There's a really great short story collection out now called the Office of Historical Connection. Sorry, I have to say that again, because my I have an elephant cuckoo clock and so at the top of every hour.
Oh, my gosh, I have a cuckoo clock. It's so great.
I love it. My wife got it for me. I have a train. Oh, nice. Yeah, cool. And the little elephant comes out of the hole.
My cuckoo clock is going but I have it on silent and it's now the train is going around the tracks.
This is Don't Ask BTIG, I'm Tig Notaro. Exactly the person you shouldn't be asking are not.
So everybody goes. Yeah. Here to help me today is the amazing Roxane Gay, hi tech. Hi. So you're clearly way more qualified to be giving advice than I am. The show should actually be called Don't Ask BTIG. You should ask Roxane Gay.
How do you feel about you know, that's a lot of pressure.
I mean, I love giving advice, but I don't know if I'm qualified to give advice on anything, but maybe which installment of Fast and Furious. You should watch. I'm really good at that.
Oh, what installment of Fast and Furious should I watch?
You should start with five. OK, now, fast five. It's very, very good. All right. All good.
But well, we could probably just end the episode now. I think we're good. Yeah, we're all set. Well, how does it how does it.
I mean, you say you're not qualified. I'm assuming you don't have any sort of certificate on your wall. That's advice related certification.
But no, how does it feel to become a go to voice of reason and wisdom whenever people have a tricky question?
Because I know in my household, truly, truly, whenever there's anything controversial in the news, we both are like, I wonder what Roxane Gay thinks about this. And then sure enough, we go online and you've written a perfect piece where we're like, that's exactly it.
That is exactly it. How does that feel?
It feels surreal. Certainly it's but it also feels great. I mean, let's not pretend that it doesn't feel great that people respect what I have to say and and and look forward to it. I do know it's a bit challenging in that most of the time I'm asked to speak about really fucked up and depressing things.
And so that part is challenging.
But I mean, like relative to the actual thing that people are impacted by, it's nothing. So it's fine. But it's also very flattering.
And where do you where did that come from in you?
I don't know. I must say that my career trajectory has surprised the shit out of me because I'm very quiet and I'm very shy and I'm also the nice one in my relationship.
And so that I also speak about the kinds of issues that we're facing in our world surprises me.
But I think it's because I tend to I'm a Libra and so I'm able to acknowledge multiple points of view and still believe that I'm 100 percent right. And, you know, believe it or not, that's a skill.
Well, I'm in areas, so I don't know what that means in this. I don't either. I only know my own sign.
Then why then why was there a oh, it sounds like I always feel like whenever someone says they're sign, I always feel like there's some sort of really important information around that. And I just in awe of it because I don't fully understand astrology, but I, I have seen enough to believe in it and to take it seriously.
Well, you know, I dated somebody years ago that very much believed in it, and I used to always say, so are you telling me had I been born a day or two earlier, then everything would have been your fault?
That's how it felt. Yes, that's true. That's exactly how it works.
That's exactly how all of this works. It's yeah, it's amazing. Just a feat of birth. Wow.
All right. And I'll take it. Well, you have your your advice column called Work Friend in The New York Times where you answer people's office and job questions. Has the pandemic made people's work etiquette better or worse, would you say?
Oh, I think it's absolutely made it worse. I think that well, I mean, there are a couple different types of questions. The main questions I get these days are I don't want to go back into the office either because I don't feel safe or because I love working at home.
And then also so what should I do? And then there are the questions from women one hundred percent of the time where they're doing an inordinate amount of work beyond their job description and they don't want to upset anyone.
But how can they advocate for themselves? And then men actually don't write me a lot, which is good.
I think they just know instinctively to stay away.
In fact, a man emailed me yesterday and he said, I just can't believe how accommodating to women your column is and how it's just like, oh, my God, I'm so proud of that. Thank you. That's exactly what I was going for. What an interesting thing to say to I mean, I wonder if he wasn't familiar with you and it was just stumbling across you.
And because it doesn't make sense to write that work friend is in the business section.
