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Dear Daily readers,
In November of 2010, I was tapped on the shoulder and told that a bold new experiment in journalism was in the works. Some impressive folks with deep pockets and brass balls were building a first-of-its-kind daily national news publication that would be available exclusively on the iPad.
They said they were looking for fresh voices and unique perspectives, and I was definitely as fresh as they come — damn near raw. At the time, I had an online advice column with a dedicated following who appreciated my unfiltered style. I cursed like a sailor and gave scathing advice, but I also laid down brutal truth about life, love, and the human condition.
My edges were rough, but the editors at The Daily gave me a short list of four-letter words I couldn’t use and picked me as their advice columnist. It was a gutsy choice, and I respected them for it. Exactly two years ago today, I turned in my first round of columns, and since then, I’ve answered hundreds of your questions on everything from wedding etiquette to existential crisis management.
Writing for The Daily has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That’s not hyperbole. I got to speak to a vast new audience. I got to read thousands of letters from people all over the world. I got to learn from brilliant and talented professionals, and I’m proud of the work we’ve all done along the way.
Dream jobs don’t just manifest themselves out of thin air, but this one did, and I was lucky enough to write for a groundbreaking publication from its inaugural issue to its farewell. Now, as The Daily goes the way of all good things, I’m just happy to have been a part of it.
Thank you all so much for reading. It’s been a blast.
Yours in gratitude,
P.S. To those of you who wrote in these past few days asking what will become of me, don’t worry. My advice and pop culture columns will find a new home soon enough. In the meantime, you can keep up with my latest work at dearcoquette.com and thecoquette.net.
We <3 our Dear Coquette’s honesty and straight talk. She’s been serving up unsolicited advice to anyone who deserved it for the past year. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The time she schooled Kim and Kanye on their deeply rooted mommy and daddy issues
- She tells any remaining white supremacists to just leave. Now.
- To Chris Brown: ‘You are not an artist. You are not even a man.’
- An open letter to slutty-Halloween-costume girls
- To Lindsay Lohan. Or, in other words, the time Coquette predicted the monstrosity that is Liz & Dick.
- ‘You are horrible people.’ But tell us how you really feel about the Duggar family, Coquette.
Cut to three months after a three-year-long heartfelt and soul-deep relationship ended. I’m on pretty good terms with the ex; we both still have residual feelings for each other but are keeping a little bit of distance (mostly my request as the ex-to-friends transition hurts like a bitch). That’s not the problem. The problem is that now his friends are trying to get at me.
I make no effort to seem even remotely available to these people. We’ve interacted only a handful of times through Facebook, all amounting to more-or-less pleasantries and those stupid-ass game invites.
While this most recent friend hasn’t been explicit in his efforts, it’s still smelling kind of fishy. I want to do the right thing by my ex, and let’s face it, I’m still loyal to some degree. Also, I have a little thing called integrity. I’m in no way interested in my ex’s friends. They were out of bounds the second I started dating my ex (though I honestly wouldn’t be interested in them anyway.) I’m just trying to figure out the most graceful way to navigate the situation. That’s where you come in, hopefully.
Thanks, Coquette. It’s times like these I wish I could call you up for whiskey sours at a dive bar until 3 am.
Sweetheart, the first thing I would do is wean you off of whiskey sours. (If you insist on adding anything other than ice to your whiskey, that list ends at vermouth and bitters.) The second thing I would do is give you a big hug and tell you that you are not alone in this. It happens with such frequency that I’m surprised there’s not a formal name for it.
There will always be a few acquaintances of your ex who come sniffing around after a break-up. It’s inevitable, especially now that they can do it so easily on Facebook and still maintain plausible deniability. After every relationship, I pretty much expect to play a game of post-breakup whack-a-mole with a horny handful of my ex’s douchebag friends who suddenly find a reason to poke their heads into my business. (And yeah, the really sneaky ones wait a few months.)
