Sunday, February 25, 2024

Relationship Advice


Relationship Advice from Your Aunt Who Has Been Divorced Six Times

Painted hand shredding a wedding photo.
Photograph by Peter Dazeley / Getty

I’ve been a married woman since I was eighteen. Sure, married to a different person almost every year, but married all the same.

So let me offer you advice on how to find a husband and never be single again.

Settle down—in that order. Don’t aim so high. If you shoot for the moon, you’ll miss and land on one of those garbage satellites. Just settle for someone. Anyone. Take it from me, honey: your first few marriages won’t stick, so get them out of the way now.

Be open to everyone. Your knight in shining armor won’t always be an actual knight. Sometimes he’ll work nights at a reptile park. Sometimes he won’t work at all, and you’ll share a pan pizza like the ones you got as a reward for reading a book in middle school, and then you’ll split the bill. High standards are for unmarried people.

Never trust a Gary. I will not be elaborating on this. He knows what he did, that little weasel.

Be understanding of what your potential spouse is going through. If he has a latex allergy, develop one, too. If he has a demanding schedule and can’t commit to plans, make sure that you’re available all the time. Be like a 24/7 Denny’s. Has a Denny’s ever let you down? Don’t answer that.

Don’t go to bed angry. Stay up and fight. Defend your honor and never give in, whether it’s about which exterminator to hire or if your husband’s Uncle Gary deserves to be in the will (he doesn’t). You’ll get used to the lack of sleep, which will allow you to annihilate your sweetheart at the next morning’s breakfast fight.


The Epic Promise of Wedding Vows

Don’t talk. Listen. Pay close attention to your partner’s darkest admissions. This will give you the upper hand during future divorce proceedings. Oh, now he wants half of your money? Sure, as long as he’s O.K. with you disclosing to New York State that he’s been taking the H.O.V. lane solo since 2011 and has fifty-seven unpaid parking tickets.

Get to know his family. Does he have any siblings? Are they single? Can you introduce me? Look, I’m between marriages right now. Help me out!

Maintain your own life. The quickest way to strain a relationship is by expecting your partner to meet all your needs. So develop several side flings—with someone at work, someone next door, someone in another city, someone you can get breakfast with, someone you can get lunch with, someone you can split the Uber from breakfast to lunch with. The key is to never be alone with your thoughts.

Trust that things will work out how they’re supposed to. At the end of the day, you can’t control everything. You can only be in the moment, tell your husband what he wants to hear, constantly change the passcode on your phone, and have Uncle Gary—who likes to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong—conveniently disappear.

O.K., that’s all. Remember, you can always come to me for advice. Your aunt is an objective third party. And I don’t have any boundaries, so we can talk in detail about what the sex is like.

Also, my second ex is a private eye and owes me a favor. So let me know if you want me to have him snoop around in anyone’s trash.

Woke Mob


Ways the Woke Mob Has Affected Me Personally

A person entering a genderneutral bathroom.
Photograph by Peter Dazeley / Getty

Afew weeks ago, I was driving down the street, minding my own business, when a cyclist shouted something at me. It was either “Children’s books should reflect the full spectrum of humanity” or “Your brake lights are out.” My windows were up, so it was hard to hear.

As I pondered which it might be, a vehicle rear-ended me. And not just any vehicle. An electric vehicle—a favorite among the woke mob.

Partly to avoid encountering the woke mob, my wife and I often have meals delivered from restaurants to our home. The past two times, the delivery person has appeared vaguely androgynous, leaving me unsure of how to respond when my wife asks about the delivery person’s gender, which she usually does.

Both times, while I struggled to answer without saying the wrong thing, our food got cold.

Thanks, wokeness.

For years, the neighborhood coffee place has played music by bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Seger—old-white-guy stuff that we used to call the classics. The woke baristas still play that music, but you can tell they’re not into it.

Also, they always seem to have plenty of copies of the New York Times and the local alt weekly lying around. Here’s how many Bibles you’ll find: zero.

I planted lettuce, beans, and carrots in my small back-yard garden, and they were all coming along nicely until something—or someone—picked them clean one night, leaving behind a trampled mess. I didn’t see who did it, but it’s common knowledge that many in the woke mob are vegetarians. You do the math.

During a recent period of unemployment, I sent out dozens of résumés along with cover letters that made no mention of my pronoun preferences. I didn’t get a single interview. Not one. But I’m sure that’s a coincidence. (Sarcasm.)

I’ve always enjoyed going out to bars and restaurants and seeing fun signs on the restroom doors, such as “Buoys” and “Gulls” (at a seafood place) or “Sausage” and “Eggs.” Thanks to the woke mob, I hardly ever see signs like that anymore. And if I do I’m no longer allowed to point and laugh.

I own all seven seasons of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on Blu-ray. Until recently, this was my go-to conversation-starter at parties; now I feel like I can’t even mention it. At least the woke mob is still letting us talk about the weather . . . for now.

Last month, I went to see an improv-comedy group, and, when they asked the audience for a word or phrase to kick things off, someone shouted “woke mob” and the improv people decided to act as if the mob were the actual Mob, as in the Mafia, except socially aware and politically correct, and it was really bad, especially the gags about what to call the nonbinary hit man.

True to woke-mob form, of course, saying that out loud would have been racist. (One of the improvisers was Chinese or something.)

