Friday, August 5, 2022

"I've Got Some Advice For You..."

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I was ridiculously excited when I went onto The Washington Post to find they had added not one, not two, but four new advice columnists to an already stellar line up of Carolyn Hax, Ask Amy, and Miss Manners. 

 

Here’s where I out myself - I love advice columns. It’s the first place I go to in any daily, and I have to say WaPo is leading the pack. You have to appreciate a national paper that knows the news is SO exhausting, some times you just want to read about people getting dissed by their mothers-in-law or dealing with that jerk in the office who microwaves fish.


I got hooked on my habit with Ann Landers, of course. I remember both my mother and her mother had multiple yellowing clippings of Ann’s sage advice, stuffed into cookbooks, slid into drawers and pinned to the fridge with magnets. Honestly, A Kenmore without a picture of that smiling, helmet-haired woman seems a little bare.


But times, and hairstyles, have changed, so it’s extremely cool the Post is going for a young, diverse line-up of advice givers. I mean, I love Amy Dickenson (and we had a delightful lunch together at the Orange County Women’s Literary festival a few years back.) But she’s my age, and there are many more types of people in the US than middle class white ladies. 

 

Reds, do you turn to the advice page in your local paper? How about one of those online-only ones, like Dear Prudence in Slate or Ask a Manager? And if you do, can we get away with it by claiming it’s research into possible characters?


LUCY BURDETTE: I do love advice columns, of course! Though my poor advice columnist character Dr. Rebecca Butterman never managed to get the light-as-air tone that the more successful ones have adopted. And don’t tell him this, but I think the guy who does the column in the NYTimes Style section on Sunday is a little meaner than he needs to be. I think you can give people advice and gently tell them they’re acting like idiots without saying it exactly that way. 

 

Though now I suppose I have to confess…I did write to him some years ago and my question showed up in the Times. This was when I truly could not eat food with salt in it and my question had to do with whether a host should accommodate this. (It honestly wasn’t a preference but a medical condition.) He essentially told me to buck up, I probably wasn’t going to starve if I missed one meal:).


I do enjoy reading the questions and figuring out what my advice would be before I read the answers.

 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Totally love them. Carolyn, of course, and Miss Manners, and the brilliant Meredith Goldstein in the Boston Globe. LOVE THEM.  And The Ethicist in the Times.  OH, yes. But let me say, the other day I ..well, let me ask you.

 

Quick synopsis: Wedding attendee, daughter a friend of the bride. Wedding dinner, very fancy in a hotel. Wedding dinner also VERY elaborate and portions super-generous. After the dinner, our letter-writer asks for a doggie bag to take home the massive leftovers from their own dinner. The waiter instantly appears with a box, but their dinner tablemates, relatives of the bride, are visibly and vocally astonished and critical. 

 

In addition, the attendee’s daughter, friend of the bride, and invited, but pregnant and confined to bed, had asked her parents to bring her a piece of cake,  so they asked for that. And got it.

 

At this point, the relatives of the bride go nuts. They report the food transgressions to the bride’s parents, loudly calling the letter-writers “bumpkins” and the like.

 

In embarrassment and humiliation, the letter-writers leave their boxed food  and piece of cake and head for the door.

 

The letter writers are asking–should they apologize?

 

I will leave it to you, reds and readers.

And yes, Julia, DEFINITELY RESEARCH. 


JENN McKINLAY: Hank I think you have veered off into a delicious favorite of mine called AITA (Am I the A$$hole?) which is a forum on reddit. In this case, I have to say the snooty relations of the bride are the sphincters! Who cares if someone boxes their food? In a world where people are literally starving to death isn’t it nice that they aren’t being grossly wasteful? My middle class upbringing has spoken. LOL. 

I’m a huge fan of Carolyn Hax and remember the grown-ups talking about the columns of Ann Landers and Dear Abby - they were related weren’t they? Was there a scandal there? Anyway, I love to read all of these columns because they certainly give an author material, don’t they? 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I start the day with the columns in the Dallas Morning News over breakfast! Abby, Carolyn, and Miss Manners. I did a panel at a literary festival a few years ago with Judith Martin and she was a hoot! Funny and quite sharp, as you would expect. I wonder if there are any writers who DON’T read advice columns…although often people’s situations are so awful or bizarre that no one would believe them if you put them in a book…


I’m with Jenn on the bride’s horrible relatives. Sounds like the Bridezilla bug must have been contagious!



