriarchy or whatever, but because she never has before and she'll most likely end up enjoying or at least not minding it too much! It's totally natural to feel freaked out about it, but it would be terrible to write off a potential source of great marital bliss and fun without at least giving it some honest experimentation. Personally I really enjoy giving head and I feel like learning to love it coincided with discovering and embracing my sexual identity. When I'm in the right mood, I find it helps me to turn off the thinky part of my brain and sort of get lost in the intimacy, and then I find myself letting go of inhibitions and getting creative, which gets us both way more turned on. So I just feel like everyone that's treating it like such a Thing that she should not be Forced into doing is just building up the scariness of this act whereas what would be more helpful is to realize that it's not really that big of a deal, and some people like it and some people don't. (If you try it a couple of times and you really, really don't like it, then don't do it, of course!)

Everyone else's advice about how to actually approach getting over the mental block is great, try all of it! The only other thing I'll add is some advice I gave to a friend of mine who in one of her relationships had a big hang-up about giving head (not with anyone else she'd slept with before or since, it had to do specifically with this guy's endowment/judgey attitude). I suggested that she try putting on some music first. It gives you something else to focus on, can help set the mood, and having a rhythm to move to sort of provides some direction if you're not really sure what to do. And also don't be afraid of awkwardness!! It sounds like your husband is really nice and supportive and even if there's some accidental biting or gagging or something else that seems embarrassing, if you guys can laugh about it together it'll make the whole thing go so much easier. Some of the best sex I have with my dude gets interrupted by giggle fits after an ill-timed queef or fart or something. Sex and most sexual acts are inherently sort of gross-- just embrace it! Have fun! Don't take it too seriously! Good luck!


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