Ask Amy: December 2021

Need advice on love, sex, relationships, the music biz or have a confession to get off your chest? Ask Amy Milan.


Dear Amy, Christmas carols are already infesting any store I go to and I am totally stressed about holiday season. I am a student who studies away from home and away from my family drama. Going home for holidays means me being quiet while my mom stays quiet while my dad dominates — there are only three of us and he’s The Guy. Do I just fall back into my/our roles or try for something different? Only there for 10 days — suck it up, stay away or try to change things? — Christmas Cracking

Dear CC: Holiday dread is real for so many. Sounds like the home dynamics are deeply ensconced. Have you thought of talking to a therapist about it? I am sure the holidays aren’t the only time these issues arise. Therapy can be a real tool in dealing with family history, patterns and setting important boundaries. Once you set these boundaries for yourself and shift some of your own established behaviour, it might be possible to change the narrative.

Big family issues aren’t going to be solved in a one-letter advice column, but I do truly believe in the power of a good therapist. Maybe this is the jumping off point! There are great resources, especially through universities. Commit to therapy for a year and then, maybe, when next year’s holidays roll around, you will be stocked with great tools to make it the best yet — and going home will be an answer within your own heart.


Dear Amy, The Glasgow Blah Blah Blah Fest leaves me feeling disappointed about the future — again — but also pissed at the older generation, again. Forget “Shut up Boomer,” how about “Fuck off, Boomer, you did nothing about climate change”?

I’m 23 and look at my parents and their friends with their re-usable bags, hybrid SUVs and natural-fibre clothes, but did they ever push for big steps or change? Why has NOTHING happened and still this older generation thinks it can stall. They are literally killing us and they won’t have to deal with it. Help me be mad at someone else besides my relatives. Or something. — Boomer Buster

Dear BB: I think anyone who cares about climate change and global warming feels absolutely powerless and in distress these days. I think I may be able to shift your anger from your relatives, unless they are a part of only 100 companies in the world that are causing 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. Goliath is real and he is dipped in oil.

I think action is the only way forward and blame will only end up in an emotional landfill. Mobilize, protest, demand a climate emergency. How do we pay our bills and keep our comfortable home if we all walk out on work? We were able to shut the world down for a global pandemic, why can we not shut it down for the climate emergency? It is hard to make rich people care. Young people have always made things better — now it’s your turn.

Forget “Shut up Boomer,” how about “Fuck off, Boomer, you did nothing about climate change”?


Dear Amy, When you’re on stage, do you ever forget which band you are playing in, Stars or Broken Social Scene? Does a melody from one band intrude into your head when you’re performing with the other? — Spinal Tapped?

Dear SP: Stars is my wife and Broken is my mistress. If you called out your wife’s name while doing the deed with the mistress, things wouldn’t end well. So no. It isn’t confusing at all.


Dear Amy, Please help me get texting protocol right. I’m a straight guy who wants to be polite but also to give appropriate messages, not over-indicate interest either. Text after EVERY date? What’s a date? Dinner, movie, show, of course. Concert where you just meet there — date? Needs an after text? Afternoon meet at a coffee shop — not a date? Needs a follow-up text? Any rules or protocols here or am I just left to figure it out in real time? — Text Twisted

Dear TT: No rules! One person you’re with might expect texts all the time! The next person might think “Whoa, too much texting!” One might want to marry you after one coffee, the next might take months to show you their apartment! The most important thing is to be yourself, and then when that self meets up with the well-matched nuzzle puzzle, they will enjoy the way you worry about texting. That’s when you know you’ve got it right.


Dear Amy, My boyfriend is smart, at least I think so most of the time, except when he plays video games — and he plays them a lot. When he plays, he looks like a zombie, jerks his body and shouts. He freaks if he’s interrupted, shoots stuff on the screen and most women look like strippers. Away from the controller, he talks like a progressive, anti-gun feminist, but which is real him or are they the same same guy? — Digitally Divided

Dear DD: “He freaks out if he’s interrupted” is the only alarm for me.

I am not a gamer myself, but I can see how it is a release. If he is “freaking out” in a way that is mean and dangerous, then that is a real problem.

If he is getting upset because his time to tap out isn’t being respected, that is another matter.

Is he treating you with love and respect? This is what is most important. I think you can be an anti-gun, feminist gamer. We stream violence and sexualized women on TV all the time. If you feel safe with him and love him, maybe make a schedule when he does it so you can be in separate rooms and he gets his game on without annoying you with all the body jerks and grunts. Sounds like a great time to take a bath and nestle up with an (audio) book.

Amy Millan is a Canadian indie rock singer and guitarist. She records and performs with Stars and Broken Social Scene and has a successful solo career.

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