I don’t remember at what point I started reading the Dear Coquette blog. It was maybe around 2009 or 2010, back when she still went by “Coke Talk,” an anonymous internet guru whose party-girl-with-a-brain persona had amassed a huge following online, currently at 30,000 Twitter followers and tens of thousands on Tumblr. A mysterious figure, Coquette is able to simultaneously make you want to get fucked up with her and also let her sort out your life.
Coquette’s advice became crucial to me in a way I didn’t expect. On a pretty spring day in March 2012, my then-boyfriend left for work, and while using his computer, I discovered hidden camera videos of his female roommates and me. Intuitively I felt that if he knew what I had found, he would become violent.
I’m still not sure why, but I felt that Coquette was the only one who could possibly help. I desperately fired off a late-night email. Within an hour, I received a response that laid out steps: inform the roommates, get evidence to the cops, and start healing emotionally, all while pretending everything was normal in the relationship so that my ex wouldn’t realize anything was up, freak out, and possibly murder all of us.
Four years later, I’m a stable person with a regular job and a healthy relationship—due in a large part because of Coquette’s advice kicking my ass.
But I’m not the only person Coquette has helped. Since 2009, she’s answered thousands of readers’ questions about life, love, and the abyss. She’s offered advice on how to shove an ecstasy tab up your asshole, thoughts on why Tony Robbins is so creepy (he’s ” basically a charismatic cult leader“), counseled a desperate reader through her husband’s suicide, and told us how to stay sane while watching the RNC (“100-percent laughter. No cowering”). Her new book, The Best of Dear Coquette: Shady Advice from a Raging Bitch Who Has No Business Answering Any of These Questions,is a 350-page compendium of her sagest wisdom, picked from thousands and thousands of entries and organized into sections by topic (relationships, sex, drugs, the universe) so that readers can quickly find what they seek in their time of need.
I chatted with Coquette through Twitter DMs (her need for anonymity prevented a phone call) over two days about the impact she has had on her readers over the years, our shared near-death experiences, and her surprisingly simple key to happiness (a sense of scale and mindfulness in the present). Her advice for VICE readers? “VOTE.”