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Teens Seek Sage Advice On 'Ask A Grown Man'

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Melissa Block and Audie Cornish tell us about 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson's online magazine, "Rookie," and its recurring video segment, "Ask A Grown Man."


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


I'm Audie Cornish, and it's time now to Ask A Grown Man.

BLOCK: Ask a what?

PAUL RUDD: Ask A Grown Man. So thank you.

CORNISH: That's actor Paul Rudd in a monthly video advice column on the website RookieMag. The site was started by 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson.

BLOCK: In the videos, famous grown men - including Paul Rudd and fellow actors B.J. Novak and Jon Hamm - answer questions from teenage girls, from the serious...

RUDD: Number 3: Do you think girls and guys can really be just friends?

B.J. NOVAK: How do I tell him I don't want to go out with him, without ruining our friendship?

JON HAMM: Oh, it says: One day, a guy wanted to get with me and the next day, he already changed his mind. What do I do with this flip-flopper?

BLOCK: the semi-serious.

RUDD: Why - twice, capitalized - why are men - oh, boys, she writes - so obsessed with boobs?

NOVAK: Does the amount of kisses on the end of a text show how much a guy likes you? I've been texting a boy I like for about three months, and he sends five to seven kisses even though I always send four.

HAMM: Ah, number 3: Is it gross if a girl accidentally farts in front of her significant other? Should she feel embarrassed?

BLOCK: Again, those are grown men Jon Hamm, B.J. Novak and Paul Rudd.

CORNISH: Creator Tavi Gevinson says the idea behind the column is pretty simple.

TAVI GEVINSON: Adults, you're able to have more of a perspective on what happens, since you're kind of able to pull back and see yourself and the decisions you made more clearly, maybe more logically - unless your memory is sort of warped and you've, like, blocked out part of high school, as many people do.

CORNISH: Indeed, the grown men offer some heartfelt and sage advice. Here's B.J. Novak, explaining how one advice-seeker can tell a good friend that she just wants to be friends.

NOVAK: I'd say, if he asks you out, keep saying no for this or that reason. Be honest, be vague. Don't lie. I feel for this guy already. I'm cringing for him. He's going to get some bad news, isn't he? Don't worry so much about the friendship. If you are honest and kind, your friendship will survive anything.

BLOCK: Gevinson says the teens who write in don't know who will be answering their questions. If they did, she says, it might change what they write.

GEVINSON: My friend was going - when I told her we got Jon Hamm, my friend was going to send a question that was like, I feel so ugly, just so she could have on video Jon Hamm being like, no, you're beautiful.

BLOCK: That's Tavi Gevinson, creator of the website RookieMag, and its video advice column.

RUDD: Ask A Grown Man.

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