Humans crave repetition. It’s why we have three Transformers movies and a questionable Ghostbusters remake in our universe. With that in mind, I’m committing to making Sundays on my blog an advice column. This is the second week; questions were gathered from a relatively small pool, my Facebook friends.
If you like what you read here and want to contribute questions, the easiest way is to leave them on my Facebook feed or submit via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do we pursue romantic partnerships now that we’ve evolved past the basic need to?
The short answer to your question is “children.” If you have to be stuck with someone for 18 years, being romantically involved with them makes things a bit smoother for the long haul. Humans are basically monkeys and most monkeys have the desire to rub their dirty parts against other monkeys. It’s a weird design that opens you up to all kinds of difficulties, relationships were invented to keep you from getting too wild.
There are some new arrangements emerging from the cultural fringes, like polyamorous families, but they’re basically just differently arranged romantic relationships. I have a few friends who were raised on a commune by people involved in four-way marriages and they seem ok.
If kids aren’t in the picture (and you know they never will be) then there are fewer reasons to have a romantic partner. If you want to dispense with another person all together, then you had better start learning to care for cats, and lots of them. If you want to be an eternal playboy or playgirl, you’re going to need to take care of yourself and have enough money to attract mates when your body stops responding to exercise.
It’s important to note, even the grand champion of doing whatever he wants, George Clooney, has thrown in the towel and chosen a mate. It seems to be inevitable.
What’s up with dudes and commitment?
I think commitment issues transcend gender and are almost always related to perceived options. When people aren’t interested in committing they’re either not that into you or they think there’s at least an outside chance something better will come along.
The mistake I see a lot of people make is assuming that early passion will transition naturally into a desire for fidelity and commitment. There’s a point in every relationship where your arrangement needs some actual discussion. Do you each want kids? Where do you want to live? Are your career paths satisfactory for your financial goals? If not, do you have a plan?
This stuff seems really boring, but you should think of it this way, if you were going to go for a job that you’d have the rest of your life, that would impact every single decision you made, you wouldn’t go into it without at least some conversation, right?
An uncomfortable truth is how important physical attraction is for long-term commitment. If you’ve been dating someone for under a year and one or both of you has decided it’s time to let yourself go, the other person might be thinking, “Jesus, what the fuck will this beast look like in ten years? He gained fifteen pounds in three months of Netflix and chilling.” Clean your ass up before you start in on that rent to own talk.
If you want commitment to have a chance, don’t let yourself go, and make sure the arrangement is equitable to all parties in the short and long term. If you’ve done all that and your weak ass mate is still uncommitted, cut him or her loose. You deserve better.
Best advice to single ladies in their 20s? 30s?
For both age groups the best advice is to pursue your own interests and goals and don’t have unprotected sex. Having kids with someone you eventually end up hating is a major bummer. Also, there’s no blacker mark on a dating profile than a toddler.
You’ll naturally attract a higher quality partner if you’re out and about doing things you like. I met my wife while riding around with a gang of scooter enthusiasts. Each of us was tied into a similar culture and social group, and that proved to be a great foundation for a happy life.
In your 20s, you have a lot more options, so you can do a little more exploring. But your 20s go fast, and soon you can find yourself in your 30s with a shortage of choices. The whole culture pretends that you’ll be young forever, but it’s not true. Facial masks and juice cleanses can only do so much.
Why do so few adults fully metamorphosize into a fully engaged look overnight, when most of us did it as a teenager? Once the look was selected as a teenager, most of us thankfully abandoned it, or at least altered the severity. How was our adult one selected? So my question is, how can I become an emo, goth, grunger, basic, redneck, juggalo, metaller, promise ringer, Amish overnight? What would my peers think?
All of these cultural taxonomies you’ve identified are off the shelf youth identities. They have heavily codified dress patterns, specific aesthetics, and were largely developed by and for the young, until they calcified into something marketable. When you’re young, these can be useful identities to try on. They give you short-cuts to understanding fashion and ideologies. You can find yourself by wearing a uniform of your choosing.
These style cults let young people explore themselves safely as a group. Conforming to a form of non-conformity allows kids to step away from their families and peers without too much risk (other than ridiculous tattoos).
As you note, most adults do transition out of these youth cults into something different. Hints of these former obsessions may remain in certain forms (unstylish long hair, Doc Marten boots, clown makeup, etc.), but society has a way of blasting this stuff away with obligations that require a presentable appearance.
The last part of your question regards peers and what they may think. For the most part, drastic changes will have the scent of midlife crisis. Prepare yourself for disapproval.
It’s a first date, and we are getting drinks. Should I pay for my drinks?
You should go for your money like it’s going to be 50/50, but the man should protest your attempt and pay. If the relationship has any kind of future and he was raised well, you will escape the check.
The only reason to go Dutch (and still see each other again) is if you’re deep into third wave feminism and are out on a date with a male feminist you met on Tumblr. You should cheer for the anti-patriarchal way you divide the costs of living in a capitalist society. You’ve found your soul mate. May you live long and prosper in a totally non-binary, consensual manner that allows you each to stay committed to equality of outcome.
Home bar: what should be represented (booze + glassware)?
There are great articles in GQ about what you need in a home bar. If it’s primarily utilized to cater to your own vices, then I recommend picking up the best of whatever booze you can afford in a single category. For example, if you dig whiskey, treat yourself to something nice and grab appropriate glassware to indulge.
If you want to scale up for a party, it’s better to have fewer, better choices than a yard sale of well booze. Pick some cocktails that seem enjoyable, and maybe have a little bit of theater in their creation, and make sure you have enough of whatever glassware is needed to share with the usual number of guests you have over.
These days just about anyone can benefit from the rustic charm of a mason jar. They’re cheap, versatile, and quaint. You can pour a cosmo for your cowgirls or sip Black Label scotch with your pals in these and no one usually freaks out. You can also never go wrong with a few of those Ikea wine glasses without the stem.
How can I turn a 10,000 investment into 1 million, in one year, legally?
Your question, as framed, reminds me of a t-shirt from the popular San Francisco dive bar, The Zeitgeist. It says, “Fast, Friendly, Service. Choose two.”
I’m not sure how this could be done in a year, but I can only imagine the kind of person who could, probably wouldn’t even need the initial $10,000 investment. Some people just have the Midas touch.
If you’re willing to expand your timeline, there are a ton of vanilla investment strategies you can use. Compound interest is pretty cool if you have a long time for it to pan out. I just read a book about Warren Buffet’s investment strategy and one of his original investors put in $10k and it’s worth something like $50 million today.
If you’re comfortable with crime, then narcotics is the way to go. If you follow the 10 Crack Commandments, you can do reasonably well with a corner or small clientele.
If you don’t drink, but you’re out with friends and they want to split a check equally, what should you do?
This happens to me and my wife all the time. We don’t drink alcohol, but we did spend a long time in the service industry where people have a cavalier attitude to check splitting. We usually pay an equal amount if it’s just a drink or two. If a couple of drinks break you, you probably shouldn’t be out to dinner anyway.
If there are some real lushes present or some wine loving asshole decides it’s time to go big on a fancy bottle, we proactively look at the bill and pick out what we had, add a nice tip, more than our share of whatever apps we had, and drop the cash (non-drinkers should always have cash to make splitting faster).