This time of year, many of us will make a pilgrimage to see our families. Halls will be decked, candles will be lit, and ancient stories will be told. Hopefully everything for you will be hugs, warmth, light, and reconnection with the people you love. But if you are dreading dealing with that one jerk relative or bracing yourself for an onslaught of intrusive questions and and awkward topics, here’s a guide to keeping your cool and choosing your battles when everyone around you is making it weird.
"When the monsters of your childhood become faded old people with the fight gone out of them, what do you do? How do you find a way to relate? Do you forgive and try to find a way to interact with who they are now or do you hold onto the tight little ball of yourself you've been protecting all this time?" How do I tell my dysfunctional folks I'm not spending the holidays with them this year? [more inside]
"Jewish grandma Isadora Alman pioneered the American sex-advice column, then found her work obsolete." - Jonathan Kiefer, Tablet. [Ask Isadora website / essays for Psychology Today]
"Say you want to fundraise to make a thing, and the thing you want to make is My New Album — hooray! So first you make a budget, then you set that as our Kickstarter goal, right? Easy! No." Musician Marian Call provides advice on crowdfunding planning and pitfalls. Also, spreadsheets. [more inside]
CBC Radio's WireTap is saying farewell. In this special video message, people of all ages offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts.
"Being in someone’s wedding is a special privilege. It’s also often a ton of work and includes paying more money than one expected for clothes, bachelorette parties, and other assorted wedding activities. And it’s also frequently time-consuming and an emotional commitment (especially if the bride becomes difficult) (and almost all brides do). So does a bridesmaid ever owe the bride a gift besides his/her time, love, and understanding?" From the etiquette section of Gizmodo's "I Thee Dread" section: Angry Bride: How Do I Confront a Bridesmaid Who Didn't Give a Gift? [more inside]
As a sex worker who has done in-person work for a decade, I've kissed a lot of frogs. So many, in fact, that I have a theory about why call girls of old had the "no kissing" rule, a rule that is unfortunately uncommon among contemporary escorts: It's not because kissing is more intimate than other acts, but because it's uniquely cruel to have to endure bad kissing. And bad kissing is a guarantee.Charlotte Shane (previously, previouslier) wants help you stop sucking at kissing.
Good news for fans of the now-defunct Dear Sugar advice column (previously on Metafilter): Sugar is back! [more inside]
De-cluttering your house with love: "Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying-up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go." [more inside]
Stephen Colbert steps out of character and offers up some earnest advice to young women [more inside]
Advice on how to survive late capitalism: "Your life is sold to serve an economy that does not serve your life. You don’t seem to be entertained, Bank-robbin’; your white-hot rage festers. It probably doesn’t help that you live in Brooklyn—this place where in the last ten years rent has spiked 77 percent while real median income has dropped, where the rich (the top 10 percent of earners who, as is well known, control 80 percent of the wealth) and their children live right on top of some of the worst poverty known to this country, while 20 percent of Brooklynites survive somehow below the poverty level, such that the widening income and wealth gap becomes achingly visible here. I could advise you to leave Brooklyn. But I don’t want you to leave Brooklyn."
Jane Feltes was a producer for This American Life. She changed her name, left TAL, and became a coeditor at The Hairpin, where she created the How to Be a Girl series that included Beauty Q&A; the Friday Bargain Bin, in which Jane told us how to spend our weekly allowance; and a collection of beauty tutorial videos, the highlight of which might possibly be The Cat Eye Tutorial for its use of office supplies and magic. Office supplies as magic? Jane also came up with Women Struggling to Drink Water (previously). Jane left The Hairpin in 2013 and currently writes a beauty column for Rookie as a well as the occasional longer piece, such as the inspirational and practical (for teens and adults) A Guide to Finding Yourself. She also has a weekly column with Cosmopolitan in which she talks to married couples and gets them to share insight into their lives together: The Secret Life of Marrieds. [more inside]
i believe you | it's not your fault. The "What are we doing here?" post explains the origin: [more inside]
Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and the upcoming Bad Feminist, has a lot to say about relationships and sexuality and self esteem. Also about how to bake a pie and a killer summer pasta recipe.
You could call summers like this a colossal waste of time. But that’s what feels immortal about them—wasting time, colossally, as the gods must do. Taisia Kitaiskaia writes an ode to summer on the Hairpin. The author, a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers, also channels Baba Yaga in a regular advice column for the same website. [more inside]
Poorcraft is on the Web. The acclaimed comic book guide to "living well on less", written by C. Spike "Templar, Arizona" Trotman* and drawn by Diana "Intrepid Girlbot" Nook, after two years in print, is getting a second life as a free webcomic**, publishing a page a day for the next five months. So don't declare insolvency until you've gotten all the moneysaving tips! Recommended by notable MeFites. [more inside]
21 [Entirely Totally Completely Seriously True] Simple Hacks That Will Significantly Improve Your Life [slBuzzfeed]
Every Wednesday, rocker Andrew WK (previously) answers reader questions in his Village Voice advice column. He can be deep ("Ideally, life shouldn't be an ongoing struggle to see the glass half-full, but rather an appreciation that there's a glass at all") and inspirational and practical. Today, a reader asks him whether he should start using heroin.
