Guilty Pleasures, Part 1

We all have those things that we are embarrassed to admit that we like. Things that cultured, well educated people shouldn’t like. But we do, and, if you are like me, are a bit sheepish about them. So here is the first of my many guilty pleasures posts.

(places paper sack over head…)

Advice Columns

It started innocently enough with Dear Abby and Ann Landers. I was lucky that my paper ran both of these on alternate days. But then Ann died and my paper began to run Carolyn Hax, a cooler, hipper advice column. Very Gen-x. I like the way she thinks. But it left me wanting more.

Then I started reading Slate magazine again and Dear Prudence was added to my advice intake, quickly followed by Miss Manners on MSN. But these only came out once a week or so and they just didn’t feed the jones.

Desperation soon set in. I was reading, and I am truly ashamed to admit this, the “Can This Marriage be Saved” column in Ladies Home Journal online. Ladies. Home. Journal. Truly a low point.

I like reading the columns for a couple of reasons. First is the “Gosh, I’m glad that isn’t me” factor. I take comfort in knowing that no matter what is going on in my life, I’m not talk show fodder. I don’t think I like what that says about me, but there it is. Second is the “If my soon-to-be-teen came to me with a similar problem, what would I say?” factor. I could work out my own response in my mind as kind of a warm up. Third is the critic factor. Many times I wholeheartedly disagree with the advice and snort in derision. I think, actually, that is my favorite part.

But then, I discovered something truly sinister, perhaps even evil. Cary Tennis’ “Since you Asked” column in salon.com. Daily. With comments. Lots of comments. Lots of very vocal, opinionated comments.

And oh what comments those are! Most days they are better than the column itself! If Mr. Tennis is off base, then by golly, his faithful readers will let him know in no uncertain terms. They also tell him when he is right on. There are comments sympathizing with the letter writer, and comments telling the letter writer that they only have themselves to blame for their situation. It is a delicious read. I enjoy this way too much and may have to undergo an intervention.

So there you have it. My secret shame. My husband knows I read the ones in the paper, but he has no idea how bad the problem really is (until now anyway, he reads my blog). Am I the only one with this problem? I can’t be, since there are so many advice columns. Do you read any of these? What’s your opinion? And please don’t tell me about any I don’t know about. I don’t need that kind of temptation!

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2 responses to “Guilty Pleasures, Part 1

  1. I love advice problems too. Mini-soap operas. My paper runs two different ones each day. I’m going to try to avoid the online ones, at least for November!

  2. Oh, I love them too. But I rarely get a chance to read them as we only get the paper on the weekend. I read Ellie, and I think she also has a TV show about, called “Outlaw Inlaws” or something like that?
    But an online advice column, well, I never even thought to go there, thank you my friend!
    My husband only reads my blog occasionally. But he pretty much well knows all my guilty pleasures by now.
    Cute post!

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