Monday, September 13, 2010


Because you demanded it. As always, here is the hard-hitting, utterly insensitive guidance that the other Internet "advice" columnists are too afraid to give. WARNING: I have exactly two semesters of formal psychological training, so if you start to cry, I'll only YELL LOUDER. Let's get to it!

(In case you're just joining us, the following questions are pulled from the "Prudence" column on Slate and Cary Tennis' column on Salon.)

Dear Tough Love,

I am a middle-aged woman working as a project engineer for a construction company. I love working in this male-dominated field, but I have an issue with one older co-worker. Whenever this man wants to give me paperwork, he throws it at me, missing my inbox. I have put up with a lot of playful testing to see whether I could handle this world. Usually, after a few pranks, I've passed muster. But this guy won't stop. How can I get him to respect me and place work in my box like everyone else does?

-No Respect

TL: Are you fucking kidding me?


Dear Tough Love,

This may seem a bit trivial, but the issue keeps popping up for many of my friends and none of us know what to do! When is it OK to stop attending "life events" (weddings, baby showers, etc.) of high school friends that you are no longer close with? My late-20s girlfriends and I are struggling to be polite, but realistic.

-Not So Friendly

TL: Hey, you misanthropic asshole, I'm really sorry people keep inviting you to weddings. If you're lucky maybe your other friends will stop bothering you, too, and you can fulfill your wish of dying alone.


Dear Tough Love,

Recently, I got too drunk with my friends, came home and threw up all over my apartment. My wife had to clean it up and put me to bed. What is an appropriate gift to get back in her good graces?

TL: Great question! The message you want to send here is: "I'm an asshole, but you are amazing." In fact, this is a good message to send with any gift you are using to apologize for something. You might even want to write it on the card!

As for the best gift in order to communicate this message in this particular case, you want to start by doing some boring/unpleasant chores around the house. Clean out the closet, repaint something, clean the toilet (again). They don't have to be big things, just things she'll notice. And – and this part is important – don't tell her this is part of the apology. Just let her sense that you are demeaning yourself in order to win back her esteem. After a few days of this, it is time to hit her with the actual gift. Flowers aren't enough, and it can't be jewelry, because every time she looks at it she'll think of the time you threw up everywhere. In this case, you want to go with a facial/mani/pedi at the salon of her choice (yes, her choice, not the $9 Chinese place that is really just a brothel; and no, not that kind of facial). She'll start to associate you with beauty, and not the faint odor of vomit that can hang in the air even weeks later.

*-This question did not previously appear on any other Web site--but it is still worth answering!

Dear Tough Love, 

Recently, I stumbled upon a pill bottle in the room of my boyfriend of two years. The part of the label with the drug name had been peeled off, so I was curious and suspicious. I went on a pill-identifier Web site. He's taking Levitra in the highest dosage available. I'm a little alarmed because he's only 24, and I've never heard of someone being prescribed erectile-dysfunction drugs at such a young age. Do I have the right to be upset that he didn't tell me about his problem? Should I confront him about it? I love him and want to be supportive, and I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable. I know it's a medical problem; I just think it's something we should have talked about. What should I do?

-Supportive Girlfriend

TL: Wow, this is a situation where I feel bad for everyone involved – except the drug dealer selling your boyfriend illegal doses of Levitra. That guy rules.

Now, you've probably concluded that your boyfriend finds you fundamentally unattractive because you are/aren't Asian, but really there many possible explanations here. Let's break them down in ascending order of likelihood:

1000:1 - It's his friend's Levitra (The least likely explanation, and the one he's most likely to give)
500:1 – He's a burnt-out male gigalo, and he needs Levitra to keep working (I actually think this is the best case scenario, but by "best case" I mean "most amusing to me personally")
250:1 - He has a medical condition/allergy that makes Levitra a sexual necessity (I feel like this is the excuse that James Spader used in Sex, Lies, and Videotape)
100:1 - He left it there to see if you would poke around his medicine cabinet because he didn't think you were trustworthy, and it turns out he was absolutely right (I'm sure you "stumbled upon" his secret unmarked bottle of pills right next to the floss, right?)
50:1 - The "pill-identifier Web site" you used was unreliable and it's really just Allegra (And there are ways to be sure whether it's Levitra, but none of those ways can be discussed on a family blog)
40:1 - He only needed it with his ex-girlfriend, but never bothered to throw out the bottle (Note: Call his ex-girlfriend to find out! Note: Do not call his ex-girlfriend.)
25:1 - He only uses it for "special occassions" (Birthdays, anniversaries, national holidays… Anything worth celebrating.)
20:1 - You are not [insert physical/racial/emotional/breastal characteristic] enough for him (If it makes you feel better, I am sure you are a very [insert bland positive characteristic] lady.)
10:1 - "Hey, juggling three or four girlfriends at once takes a lot out of you!"
5:1 - He's so gay.
7:5 - Your relationship is jacked-up beyond all repair, you guys don't trust each other and he isn't attracted to you, so regardless of where those pills came from, you should probably end things.

So, by my calculations, there is 2.8% chance that this all works out!


You want TOUGH LOVE?!? Submit a question, if you DARE.


  1. Putting this blog in your backpack and taking it to the blog summit.

  2. Simply amazing...LOVE IT!

    Can't wait till the next installment.

  3. I think Tough Love has some FANTASTIC advice.