When my wife and I listed our house for sale earlier this year, we learned that you’re not supposed to use the word “master” anymore, leaving us with no way to describe our home’s main bedroom.

In the end, we decided it was easier just to keep the house.

I showed up at a local school-board meeting dressed as a cat to protest the school district’s decision to recognize kids who identify as “furries” and even to include litter boxes for them in school restrooms, only to be told that there was no such policy and no talk of introducing one. Then the vice-chair asked me to stop meowing and to please find a seat.

So much for freedom of speech.

Several of our woke-mob neighbors have “Hate Is Not Welcome Here” signs in their windows or on their yards. I’m not sure how this affects me, exactly, but I’ll think of something. ♦

Road Trip


Toyota Prius Owner’s Manual for Taking a Great American Road Trip

A parked blue Toyota Prius with scenery of Utah in the background.
Photograph by Jim Cole / Alamy

Like many people who read “On the Road” as a teen, followed #VanLife Instagram accounts, or watched the canonical Britney Spears film “Crossroads,” you have long dreamed of going on a Great American Road Trip, and now you are finally doing it—in a 2015 Toyota Prius you borrowed from your stepdad. Congratulations!


Adjustable Features
Before you actually head out on this trip, which will either change your life or just involve seeing some cool rocks, climb into the driver’s seat and push it all the way forward, because, unlike your stepdad, you are five feet two. Adjust the rearview mirror. You can adjust the side mirrors, too, I guess, but if anyone has ever adjusted a side mirror before driving that’s news to us here at Toyota.

Steering Wheel
There are a bunch of buttons on the steering wheel. You will never figure out what most of these do. Ignore them. Pressing the incorrect button may result in death or serious injury.

Glove Box
This is a good place to hide your wallet while hiking, so that, if the car gets broken into, your money and I.D. are in the most obvious place.

Proximity Key
The 2015 Toyota Prius comes with a proximity-based key and a push-start ignition. Just a heads-up: you will be sleeping in the car on nights you feel too lazy to set up the tent, nights when the ground is “too hard,” and nights you see a bug outside. If you lock the Prius, sleep in the Prius, and then the next morning try to get out of the Prius without unlocking it, the Prius will start screaming. It forgot that you were in there!


Correct Driving Position
After about a week of driving normal, when you hit North Dakota you can get a little loosey-goosey with driving posture. Fold your left leg up against the door. Put your left foot on the dash—why not? Forget about hands at ten and two; try eight and four. Hell, try just six! Do not adjust the position of the seat while driving, even if you drop a chip, even if it was a big chip, with a lot of barbecue-flavor dust on it. Doing so could result in death or serious injury.

Accelerating Sharply
It is not possible for the Prius to accelerate sharply. Nice try.

Driving Over Eighty-Five Miles Per Hour
While it is “possible” to do this, your Prius will begin shaking violently like an egg from which a demon is about to hatch. If that sounds enjoyable to you, go for it.

Fuel Consumption
Your stepdad is obsessed with something called “hyper-miling,” whereby he supposedly optimizes fuel efficiency by putting the car into neutral every time he drives down a hill. We don’t really want to get into it, but doing this could result in death or serious injury.

Turn Signal
Your car has two of these. There’s one for turning left, and another for turning right. Maybe this seems obvious, but you will be shocked by the number of people on the road driving cars that apparently lack this feature.

Cruising Range
This displays the estimated maximum distance that can be driven with the quantity of fuel remaining, which would be enormously helpful when you drive past a “no services 120 miles” sign in the middle of nowhere, Utah. But although you know that this feature exists, you cannot figure out the correct combination of buttons to press to make it show up. Why is this car covered in buttons?!

While driving on a warm summer day, don’t roll the window down, stick your arm out, and make little undulating motions with your hand as it catches the wind. Doing so could result in serious injury, minor injury, or death.


“Maintenance Required” Light
This will be on for your entire sixteen-thousand-mile trip. Ignore it.

Tire-Air-Pressure Light
At some point you will notice that this light is also on, and you won’t be able to remember how long it’s been on. You can probably ignore this, too.

Slip-Light Indicator
This only lights up when you already know that you’re hydroplaning. Just our little joke!

Put all your trash in a little plastic baggie. Done.

Car Smelling Like Everything Bagels
This is your fault, and there’s no way to fix it.

Checking the Engine
To check the engine, open the hood by pulling the lock-release lever inside the car, near the driver’s-side door. But, let’s be honest: if you’re reading this, you’re already in way over your head. With the engine exposed, feel immediately overwhelmed. Pick one thing to care about—let’s say radiator fluid. Take a photo of the “levels.”

Good luck figuring out what this is.

Checking Tire-Inflation Pressure
O.K., it turns out that the tire-air-pressure light was on for a reason, and that reason was that your tire was basically flat. After traumatically realizing this in Forks, Washington, where Edward Cullen lives, you will buy a tire gauge and, after much trial and error, learn how to fill your tires. This is the easiest thing in the world, but mastering it will make you feel like a mechanic. For the rest of your trip, you will check your tire pressure daily, “for fun.”

I Feel Like There Are Bugs Living in the Dashboard?
There are no bugs living in the dashboard.

At the end of the day, we at Toyota have only one rule for going on a Great American Road Trip, and that’s have fun. Failure to do so may result in death or serious injury. ♦