Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“Because of circumstances beyond my control, fate, and bad timing, I am underemployed and having to use the local food bank to help supplement my family’s grocery needs. I only go once a month and only take what we can use. While having to deal with my own embarrassment and shame, I find myself resentful of the other people there.
I get extremely angry when noticing people with expensive accessories and clothes vying for a limited number of resources, when I have had to sell pretty much everything I own just to stay in my apartment and keep my daughter in clothes and shoes. How can they justify coming for free food or other amenities while still owning an iPad, $500 purse, and more jewelry than Mr. T?
I am trying to contain my jealousy and downright envy, but it is difficult.
How can I avail myself of features that I need and still be civil? This is eating at me. I feel so guilty judging the others that I get nauseated when it is time for my trip. This is not me and I do not know where this attitude is coming from.”
— Via “Dear Prudence,” Slate, 15 August 2017
There are two kinds of poor people: You, a good poor person who is experiencing poverty for reasons that only good people experience poverty, and the gaudily outfitted charlatans at the food pantry who have the bad kind of poorness that bad people who wear jewelry get. You are the only person on earth who has ever needed to use a food bank because of circumstances beyond your control, fate, and bad timing. Everybody else is at the food bank because they are foolish squanderers made of greed and avarice and personally derive joy from stealing food from your children. It’s not out of the bounds of reason to consider the fact that the entire food bank itself might have been constructed by people with nice purses specifically to troll you.
You can tell everything you need to know about another person’s entire financial situation by evaluating the accessories they wear, none of which could have been gifted, obtained secondhand, or purchased affordably as well-crafted imitations. It definitely does not behoove the bougie-butt kings of American heteropatriarchal capitalism to have the lowest-income people fighting each other over low-sodium cream of chicken soup instead of mutually supporting each other in an effort to dismantle the classist sociological strata that oppresses all but the richest among us, so it’s more likely that you’re the only person at the food bank who isn’t 100000% buck wild over the whole situation. What a wacky universe we would live in if this were just a super fucked-up culture that made people feel miserably ashamed of poverty and incentivized judgmental competition over basic necessities, instead of this just being another case of You vs. The Bad Poors.
“My wife has a diminishing sex drive and now continually making excuses as to why it is not a good time to be intimate. I am 69 and she is 61. She had breast cancer six years ago and this precludes her taking medication that may help. Do you have any advice — other than my taking on a discreet lover?”
— Via “Sexual Healing,” The Guardian, 31 July 2017
The last thing you want to do is have a series of honest conversations with your wife about her sexual needs, your sexual needs, and how or whether you can mutually satisfy your disparate sexual needs as two respectful partners who wish for the other to experience their twilight years with joy and comfort. No indeed, taking a discreet lover is your only and best option. Nothing could be wiser or more necessary. A discreet lover is the sole solution to your problem. It’s not just a good idea, it’s imperative that you obtain a discreet lover instead of doing literally anything else.
“I’ve been dating this certain girl for eight months, and all of sudden she has gotten to where she now wants to hold hands in public. She is 22 and I am 24. Isn’t holding hands in public a little juvenile?”
— Via “Ask Willie D.,” Houston Press, 10 August 2017
Dear Holding Hands,
You’re young, so you may not know this yet: Women, who tend to be very childlike and frivolous, are prone to escalating relationships, often pressuring men to make extreme commitments before they’re ready. Holding hands in public after eight months of dating really puts you on the spot; it’s a lot to ask of a young man who’s just hoping to play the field and have a little fun before settling down into something more serious. Regardless, displays of affection have objective meanings on a universal scale of maturity understood and agreed upon by everyone, it seems, except for your girlfriend. Tell this young lady in no uncertain terms that you do not want to look like some kind of silly baby man by holding her hand at the mall; instead, settle down at the food court with your financial portfolio and spend a few responsible hours diversifying your investments together like the grown-ass adults you are.