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Category Archive: unsolicited advice

Jan 28 2013

How To Not Be An Asshole To Immigrants

Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.

Growing up as a first-generation immigrant in the suburban Midwest is weird. I was often the only person my classmates knew who had been born in another country, who didn’t have American citizenship, who spoke a language other than English or Spanish fluently, who wasn’t a Christian. I think people often unintentionally treated me as …

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Jan 09 2013

Why You Should Talk To Your Kids About Death

I’ve been reading Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great because, having been an atheist for a long time and through no particular effort of my own or anyone else’s, it’s important for me to understand what the arguments against religion actually are. (Well, and also, that book is hilarious.) Reading Hitchens’ description and critique of …

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Dec 22 2012

How To Make Your Social Spaces More Welcoming To Shy, Socially Anxious, or Introverted People

Social interaction is hard for many people for many different reasons. Plenty has already been written on how these people can change themselves or learn how to better cope with social situations, so I have little interest in rehashing that. What I really want to discuss is how others can set up their social spaces …

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Dec 03 2012

The Problem With “Teen Angst” and Why You Should Take Teens’ Mental Health Seriously

[Content note: depression and suicide] There’s a disturbing and pervasive idea out there that the psychological troubles of teenagers are inconsequential and unworthy of attention because they’re just a part of “teen angst” or “growing up” or whatever. I’m thinking about this now because last night I ran across this Facebook page. It’s called “No …

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Nov 24 2012

There Is No Universal Definition Of “Cheating”

Every time I read a women’s website or magazine these days, I come upon a headline that demands to know, “IS THIS CHEATING?!?!” Is sending flirty Facebook messages to someone else cheating? Is sending them nude pics cheating? Is flirting cheating? Is there a chance you could actually be cheating on your boyfriend and not even realize it?

Oct 07 2012

Evangelical Apathy

You might think that the people who annoy me the most are those who hold views I strongly disagree with. Actually, though, it’s the people who don’t really care one way or the other, and–this is the important part–who insist on inserting themselves into every single political debate to yell at us for having opinions. …

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Sep 18 2012

How to Have Sex Like They Do in the Movies

My recent post on consent got me thinking about how open communication about sex isn’t just important because it establishes consent, but also because it’s what makes sex great. A man meets a woman–it’s always a man and a woman. He is tall and handsome–she, thin and beautiful. He cracks a witty pickup line with …

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Sep 09 2012

Consent Does Not "Ruin the Moment"

People who oppose sensible things like anti-harassment policies at conferences keep bringing up the same tired myths about dating, sex, and romance: that it’s very important to have “mystery” and that making things clear and explicit “takes away the fun” and, worst of all, that asking for consent “would ruin the moment.” I encounter this …

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Sep 09 2012

Consent Does Not “Ruin the Moment”

People who oppose sensible things like anti-harassment policies at conferences keep bringing up the same tired myths about dating, sex, and romance: that it’s very important to have “mystery” and that making things clear and explicit “takes away the fun” and, worst of all, that asking for consent “would ruin the moment.” I encounter this …

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Sep 04 2012

You're a Racist

And a sexist, and probably a homophobe, too. But it’s okay, so am I. In fact, research shows that almost everyone shows signs of prejudiced attitudes. The Implicit Association Test, a psychological test designed to measure the strength of subconscious associations that people have, suggests that even people who openly profess not to be racist …

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