Perhaps you were once like me, poring over the advice columns in teen magazines as though they may hold the very meaning of life, if only you sassily read between the lines? I thought so.
While Dolly Doctor and her various itches and confusing body bits may be a distant memory, advice columns, thank goodness, are not.
Here a just a few of the excellent contemporary Agony Aunts and Uncles you can find online, right this minute. Perhaps you have your own favourites too? Pop them in the comments and share the (very helpful and serious) joy.
Some of my favourite letters are below:
This one – via The Guardian’s Dear Mariella, is incredibly META because a man wrote a letter to an advice column about his concern for a woman who is hooked on advice columns. I know! I am not sure if it’s a prank. If you read it you might get sucked into a giant swirl and end up in the film The Truman Show. Or Groundhog Day. Or similar.
Mariella also received one of my favourite advice letters: “My grandmother is lying to concoct a fantasy love life“. This letter was basically from a cross granddaughter who was enraged by her Nanna’s wild day trips, nudes-sending and story-spinning. She was not sold on her Grammy’s bf, Kumar, either.
“I looked into her phone and found Kumar does exist, but only as a person on a dating site who she exchanges dirty pictures with,” worried granddaughter writes.
I think the Nanna should enjoy her twilight years and it’s her perogative if she wants to make up stories about limousines and Kumar. Mariella thinks so too.
It’s also worth noting that in The Guardian archives you can find “Ask Molly Ringwald” – Dear Molly Ringwald: I cannot take my eyes off my beautiful workmate AND “Ask Alanis Morissette” – Dear Alanis Morissette: I have no friends – what is wrong with me?
The Ask Polly column is a treasure trove of helpful information for people with modern problems. I could have written this one myself: I Hate Going Out, But I Feel Boring Staying In (from Anxious Homebody). Kidding! I don’t hate going out. I just LIKE being at home. That’s not quite the same so I am not, I repeat, NOT some kind of crafty shut-in. I PROMISE.
Here’s part of Ask Polly’s advice to Anxious Homebody:
“I remember standing around at a party at age 34 thinking, I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. Everything was boring to me. I didn’t want the heated discussions or the flirty small talk or the clever banter or any of it. I didn’t care who was checking me out, and I didn’t care who was worth checking out. I just wanted to eat good aged cheeses in bed for the rest of my life.”
Mic. Drop. Boom. NODDING here. Cheeses, guys. Cheeses.
This next one is from a man who is very worried about the doll his wife made for their baby. He is scared of the doll and the way it looks at him.
He asked Dear Prudence what to do about the doll (which co-sleeps in the bed with the family). Wise Dear Prudence is not convinced the doll is the actual core issue.
“Dear Prudence: My wife made my daughter a doll that terrifies me so much I can’t sleep at night. Can I tell her how I feel?”
Firstly the Dear Prudences are disappointed that a) they didn’t get to see the doll and b) they didn’t get to SEE the doll. They also noted that the poor mama in question might be feeling pretty overwhelmed by the pressures of modern parenting.
I think they are spot on. I wanted to see the doll too. Listen to the letter and response here. (It’s the ‘evil toys’ one!)
This column deals with some curly questions, but this one about the PIE girl is not too delicate or bracing. Unless you ARE the pie girl.
Basically, an exhausted friend is just a little bit over her needy pal’s constant craving for validation. We’ve all been there. Okay. Actually I don’t have a friend like the PIE girl but I am an empath and I am appropriating friend-of-pie-girl’s struggle like a bloody champ.
“She constantly needs validation, from everyone Example, she makes a pie. She posts the pie on her 4-5 social media accounts. She messages her friends all pictures of the pie. When I meet up with her the day after, she tells me about the pie again and how her mum really enjoyed the pie. She will then repeat the pie story to every other person she comes into contact with.”
Oh gosh. Insert staring eye emoji. Insert arms crossed emoji. Do not insert pie emoji.
Ask A Grown Man / Ask A Grown Woman
Rookie always comes up with the goods if we’re talking creative, engaging, unpretentious and relevant writing, so it’s no surprise that their Ask A Grown… advice column has a cult following of grown and non-grown types alike.
This grief-addressing (amongst other things) one from Tig Notaro (below) is beautiful and perspective restoring and funny and sad, in parts, too.
Other grown types include Karen O, Carrie Brownstein, a Beastie Boy, Jon Hamm, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jimmy Fallon and Thom York. To name but a few.
Pretty much ALL of them manage to expertly distill the important parts of being a human into just a few minutes of sage advice, courtesy of many well-respected gents and women.
I hope you enjoyed this advice column-ish blog!
Love to you guys,