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Aunt Pythia’s advice

February 1, 2014

Aunt Pythia missed you guys last week, she was sadly without wifi.

Or was she? Another possibility you might want to consider is that she was reading the entire history of the newly discovered NSFW critique my dick pic tumblr (not me! but kind of wish it were!), or possibly that she had finally discovered the way to bypass running out of lives on Candy Crush.

We will perhaps never know. But in the meantime, please

think of something to ask Aunt Pythia at the bottom of the page!

By the way, if you don’t know what the hell Aunt Pythia is talking about, go here for past advice columns and here for an explanation of the name Pythia.


Dear Aunt Pythia,

Your letter from Sex Life: Unending Training brought to mind a reciprocal question from this straight male. Please posit, for purposes of discussion, that I’m not only experienced in bed but expert. And not one of your “80% good and who thinks they don’t need any tutoring” — I’m always eager to improve! A woman once told me in surprise, “I never thought you’d be subtle as a lover.” Others have said that had they known, they’d have jumped my bones sooner.

My question is this: how do I convey this to women like SLUT who would be interested in this fact, short of direct demonstration?

Don’t overlook My expertise

Dear DoMe,

First of all, I’m happy for you, kind of. I mean, what you’ve explained is that you exceed expectations, but then again that means you set them low to begin with.

My suggestion is to take a page from the Latin Lovers’ Handbook and sweet talk women with promises of amazing, mind-blowing experiences if they agree to go to bed with you. Turns out women love being flattered, and they also like signaling that emphasizes their pleasure as a priority.

In other words, the way to “convey” your mad skillz to women such as SLUT is to brag at length about them, in a raspy and whispery voice, directly into her ear. The more people around the better, this is no time to be shy. Commit to raising expectations, not lowering them, and be explicitly sexual. Women like sexy promises, especially if you can follow through, which you’re claiming you’ve got covered. I hope you’ve got that covered.

Oh and this all has to be done at the appropriate moment, of course, or else you’ll be super creepy.

Aunt Pythia


Dear Aunt Pythia,

How do partners of professors thrive professionally? From what I can see, most professors are employed in small/medium towns where employment opportunities are already limited. How do they make it work?

I’m currently employed in a job I love and can work remotely, but I’m worried about 3-7 years down the line when I’ll be looking for another job. What if my best options are the next big city 250-1000 miles away? Is there a way to support one another’s career with the combination of shorter job stints in the private sector, tenure requirements and a glacial job market in academia?


Dear Professional,

Great question. Lots of examples come to mind of partners who are also professors, or who work in the college/university in question in an administrative capacity, or who have super portable jobs such as high school teachers or doctors or lawyers (although the different state bars make that less than ideal).

I suggest that, when you and your partner are negotiating with a given school, after your partner has her or his offer, you mention this as an issue. It’s a super common problem of course, and I’m sure the institution has come up with ideas in the past.

However, the truth is that this system was set up in a different age, where women and families were expected to follow husbands around. So sometimes it just sucks. My overall advice for you is to consider all your options as a family, including having your partner leave academics and work in industry or such.

Aunt Pythia


Dear Aunt Pythia,

This will sound made-up but it’s not.

After accumulating a small but modestly comfortable stash, mostly for objectionable work in finance, I found a few years ago that I couldn’t find anything rewarding. This depressed me, setting me on a desultory search. Then a friend with 30 years’ experience managing grassroots developing-country projects told me he’d gotten into exporting non-conflict gold from small mines in darkest Africa and needed funds and a partner. He’d already raised a substantial amount from investors including a smart friend of ours. His bizarre adventures fascinated me, so I put a little into it but as urgency and promised payoffs grew I thought “what the hell” and invested the whole damn stash.

It turned out the friend, an intelligent, accomplished man, had a tragic weakness. He was a lover who sees no flaw even when his loved one is using the hell out of him – except his love object was Africans in general. I lost all my money.

