Sunday Advice Column #8

Don’t dream it, be it.

What a week. Lots of crazy shit happened that I’ll be reflecting on for some time. There are two things in the front of my mind: Prince and the question of why so many modern books and albums are so uneven. The last two books I read were both newish fiction and neither did a dam thing for me. Both had good ideas and solid writing, but very weak plots. It’s almost like the authors were ashamed to give the audience something as pedestrian as a normal story structure with satisfying resolutions.

I hadn’t thought much about the music industry’s failure to deliver complete albums until I heard Sturgill Simpon’s magnificent new album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. There isn’t really a hit on it, but it is listenable all the way through and really should be appreciated in one sitting. When you hear something so well done, you just have to wonder why more people don’t try to go that hard. I can’t imagine it’s anything more than laziness. It’s especially bad with these young rappers. They get one or two hits, get on the special appearance circuit, maybe do a few features, but never make great albums. Run the Jewels 2 is the only recent hip hop album I think works from front to back. It should be noted, those dudes are older cats and have the time in the studio to think about making something like that. The music they consumed as youth was longer, more conceptual.

Guys, this is not how Bernie supporters are supposed to behave.

With the above in mind, let me offer some unsolicited advice: stop listening to bullshit music and trash television. What you put in your head is what you’re going to get out of it. I’ve been trying to switch up the media I consume. Right now I’m consuming deep media: longer books, classic film, important albums, professional writing from PHDs and experts. I’ve turned down the regularity of TV series watching I do and cut marketing books out of my book schedule. I can already feel my thoughts changing, getting less flabby. It’s worth doing.

As an adult, I have always felt financially privileged, with a household pre-tax income of $200K. Over the last year or so, however, I have started feeling left behind financially. My financial peers seem to have more money and regularly go on expensive vacations, eat an restaurants, purchase new clothing, furniture, etc. My questions: am I deluding myself that we are financially privileged? If not, how do they pay for these everyday luxuries? Is this just a case of keeping up with the Joneses?

This is just a basic bitch case of keeping up with the Joneses. It’s actually such a fucking boring question that I might vote for Bernie Sanders just so your tax rate goes up and you get financially ass pounded by Socialism.

Trump campaign inspiration manual.

You likely have no idea what your peers’ budgets look like. They could be balls deep in debt. Maybe they prioritize conspicuous spends more than you do. Old family money might be a factor. These “everyday luxuries” are affordable at your income level, but you need to make a budget.

Your income is phenomenal and there should be no shame in that. Congratulations, you’re earning a kingly sum. Just before the industrial revolution 99.99% of the world lived on about $500 a year. Glorious capitalism revolutionized how we interact with each other, creating many profits and benefits along the way. Most people are still poor, but that’s not your fault. What is your fault is comparing yourself to other people.

You make enough money to live a killer life. Try downsizing some shit and enjoy each other more. I’d say be jealous of the vacations and such, but involve your family in some frugal practices like cooking at home and going to enjoy your city’s free services (parks, museums, etc.). Volunteer at a food bank. My boss made our team do that a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I was bummed to have to go because it was a busy work week, but it was a good thing to do.

The couple that slays together, stays together.

What do I tell my boyfriend when a former flame wants to hang out?

You shouldn’t hang out with former flames without your significant other around. It’s fucking weird. Unless you and the old flame have an unusually platonic friendship and you’re both happy in long-term, committed relationships, this is shaky ground.

If there was no danger of clandestine fornication you wouldn’t even be asking this question. Do you have to clear hanging out with your friends you haven’t slept with? Probably not.

Something to note: being curious about an old flame is totally natural and doesn’t make you a bad person in anyway. There is not one social media using human being on the planet who hasn’t looked up someone they used to get nasty with and wonder what it would be like to hit it one more time.

Does monogamy work?

For the most part, monogamy works. It’s pretty much the bedrock of our civilization and all data seems to point to monogamous relationships being the best for raising kids and navigating close communities. There are books out there like Sex at Dawn and The Ethical Slut that cover some alternative views on the subject, but I wouldn’t consider them prescriptive.

Animals. They’re just like us.

Some people confuse the failure of their own monogamous relationships with a failure of monogamy in general. This is akin to being a shitty driver and blaming cars for getting you into accidents.There are basically three alternatives to monogamy: being single, trying polyamory, and being polygamous.

Single is the one everybody has experience with. Being single is awesome because you own all of your time. There are no in-laws to visit or dinner compromises to make You don’t have to fraternize with random people from an office you don’t go to. Most people eventually get lonely and crave stability or just become exhausted worrying about STDs.

Polygamy is usually only found in religious groups. Most of the time, as in Fundamentalist Mormonism and Islam, it benefits the men and is designed to cause the best, most powerful men to pass on their genes to as many women as possible, shutting out the lesser men.

When I was in high school I had classes with this Muslim dude named Farhan and he made polygamy sound like a major pain in the booty. Each wife had to be treated completely equally in affection, time, consideration, and kindness. All I could think of at the time was my saint like dad dealing with more than one of my mom. You’d have to be a god damned super human for that crazy shit.

This dude probably slings some bomb ass dick.

Polyamory is sort of the rage in the Bay Area right now. I can only think of one couple making this work. They seem really stoked, but I couldn’t imagine rocking it like they do. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having a side fling with some morally flexible hottie, but the idea of Mrs. Lott getting down with some other dude makes me start running through revenge scenarios in my mind. I’m probably way too jealous to function that way.

Having a bunch of side-pieces seems like it would be fun, but there are tons of rules and such that poly people live by to make it work. What happens if you lose interest in your main partner and decide to become monogamous with the person who used to be polyamorous? This shit happens. Thankfully I’m old and married and don’t have to think about it anymore.

My boyfriend of three years has never been much for PDA, but recently he completely shuts me down in public. Is he losing interest?

Unless you’re trying to get him to finger bang you at Arby’s and that’s not his thing, I’d be willing to bet there’s something up. When you’re really into someone, you generally want to hold their hand or some other romantic shit like that. I’ve been with my wife for something like 15 years now and I still steal the occasional kiss when we’re out and about.

I’d recommend starting small with holding hands, move up from there and see if there’s an actual act he’s not comfortable with in public or if it’s anything to do with you. If things are cooling off in the bedroom as well, then it’s time to see a couples councilor.

It’s good to be into the same shows as your sweetie.

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