THE TRUTH LIES IN JEST

Ask Catherine Cohen: Where Do I Find Chic Size 14 Clothes?

In this month’s advice column, the comedian fields questions about throuples, size-inclusive summer looks, and liking another guy’s nature photos.


Photo by Carly Hoogendyk

Comedian and actress Catherine Cohen has built a cult following for her chronicles of the bizarre, often humiliating experience of being a 20-something woman. In her original show tunes and on her popular podcast Seek Treatment (co-hosted with fellow comedian Pat Regan) she skewers the clichés of millennial aspiration, deadpans about sex on antidepressants, and earnestly celebrates such triumphs as finding love or drinking seven beers. Her first book, God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems From a Gal About Town is out now.

Have a question for Catherine? Send it to askcatherine@wmagazine.com.

Listening to your podcast, Seek Treatment, has made me feel so much more comfortable and confident about my body and sexuality (aka horniness) after 4 toxique years at a private southern Christian college where every girl looked like an Instagram model that your boyfriend just so happens to follow. Now, onto the modern day tragedy: My friend and I started hooking up at the start of the pandemic, and after doing the friends with benefits thing for a while, we decided to be exclusive. After being together (in some capacity) for over a year, he told me a couple weeks ago that he's moving to New York in 3 months. We're not going to do long distance, but we're planning to keep seeing each other until he leaves. So now I'm weirdly and annoyingly dating someone who I'm about to break up with? I feel so conflicted and confused: After sobbing for two days, I've started to feel optimistic and excited about being single again, but then I immediately start to feel guilty again. How do I grieve a relationship that I'm still in?

Firstly, thank you for listening to my slutty little podcast. I love you and you are my blood relative. Now to address this sad saga in flowery language: This sitch sucks. Obviously, you need to stop seeing each other, but you’re not going to do that because life is long and lonely and ketchup still comes in messy, squeezable packets instead of personalized pipettes.

Three months is too long to be in this kind of limbo! You don’t have time to waste feeling guilty, you survived Christian college and a pandemic!

Let yourself be excited for this next chapter. And if you still see him every now and then during these next few months, don’t beat yourself up. If he’s asking you to be exclusive just for three months...that doesn’t make sense. Either don’t see him at all or see him casually while you start to consider dating around. Ugh, life is messy—in ketchup, and in love.

Cat! My question is a little bit of a brag but also a genuine concern in my life right now. My lover and I are quarreling over me liking some guy’s Instagram posts. How do I deal with a partner’s insecurities while also maintaining what I want to do both online and offline? For context, I have no interest in the person whose posts I’m liking, the posts are not considered risqué or thirst-trappy (he's a nature photographer???) and I constantly validate my partner and declare my feelings and love for him. Also he likes girls’ selfies and bikini pics all the time, so I'm confused about the double standard? Any help would be much appreesh because I've never been on this side of the equation!

This question makes me feel so crazy....I think you both need to get off Instagram? Unrealistic, I know. “Likes are my lifeblood!!!!!!” I scream, as they wheel me into the OR for carpal tunnel surgery. Obviously, Instagram is life-ruining, but you already know that.

Upon reading your question, I first felt like, Okay queen, just stop liking random guy’s photos. Literally what has liking one of these nature pics ever done to make you feel whole? But then when I saw that your bf likes random girls bikini pics, I was like okay...your partner needs treatment.

I think this double standard is obviously unfair and I wonder if this dynamic presents itself offline as well—does this type of insecure behavior extend beyond Instagram? If so, you might need to ask yourself if you’re in the right relationship. If not, you two might just need to log off for a bit and Make Love or Order Pizza.

