December 31st, 2013 | Staff Blog

Round 2 of Advice From Paradise, Nedelle Torrisi’s love advice column exclusive for L.A. RECORD. Send in your questions. Get them answered. All love, sex, relationship subjects are welcome. Ask anonymously at or email Recommended song listening included with each response.

Hi Nedelle!
I’m glad you have a love advice column because I have so many questions.
How can men avoid arguing with a woman? Is that even possible? Are there any magic words that I could pronounce right before everything turns into a shouting match?
I’ve tried everything. I need to hear to a woman’s perspective on the matter. Thanks! You’re amazing.

I know all too well that panicked feeling, when you notice the good vibes are slipping and a fight is about to break out. In this moment of panic we blab things that we haven’t planned or thought out, which often worsens the situation. You feel trapped in a room with no exits. It is best to breathe, and listen. You can say you need five minutes to process, and you’ll be back with formulated thoughts shortly. Try not to bust out your ammo and armor right away- defensiveness doesn’t help. Picture a peace treaty between you two- you’re both in powered wigs, quill pen in hand. In other words, lighten up!
That said, we must humor the dark side, too- and there could be sinister reasons for all this arguing. Maybe one person wants to purposely mess up the relationship. (I think I’ve been a victim of this and it is really manipulative and confusing, but I digress.) Or, you are both addicted to fighting for the euphoria you feel after the storm. This is an illusion, however, and doesn’t solve any problems. Where does the fighting instinct comes from? Boredom, perhaps? Do you need to find a release from the tedious nature of long-term love? Somehow we need to dethrone your inner drama queen and king and stop this madness. There are no magic words that will dispel an impending fight, but if nothing else works, there ARE therapists. That’s modern magic!
Recommended listening: David Bowie “Magic Dance” from Labyrinth

Hi, Nedelle. I have a music-related question. How do you feel about hip hop, as a genre? Strengths/weaknesses? Or is that a false dichotomy?
Haha, well this is a love advice column, so I have to answer this question with that in mind.
I love hip hop, and some of it, like in any genre, reaches the potential that music can reach- to crystallize all that is good or could be good in the world. It connects us. It challenges whack notions of power and prejudice. It makes us dance! At its worst it is misogynistic and aggressive. I mean really, there’s not enough space in this column to really dig into this… But if aggression is a byproduct of hate, and hate is the opposite of love, then sometimes hip hop is the opposite of love! Oh no. And if music and pop culture affects and informs us to a crazy degree, like I think it does, (is it our version of mythology?) then women better be making an equal amount of songs and stories, to counteract all the ‘bitches’ and ‘hoes.’
Dostoyevsky said, “Love every person. Love the animals, love the planets, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.” Sun Ra said, “History is his story! My story is mystery.” Music is a true mystery, in my opinion, and in an ideal world its power would function to serve everyone equally. Love rules!
Recommended listening: Whitney Houston “I’m Every Woman” from The Bodyguard

I’d like to start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoy reading your column. I have a blemish on my record from the past that I’m still dealing with. I was arrested for a DUI in 2012, and as a result, it’s affects my frame of mind when it comes to my love life. I’m not sure when to bring this up. Do I bring it up right off the bat, or do I wait to see if we “mesh” first? Will I come off as selfish or deceiving if I wait to spill the beans? Do I put my love life on hold till the dust completely settles?
Thanks much,

Hello Reflektor! I dated a guy with a DUI once. I didn’t judge him for it, because I know, especially in Los Angeles, it takes a lot of carpooling, designated driving, and strategic planning to go to a freakin’ party. It wasn’t a reflection of who he was on a larger scale- I viewed it as a moment of irresponsibility and bad luck.
I think you should only disclose the info after you’ve gone on a few dates, and feel comfortable with the person. No need to bring it up right off the bat.
You should know how you want to frame the story when you explain it to someone. I would keep it light, like no big deal, (but not to the point of dismissive) so someone doesn’t feel like they’re getting involved with the baggage, not the guy. I was just thinking about karma, and how any action will have a consequent cycle of cause and effect. Simple enough. The good thing is that it’s non-linear, and anything you do in the past and present, shape the present. We can divert the past with present actions. You can keep it short and say that you’re taking steps to make it go away, and that’s all you can do at this point. A reasonable person will understand that serious repercussions can result from a simple misstep. Unless they are preoccupied with reputation and other weird things, they should easily forgive you for it. Good luck!
Recommended listening: John Maus “I’m Only Human”