For the last couple of years, Rookie – a US website for teenage girls – has been dishing out advice from Grown Men and Women from across the cultural spectrum. This week, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and Chris Baio stepped up to the plate to answer questions from readers but fellow musical legends Thom Yorke, Radiohead producer and Atoms For Peace member Nigel Godrich, Beth Ditto and Tegan and Sara have also added their tuppen’orth in webcam counselling sessions. Here are some of the things we’ve gleaned from their pearls of wisdom.
“Too easy doesn’t even feel like a thing,” says Ezra Koenig, and the alternative – the whole “rigamarole” and “cat and mouse thing” – is just a pain in the neck. If you find that guys are treating you differently because you’ve had sex, well, some of them are just “jerks”. Don’t let their thinking control your actions.
Neither Koenig nor Chris Baio has ever met a man who doesn’t look at porn. Whether this says more about Vampire Weekend’s pals than men in general is moot, but the fact is porn is everywhere. According to Koenig, “You have to work to not look at porn.” When it comes to relationships, it’s not weird to be attracted to someone else but Koenig reckons “porn is not a person, it’s a thing,” so, um, that’s all right.
“Run away!” says Thom Yorke.
But if you’re not sure, ask them anyway and ruin your friendship. Still, the risks are low because, as Koenig says, it’s “such a classic flirtation move”. Vampire Weekend themselves have songs that give a “romantic impression” but it could just be a form of inspiration, which basically leaves everyone in the dark. Who wants to stay there though?
This one holds whatever the situation, whether you’re worried you can’t relax in the company of a boy you like – “Sooner or later you’re going to be yourself anyway,” says Nigel Godrich – or whether your mum thinks the demon is in you because you’ve come out – “You can’t live your life pleasing other people,” are Beth Ditto’s wise words. And if you’re unsure about your sexuality, do what Tegan and Sara say and “do things as they feel comfortable”.
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Beth Ditto’s so sure of this one that she says it multiple times. It is “not OK” to ask someone to fight who they are. If your parents shun you because you’re gay, Tegan suggests you find someone who can support you – a teacher, counsellor, whoever. As you get older, it gets easier to choose who to have around you. And if people call you a “slut” because of how you dress Ditto says, “Who cares?”
Baio and Koenig don’t reckon that break-ups get any easier as you mature, so there’s no real adult way to end a relationship. Take the pain – it’s better than living through a “facade”, people.
Ezra Koenig has “never really stayed close friends with an ex-girlfriend”. And, frankly, that’s all you need to know.
So ask that guy for his number. “I would’ve loved that,” says Baio, because guys get nervous too. And if no one does anything the human race will die. You don’t want that on your conscience. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” asks Godrich, but Yorke’s a little more circumspect, suggesting you can “write him a note”.
To a girl who’s worried boys won’t like her because she has a foot-long scar on her chest from heart surgery when she was a toddler, Nigel Godrich says, “If someone can be as shallow and facile to have a problem with something like that, you don’t want to be with them.” Yorke reveals that someone once told him his right eye is the “nicest thing” about him.
So there you have it. Pop stars – seers, sages and porn aficionados.