Many moons ago I was a writer for a lifestyle and culture website giving out love advice. Women would send me their tear-jerking letters and in the beginning, I would tell them what any sane, cold robotic genius standing safely within her ivory tower would say: THE TRUTH. The cold, hard truth. This made me very unpopular and soon I learned that you can’t tell desperate women the truth or give good advice and keep your job. What these desperate women wanted was license to make bad choices.
Week after week, I gave them the free passes they wanted. I justified this to myself by figuring that the type of woman writing an advice column probably already knows what she should do. I figured, Donna isn’t walking away from Allen because I was the one voice that told her he is never leaving his wife. Yoojin isn’t going to say “enough is enough” because some genius on the internet said that Hayden is an egotistical narcissist who will definitely cheat on her again.
My mother summed up this type of “advice column” best as we walked through the self-help section of the bookstore. “All these books about how to leave your alcoholic husband. Someone needs to write a book about how to stay with your alcoholic husband. That would sell millions!”
I never made millions, but I made enough. Here are a couple of examples of the kind of letter I’d get back in those days, along with the response these women seemed to want.
I’ll leave her in the morning
My boyfriend of 8 months comes to New York for work every couple of weeks. What started as a fun romance is really steaming up. After months of his work putting him up in a company apartment, we are talking about getting a place together. I don’t make anywhere near as much money as him but this doesn’t seem to bother him as he wants to “take care of me.” Sounds good right? Well, that was great until I found out he is married and has a family in Pittsburgh! I am really confused and upset. He tells me I am the one and that he met his wife a really long time ago before he knew what he wanted. Their marriage isn’t working. They are practically divorced, but together for the kids. Do I go forward with our plan to live together? Should I trust him that a divorce is inevitable?
Hoping You Tell Me Yes, Go Forward With This.
Dear Hoping You Tell Me Yes,
Yes. Go forward with this. He clearly loves you very much and there are no red flags that point to him cheating ever again. You’re the one!!
It’s all for the art
I started dating Eric in the fall of last year. We met in Williamsburg at his band’s gig. For most of our relationship his band has been in the studio recording. The studio was costing so much that I helped him with his rent one month and bought him beers because I knew that this was his dream and what’s a PBR every once in awhile? When the album came out they started playing shows again. The first show, Eric never left my side but by the 3rd and 4th shows he was ignoring me, talking to other women and being really flirtatious. When I called him out on this, he explained that it’s bad news for the girl fans to see him with a girl. He even asked me not to come to their next gig. He explained that part of the “band life” is networking with the fans. He explained that those girls don’t mean anything to him, but I have heard rumors from friends that he hooked up with one after their last show. Am I being a crazy jealous girlfriend? Is this really the cultural norm?
Am I Being Jealous and Crazy? I am aren’t I.
Dear Jealous and Crazy,
He’s right! It is a cultural norm all woman have to submit to. This also applies to artists, comedians, actors and writers. Would you ask a hawk not to hunt? Also, be careful. Another hot girl might steal him away, so keep him plastered with plenty of PBRs and heck, let him move in with you rent free! It’s for the art and that art is bigger than you.
You get the idea.
Okay, real talk time.
I may have led these women astray with my general disregard for what they really needed to hear, but no more. Oh god, I see all the “likes” being clearly clicked to “unlike.” There goes all the money, the fame, THE BOOK DEAL!
Time for all the advice I wish I could have shouted into the ears of countless emailing ladies.
DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE!!!
NEVER put yourself in a situation where you have no control of the money and the apartment. People in New York stay in terrible dysfunctional relationships all the time just to stay in their apartments. This circumstance of “taking care of you” means controlling where you spend money and how you spend it. It’s code for manipulation and dominance.
A Cheater cheats, a User uses.
No joke, I once had a coworker who was bragging about this hot date with another woman at break. Then he started talking trash about his girlfriend who was acting “crazy jealous” and causing “ridiculous fights.” When I pointed out that he was in fact cheating on her and that her jealousy was validated he responded “Yeah, but she doesn’t know that I’m seeing someone else. That’s why it’s ridiculous!” No logic, all narcissism.
Good looking men know how to manipulate as well as hot women when it comes to gold digging. He will take whatever freebies you are giving. Putting money and time into this kind of guy is like putting money into one of those CLAW games at Dave and Busters. It’s rigged. You will almost see a payoff and then – danggit! – the stuffed bear will fall short of the shoot. And when you get fed up and leave, another sucker will be lined up waiting with her tokens. He. Knows. This.
SAVE THE SAVING to BETTY FORD
You are not a licensed professional. Do not attempt to save him. You can plan an intervention, drive him to rehab to get signed up, hold his hand through the detox process or you can leave him. These are the breaks. There is no cure for alcoholism that simple listening and ultimatums can cure. If you cannot convince him to seek help, then you have to quit him.
So there is a healthy collection of my good advice thrown out the window like ticker tape in Times Square. But that’s fine, guys. Oh and by the way, does anyone know of a cheap apartment in Queens? I’m trying to get my boyfriend of 5 years to move out his parent’s place and finally commit to us being a real thing. PM me if you got a lead!