Sedaratives: Todd Barry - Believer Magazine

Sedaratives: Todd Barry

by Todd Barry
Illustration by Tony Millionaire

Sedaratives: Todd Barry

Todd Barry
9 Snaps

Dear Sedaratives,

Is there anything—animal, vegetable, or mineral—that shouldn’t be used to make a bong?

Fucked Up in the Northeast

Dear F.U.I.T.N.,

Rather than answer your question, I’d like to give a couple of thank-yous. First, thank you for taking time away from burning copies of the latest Moe album and writing me. Second, thank you for signing your letter “Fucked Up in the Northeast.” Most people who announce that they’re “fucked up” aren’t thoughtful enough to include the region of the United States that they’re “fucked up” in. This is really handy for travelers. Maybe some family is headed toward the Northeast. They don’t want to expose their children to someone who is “fucked up”—even if that person is hilarious—so they now know that it is potentially safe to head northwest. (Although I’ve been there, and they have more than their share of people who are “fucked up.”) Anyway, to answer your question, I’m not a pothead but I’d probably make a bong out of any animal, any vegetable, but not the mineral wollastonite.



Dear Sedaratives,

What’s the difference between a transsexual and a transvestite? Which is the one where you tuck it instead of snip it? I just don’t want to make a mistake that I’ll regret for a long, long time.

Greg Sawyer
Macomb, Mich.

Dear Greg,

That’s an easy one, Greg. A transvestite is someone you fuck. A transsexual is someone you marry.



Dear Sedaratives,

I’m pretty sure that my girlfriend is cheating on me. I know this because I’m cheating on her and I’ve learned to recognize the signs. How can I expose her infidelity while protecting my own house of cards? (And please, no wise-ass “maybe you should stop cheating” advice. If I wanted a morality lecture, I would’ve asked my mom. )

Mr. Cake-and-Eat-It-Too
Savannah, Ga.

Dear Mr. Cake-and Eat-It-Too,

It’s really difficult to focus on your question with your girlfriend’s lips around my cock. Not your mistress’s lips. Your girlfriend’s. I’m seriously involved in a torrid sexual relationship with your current girlfriend, and I’m actually having sex with her as I type this (selfish, I know). You want to expose her infidelity? Log on to my Flickr account and click the album titled “Mrs. Cake-and-Eat-It-Too.” Or better yet, log on to her Photobucket account and click on the album titled “My Man-ah Who’s Not From Savannah.” I could also email you some evidence (unless you’re one of those uptight assholes who “won’t open anything with an attachment.” Actually, scratch that. I’m one of those assholes). But to get back on track, your girlfriend is cheating on you. With me. Are we using protection? I don’t know, are we? Let me check. Nope! No wonder it feels so extra good to have sex with your girlfriend.



Dear Sedaratives,

When somebody tells me that I’m“balding gracefully,” I can’t help but think that they’re secretly insulting me. For one thing, I’m confused by the word balding. How can bald be a verb? I’m not actively doing anything. Balding is something that happens to you. I’m just standing there, watching my hair fall into the sink. And gracefully implies that it’s some kind of physical performance. Somebody can do ballet gracefully, but balding—which, as I mentioned, isn’t a real activity—doesn’t possess any of the attributes that I usually quantify as grace. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but I think my friends don’t realize that using sloppy phrases like balding gracefully may not insult my vanity, but it does insult my intelligence.

Up My Own Ass?
Cleveland, Ohio

Dear Up My Own Ass?,




Dear Sedaratives,

I have a crush on Camille Paglia. At first it was just a silly fantasy, but now it’s starting to affect my dating life. I broke up with my last girlfriend because she wouldn’t deconstruct the cultural values placed on gender inherent in our lovemaking. I wish that was a joke, but it really isn’t. Please help!

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Dear Bob,

I’ll say to you what I say to all the young men who tell me they have a crush on Camille Paglia: get in line. But seriously, Bob, I’m guessing that a guy who makes a Camille Paglia joke in 2007 should have his pick of women, perhaps even Ms. Paglia herself. Why don’t you pursue her? I mean, she’s alive and well and living in Philadelphia. Fly over there and hit her with that “deconstruct the cultural values” line. She’ll melt like provolone on a cheesesteak. Make it happen, Bob.



Dear Sedaratives,

I never thought I’d become that type of girl, but now it looks like I might be. Does this happen to everybody or is it just me?

Lucy Franklin
St. Augustine, Fla.

Dear Lucy,

I wanted to give you an informed answer to your question, so I decided to do a little fact-finding. I caught a red-eye to St. Augustine, checked in to a four-star hotel, and had the concierge point me in the direction of the city’s “hot spots.”The plan was to go to various bars and restaurants, meet some locals, drop “Lucy Franklin” into the conversation, then wait for a reaction. Based on your letter, I expected a series of “Ooh, she’s bad news” looks after uttering your name. Instead, I got an onslaught of “You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think she’s that type of girl” looks. I left town before I was made to leave town. So that should make you feel better. You are clearly not that type of girl. Hey, Lucy, I have a question for you: why St. Augustine?


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