So I am getting a lot of people, readers who have no idea who I am are stumbling as it should be. Yeah. And and so they're taken aback. And so is my most recent column. I was talking about man babies at work. You know, when the guys who won't participate in group projects or take notes or do any of the sort of administrative labor that tends to fall to women. And I have never gotten more hate mail. People have told me that I'm such a sexist because I called men man babies.
And I was like, oh, my God, you're actually being a man baby about this. So thank you for proving my point.
That's great. And so now, Roxann, you eloped this year. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Yeah. And on Twitter, you said that you got married at an office park in Encino. Mm hmm. Do you recommend that? I do, actually. How did that come about?
Well, my wife and I are planning our wedding. We've been planning it for about a year and a half now. Okay. And we were planning it for 10, 10, 20, which I kind of such a great date. And then covid happened.
And right now our guest list is at like 425 because my wife has a lot of friends, like my guest list is 100 people, to be clear. And we had 350. See, OK, so you can relate, you know that. And so we just recognize and we're getting married in New York and frankly, you can't social distance with that many people and you also cannot have that kind of gathering right now.
So we decided just because of Trump, you never know what he's going to do next and which rights he's going to take away next, that we should probably just do it.
And it was partly romantic and partly being realistic about the state of this world.
And so I just looked up, you know, like, where can you go have a marriage in Los Angeles, like a civil ceremony.
And we ended up going to instant marriage, L.A. Dotcom.
That was not a paid advertisement. It wasn't. That was organic. If we do they to take down some cash, we'll split it with you.
I think you.
Yeah, and it was great. A woman who I think is from Eastern Europe or Russia married us and we had a couple friends there and everyone was wearing masks and we took our masks off for the actual ceremony part. And yeah, it was great.
And now our wedding is going to be on 10, 11, 21, 10, plus 11, 21.
Oh, great. We're 10, 24. Oh, great date. October is such a good month.
Yeah. Are there any sort of. Oh you don't know astrology. Know why.
I know. Like well I know enough about Libra and then Scorpio starts at the end.
You know, it's, it's really crazy because my wife really is into astrology and she talks about astrology and her sign. And I to this day I don't know what science she is. I do not know what science is. And we're very close. We talk a lot. We work together. You know, we've been together almost eight years. I don't know what her sign is. That's how much it just doesn't really. So it's just like it is completely not a part of my world.
I know that I'm areas. And since I've been with her, she said I'm Aries with Pisces cusp or something. But if you. Forced me to tell you what her sign is, she's September 19th, but I don't know what that is. She's a Virgo. Virgo. Is that bad?
No, but I have a Virgo X.
Vergos can be a lot, but I will make sure she hears this episode. OK. I enjoy a Virgo.
I love a Virgo. Mm hmm. All right.
Now we are going to get into the questions. Are you ready?
I am ready. OK. The first question, Roxanne, comes from Ashley. Ashley writes, My husband and I are both working from home amidst the pandemic and I've come to notice that my dear husband, who I love deeply, is a terrible gossip. He is constantly spilling t about his co-workers and repeating stories that seem unprofessional to share. I've heard him talking about affairs, divorces and ragging on other co-workers job performances. Is this something I should talk to him about or am I better off keeping business out of our marriage?
It's an interesting question. I'm trying to figure out what the problem is. Well, it's because I do think that there there's something nice in the safety of being able to gossip with your spouse or partner. But it seems like maybe Ashley doesn't find it respectful.
I don't know. I guess I love gossiping with my wife, especially about people I don't know so that there's no consequence. And so when she's gossiping to me about her job, I'm just like, oh. Hmm. And what? No, she didn't.
And I just I find it endlessly interesting.
And so I think it's interesting that Ashley is worried about sort of like. You know, privacy and discretion and things like that, I mean, if he's just talking to his wife like that's a vault and so he's just being comfortable putting information into your vault.
So I guess I would ask actually, why are you so concerned about the secrets of his coworkers when it's only going to you unless you plan on taking that information and then spreading it?
I feel like it can be a fine line, but it does it does feel like it should be a safe place to really get in there and let it all out with your spouse. But what do we know, Roxann?
