Brown about Town with Suma Iyer
This month, I received a bunch of letters from Olympians, Titans, demigods, heroes, and other also-rans of Classical Greece. The bulk of them were #metoo complaints about Zeus, which, while valid, I could not address for fear of incurring his wrath.
However, the three remaining letters had some timeless questions about love, work, and the devouring of people. I hope this advice will resonate with at least some of you. And if you would like some advice about a mythological quandary, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Antiquity Agony Aunt (AAA) xx
I am an eagle who subsists on the liver of my human partner Prometheus, which I faithfully eat every day before it grows back overnight.
Pecking out his innards used to be a real thrill; when he took care of himself. Lately, he has been sinking a few moscatos along with a tub of ice cream most nights. I know this is shallow, but I’m less keen on eating his liver every day now that he’s let himself go.
I feel terrible about saying this but … I’ve been fantasising about eating livers that don’t belong to my boo. I see rodents, fish, and other birds every day, and the thought of plucking out their gizzards drives me crazy.
How do I tell my partner to put in a bit more effort?
Having your liver pecked out every single day – even if it is by someone you love – is hard going. He’s got his vital organs on display all the time. That is stressful. He’s probably well aware of his dietary shortcomings and doesn’t need you to be counting his macros and giving him dude-bro diet advice.
You’re ‘unsatisfied’ with how his liver tastes now? Huh. Well, he’s let you eat his liver countless times over the millennia. And guess what? He hated it every single time. You may have enjoyed eating his liver, but I can guarantee that he never liked having his liver eaten by you.
Oh, but he nodded and said “Yup!” after you said, “That was amazing, babe”?
He’s sparing your feelings for millennia. Maybe you could do the same after a couple of hard years in and out of lockdown.
What about what he enjoys eating? You could surprise him with a nutritious but tasty picnic lunch! Or make it something fun that you both plan together.
On the matter of your wandering eye: don’t eat the livers of rats, minnows or other birds(?!), because that is NASTY. Why eat out when you’ve got uncovered meat at home?
With Side Eye,
I’m a Great Sphinx—mighty in stature; rich in limestone— who finds it hard to connect with people.
My peers tell me that my preferred method of social interaction with new people, namely posing them with a riddle and then eating them alive if they answer incorrectly, comes off as hostile.
The male sphinxes I know have been doing this for centuries and they seem to be thriving. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
How do I change?
Stone Cold and Sorry
Dear Stone Cold and Sorry,
Aww honey. Who’s saying this to you? Is it (gasp!) a MALE Sphinx, by chance? Bet it is.
Do you think that he isn’t high-fiving his bros when he gazumps someone who fails his test of wits?
Also, when an androsphinx devours a mortal, he’s assertive. When a gynosphinx does it, she’s ‘hostile’!
It’s a heinous double standard, and it needs to stop. Do you think a male sphinx would spend even a second worrying about what people think? You need to be your authentic self.
You, like every other sphinx, give humans riddles and then eat them if they mess up. Why should you change because some cheesedick androsphinx tells you that you’re hostile?
Back yourself, ignore the haters, and slay, queen.
Yours in Solidarity,
I’m tired of being seen as a burden to my work husband, Sisyphus, by everyone. Sure he has to push me up a hill everyday or risk the wrath of Zeus, but it’s not like I had a choice in the matter either.
I want to have more control over my own narrative. Like even the phrase ‘Sisyphean task’- excuse me!? The task is ME and I have a name!
Has anyone ever been so erased from their own story? Everyone knows the Rock of Gibraltar, Plymouth Rock and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. I’d settle for being the Rock of Sisyphus.
How do I take back my life?
Sisyphus would be a pile of dust if it wasn’t for you. Were you the one who got himself on Zeus’ shitlist for cheating death?
No, you did not.
It’s not your curse. It’s his. And you can leave any time you like.
You don’t need to settle for being the Rock of Sisyphus. You can be whoever you damn well choose. Remember: before you were his rock, you were your own rock, Brenda.
With Igneous Goodwill,