The most graceful way to handle this is just ignore them. Unless you have a good reason to be exchanging pleasantries, don’t even do it. You are not obligated to respond to these guys, and you shouldn’t be afraid of seeming rude. Don’t make it your problem that they don’t know any better. Shut them down hard and fast the moment they start hitting on you, and feel free to unfriend them if they make you uncomfortable in any way.
Unless one of them gets aggressively creepy, don’t get your ex involved. The only thing worse than telling your ex that his friends are hitting on you is actually hooking up with one of his friends. Leave that kind of tacky behavior to the attention whores and drama queens.
Good luck with the broken heart, babe. I’m sorry you have to deal with a few jokers along the way.
Coquette: An open letter to Kate Middleton’s fetus
Dear royal highness, fetus of Middleton,
Congratulations on your recent conception! On behalf of all Americans who are inappropriately fascinated with the monarchy, I’d like to say how excited we are to hear you’ll be making your way into the world sometime next Summer.
Kudos to you for being the lucky zygote in succession the British throne. It doesn’t matter whether you eventually become a girl or a boy, as it seems the Realms of the Commonwealth have recently done away with the centuries old law of primogeniture.
I do so hope you’ll turn out to be a princess. Word on the street is that if you’re a girl, your parents might name you Diana. You’re much too young to appreciate the irony, but I know your grandfather and great-grandmother will be keeping a stiff upper lip about the possibility of England eventually being ruled by a Queen Diana.
Speaking of princesses, I was terribly sorry to hear that your mother was recently hospitalized. It seems she was suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which apparently is a spell they teach at Hogwarts to make muggle-born princesses vomit for two straight days. I hear she’s feeling much better now, so that’s good news.
Have a wonderful time being groomed for the throne. Never forget that it’s all just an elaborate game, and try not take any of it too seriously. If your head ever gets heavy from the crown, just do a little neck yoga, and remember to stop and smell the rose petals beneath your feet.
The entire world looks forward to meeting you in a few months, but for now, just enjoy being in the womb. It’s the most privacy you’re ever going to get.
Yours in a tiara,
What’s the best way to deal with disappointment?
Learn from it, and then let it go.
How do women deal with men when they are all misogynistic tools?
Overgeneralization and disrespect probably aren’t good places to start.
I try to make my life out like it’s tragic but really it’s just pointless, and that’s a hundred times worse.
Tragic is infinitely worse than pointless. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just a drama queen with no sense of scale.
Are you afraid of anything?
Agressive ignorance and undercooked chicken.
Is it wise to rekindle a once co-dependent relationship now that we’ve had some time apart and know what to avoid?
Asking this question proves you don’t know what to avoid.
I have sociopathic tendencies. How do I change?
Pretend you’re a good person.
Is there any other way to live life besides going to school and then working until you die?
What advice would you give about what is important when traveling abroad?
Make it about people, not places. If you visit a country without getting to know some locals, then you haven’t actually been there.
Do you agree that guys should pay (at least) half the bill when a girl has to purchase Plan B or an abortion? If so, how does one go about asking him for that?
You shouldn’t have to ask. Just tell him what you’re having to do, and the guy should volunteer to pay. If he doesn’t, you should never speak to him again.
How the hell is it possible for recent grads to find jobs when “entry level” requires three years of experience?
Entry level at a particular company doesn’t mean entry level in your field, but hey, if there’s a job you want and you think you’re qualified, quit whining and hustle.
How big is big enough?
You know when it’s too big? A little smaller than that.
I’m lonely a lot although I have lots of friends and family around me all the time. How does this make sense?
Separate the idea of loneliness from the idea of being alone. You feel loneliness because you’re disconnected from others, and as long as you’re disconnected, being in their physical presence won’t change anything.
How can someone have low self-esteem and an enormous ego at the same time?
It’s easy. You don’t have to like yourself to think you’re the center of the world.
So, what am I supposed to do when my Jewish grandmother asks me what I think about the situation in Gaza? Do you have any recommendations for any particular substance that might make this holiday season easier?