We're just advice. No, we're just advice givers. We are.
You know, actually, if it really bothers you that much like real life is short, just be like, man, I don't really want to hear your co-worker gossip. I don't care. I am not interested. Let's talk about something else. I mean, it's OK. Just be honest with your man.
Mm hmm. That's good advice, Ashley. I hope at least some good gossip is is part of what you're overhearing, at least maybe some of it is enjoyable, but good luck with that.
And we will have more questions after the break. And we're back. Roxanne, do you have any pets? I do.
I am not a pet person. I've never had pets in my life. And now I have three because I got married in an office. I did get married.
My wife is an animal lover and it's actually she's not necessarily a people lover, but she's an animal lover.
And I've never seen someone who's more generous to a little creature than her. And so we have two cats, Theo and Lou, and I got her a puppy for her birthday. And so now we also have a dog named Maximus Tirado Blueberry.
Of course you do. Yeah. What else would you name as one does? And how do you how are you feeling about these animals now that you did you dislike animals or were you just neutral? You dislike them?
I'm not into animals and I was afraid of dogs. I am afraid of dogs. But I got a tiny little puppy. He's so little. It's great. I can put him in my like I wear him in my coat when I take him for a walk.
Oh. So you've really come around.
He's a great dog. I will admit he likes me too much, but he's a great dog.
And what about the cats. Where are your feelings. They're one of the cats is evil, Lou. And so I call them Lucifer. And you know, we just ah, you know, we just circle each other and he knows that I'm the alpha male in this house.
He doesn't care. It means nothing to him. And Theo is in love with me because I play with him with the laser pointer. And so we get along.
You seem like a very flexible you're not an animal. Dislike her, right?
I am, but I am a Debbie lover. Our first date, she knew this thing about me and animals because she knew who I was and had sort of chased me. And so on our first date, she told me she had just gotten two cats. She got them a week before our first date and she asked me if that would be a deal breaker. And I said no, that's why Benadryl exists, because I'm allergic to cats. And that was pretty much what sealed the deal.
And you've been together ever since? We've been together ever since. Well, all of that to say.
Our next question comes from somebody named Jelly, and I think you'll see why their name is Jelly. Mm hmm. I just moved in with my boyfriend and his 12 year old dog. Every day we wake up, my boyfriend gets on the floor and cuddles with the dog and tells them how much she loves him. This is sweet, but it also means that every morning he's not cuddling me or telling me how much he loves me.
Is it weird that I feel jealousy is jealous?
How can I bring this up with him? Jelly, I've been accused of this before.
I'm dealing with this right now. I'm a baby. And so because we have this new puppy, for whatever reason, he has bonded intensely with Debbie, which is actually what I wanted because I got him for her. Yeah, but I've never had a dog before. And so I've been very bereft lately that he does not want to be my friend because I'm very immature. And, you know, I've just had to realize that there's enough love to go around.
And so you can just tell your boyfriend your needs and just say, hey, Peter, I love how close you are to your dog, but I also need some affirmation and cuddling. And so can you please fit me in in the morning as well?
Yeah, I think it's completely reasonable to to say could we make. What seems like to me a completely reasonable plan that when we wake up, that we connect as a couple and then after that. Go make out with the dog, go hug a tree, do whatever you would like, but I would love to get my day started connecting with you.
Oh, that's really well put. Yes. Wow. I am excited that you thought that I did. I looked to you for advice even when you don't even know.
I'm telling you, my wife and I are honest with you. All right, Roxanne, for the next one, we need some tips on being friendly. Hmm. Avid asks. I'm an introvert, and it's hard for me to engage in small talk. I get feedback a lot that I'm too serious and not very approachable. It would be great if you could tell me how I can be more friendly.
I really relate to this. So do I. Yeah, it's hard, it is.
I outsourced the friendliness to my wife, who is the one who will go and find friends and then bring them back.
