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My girlfriend is a litterbug. This is driving me nuts because she’s really hot looking and fun and smart and I like her in every other way but it’s like she has this disorder. I’m not talking about dropping a gum wrapper on the sidewalk once. Let’s say she’s drinking a cup of coffee in the park. She’ll finish it and just drop the cup at her feet and walk away. She’ll go into a drugstore, buy a tube of lip gloss, walk outside and throw the cardboard and plastic package on the sidewalk, along with the bag and receipt. She could be standing right next to a garbage can. It doesn’t matter. I’ve been places with her and seen her generate all these disapproving looks, but she remains oblivious.

I keep pointing it out to her, but every time it’s like she has no memory of having littered. Could be two seconds ago. I’m really starting to think she can’t help it. What’s the best way to convince her that it’s really bad form, and she ought to break the habit?

—Garbage Man

The Salt Water Tart says: Wow...this is definitely something to take a stand on. There are few things in this life that are so easy to make a conscious effort and contribute to a greater good, littering is a NO-BRAINER. To me, that would be cause for a break-up as she has a blatant disregard for “our” environment and is just a lazy, NOT SO SMART person, which doesn’t make up for the hot and fun part. It truly makes her an ugly person. She can’t be THAT astute/smart if she is oblivious. Move on and go for a girl that truly has the “whole” package inside and out.

The Practical Cogitator says: She sounds like hot and trashy mess. If you are willing to walk around with a garbage bag and follow around your trashy Ho’ Bag, then seems like you might have a future. But I’m sure there are other hot, fun, smart green girls out there. You can either pick up after your girl, or pick another girl.

The Sales Guy says: If you love her get her help maybe hypnosis, counseling, something—because lets face it theres something seriously wrong here. There’s also your own esteem you want to be perceived by others. If she’s a pig you’re seen in the same light just by being a couple. One would draw that conclusion. However, if you’re not in love there’s an easier fix: Dump the skankoid.

Classified Info says: Littering drives me nuts, too! When I see people litter, I’ll go up to people and say: “Excuse me, you dropped something.” Surprisingly, I have yet to have get a punch in the face.

Anyway, it sounds like that hasn’t worked for you so far. Maybe you could try this: When you see her litter, pick it up and save it in a bag. Once you have a substantial amount of trash (this shouldn’t take too long from the sound of it), deposit it in her car, on her desk, in her bedroom, you get the point (and perhaps she will as well).

Should you want to take a different approach, find a therapist who specializes in passive aggressive behavior.

Snap Judgement says: I remember life back when soda and beer cans came with pop-off tabs. Those tabs were everywhere. As kids, we used to play with them. You could separate the tab from the ring, insert the tab into a slot on the ring, and fire it twenty yards like a miniature frisbee. People used to make all kinds of folk art out of them.

Fifteen years ago, I was in a rural part of Georgia. I was walking along a river that had recently flooded, and the banks were covered with hundreds and hundreds of pop tops. I picked them up and fashioned them into a long chain, which I gave to my girlfriend at the time. She wore it as a belt.

Today, we’re happily married.

The moral of the story is that littering today is just plain wrong. That’s partly because today’s packaging is not nearly as fun and cool as packaging was a just a few decades ago.

Try making her a piece of jewelry out of a paper coffee cup and a plastic package designed to hold a tube of lip gloss. She won’t think it’s cool, and you won’t wind up marrying her.

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