Had I not chosen the glamorous career of a standup comedian, I am quite certain I would have been a life coach. My advice has actually helped tens and tens of people get their lives on track. Here, you may write to me in the strictest confidence, knowing that I will do everything to protect your anonymity. I look forward to hearing from you, and helping you in any way I can. I got your back. – Tranna
I work freelance as a graphic artist and my parents keep hounding me to get a "real job". I make enough money to live but that doesn't seem like enough for them. They'd rather me working a 9-to-5 desk job with benefits, etc. How do I get them to understand that those type of jobs are few and far between and that contract work is almost the norm these days, especially in my line of work?"
Dear Graphic Designer,
Darling, it's simple: you stop trying to get them to understand. You do not need their endorsement or approval, or anyone else's for the matter. Grown people who make life choices based on what will make their parents happy, especially at the expense of their own happiness, are stupid and you are very far from stupid. You are a smart, creative person making enough money from your own, independent work to fully support yourself without needing a shitty 9-to-5 desk job with benefits to supplement your income--you are living the fucking dream! Seriously, major congratulations to you. You should be so damn proud of yourself. You have achieved every creative person's dream. If your parents cannot see what an achievement this is, too bad for them. RuPaul's mom said it best: "Unless they gonna pay your bills, pay them bitches no mind." I'm so sorry I just called your parents bitches. How rude of me! I'm sure your parents are wonderful. Concerned parents are loving parents and you're lucky to have them, just don't forget that you're the one paying your own bills. Even if you are just making ends meet (for now), the freedom that comes from working for yourself is priceless. Do not sacrifice that freedom for anything or anyone, and stay the fuck away from 9-to-5 office jobs.
Wishing you continued success in your independent work,
What's the best place to bring a first date?"
Dear First Dater,
Montreal is the perfect city for first dates. Dinner is usually too much of a commitment for a first date, and coffee is just so boring. The best first date place in Montreal is the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1380 rue Sherbrooke O). And it's a cheap date, too! A small donation grants you access to all of the permanent collections, and our museum's permanent collections are pretty expansive and fabulous. You can easily spend two hours there, which is the ideal length for a first date. You and your date should wander all the floors and rooms. From "Archaelogy and World Cultures" to "International Contemporary Art," allow yourselves to get lost in the art--comment on the art, react to it, make fun of it. You'll never have to worry about awkward moments of silence because you can just point to a painting or sculpture and start a discussion. Bonus: if things are going really well, there are many nooks and hidden corners for the two of you to duck into and make out. And if he can't even recognize a Picasso, you'll know he's not worthy of a second date.
Hope you have a fabulous, artful first date,
P.S. The perfect second date would be any one of The Brunch Club's fabulous comedy shows. Come check out Liza Treyger March 25-26, I'll be opening for her!
I constantly feel nervous/anxious. What can I do to relax?"
I would just like to start by saying that I (obviously) do not know the extent of your anxiety issues. Chronic anxiety can be a serious condition and if you're feeling like you can't manage this problem on your own, do not hesitate to seek out professional help--it could be the most important thing you do for yourself. I do give out pretty great advice, but I am not equipped to help with a serious, medical issue. That aside, hi! I don't know if it's just me noticing this, but I feel like more people than ever are suffering from general anxiety. We all spend so much time alone now, isolating ourselves, staying home on our computers and mobile devices, that the real world has become overwhelming. If you feel like this applies to you, I would suggest trying to cut down on the time you spend online (I'm trying to do the same). Go for a walk. I know it's a cliché, but it's amazing how much good a little fresh air can do. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it's the outside world that makes us anxious, but I think it's our isolation that is the source of our anxiety. Force yourself to get out a bit more, even if you're not in the mood. Make the effort to spend more time with your friends and loved ones. I am all for alone time, and I personally need a lot of it, but being around the people you care about is a major de-stresser. Dance. Throw on an old disco record and just dance (oh God, that Lady Gaga song title reference was totally and genuinely unintentional). If you find yourself worrying about the outcome of different situations in your life, try to keep in mind that the worst case scenarios we imagine rarely, if ever, materialize. Try to get to the root of your anxiety. It may require you to ask yourself questions you don't want to ask, but when you are able to get to the root of a problem, you can solve it in a real, lasting manner.