E. Jean Carroll is perhaps the most fascinating advice columnist of all time. Every month her sunnily reactionary column appears in ELLE with a totally different, professionally styled accompanying photo of herself. And yet her website is entirely illustrated by...illustrations. She lives in a mountain cabin in Upstate New York — and yet, appears to wear Christian Louboutin stilettos around the house and own a limitless supply of very expensive clothing. But weirdest of all, she is always in a good mood! And her readers are such loathsome people. After the jump I do that thing I do where I re-answer advice columns with the March E. Jean. You will learn so much!
Dear E. Jean: I made the mistake of my life, and I want it fixed! I'm 27, and after six months of being showered with attention, sexy messages, and dinners, during which I was constantly told how beautiful I was, I gave in and slept with my boss (a 50-year-old charmer who all the girls in the company are absolutely crazy about, and he chose me!). But since then, he's been avoiding me. It's very uncomfortable. I love my job and I want to stay, but I feel like a fool! Should I tell him that his attitude hurts me?—Totally Lost It
Oh, he chose you, huh? And did you choose his leathery-ass skin? Did you choose all the barf-inducing moments during which he reminded you of your dad? What I don't get is that you're 27. You're young enough to realize that any man twice your age is sleeping with you not because he "chose" you but because he is on some level gross. And yet, you are old enough that if you were going to learn the "never sleep with your charming lech of a boss" lesson the hard way, you should have fucking done it already. How did you think this was going to play out? Like it does with all those other fiftysomething bosses and twentysomething assistants you see in the New York Times wedding announcements every Sunday? Anyway, he's avoiding you now because he's scared you're going to sue him for sexual harassment. I know you say you haven't told him so yet, but somehow he got the message that his attitude "hurt" you, and he's staying the fuck away. He probably thought you were one of those girls who knows the "rules" of this shit. I mean, I can't tell you I know the rules because for all intents and purposes the rules are to not have sex with boss/mentor dudes who are twice your age because they will invariably want to and that is really the only advantage women ever have in the workforce. So go, quit your job, find a new endearingly lecherous boss to "choose" you, and pretend you don't notice until you get a few more promotions.
Dear E. Jean: I used to be pretty. I'm also single, 29, a physician, and haven't dated in five years. I suspect I know the problem: I'm overweight. I work out a ton, watch what I eat, and have been trying to lose 40 pounds for six years, but to no avail. Will I ever be cute again? Is it a mistake to hope? I'm terribly lonely because I've recently moved to a fabulous new city and don't know anyone. Should I try online dating? Or do I put everything on hold, finally lose the weight, and make a new start?—Pre-Fab
Stop working out. Seriously, why spend valuable time sitting there on an elliptical trying not to stare at your fatfat fat muffin top/upper arms/belly/whatevs whilst miserably assigning yourself a ranking somewhere near dead bottom of all the human cargo of the machines arranged around you, evaluating yourself for hours a week on the sole basis of the muscle tone of your exposed flesh — amongst people who probably think that is a decent way to evaluate people, no less! — when the whole time-eating process only ever results in making you hungrier faster? Ugh, fuck exercise. If you must do it, take walks outside. Listen to the news. Learn the quirks of your new city. Stop in a bar. Sit next to someone. Have bad sex. At some point it will get less bad.
Dear E. Jean: What happens when you can't get rid of your mistake? Long story short: I broke up with pseudo-boyfriend two years ago; we're both dating other people now, and we're both happy; but he keeps crossing my mind...and now, my path. Of all the people in New York, he's the one I always see. He's everywhere! We run into each other on the street, at cafés, at bars. Why?!? Is this some sort of wacko sign? I hope not!—Afraid to Leave the House
Too stupid to answer.
Dear E. Jean: I'm a 22-year-old law student who's ended three serious relationships in the past two years, made numerous colossal blunders, and let a number of opportunities pass by.
The event that spurred me to write to you? My ex-fiancé is now engaged within six months of our splitting. The relationship wasn't healthy and I don't want him back, but it still burns. For some insane reason, it's made me wonder about a lot of my choices. I feel like I should have done everything by now. I'm walking around clubbing myself to death, and I don't know how to stop. I feel worthless. When I look at the past, even my successes look like failures. What's going on with me? How do I end this?—Inadequate, Desperate, and Lost
Yeah, I am not going to even try and give a shit about a 22-year-old.
A Tail of Woe
Dear E. Jean: I just signed a lease for a very chic apartment with perfect white carpets. My best friend is thrilled for me, and that's the dilemma. She goes everywhere with her totally horrible dog. I love my friend—and I adore dogs—but her little beast poops on couches, carpets, and beds everywhere he goes. And she thinks it's funny! In the past, I've allowed the animal in my home, risking tension headaches lest the little pest makes "mistakes" (and he usually does!). But, E. Jean, if this dog leaves a mess on my new floor, it will be the end of our friendship. How can I tell her that her incontinent darling is not welcome?—Going to the Dogs
Ooooooh, what to say to the girl who becomes BFF with someone so hysterically devoid of basic human consideration that she allows her tiny dog to defecate all over other people's belongings — and yet feels she must end the friendship once threatened with the possibility that her own uberchic white carpeting might become the repository for the same crap?
Ummmmm, three words: MySpace suicide clubs. I hear they're hot right now!
The Better Man
Dear E. Jean: I broke off a relationship eight months ago with a man with whom I shared many common interests and hot sexual chemistry; but our goals and values differed wildly. I've now met a man who's everything my ex is not—supportive, loving, thoughtful, sensitive, financially stable, and emotionally mature.
But though he seems to feel we're perfect for each other, our interests are very different, and I just don't have the hots for him. I long for the adventurous lifestyle and passion I had with my ex. Am I making a mistake? Am I wrong to focus so much on the differences with this new man? Will my feelings develop into something deeper?—Confused and Sleepless
Have you ever told a dude, real casual-like, about the time you were date raped, only to watch his eyes go all big and horrified and you poor thing I honestly can't believe a man could be so coarse and cruel as to do that to anyone, much less you, because you are so wonderful and soooooo undeserving of such horror.... See, I always wonder about this. On one hand, it's a nice feeling. That guy probably won't cheat on you. That guy has a moral compass! On the other hand, does he have friends? Has he ever seen a movie? Does he have eyes? For centuries the advice industry has been hung up on perpetuating this bad boy/good guy partisan structure, mainly because a lot of girls simply fall for guys who treat them badly because, you know, they treat them badly. (What's wrong with them? If they can reform them they can feel superior to every inferior woman who was screwed over before!) But, you know, guess what! Human nature=nuanced! I say this a lot, but still. Anyway, I am not quite sure where I was going with this, but...
Oh yes, you. You broke up with a dude, EIGHT MONTHS ago. Why are you dating again? You are not over the dude with whom you allegedly shared so many "common interests", an "adventurous lifestyle" and "hot sexual chemistry" — or else i might have occurred to you that he is probably still pursuing those interests, and that lifestyle, and that chemistry. While you are pursuing a husband! Why? When you date someone who exposes you to new shit — books, ideas, travel, pastimes — the whole point of being single again is piecing together whatever it was you actually liked. Were you really into Zizek? Could you somehow reclaim for yourself that P.J. Harvey song you really loved? Because you should do all this and probably spend like six weeks crying about how worthless and empty and robbed of your identity you are. The dude will understand. He's "emotionally mature"!