But wait, in the beginning, you said you're the nice one. I am the nice one. But she's the friendly one. And it's like she's nice. But she also has a hard edge. She's a lifelong New Yorker, so she's a little scary, but she's also incredibly social. She's a social butterfly extrovert. And I'm an introvert and I'm very shy.
And so she will go out and like create the social circumstances and then I get to participate. I also am able to make friends of my own, but she's really good at that part. And so one of the things that I've learned is that you can have meaningful conversations with people that are not entirely serious and that are not small talk. And so you want to try and figure out what are some things you can talk about with others that aren't trivial but aren't like global warming, like some sort of in the middle.
And I always use entertainment as that sort of inroad and pop culture.
But if that's not your thing, it could be animals or not the weather.
But I would just say, yeah, try try a little harder and just recognize that it's OK to want to opt out of trivial conversation. Like, that's OK. It's not a failing.
Yeah. And maybe here's the other thing which I've had to do is really pick and choose where you want to be going socially. I if I cannot do it, I will not go to a big party because I really prefer one on one and small groups. And so the more or the better I know the people around me, the more I feel like I can be myself and have meaningful conversations. So maybe that's something to back up and consider is where are you going that you're having to do the small talk?
All right, David, thank you so much for writing in. And Roxann, our last listener question is what I call a boy anyway.
Yeah, it's for the real messy rooms. Caitlin writes, My friend of nine years sent me a text admitting they have feelings for me. I don't know how to let them down easy without losing the friendship or making things weird help. I received this text two days ago and I still haven't responded, which probably makes things worse. I can't even imagine, Roxann, how many days it's been at this point. My God, have you been on either side of this?
Certainly I've been on the wrong side of this. I've been the person who sends the text well, not text because I'm old, but like, who sends the email or the pigeon? Yes.
Hey, I, I, I think I have a crush on you.
And has that ever been successful. I've only, I think, done it twice and no it has never ever been successful. I don't think it's ever. Well no let me not say never. It's that's a challenging place to be in. And so I would just ask you to be gentle and generous. But to be clear, if you're not into this person, if you don't have feelings and you don't think you could have feelings, be clear.
Don't be too gentle. Right. Don't be ambiguous, because when someone has a crush or has feelings, they're going to read the tea leaves of what you say.
So say what you really need to say.
And frankly, the biggest kindness you can do for this person is to just be honest and like put them out of their misery. But, you know, maybe do ask yourself, do I want to give it a go with this person?
Mm hmm. I've gotten myself in situations where I think I've been to a few of about loving someone and maybe I've even said, oh, my God, I love this person, I love you or I'm in love with this person or and I this isn't exactly what's happening in this situation. But I feel like I've gotten myself into a couple of predicaments where I was taken for actually being interested in somebody. And in fact, one time I was turned down when I wasn't actually interested in someone.
So that was a little uncomfortable because then I had to explain that I wasn't interested. Anyway, but but the situation Caitlin is in is I'm siding with Roxanne on this, be very gentle, but be very clear.
But best of luck with that. Caitlin and Roxanne, those were all the listener questions today, but.
There's someone else we need to help from the past. Oh, OK, had someone from the past, we have to help a dead person. Oh, this segment is called Advice of Yesteryear. When Jerry brags about taking Jenny out, he learns that she dates all the boys. So as we say now, menstruation is just one routine step in a normal and natural cycle.
How do you choose a date?
Well, one thing you can consider is, look, I did everything you said, but my boss still hasn't asked me to lunch.
OK, this is where we take a real question from an old advice column and we try to give a better answer. This question comes to us from nineteen forty one from Peggy Parker's Teen Topics column.
Are you in? I am 100 percent in. All right, dear Miss Parker, my front porch has become the stamping ground for about ten of us girls. One girl is stuck with a boy who's nice but dull as tarnished silver. He's the son of close friends of her family, and that's why she feels obligated to date him. Signed the front porch forum. Roxanne, do you have any advice for the front porch forum? I mean, this girl is stuck with someone nice but dull as tarnished silver.
Yes, you know, nice is not good enough.
