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Emotional Counseling, Etiquette and Career Advice for Artists

The Tumbleweed in a patriotic moment of repose.

Are you…
acting inappropriately?
bored with your life?
down and directionless?
sensitive and insecure?
frustrated by desire?
paralyzed by fear?
drowning in debt?
unable to love?
confused by proper protocol?
afraid to succeed?
feeling shallow and fake?
jealous and confused?
cynical and depressed?
shunned and ignored?
bereft of hope?
… all of the above?

The Tumbleweed Can Help

Born against all odds on a nuclear test site, the Tumbleweed was raised on plutonium-soaked soil, acquiring an uncanny sixth sense for helping humanity. Uprooted at an early age, it rolled from the barren desert through crowded city streets, determined to use its special powers where they were needed the most: the art world. Heroic in its determination to help, the Tumbleweed has overcome many obstacles, extracting itself from barbed wire fences and the fenders of speeding cars to come to your aid.

A friend to artists everywhere, the Tumbleweed knows what it’s like to be misunderstood. Called everything from an invasive weed to an outmoded relic of the Wild West, the Tumbleweed has endured both negative public opinion and simplistic stereotypes as it tumbles through the world. Battered and insulted, street-smart and world-wise, the Tumbleweed rolls on, advocating self-reliance and courage to everyone it meets. With its unmatched intuition and objective distance from the human heart, the Tumbleweed is your ideal confidant and advisor.

I’d like to Ask the Tumbleweed!
(Click on the link above. All submissions are anonymous.)


Dearest Tumbleweed,

When did the mouth kiss replace the cheek kiss? Actually, whatever happened to the handshake, or the wave from across the room? Upon meeting a professional colleague in the art world, I was a little surprised when he planted his lips firmly on my mouth. It’s always been my experience that kissing on the mouth, peck or otherwise, implies that the other party wants to ‘do it,’ even if it’s only a little bit. Another female colleague reports that a ‘platonic’ friend consistently greets her with a big sloppy wet one-on the mouth-at every opportunity. Is this a growing trend? As women, how should we respond? Is it possible to stop this from happening? Solutions include the ‘pursed lip twist’ and ‘preemptive cheek throw,’ but often to no avail. Since when did this become acceptable in a professional environment?

Kissed and confused,
XXX Louise Bourgeois

P.S: The Euro-style ‘cheek kiss’ is also a source of confusion. What is the correct side to start on? And how many kisses are involved?


The Tumbleweed communing with nature.

Dearest Ms. Bourgeois,

I have to be honest Ms. B, I’m a little jealous. No one wants to mouth kiss a tumbleweed, let alone cheek kiss, give a hug or even shake its hand. You know, there is a dangerous lack of affection in a tumbleweed’s life. But I won’t complain. Some are born for love, some are born to give advice.

Jealousy aside, doling out arbitrary mouth kisses does seem rather silly and a little sad, like putting X’s, O’s, or ‘love’ on the bottom of most emails. You would never do that, now would you Ms. Louise? You see, I used to think you loved me, now it just seems empty, and I’m not sure what’s worse.

Truth be told, I’ll take presumptuous affection over an empty gesture any day (in other words: kiss me Louise!) The problem is that any overused expression of affection, quickly becomes cliché. Even too much fucking, I’ve heard, can get boring.

The art world, painfully superficial as it is, poses a special problem. In the art world everyone fakes friendly, especially when they’re not. So people are desperate to prove that they are actually much better friends with a person than the cheek kissers are (even when they’re not). Or else to prove that they art NOT FAKE like those cheek kissers (even when they are).

Philosophizing aside, we still haven’t solved your problem of deflecting the mouth kiss, have we?

Here are some ideas. First- how about a soft, pre-kiss genital grab? It might work wonders, although it may also reveal Mr. Platonic to be Mr. Not So Platonic. Or why don’t you try mixing a little garlic oil with your lip gloss, then rub it liberally over the general vicinity of your loverly lips. A time-proven deterrent, but it might deter wanted as well as unwanted mouth kissers.

Or how about the straight-shooter approach? Next time it happens, gently say to Mr. Mouth Kisser ‘Thanks for the greeting, but being an old fashioned kind of gal, I like to reserve mouth contact for potential fucks. I’m not interested in fucking you right now, so please refrain from mouth kissing me until further notice.’

If despite your efforts, the mouth kiss continues to catch on, look on the bright side! At least it eliminates the ‘what cheek first’ confusion, which, unfortunately, is beyond the scope of this Tumbleweed’s vast storehouse of knowledge.

Until next time, it’s time to tumble on,

The Tumbleweed

Ask the Tumbleweed yourself!

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