Introducing ‘The Alchemist’: In Which I Make Advice Columns Slightly Less Useless

Flickr / Double-M
Welcome to the first installment of “The Alchemist”—because advice columns don’t have to be worthless.

Question 1: Should I Ditch My Great But Unadventurous Boyfriend Because He Won’t Propose?

From “Ask E. Jean,”, February 1, 2017

The Question (summarized): My boyfriend is a nice, feminist, domestic dream, but I’m also hoping that he will become a traveling, adventuring, sex god. Also he doesn’t want to propose to me and I want to get married. Should I ditch him if he won’t commit?

The Bad Advice (summarized): You love adventure, so why don’t you keep your boyfriend and take a bunch of adventurous lovers on the side?

My Better Advice: You should ditch your boyfriend. If he proposes to you, if he doesn’t, ditch him either way. Why? You may like the dude, and you may appreciate that he can cook a good dinner, but he is NOT the dude you want to marry.

He is not going to become a real-life version of the Feminist Ryan Gosling memes combined with the Fifty Shades of Grey dude. You want a dude who will cook dinner and talk bell hooks, and you want a dude “to strip you naked in an open-air hotel room in Greece or Barbados” (sidebar: why tho. Where did you come up with that specific fantasy?), but that is a lot to pack into one guy. Maybe that guy exists — and I warn you, if he does, you will probably get sick of him, because where is the adventure in a dude who is literally everything you can imagine wanting all the time? But whether this guy exists or not, he does not exist in your boyfriend. Perhaps he doesn’t want to get married because he knows this as well, or maybe he’s not into marriage.

He is not going to become a real-life version of the Feminist Ryan Gosling memes combined with the Fifty Shades of Grey dude.

But what we do know, is that he is not actually the dude you want to marry. Fucking a bunch of other dudes (which I’m not against on principle, fuck whoever you want) is not going to change that fact, and I have the feeling that if you wanted to be fucking a bunch of other dudes, you would have brought it up before that advice columnist did. Maybe take a break from this relationship and figure out what — and who — you really want.

Question 2: Is My Honesty Hurting My Relationship?

From “Ask E. Jean,”, January 20, 2017

The Question (summarized): My boyfriend asked me if he had the biggest penis of all my boyfriends and now he’s insecure because I was honest and said that my ex had a bigger penis.

The Bad Advice (summarized): It’s fine to lie about penis sizes. Be nice to this man for being sad about his smaller penis.

My Better Advice: Your boyfriend is not insecure because you were honest and told him that his penis is smaller than you ex’s. Your boyfriend was already insecure, because only insecure boyfriends ask that question. You could have said that you think his penis is the size of a Pringles can and he would still be insecure. In a world that likes to tie up all masculinity in the actually pretty inconsequential measurement of penis size, there is very little you can do on your own to make that better, but participating in the illusion that it actually about his penis size will not help.

You could have said that his penis is the size of a Pringles can and he would still be insecure.

So now I have a question for you: How is your sex life? Because, let me tell you from experience, when a dude is obsessing over the size of his penis with regard to his sex life with his partner (especially a partner with a vagina) there is usually something missing in your sex life. What is usually missing? Communication, creativity, and oral. I’ve had sex with people of varying genders and you know what — good sex knows no penis size, and often doesn’t require a penis at all. Perhaps you both need to open up communication about your sex life a little more, so that he can feel more confident in the ways in which he can please you — a total win-win.

Question 3: Was My Father Right To Give Away My Root Beer?

From “Miss Manners,” The Kansas City Star, January 31, 2017

The Question (summarized): My father offered one of my root beers to a guest that I didn’t invite. Since she isn’t my guest, did my father have the right to offer up my stuff?

The Advice (summarized): Your father should respect your feelings and your things by asking you first.

My Better Advice: Are you a grown-ass adult? Or are you a 19 year old who invited your old-ass family to a BYOB house party and you’re sick of fools always stealing your Zima that you gave your older brother like $20 to buy when he never brings his own shit? If you are that 19 year old, then yeah, hoard your shit and raise hell with whoever offers your drinks to some cheap-ass who didn’t think to bring their own six pack.

But it appears that you are not a 19 year old at a kegger. You are a grown-ass adult at a family gathering, and what you are hoarding is root beer. NOT EVEN REAL BEER. Your dad was probably hella embarrassed that he raised a child who would grow to be an adult who was apparently holding MULTIPLE ROOT BEERS like they were precious treasure and hadn’t offered one up to a root beer-less guest.

Are you a grown-ass adult?

If you love root beer that damn much you should have brought enough that you could offer them up at will and still know that you’d be able to enjoy a bottle or two. Or you could have just bought more root beer later — because they sell that shit in a lot of stores you know—you don’t even have to order it online. Be glad your dad saved you from looking like a root-beer-hoarding child.

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