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Aunt Pythia’s advice

February 28, 2015


Do you really hate my advice? Do you disagree with everything I ever say, and wish you had an outlet for your frustration?

If so, good news for you today. I have officially found the place in the world where you can get advice which is the exact opposite of mine, namely by watching the new TV show Sex Box and then listening to the awful and rigid suggestions from the three judges. From the entertaining review of Sex Box:

Married couples briefly describe their unfulfilling sex lives, then are sent to the box, on the theory that the release of endorphins following sex will put them in the mood for a frank postcoital discussion of their problems. In the premiere, none of the men fall asleep after leaving the box, though this is a distinct possibility for viewers of any gender.

Worst part: the sex box is actually not made from clear material. We just have to take it on faith that sex is going on in there. But if that’s already enough for you guys, then be gone! Go ahead, leave!!

For those of you who are still here, I’ma let you into my sex-related reading list as a reward of loyalty. This very week I purchased two books which I think will be excellent reads, and might be titillating as well. Namely, Sex at Dawn and Sperm Wars.

I haven't read this yet but the TED talk was pretty good.

I haven’t read this yet but the TED talk was pretty good.

Some of this stuff might be pseudo-science, but I don't care, because it's about sex.

Some of this stuff might be pseudo-science, but I don’t care, because it’s about sex.

I’m hoping to read these both over the next few days and weeks (after I finish the first three amazing Elena Ferrante Neopolitan Novels) and then write up a comparative review. I’d love to hear from you guys if you have more book recommendations in this genre. In the meantime,

        ask Aunt Pythia a question 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,

Zac Weiner claims marriage is a lot like the Dollar Auction in game theory. I get the sinking feeling that his comic is an accurate portrayal of my life.

Do you agree with him? And if so, what is the best strategy to get out of a bad marriage?

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?”


Dear Joshua,

Here’s the comic for anyone who doesn’t know what we’re talking about:


Here’s the thing. I think that people who wait for their spouse to end a marriage are cowardly. Let’s focus on that last frame, where the couple are both thinking that if the other one leaves them, it will be “easier.” Kind of the definition of cowardly to do something because it’s easier.

Also, easier in what sense? What are you trying avoid, guilt or unhappiness? I can only imagine that someone in that mindset has already accepted permanent unhappiness, barring some kind of miracle, and is focused on the last remaining issue, that of guilt.

Fuck that. Get more selfish (if you call it that) and focus on your own unhappiness, and screw the guilt. Tell your spouse you’re unhappy, because it’s more courageous, because it might be fixable, and because it will be much more likely to get fixed if you talk about it.

This is not a game, it’s your life.

Aunt Pythia


Dear Aunt Pythia,

I was on vacation in Utrecht the other day, and was very surprised to find a vagina, apparently abandoned. Can I keep it, or should I hand it in to the police?

Someone Not Accustomed To Commenting Here


Keep it, take good care of it, and I mean really good care of it, and then please return it to its rightful owner, who will be ever ever so grateful, I’m absolutely sure of it.

Aunt Pythia

p.s. I love your sign-off. And everything else about you.


Hello Miss Pythia,

You are quoted here about your reflections on open algorithms.

Is it possible for a firm like Google to model billions of human brains when they collectively interact with computers? And if yes, why only do marketing when you can manipulate brains?

Michaël (Toulouse)

Dear Michael,

Marketing is manipulating brains. That’s exactly what marketing is, turning brains into things that pay you for stuff.

Aunt Pythia


Dear Aunt Pythia,

My sister and her girlfriend came to stay with me and my family (husband, kids) at Christmas. The girlfriend was lovely and a good time was had by all.

The girlfriend has started emailing me, not including my sister on the emails, saying what a great time she had, how much she liked me, how she couldn’t wait to come back and visit again, asking me (only — no family) to come out and visit her, trying to make some inside jokes about my family, etc. Each time I wrote back, looping in my sister, and was nice but distant. The first email or two were fine but I feel like she is either seriously boundary-challenged or is hitting on me.

Should I keep responding to her emails? Say something to her? Say something to my sister?

Don’t Play On Your Team, Wouldn’t Sleep With You If I Did


This one is easy. Yes, she’s hitting on you. That’s fine because you’re super gorgeous and attractive and who wouldn’t want a piece of that? Everyone should be allowed to fall in love. I’d leave it at that, and strain to feel empathy for her situation rather than judgement.

As for what you should do: don’t write back, or wait like 6 weeks and then apologize for being super busy, and even then talk about incredibly boring things like getting your washing machine fixed and buying clothes for your ever-growing kids. Oh, and of course don’t tell your sister, nothing really happened.

Auntie P.


Dear Aunt Pythia,

I had a book published recently (December 8). My publisher’s schedule needs caused me to have to abruptly stop working on the book and hand it over. It is a reference book with a lot of data, so that meant that there is some missing data. I had an opportunity to add some more content late in the game. That caused the publication date to slip from October 15 to December 8. The editor and publisher decided that it was more important to get the additional content than to make the original date, which was a good thing. The bad thing is that there is still missing content. I was told that I might have an opportunity, if there are additional printings, to add content and fix errors. I am back to working a 40 hour-a-week job, so that reduces the time that I have to do anything. That was the factor which slowed down the research and writing process originally. I was laid off in May, so I had time to build the index and add content. I also corrected some errors. Should I be pushing finding and adding the missing content? I had made a small start, but then the holidays hit and stopped me again.

Lost in Space

Dear Lost In Space,

Given that this is a technical book, it’s more about your integrity and reputation than it is about money. If I were you I would work on it, and I’d also maintain a webpage with the most updated links to data. When and if the time comes, add it to the book. You won’t regret doing that for your readers, and neither will they.

Aunt Pythia


Congratulations, you’ve wasted yet another Saturday morning with Aunt Pythia! I hope you’re satisfied, you could have made progress on that project instead.

But as long as you’re already here, please ask me a question. And don’t forget to make an amazing sign-off, they make me very very happy.

Click here for a form or just do it now:

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. JV
    February 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    After those books, read “Sex at Dusk” by Saxon for a more “academic” and balanced study of the subject. Not as much fun but…


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