HALLIE EPHRON: I’m addicted, I confess, to ALL the advice columns that appear in the Boston Globe, NY Times and Washington Post. Which is to say a ton of them. They’re part of my morning exercise to read and either sigh in agreement or snort in derision. Yay Miss Manners, still terrific. And Carolyn Hax. Purveyors of so much good sense. Such fresh air in a world where craziness seems to have no bounds.

The other thing I love to read when I can find it: THE HUNT. In the NY Times. It’s about house- or apartment-hunting usually in the NYC area. I love to ride along vicariously and thank my lucky stars that I bought my house ages ago.

 

RHYS BOWEN: Here’s something you didn’t know about me: back in the nineteen nineties when the internet was young, I was the Love Guru for I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.  Remember their big campaign with Fabio? (Although why non-butter should be sexy I’ve never understood) but I was asked to write an online romance for their new website. It was so popular that I was then asked to be their Love Guru. So for about a year I answered agony aunt questions. So many of them about a man I’ve met on the internet and I’ve fallen in love with him etc. There ended up being so many questions that I farmed some out to my daughter Anne, who turned out to be really good at this (and has proved it by becoming a psychotherapist).

 

I always felt Ann Landers was good and sensible, but I don’t make a point of reading such columns any longer. But Jenn–AITA. Hooked on that.

 

JULIA: Hands raised, all of you who didn't see Rhys as the Love Guru or that she reads Am I The A$$h@le! Dear readers, do you love advice columns as much as we do? Do you remember any particularly juicy stories? 

92 comments:

  1. I always read Ann Landers, too . . . love reading the advice columns . . . .

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  2. I grew up with Ann Landers, and, like you Julia, I remember some of her column pieces cut out and stuck in cookbooks. Oh, Jen and Rhys, I have gotten hooked on AITA. I can’t pass one up on FB. And, Rhys, you may have just given yourself a new name. I know the next time I see you, I will be thinking, “It’s the Love Guru.”

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    1. Oh, Ann and Abby were twins. Here’s what happened to cause a falling-out. https://bookriot.com/dear-abby-and-ann-landers/amp/

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    2. I knew they were twins, Kathy, and that one of the daughters continued the Dear Abby column. (Still does?) But I never knew where the rivalry came from. What a shame that they let their enormous success and fame drive a wedge between them.

      Twins are odd; they should be equals, but it's nearly impossible to always stay exactly the same, and that can definitely cause resentment. (Daughter of two twins, and married to one!)

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    3. Wow, Karen! Both of your parents were twins and you're married to one. That's amazing. Are there more twins in your family, like aunts or uncles or siblings?

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    4. A pair of cousins, and another cousin has twin grandkids.

      In my family, all the twins are all opposite sex fraternal. My husband and his brother are fraternal.

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    5. O w
      as an identical twin. The boys were sent away to boarding school at age 4. Messed them both up for life, but at least they had each other

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  3. I used to read both advice columns, now I don't. I don't know why I stopped. I remember the feud between Ann and Abby and then it trickled down to their daughters.

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  4. Hmmm, I remember reading Dear Abby & Ann Landers in the Toronto Star newspaper. These days, I read online articles from the Ottawa Citizen (local) and Globe & Mail (national) newspapers and they don't carry any advice columns there.

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  5. Yes to Miss Manners, Ask Meredith, and Amy. Every day. Because I read a paper newspaper, the comics - also a must-read -are at the end, and the cherry in the fruit salad is the advice column AFTER that. Perfect.

    The Love Guru? Rhys, that's amazing. I'd never heard of AITA, but I will just say I would LOVE to go to a puppet wedding. So much fun.

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    1. I also meant to mention: last winter I was at a luncheon following the funeral and burial of a dear friend's father. They invited me to join them at the immediate family table. I don't eat a lot and had more than half of a delicious piece of salmon left. I hesitated a for a second, then asked to take it home. (I offered it to my friends and they declined.) Faux pas? Maybe!

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    2. Funerals carry with them their own traditions. At an uncle's funeral, his widow emptied my mother's contribution into a Tupperware container and sent my mom's big enamelware serving/mixing bowl (washed, of course) home with me. My mother was horrified-- while one always BRINGS food to a shiva (Jewish mourning gathering, which traditionally lasts a week), "You do not take food-- or the dish in which you brought it-- home from a shiva," my mother chastised me. (You can pick up your dish after the shiva.) I suspect that is a superstition, like not naming a child for a living person because we traditionally name for the dead; it is like "wishing death" on the person being named after. Superstitions surrounding death may have their roots in preventing the spread of a plague. But I'd say that if you are close enough to sit at the family table, you should be able to ask your hosts if they'd mind.