My question: Five years after, possibly as a providential result of that act of personal creative destruction, I’ve found what I was looking for and am creeping back toward solvency. When I meet a woman and it may be getting serious, when do I tell her that her assumption that I’m well-heeled is wrong? This happened recently; after I told her things kind of came apart. It was relevant because she wanted children and it would be hard with little money. I think I’ll claw my way back to my previous wealth but can’t be sure. When and what should I have told her?

Decidedly uncertain of proper events to divulge

Dear Duopetd,

First of all, work on your acronyms – little words count, you know! You can’t assume “of” and “to” will be ignored!

Second of all, you’re right that the whole thing sounds completely made up, but mostly by you, in your weird little brain, because you don’t want to see the truth.

Here’s how I read your story. You made a bunch of money for the sole reason that you sold your soul at the right time. Then you got out and gave all your money to a swindler. Even so, you still like to think of yourself as a successful guy, so you maintain that facade to women when you date. When it gets serious, you either find out that those women are shallow and only wanted you for your money or that they can’t believe how dumb you were to give all your money to a swindler, or how sadly obsessed you are about money altogether. In any case the women leave, and I don’t blame them.

My advice to you is to get over yourself, and especially the idea that you need to be rich. Just get a job like everyone else and make sure you live within your means, and don’t take on airs, and please support your local public schools.

UPDATE: I’ve been told I’m being overly harsh here. It’s quite possible that people are misled by your nice clothes and resume. My advice is to nip the misimpressions in the bud on the first date. Figure out how to explain your true situation quickly and avoid longterm misunderstandings.

Aunt Pythia


Dear Aunt Pythia,

The bro formula establishes a lower bound for the acceptable age of the woman in a romantic human male-female pair bond as 7 years + male age/2.

Is there a similar formula that gives a strict upper bound for the acceptable age of a pop music fan based on the age of the performer? Does it vary by gender of the performer and the fan? And, is there special treatment available for someone overage watching Girls Generation (ick) particularly?

Pop Music Makes Papa Leer


First of all, why is that the “bro” formula? Why does it have to always be about men and younger women? Why can’t women be interested in younger men? And how about older men and younger men, and older women and younger women? Sheesh. I hate that name.

But I don’t hate the formula itself. My theory is that this formula, correctly named and applied, is a nod to the fact that it is difficult to maintain an equitable relationship with someone with a vastly different amount of life experience. Of course there are exceptions (Harold and Maude) but in general we wish to maintain this kind of equity, and in general it makes more sense to do so – it’s easier to do so – with people of similar ages.

Having said that, when you check out the hip maneuvering on a music video such as this (terrible) Girls Generation offering, you are probably not expecting a long-term relationship with the doll-like characters. Putting aside how deeply fetishistic, stylized, and hypersexualized that overly produced crap is, I think the whole point of it is for everyone to leer. So you’re really just doing your job in some sense.

Having said that, if I had a young daughter I’d probably want to keep that stuff away from her, it looks like a breeding ground for eating disorders.

Auntie P


Dear Aunt Pythia,

I saw an ad looking for a typist to generate a word doc from a typewritten manuscript. Is it unethical to scan the original document and use Optical Character Recognition software, and charge the same amount as a typist would?


Against Carpal Tunnel

Dear ACT,

I’m with you – if someone is dumb enough to not use technology, no reason you shouldn’t. However, there may be details about the requirements that don’t allow for your plan. Look carefully at the contract you sign.

Aunt Pythia


Please submit your well-specified, fun-loving, cleverly-abbreviated question to Aunt Pythia!

Categories: Aunt Pythia
  1. February 1, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Dear Cathy,

    Hello. I very much appreciate your blog …. I was wondering what you thought of the 1972 report from MIT, the “Meadows Report”, published by the Club of Rome in the book “The Limits to Growth”. What do you think about the thinking behind the model World3 (or, such type of modeling for growth …).

    I am not a math person, so please excuse me if my message seems simplistic.

    Sending kind regards from Paris.

    Milles merci.



  2. bob
    February 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Harold and Maude were a cool couple but they did not maintain their relationship for very long before Maude checked out.


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