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Circe Says: Ancient advice for the online era
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Circe Says: Ancient advice for online dating

Ancient wisdom for modern problems.

Circe is an ancient Greek minor goddess who spends her days on X, chronicling the late-stage American empire and dispensing advice on life and love in the digital era. You can submit your advice questions to her directly at Circe @vocalcry.

How do I hide my red flags until I'm deep into a relationship?

One of my firmly held beliefs, passed down from an eccentric Slavic grandmother, is that every product has its customer. Instead of hiding your red flags, you should be letting them fly.

In the throes of his torture session by O’Brien in "1984," Winston quips that “perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” Given that we live in dystopian end times, what better source of wisdom to draw from than "1984"?

In its most satisfying manifestation, a relationship should be a sanctuary in which you can freely be yourself and withdraw far away from the judgments and troubles of the world. And what better way to find that person who will accept you for who you are than to be as open about your flaws as possible?

I don’t suggest you go around dumping on every stranger who catches your eye, but once you have established a mutual admiration, slowly start revealing the more unsavory parts of your character. Your vulnerability will build intimacy, which will serve as the foundation of your sanctuary.

The last thing you want to do is to entrap someone in a cocoon of lies about who you really are because it will inevitably unravel and ultimately cause you more pain than being alone. So go ahead and embrace your shadow, lean into it, and trust the Fates. Unless, of course, you are a podcaster. Then you are probably going to die alone.

What rituals do you think men and/or women should follow when they are in the part of their life looking for a partner? Do you think some rituals require us to find another with compatible rituals?

Many people neglect or even actively avoid thinking about this when looking for a partner, but 80% of daily life consists of rituals. If you’re obstinate enough, you can survive a mismatch of rituals, though it often comes at the price of mental peace. It is worth identifying and seeking alignment on at least the “bigger rituals” that are important to you — religion, finances, severe dietary restrictions, and substance use.

Secondary considerations, like bedtime, relaxation activities, and socializing needs, are less important. However, the more aligned they are, the more harmonious the relationship tends to be, and some compromise is inevitable. Beyond those, differences granular in scope, like whether someone shares your passion for Mongolian throat singing or drinking Chartreuse, are irrelevant and arguably even add a much-needed spice to a relationship that too much sameness can dull.

If I may permit myself to mix metaphors, chemistry may be the spark, but compatibility is the glue that holds two people together. So while dating a psychedelics-abusing vegan circus acrobat may be exciting in the short term, it may not be a great idea in the long term if you’re a teetotaling carnivore with a 401(k). I loved Odysseus dearly, but our mismatch in mortality did cause a lot of friction in the relationship (to say nothing of his wife, Penelope). So don’t do what I did: Don’t shack up with a soldier who is passing through on his way home if your lot in life, like mine, is to be exiled on an island for eternity.

How do I get my pit bull Bandit to respect women?

Bandit is a classic case of nature overcoming nurture. He clearly comes from a broken home and was raised on the streets, and on top of that he has been influenced by too many Andrew Tate videos. We cannot expect Andrew Tate to be anything other than what he is because of his deep-seated abandonment and daddy issues, and Bandit is no different from his favorite influencer in this respect.

His attitude toward women will probably never change, but you can limit his screen time so that he consumes less manosphere content and lead by the stick rather than the carrot by putting him in a timeout whenever he starts barking about what an alpha male he is. That way, even if he doesn’t respect women in his heart, he can at least respect them in his deeds. Also, next time, think twice before getting a pit bull — there’s a reason they’re illegal in the U.K.

I am the father of a 2.5-year-old son. His mother and I have an amazing co-parenting relationship. We know that we made the right choice in separating. However, now I’m ready for the real thing. I've had several long-term relationships before that did not go the distance to marriage simply because I was not ready for it yet. But it's not just me any more. Now it's me and my son, so I'm not just choosing a wife but also choosing a stepmom. This is especially sticky because I want to have more children. So my question is this: How do I navigate these waters? How do I know if a woman is capable of loving my son when I meet her?

Many on the right would tell you that you need to suck it up, marry the mother of your child, and make it work. However, life is often messier than a media sound bite, and I think this situation is salvageable. Many women who want to be mothers would rather marry a man who is “father material” and already has a child of his own whom they would raise than marry a man with questionable parenting qualifications.

In that regard, you’re in luck. Finding a woman who is stepmother material requires the same filtering process as finding a woman who is mother material, but with the additional criterion that she be willing to accept your son as her own.

Once you have filtered for maternal qualities in a woman, bring up the fact that you have a son early on, see how she reacts, and, if you eventually feel serious enough about her to introduce her to your son, watch how she interacts as she becomes comfortable around him.

Does she treat him how you would like her to in the long term? Is she excited to interact with him? Does she go into “mom mode”? Does she ask about him when he’s not around? Women who want children usually find toddlers adorable — so if she’s not taking an interest in him early on, it’s unlikely to happen later. This may seem obvious, but openly discuss your vision for what your family will look like. She is not the right candidate if she shies away from this conversation.

Your bigger challenge is navigating the dating market effectively — the person you’re looking for also has to be looking for you. Maybe the woman you see as your “perfect wife” would rather start with a clean slate and marry a man without kids, so you may have to be willing to make trade-offs. This is where you must think deeply about which qualities are most important to you (being a good stepmom) and on which you could be willing to compromise.

You may meet a woman with her own child whom you will also have to raise as your own. Maybe she will have a quirky laugh. Or she may be a rare female specimen who spent her formative years on 4chan. Remember, she will likely be compromising by joining an existing family, so be willing to make some compromises on your end that you may not have initially considered.

What is the way to be like Elon?

If you have to ask, it’s already too late.

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