Dear Someone: Tough Love, Gentrification, & Bathroom Etiquette


Walker Lukens is a musician living and working in Austin, Texas. His latest album is called Devoted. His advice column Dear Someone runs semimonthly on Pop Press International. You can send in your own inquiries by emailing Walker here or by using the submission form at the bottom of this post. He’ll give you advice if you ask.



Dear Someone,

I tried all your methods. I still feel like donkey balls. Anymore suggestions?


Drank Too Much Again


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Dear Drank Too Much Again

Method 4:  Make sure to drink various types of alcoholic beverages the night before. It’s important that you mix the varieties of booze because this way you’re certain to lose track of how much you’ve had to drink. Go to bed at least two hours later than you usually go to bed and, if you can manage it, wake up at least an hour before you regularly do. Do not immediately get out of bed. Wallow in self-pity and regret over last night’s self-destructive behavior. I strongly advise against allowing yourself to watch TV or stream anything on your computer. For god’s sake, please don’t tell Twitter and Facebook how bad you feel. Abuse of social network! Do nothing until nausea or a full bladder drive you out of bed and into the bathroom. If you absolutely must, drink water at this point. Preferably, head back to bed to continue with the self-pity and regret until you’re questioning not just the night before but your entire weekend, lifestyle, friends, family, lack of effort in school and career, and birth. You’ve earned the right to hydrate. Drink water until your urine is clear. You’ve earned the right to eat. Eat something so greasy you smell like it afterwards. You might need coke, Gatorade, orange juice or something similarly sugary at this point. If all of this occurs before 2 or 3 pm then you’ve done it wrong and will need to do it all again that night from the beginning. In fact, do it until you see how sad Charles Bukowski is. Do it until you hate Van Halen. Do it until you understand that insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results and not how someone is born.




Dear Someone,

I’m what you might call a gentrifier. I live in a part of my city where people with my ethnicity and socio-economic background did not live 10 years ago. I’m in my mid-20s as are my roommates while most of my neighbors live in multi-generational households. In the past few years, I’ve watched the older ethnic restaurants and immigrant-owned businesses make way for hipper and more stylish spots. Now there are bars where there were none before. Rent has gone up and there are more and more people ‘like me’ than there were before. I feel bad that the original residents of my neighborhood, mainly second and third generation Dominican and Puerto Rican immigrants, are being displaced, but I also feel safer than I did before. On the one hand, I feel guilty and as if these “original residents” resent my presence. On the other hand, I love my neighborhood more and more. I’m not planning to move nor do I feel like that is the appropriate response, but how bad should I feel? Is there anything I can do to feel better?


Ms. Gentrification

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Dear Ms. Gentrification,

Would you prefer to live in some adult summer camp, glorified college dorm cum neighborhood? Everyone would more or less look and act like you, be roughly the same age and have the same kind of fun. Sure sounds like a whole hell of a lot of fun and less complicated than living around people that aren’t the same as you. These neighborhoods exist already! The requirement is that you have, want, or at least tolerate kids. It’s called the suburbs and generally you can’t walk to bars.

No, you love your affordable neighborhood where grandmas and grandkids next door make everyone a little better behaved. You love having cheap ethnic food instead of fast food when you’re hungry and on the run. You like having bars around the corner.

Take the weight of history off your shoulders. Be a good neighbor. Learn all your neighbors names. Learn what they do for living. Christ, have tea, coffee, a beer, a joint. Find out what they think about the availability of whiskey-infused bacon. (You might find that they’re stoked that it’s around the corner.) Vote. Learn the history of your neighborhood instead of just feeling bad about your recent addition to it.

The quicker your neighborhood turns into summer camp, the quicker all the cool kids will get priced out and what remains will be a tourist attraction.




Dear Someone,

The early days of a relationship are magical—for just about every reason but one. Everything is new and uncharted. Mainly the sex is copious and not routinized. And you always—always—want to be around the new person (which is how the sex gets copious).

But all that togetherness leads to the one drawback of new relationships: shitting.

Part of the magic of the early relationship is that it’s not real. Everyone is on their best behavior and actively trying to make a great impression. Because of that, nether regions are purely for pleasure and not foul smelling digestive waste.

The dilemma I find myself in is that it’s hard to keep boning all the time if you’re “holding it.” Too much back log is going to prevent proper range of motion, rhythm, etc. Yet, pausing for a few minutes to stink up the bathroom is not going to arouse your new partner. (Who wants to go down on someone that just took a huge dump?) More importantly, it’s hard to tell if it’ll actually offend more delicate sensibilities.

So what’s the best way to handle new relationship–shitting etiquette?


Shitless in Seattle



Dear Shitless in Seattle,

There are couples that abide by the maxim “women don’t have assholes until they’re married.” While I’d hope this was a thing of the past, who am I to judge an older and/or more old-fashioned couple who’d rather not have any assholes sullying their union? There are also those that are not at all bummed out by what their partner ‘produces,’ my dear Shitless. I once read Marquis De Sade’s 120 Days Of Sodom wherein I encounter several fascinating uses for shit in the bedroom. (If you do not have the patience to read this book, which is totally understandable, simply command-F the word “shit.” You’ll find enough.) Is it fair to say that people with certain sexual orientations must come to terms with shit and sex sooner than others? Is it also fair to say, Shitless, that thinking you can control when you reveal your asshole to your partner is a conceit of the young and healthy?

Sadly, some relationships are over before they start because a smell lingers too long, a fart comes out too loud, or someone doesn’t clean up well enough. Seems so silly and so tragic in a Morrissey-kind-of-way when you put it into perspective, my dear Shitless.

One might say that shit is the fulcrum upon which the future of a new relationship balances. Like the first “I love you,” you just know when to let it out. Or, you get it all wrong and ruin it all before your greatest hopes were realized. Then, a little later on, you’ll think that such an anal retentive lover was all-wrong for you anyway.

So, Shitless, don’t get too calculated about it. Nerves upset the stomach, which will not help your timing or your ‘first impression.’




To submit your inquiries for Walker’s next column, email him here, or use the submission form below.

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