When your Jewish grandmother asks you about the situation in Gaza, all you have to do is say, “I don’t know, Bubbe. What do you think?” After that, no matter what comes out of her mouth, just smile and nod.
This goes for all ethnic grandparents and all discussions about Old Country politics. Let the elders say whatever they want, and then just smile and nod. It doesn’t matter if their opinions are ignorant or inflammatory. You don’t have anything to prove to them, and it’s not your job to show them that they’re wrong.
Never argue with a septuagenarian on an issue regarding their cultural identity. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.
I’m 23, halfway through grad school, and not dating anyone seriously. My mom is starting to freak out that I’ll be alone forever (she was married at 21 right out of college) and feels the need to ask me every time she sees me “Are you dating anyone?” Knowing the rest of my family, they will start in with the “So when are you going to find a guy and get married” stuff soon. What’s the polite way to tell them all to chill out and let me live my life on my own time table?
I feel you, sister. This was my go-to line when my family members started asking questions: “Marriage isn’t a high priority for me right now, but I’m enjoying my life, and I’m very happy with the way things are going.”
Five years ago I spent a month in Goma, Congo, teaching art camp at a hospital. Today in the news I saw a photo of that same hospital flanked by soldiers and looking much worse for the wear. The invasion of the city has left me terrified for the safety of the people living there that I have come to know as friends. They are not safe staying, but leaving would bring even more danger as men are systematically slaughtered and women are raped almost without exception. I feel helpless and guilty about the stark contrast between my peaceful life in the states and the terror that my friends are experiencing in Goma.
I ask one thing of the people who may read this (even if it is just you): Please, find something to be thankful for in your life. It could almost always be worse. It is an amazing stroke of luck to have even been born in our peaceful little corner of the world. I would hope that everybody can recognize that and do what they can to preserve that which is so easy to take for granted.
And for those who truly have had devastation in their lives… My heart goes out to you.
I don’t have anything to add, except for thanks to everyone for writing in to me. Thanks to everyone for reading The Daily, and happy Thanksgiving weekend, America!
The holiday season is coming up, and that means my sister and her fiancé will soon be staying with me and my husband during Thanksgiving week. The problem is that my brother-in-law-to-be suffers from a particularly pigheaded brand of conservative Christianity. To put it politely, he is an outspoken member of the religious right. For him, there is a very simple and stereotypical solution for each of our country’s problem, and he speaks with such certainty and arrogance that it really bothers me.
Everyone in my family goes to church, but he’s the only one who brings his religious politics home to the dinner table, and his views are very extreme. I don’t share his opinions, and I don’t want to have to argue with him when he brings up issues of the day. I’d rather just keep the peace, but then again, I don’t want to be a pushover. I also don’t want to appear unsupportive of my sister or make it seem like we don’t approve of her choice of partner. How do I resolve this?
Supporting your sister does not include an obligation to approve of her taste in men. In other words, you don’t have to like her fiancé. You merely have to tolerate his company a few times a year for as long as your sister can stand to be married to him.
You also have to be a gracious host for family members during the holidays. Of course, one of the benefits of being a host is that when someone is under your roof, they have to respect your house rules.
So, to resolve this, it’s simply time for a new rule — no talking politics. Just don’t allow it. Acknowledge that you’re never going to change each other’s minds about certain subjects, and in the interest of civility, let your sister and her future husband know ahead of time that impolite or controversial conversation is off limits at your house. It may seem a little weird at first to make an explicit rule about what folks can talk about, but trust me, it works.
It’s already rude for your sister’s fiancé to be talking about religion or politics in the first place, but once you have the power to call him out for breaking a house rule (as opposed to arguing with him because you disagree), things will become much more peaceful.
He doesn’t have to like it, but as long as he’s under your roof, he does have to respect it. Or he can stay somewhere else.