The Ask A Manager advice blog received an e-mail asking if the interview shenanigans the poster had just gone through were a good way to find a candidate. Then it got worse. As advice blogger Allison Green continued to correspond with the letter writer, the letter writer proceeded to tell her about the final interview process, in which 20 candidates had to spend all day and night interviewing. [more inside]
The internet is full of mediocre, self-aggrandizing, or plain bad advice about how to found and manage a startup, but there some really useful collections out there. The annual collection of best links by Tom Eisenmann of Harvard (also: 2012, 2011, 2010) is very good, as is the 30 best posts by First Round Capital, and the many readings available in Stanford's E145 class. On an ongoing basis, the Startup Management blog is a good place to look, plus, inside, there are... [more inside]
Writing advice from Oates, Wolfe, Levine, Pynchon, Stein, Welty, DeLillo, Chekhov, Gallant, and Elkin; Baldwin, Miller, Morrison, Vonnegut, Atwood, Nabokov, and Stein again; Maugham, Hughes, Duras, Orwell, Ashbery, Sontag, Creeley, and Steinbeck; O'Connor, Baxter, Didion, Yeats, Hejinian, Cocteau, du Plessix Gray, and Bolaño; Waldrop, Cary, Pessoa, Amis, Carroll, Atwood, and Le Guin; Vinge, Williams, Crane, Creeley once more, Gallant, Vargas Llosa, Mathews, and Wolfe again. [more inside]
"Avoid flattery. A delicate compliment is permissible in conversation, but flattery is broad, coarse, and to sensible people, disgusting. If you flatter your superiors, they will distrust you, thinking you have some selfish end; if you flatter ladies, they will despise you, thinking you have no other conversation." - 37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen from 1875
Would you like to learn how to make pink-colored pancakes? Or practice 13th-century dental care? Or garden with lobster claws? Or perhaps 12th-century hair care or choosing the right cravat is more your speed? Fortunately, Ask the Past has answers to all those questions--and more!
Wonkblog has a new advice column called "Dear Dylan" where Dylan Matthews answers the usual advice column staples using game theory, mathematics and charts.
Let’s say you’re a writer, working a novel set in Minneapolis. Your protagonist arrives home after a long day of doing whatever it is your protagonist does all day. To this point, you’ve been very specific with local landmarks and a general feeling of the city — your protagonist rides the 21A, eats breakfast at the Grand Cafe, and meets his or her attorney in an office on the 12th floor of the Rand Tower. All good so far. You’ve set the scene very effectively. People are going to say, “This is a great Minneapolis novel" after they read it. However, the time has now come for you to insert a specific street address into the text. You like specifics, and you need a real-sounding mailing address for, say, a situation where the protagonist receives a mysterious letter. How will you accomplish this? Here you have a problem. You only have two options, neither one very good. [more inside]
Here's that bad advice you were hoping for is a Tumblr featuring carefully curated scathing advice column responses.
Advice for college grads from two sociologists From the writers of the always-amazing Sociological Images, it is directed towards college graduates, but useful for everyone.
Lessons from a Dog: Short, sweet advice from man's best friend in the form of a comic from Patrick Moberg.
You keep doing your work, because you have to, because it's your calling... one does their work for the people. And the more people you can touch, the more wonderful it is... Patti Smith's Advice to the young [more inside]
Political Identification: communist"Dear Bloody Red Heart, Always remember that information is power, and functions as such." [more inside]
Your problem: I have recently started seeing a communist woman, and I really like her, but my problem is that I still have overwhelmingly strong feelings for the communist woman I had a thing with in the summer, and who has gone to fight the good fight in other lands. Should I tell the comrade I’m currently seeing about my divided affections? As we are not yet in full communism, I fear I may not have enough to go round… From: Bloody Red Heart"
a super helpful foolproof guide of dos and don'ts to help you navigate that bag of waters through the best pregnancy in the world.
Amy Poehler's YouTube channel Smart Girls has a segment called Ask Amy, where she provides helpful, honest advice to viewers. Unsurprisingly, it is awesome. [more inside]
This past fall, comedians Sara Schaefer and Nikki Glaser (hosts of popular podcast You Had to Be There) had "the amazing privilege" of hiring a writing staff for their upcoming TV show, Nikki & Sara Live. Sara "was flattered and honored when hundreds of people applied. It was a super fun experience, but it was also an incredibly illuminating one. Reading so many packets made a couple of things very very clear: there are some really easy, basic things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job writing for TV." Step 1: Dedicate Your Entire Life to Comedy
Marc Morrone is a pet shop owner from the Bronx who spun a small cable-access show about pet care into a Martha Stewart Omnimedia-backed pet-advice career. But he first became known for his call-in show in which he gave advice while surrounded by a menagerie of moving, falling, pooping animals.
My Boss Has Body Odour and I Have Sex with My Twin. Four advice columnists — Cheryl Strayed, Cary Tennis, Emily Yoffe and Lynn Coady — talk shop. [more inside]
"Be relentless. All over the world, people are working harder than you." Unsentimental advice from poet and memorist Sarah Manguso about building a career as a writer. (via FSG Work in Progress.)
DontGetScrewedOver.com features a video called "What it Feels Like to be a Freelancer." They also provide tips on how not to get screwed over, for freelancers, clients, and subletters alike. The site and video were brainchild of Docracy- aimed at offering free, open-source legal documents that are edited and fine-tuned by the community that uses them. They range from a variety of subjects, from personal [subletting, wills] to business [freelancers, consulting].
The Mommy-Fight Site. What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis" [more inside]
"My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck—especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either." Michael Lewis's address to the Princeton Class of 2012.
Novelist Neil Gaiman tells the graduating 2012 class of the University Of The Arts everything he wishes he knew starting out and all the best advice he failed to follow. (Vimeo 19:55)
Yo, Should I Dump This Asshole? From the creators of Yo, Is This Racist? (previously), a tumblr that gives succinct relationship advice. [more inside]
Are you a teen girl tired of looking for advice in fluffy magazines? Perhaps you should Ask A Grown Man! Watch Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Hannibal Buress, and other gents dole out advice on love, sex, and who farts (spoiler alert: everyone).