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    3. Thanks, Ellen. This was an Italian-heritage family, and nobody seemed upset. But I did wonder if it was proper.

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  6. Advice columns have long been a guilty pleasure! Miss Manners (I think) published a book way back when that often served as that memo I otherwise never got. And she made me laugh. I hadn't been indulging much lately as I dislike the popular mean-streak style. Then I ran across Carolyn Hax and I am off the wagon. I allow myself limited doses of AITA as it is addicting. As for the bride's family? What is it about weddings that incites so much dudgeon?

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    1. Ah, Blogger. Signed, c d.

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    2. C. D., I think that JRW should have a "word of the day" award, and today it would undoubtedly be yours!! Dudgeon!

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    3. Yes, dudgeon! High or low, one wonders.

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  7. Jenn, I choked on my toast. Never heard of AITA, but it is the perfect question and more people should be asking themselves that all day, every day!!

    As for advice columns, I used to read them but don't read the paper anymore, except for some WP articles on line. Thinking about how all of you read those columns, I can see the value in finding tidbits that could translate well to motives for murder.

    As for the wedding censors, I'd have taken my boxes, smiled angelically and strolled out.

    Rhys, you have so many talents and your resume is huge. I would just like to be around the next time you see Kathy Boone Reel. LOL

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    1. Judy, the theme to the "Love Boat" keeps going through my head, with the substitution of "It's the love guru." Hahaha!

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  8. Love advice colums! Hax, Amy, Miss Manners, Dear Prudie, and The Hunt! Reading the latter gives me the pleased satisfaction of having a home. I can't decide which I love more, Hax's wedding hootenanny (which should be coming up soon) or her holiday hootenanny. I've had some hilarious (in retrospect) wedding and holiday mishaps, but nothing that tops what I read about in Hax's columns. Yes, the new Washington Post advice columnists have lots of potential. And yes, it's all fodder for creating characters and building plots.

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  9. Would not have picked Rhys as the Love Guru or figured she read anything on Reddit.

    The bride's relatives are out of line, IMHO. One, the bride should be happy the guests loved the food so much they WANT to take the extra home instead of wasting it and two, if the invited guest was bedridden, send her some doggone cake! Sheesh.

    I do like advice columns. But I don't seek them out unless they are part of what I am reading (for example, if I read the newspaper when I visit somewhere) since we no longer get a printed paper.

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  10. Like Rhys, I too wrote an advice column. Back in the late 90's a rival to Ask Jeeves started up. It was called :Ask me.com. I was the human sexuality expert. I answered internet questions from all over the world mostly about homosexuality. I had a good rating (almost 5 stars woo!) then the whole start up collapsed along with the Ask Coralee section. It was great fun for a while. //Now I read them all from Carolyn Hax to Dear Prudence in Slate Magazine. However I read these people after JRW's. You all come first!

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    1. Wow! I remember reading that column!

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    2. Fellow Guru’s Coralee! I’m sure I read your column! Rhys

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    3. Askme.com lives on. I was part of the start up stage where hackers found a way to get good ratings by asking keystroke questions (?) and responding with one key stroke answers (!). They went back to the 'drawing board' and I didn't continue.

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    4. Coralee, that is so cool you were a part of the Askme.com startup. That must have been so interesting.

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  11. Dear Abby was a staple of my childhood, usually on the same page of the paper as the horoscopes and the Jumble, right across from the comics. Ann Landers, to me, was not as good.

    Miss Manners's column was always so erudite, wasn't it? She used bigger words and was much more lofty in tone, which fit perfectly with her topic. Gentle Readers, all, we needed her so very much. She should have been available for consultation by the bride's family criticizing the guest taking food home. I absolutely know she would have said they were the ones making etiquette faux pas, not the letter writer.

    The Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch also has an advice column, about money. Some of the sticky situations people write about make me wonder at their sanity.

    I remember Rhys saying she once wrote an agony aunt column, but didn't realize she was the Love Guru!

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  12. Well, would you think I come from Mars if I told you I’ve never read an advice column ?
    I’m from Quebec, there is no advice column in my local paper. I know there is one in the Journal de MontrĂ©al but never read it . To this day, I’ve never known someone who read those and was very surprised by this post.
    It is very interesting, I think it may be more of an American thing since many of you saw them and read them since you were very young. And I understand that they can feed your imagination.
    Thank you Julia for opening my eyes on this topic.

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    1. Sorry, it was Danielle. I’m dreaming of the day my name will be restored by blogger.

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    2. Danielle: re. your name not publishing here. I wonder what browser you're using. I am 'anonymous' if I enter JRW via Safari, but when I use Chrome, my name shows up. Chrome is easy to download and use, I find.