What are your thoughts on throuples? As a Gay™ of Throuple and then Ex-Throuple experience, it's something I have complicated feelings about and would love to hear your thoughts. xoxo

Ok Taika Waititi vibes! My first thought is that I personally would feel left out if I was in a throuple, but I like to think not everyone is as needy, obsessive, and talented as me. I would love to have multiple boyfriends (one for the city, one for the country, one for day, one for night, etc.) but only if I’m their only girlfriend. That sounds fair. Can you believe I tried being in an open relationship once? Didn’t take! I know there might be pressure to be hip or open-minded or god forbid, chill, even when a scenario is crazy-making. I think if being in a throuple works for you, that’s great. And if it doesn't, that’s fine. That being said, I am just one tiny, stunning woman and this is just My Experience™. I support any and all future throuple endeavors you may embark on. The more the merrier, after all. There would probably be fewer lulls in conversation, but it would be harder to get into restaurants. Pick your poison!

Honey, where should my beautiful size 14 ass be shopping? I’m addicted to your style.

Thank you to you and your beautiful size 14 ass! This is an amazing question and my answer depends a lot on a) how much I can spend b) what size I am at the moment (fluctuating queen in the building!!! *the fire alarm goes off*) c) where I want to give my money.

Obviously the dream is to have $1,000 to pay an up-and-coming genius to hand-stitch a custom-fit peasant blouse-gown out of the finest silks, but that isn’t always an option.

If I’m low on cash and in the mood to be a sustainable goddess, the best option is a consignment shop/thrifting moment: I have navy satin wrap skirt that I got at a Goodwill in Vermont for $7 and I wear it, hmm, every day. (Any wrap situation almost always fits!) Also, the Beacon’s Closet in Greenpoint is so fashion that I do feel intimidated to go inside of there, but they have some amazing pieces. Do you like how I said pieces? I recently learned if you want to sound like an expensive lady from a magazine you ask someone, “Who makes that?” not “Where’d you get that?” Just a fun fact for ya!

If I have a bit more to spend, some of my favorite size-inclusive options are Wray, Year of Ours, Tanya Taylor, Big Bud Press, Hanifa, Rachel Antonoff, and of course my incredible friend Kelsey Randall who has a gorgeous womenswear line and designed the metallic romper I wore on Late Night with Seth Meyers. 11 Honoré is also a chic site for fancy plus items that features fab designers like Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano, Cushnie, Mara Hoffman, and more. But if I’m being real with you, I get most of my stuff at Asos, Topshop (RIP), Urban Outfitters, and Zara... Life is humiliating and that is the only constant!

Before the Pandem, I was addicted to Rent the Runway Unlimited, but I cancelled my membership because I think they changed their business model, which was confusing as I’m not a scientist, and because they don’t have enough sexy clothes—they have a lot of cap-sleeve mother-of-the-bride-adjacent garments. That being said, I do think it’s an incredible idea and will probably join again if they have the COURAGE to sponsor me or something. Criticizing a company in your world-famous advice column is a unique way to get them to give you free stuff for sure. Your move, RTR!

Met a guy on Tinder last week. Spent every day together. We’ve said I love you. R we ok?

No, you’re not okay! But no one is. I just ate a heaping serving of what I call “Citty Cat’s Soup” (lukewarm bowl of marinara sauce from Trader Joes). Enjoy this new fling. Weather what it throws at you. Do it for the memoir! Wait I need to copyright that catchphrase BRB

I’m a 31 year old woman dating a 59 year old man for 5 months. Where can this go from here?

Drumroll please... Wherever you want! Contrary to popular belief, life is neither a game nor a highway, there are no rules and no right directions. You can break up with him tomorrow, marry him tonight, take hot make out pics in a photo booth to show your future kids (one sweet, two silly, one steamy). Living in the present is fool’s errand vibes but try your best to take it one day at a time. Your path will reveal itself (that is what a healer in Minnesota told me over Zoom). XO

Is Lady Gaga still an icon in 2021?

Is water wet? Sweetie, some things never go out of style—red lipstick, hot cheese, the bottomless sensuality of Tim Riggins from TV’s Friday Night Lights. And much like these pillars of culture that raised me, Gaga is here to stay. Living in 2021 means hearing the word “icon” with such frequency that it crumbles to incoherence, but Gaga is more than an icon. She’s a force and we’re lucky to have her! Also, one time someone thought I was her in a picture if that makes you feel anything. It makes me feel good and cool.