Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
By The Bad Advisor
“I have a special woman in my life. We’ve been going out for five months now, but a few nights ago we had a misunderstanding because she was chatting with her ex-girlfriend. The day after our misunderstanding I texted her, as usual, to say ‘Good morning’ and ‘I love you.’ She didn’t respond. I knew she was mad at me and she tweeted about it, saying that I shouldn’t have confronted her the way I did. I let the day pass without contacting her further because I knew that she would not respond to my texts.
When I opened her account the following day, I saw that I was blocked from her social media accounts. She even changed her profile photo on Twitter (we were both using the same profile photo). I tried contacting her through phone calls and texts, but she had blocked me. I asked my friends to call her, but she also blocked them! I tried calling her from another number, but she blocked that, too!
What should I do? Should I fix this by visiting her — or should I give up, thinking that she doesn’t want me anymore?”
—From “Shattered” via “Ask Amy,” 17 July 2017
Ah, women — the mysterious sex. So coy. So difficult to read. Notorious mistresses of mixed signals, women love to playfully toy with their paramours, teasing and vexing them with their coquettish ways. Who can say what this flirtatious minx means by blocking you from being able to telephone her, blocking you from being able to text her, blocking you from being able to tweet at her, blocking your friends from being able to telephone her, blocking your friends from being able to text her, blocking your friends from being able to tweet at her, blocking alternate numbers from which you might attempt to contact her, and specifically rejecting the photograph that had once been a symbol of your relationship. This saucy little vixen is playing her cards close to her heaving bosom, indeed! The only way to find out whether she still longs for your company is to see if you can’t read those cards in person — but look out! It’s possible one of them could be a confusing restraining order, which could mean anything.
Please bear with me as I try to give some context for what is going to sound very unpleasant. I am a reasonably attractive woman in her early 30s. I have a long-term, doting partner and we are extremely happy in our relationship. I am part of a female friendship group that would typically be considered very attractive, slim, and fit. Most of us have long-term partners and when we go out, most of us are never short of propositions from male suitors.
My problem is this: I have two friends who would not be described as conventionally attractive. They are both longing for a partner and a family, and as we all get farther into our 30s, this is becoming increasingly problematic.
All I want for them is to be happy, and it’s making me so sad to see such wonderful people being constantly rejected and humiliated in the dating scene. It also seems particularly unfair to me that so many of our mutual friends are objectively beautiful women and receive what is almost an embarrassing amount of attention from men. The comparison is drawn, and it’s obvious what the problem is for these two lovely friends.
I have done my best to listen and be empathetic, I encourage them to find hobbies and ways to meet men outside of our social circle, but they are both at a point now where I would say that they are suffering from some level of depression. I am constantly begging them to seek the help of a therapist so that they can learn to love themselves despite the fact that much of male society thinks they are not worth loving, but they ask me what use that could possibly be when what they truly want is a partner and a family. I’m stuck. I’ve repeated the same encouragement so many times that I have nothing left to say.
I am widely considered to be an honest friend, sometimes even brutally so. I want to support my friends through the difficulty of what they are experiencing but I often find myself saying something flippant in order to avoid the reality of the situation. I want to know how I can help these two loving, worthwhile women. I am tired of seeing them suffer and want to help them to help themselves. I hope I don’t sound heartless when I say they are not ‘pretty’ but I think their success rate in the dating world speaks for itself — they often can’t get past a first date. Please help me!”
— From “Desperate to Help” via “What Your Therapist Really Thinks,” New York Magazine, 6 October 2017
Dear Desperate to Help,
Oh my god, you are so pretty. Like, very pretty. What a pleasure you are to look at! How sad it must be for you to have ugly women in your life. That must really suck for them, to be so ugly when you are so pretty. I mean, you are very good looking and your friends — oh gosh, it’s awful, but they sure are not. It’s too bad that only very hot people ever have sex or get married. That’s really a terrible fate for your poor ugly friends to have to suffer! How awful for them that they are not objectively attractive, like you. Precious little dear hearts! At least they’re trying! I mean, that’s something, isn’t it? That they haven’t just run off a cliff or whatever it is ugly people do when they can’t stand being alone any more because no ugly person on earth has ever had a mutually fulfilling relationship with another human? Do let them know that they are physically repulsive — the shocking blow will be softened, at least, coming from your cherubic face. What a sweet, thoughtful, incredibly physically appealing person you are. You are just so pretty. Thank you for being you — so attractive, so slim and so fit, traits which you can count on retaining until you die and hordes of hungry maggots descend into your grave to destroy your gorgeous face and phenomenal body.
“I’m a professor at a small liberal arts college. During a very tempestuous four-year relationship with a scientist, I had sex with his colleague, and he retaliated by having sex with my best friend, so we broke up. Only problem is he’s now getting married, and we’re still talking on the phone constantly and having sex. We’ll probably continue to have sex after he’s married, because my trouble is that I love him, and I know he loves me. Do I call it quits or try to stop the wedding? Am I the right woman or the other woman?”
—From “ Warped by Love” via “Ask E. Jean,” Elle, 6 October 2017
Dear Warped by Love,
What a pickle your helpless, conflicted lover is in! He undoubtedly would be marrying you, the woman he loves, except that he’s all tied up with this whole “getting married to another woman entirely” thing. If only there were some mechanism by which he could end his relationship with the woman he is marrying and instead see you, the woman he actually loves, instead of the woman he does not love but is marrying, exclusively. You are generous to offer to stop the awful, unavoidable nuptials from which this dear, sweet man cannot possibly extricate himself by the force of his own free will, which he would totally do if he could, because you, the woman he could 100% marry if he wanted to do it, are definitely his one and only, except for the woman he must marry who is not you. This is what true love looks like: publicly committing your life and heart to one person, as witnessed by your nearest and dearest loved ones and family members, while secretly fucking another person because you care so deeply about them and want them to be healthy and happy.