So, one of my best guy friends is married. He has a great relationship with his wife, and we’re all part of a group of friends that hang out together. The other day I left a comment on one of his Facebook pics. The comment was, “Aww, love ya!” He deleted the comment and later, when I was curious why this had happened, I was told by his wife that I had “disrespected their marriage.” (He did not tell me this. She did.) That was really upsetting to hear from my closest guy friend. I told her that no one’s trying to disrespect her marriage and that she needs to slow her roll. I wasn’t sure if it was her insecurities or perhaps her sense of superiority for “being married” but I feel she should know better [than] to accuse a close friend of such nonsense over a comment on a picture. To be clear, I have never found her husband even remotely attractive and I am into my own boyfriend. I realize there are two sides to this, but tell me: Who’s right?
Neither of you are right. She’s a hypersensitive twit with larger trust issues in her marriage, and you’re a self-absorbed drama queen who takes this kind of trivial crap personally when it’s not even really about you.
Both of you should delete your Facebook accounts and go volunteer at a soup kitchen together, but since that’ll never happen, at the very least, quit bickering over petty nonsense like a couple of high school sophomores.
I hate my mother’s boyfriend. He’s verbally and emotionally abusive. He’s lived in my house for years now, and he’s not moving out any time soon. He treats me like dirt and my mom just turns the other cheek or makes excuses. I wouldn’t want her complaining if I had a boyfriend that she didn’t like, but still, what do I do?
If you had a boyfriend that was abusive to your mom, you can be sure she would complain. More importantly, she wouldn’t tolerate a boyfriend who treated you like dirt. The same rules should apply in reverse.
This isn’t about liking your mom’s boyfriend. It’s about allowing him to disrespect you. He doesn’t get to do that, and you sure as hell shouldn’t let your mom make excuses for him. Make sure she knows that his abusive behavior is unacceptable. She doesn’t get to pick him over you.
Remember, you’re family. He’s not. Ultimately, he’s disposable. You’re not. If your mom is too weak or selfish to deal with the situation on your behalf, show her what a backbone is by dealing with it yourself. Don’t complain. Simply demand respect.
I’m hooking up with this guy and I know that he’s with other girls. The thing is I’m not with any other guys and it feels uneven. After we hook up I feel so lonely and like I don’t mean anything. I know those feelings are mine, not anything he’s given me, but still. What should I do?
Stop hooking up with him.
Email your questions to Coquette at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Red States,
There’s been a lot of post-election talk about unifying the country, so I’m writing to you on behalf of the blue states, in the hopes of chipping away at some of the bitter divisiveness.
You see, I’ve lived on both sides of the great American political divide. I was born and raised in a God-fearing, gun-toting, Fox-News-watching red state, a place that refers to itself as the Heartland. My family members are all conservative, church-going Republicans. They are good, honest, self-made people — the very job creators that guys like Mitt Romney are always talking about.
Of course, as soon as I was old enough to drive, I made my way to the other side of the country, all the way to California, the bluest of blue states filled with godless Hollywood liberals, pro-choice homosexual union members and other assorted socialist heathens that filled the nightmares of my right-wing parents.
I am intimately familiar with the rift in America’s socio-political landscape. I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the divide between red state and blue state, and it’s never been more difficult than during this past election year.
Politics have polarized this country to such a degree that the two sides don’t even represent the same realities. I watched time and again as cold hard facts were debated as if they were political opinions. I’ve bitten my tongue as tempers flared, because everything has become so deeply personal. Respectful disagreement doesn’t even seem possible anymore, because both sides aren’t just defending their politics — they’re defending their identities.
Thankfully, the election has come and gone. The worst is over for now, and we can all go back to our regular lives. The Democrats happened to win the day, but under slightly different circumstances, it could have been the Republicans. It might as well have been a coin toss for all the stress and anger it’s caused us, and perhaps that’s the most glaring irony of this process. Half of this country votes red, and half of this country votes blue. We’re two sides of the same coin that gets flipped every four years so that a tiny sliver of undecided swing staters can call it in the air.
I for one am tired of all the divisiveness. We have our differences of opinion, and that’s okay. We shouldn’t let our politics come between us. Now how about we all sit down for an election-free Thanksgiving dinner, and finally talk about something else?
Yours in America,