Nice is great, and I always think that people should be with nice people, the sort of the bad boys and girls and non binary people and that sort of edgy and endlessly interesting like niceness and kindness can also be interesting. And so I think it's important to recognize that there's nothing wrong with nice. However, there is definitely something wrong with dull as tarnished silver.
And so, no, this person needs to leave her dull as tarnished silver boyfriend because nice is good, but it's not enough and it's certainly not good enough.
That's a good point because, my gosh, there are nice people that make me want to jump off of whatever it is I am standing on, no matter how tall or very low down to the ground that it is. You know, I as much as nice people, there are nice people and then there are boring people. I have a love hate relationship with boring people. I want to pull my hair out. But I also kind of want to start a podcast where I talk to people that are boring because I find it fascinating.
Like, do they work at it?
Like, how did you get this boring? Yeah, yeah.
Like how on earth did your brain sort through everything and decide this? Is what you're going to share or respond with, this is these are the words you have strung together to say to me, you know what I'm saying?
And you know what I think about all the time when they're when they're talking, I think. I know these words. I've said these words. Mm hmm. I might have even set them in the same order. I know people that know these words. And I feel like they might have even said similar sentences, but why are you driving me so crazy?
Because you're so boring. Why is it when you have chosen these particular words that I am so familiar with? Are you driving me insane? They're being very nice, but so boring. Oh, Roxann, do you want to hear the answer?
I do actually want to hear the answer. I'm I'm very curious as to because I given the time period, I have no doubt that the answer is going to be incredibly fucking disappointing. So disappoint me.
The answer is why not arrange double or triple dates with couples that are firecrackers? Have fun. You can lose the dull number in a crowd, fulfill an obligation and still enjoy the evening, or else do intensive research dull danz usually have a bright spot somewhere. You just have to dig till you find it. I have time for that. Listen, I mean, are you a digger or do you have a life to live this nonsense that you have to just uncover the interesting in a man?
No, no, no. If you can't see it, it's not there.
Hello. All right, Roxanne, that's the end of our show. And I think that's a good place to end. All right. I think so. You really took it up a notch with your tone? I did, yeah.
Because I get really upset about this idea that women are supposed to settle and and that, like, if you just sort of work hard enough, you can make a man worthwhile. Like, nobody's got time for that.
That's right. Roxanne, thank you so much for taking time in your day to talk to me and help the people of this gigantic planet that were spinning around on.
Thank you for having me. This has been great. I love giving advice so. Well, I. I want to say once again, I appreciate all of your advice, all of your thoughts and keep them coming, please, because I really feel like you are a voice of a very important voice of reason in this world right now. And for as long as you live, I have I have so much faith that you are going to be helpful to to so many people.
And is there anything that you would like to to plug or promote?
Hmm, that's a good question. There's no nothing of mine, but there's a really great short story collection out now called the Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans. It's a really great short story collection I highly recommend. All right.
Well, thank you again. And for all questions, send them to don't ask BTIG and we might try to answer them on a future episode or we have a brand new option to send us questions. You can now call eight three three two seven five eight four four four. That's eight three three. Ask BTIG four and leave me a voicemail. And again, don't ask Tig to reach us with your questions.
All right. Hopefully I'll see you soon, Roxanne.
Thank you. Likewise. Bye bye.
That's what Joe. Don't ask, BTIG is hosted by me, Tig Notaro. It's produced by Thomas Willette, Mary Knox and Tracey Mumford. Our editor is Phyllis Fletcher, executive producer Lauren D. Engineering and Sound mixing by Eric Rachmani, digital production by Christina Lopez. Talent Booking by Marianne Wei's Production Assistants by Nancy Shue. Our theme music is Friend in Tig by Edie Brickell and Kyle Crushin and Listen To Your Heart by Edie Riquelme. Special thanks to Hunter sideman Lily Kim and Alex Shaffer.
Our executive consultant is Dean Cappello and Gobsmacked Studios. You can always ask for advice at Don't Ask Tig. Just write in with your problem or send us a voice memo. You can also follow us on social media at Don't Ask BTIG Don't Ask. TIG is a production of American Public Media. And as always, thanks, Dana. And I'll tell Beka's.