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    3. I am "anomymous" when I use my tablet because I am not signed into Google on that device. There's a drop down menu under "Comment as" that would let me sign in, but it doesn't always work. I am identified when I use my laptop.

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    5. Just sayin’: Danielle and Amanda, for me blogger is just as ignorant of who I am on chrome as on safari. The switch in browser does not always work. :( Elisabeth

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    6. Elizabeth: Oh dear. I'm sorry to hear this. I have only a tiny bit of knowledge and, clearly it doesn't necessarily address the issue.

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    7. Amanda, sometimes I just shrug, nod my head, and sigh…ready to surrender, just to do what the machine lets me do. “Laughter and giggles”. Elisabeth

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  13. My mother-in-law went to high school with Esther and Pauline Friedman, who later became known as Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren. Here is some biographical information about them: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/landers-ann
    https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/van-buren-abigail
    https://jwa.org/thisweek/jul/04/1918/ann-landers-and-abigail-van-buren

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  14. As a child, my time with newspapers involved the comics and the advice columns. Ann Landers was in one paper and Dear Abby was in the other. My twin and I were pleased that Abby and Ann were twins too. Now I read Carolyn Hax and would read the other WaPo advice columnists except I'm too lazy to go look at the paper and just rely on the email newsletters. I love the ethicist in the NYT.

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  15. Gosh, this is fascinating and eye-opening. I don't read advice columns, but I do enjoy the property-search columns. I also troll through real estate agent house listings online. Partly to get a sense of the local market, and partly to see if the photos show the 'real' furnishings or generic staged ones. No one can live so neatly and sparely as the stagers want us to! (I get why they do it, but sheesh...no books????)

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    1. I troll real estate listings too. Especially now when we are planning to relocate. Always amuses me when people publish photos of their furniture and not the rooms.

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    2. A room is just a space, isn't it, until it's inhabited in some way with people and/or things. In the listings, I find the 'things' so interesting. I always play, What if I had to move? Could I live in this house? (And, could I afford it!)

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    3. True, but I'm pretty sure that lovely side table isn't being sold with the house! A lot of my looking these days is to see what can be done if we find ourselves doing a major renovation. And prices, always prices.

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  16. I’m laughing, quite hard, advice columns? Well I don’t make a habit of reading them, but they are funny. Because all my news comes on line I only read a small part of the offering as I’d rather be reading a book. But when we were still buying the Sunday NYT I always read the Ethicist and enjoyed seeing where our opinion’s differed. I do love Wirecutter and I suppose it is offering advice but does that make Consumer Reports an advice mag too? I think that I don’t seek them out but I can’t pass an online survey by? And like Hallie I love trying which house did they choose, again in the NYT. - Celia

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  17. I LOVE advice columns, and have a subscription to the East Bay (northern California) news because they have links to the WaPo columnists faster than the WaPo does (I'm trying to retrain myself to look at the WaPo first so I can drop the norther CA papers). I love AITA. And I'm with Jenn. I would never have left the boxed food on the table, would have shamed the relatives who called others "bumpkins" (which, IMHO makes THEM the rude ones). The Israelis have an expression, widely used, which translates to, "And it's YOUR business?" which is what they should have said to those relatives, though Miss Manners sided with them as I recall. But I would have told them about the daughter on bed rest, thus shaming them!

    The Forward has a column called the Bintel Brief, which, a century ago, was written in Yiddish. After my grandmother died, I found a copy of a 1914 column tucked under the liner of her dresser, and learned a big piece of family history from that advice column. https://forward.com/culture/138784/fathers-day/

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  18. RHYS WAS LOVE GURU! I am gobsmacked. Wowza.

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  19. I think the only one I have readily available to me now is Ask Amy and I am less than thrilled with her answers. It seems that lately her best advice has been to seek a relationship counselor. I'm guessing that is what the writers thought they were doing by asking her.

    There is another similar thing on FB from a local radio station. They present the problem but it always seems to me to be one side of the issue. Sure the guy the writer is telling us about sounds like a big jerk but that could be as much in the way it is presented as anything else. So then everyone replies like "dump him" or "run for the hills." After a few of those the entertainment value is gone.

    I wonder if my aunt read these back in the 50s. Did they have them then? She used to write for those trashy true romance magazines. Things like "I'm having my sister's husband's baby and she doesn't know it." The trashier the better, but actually pretty tame compared to the shenanigans that go on today.

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    1. My friend wrote for those true romance magazines. I think she made a good living! They were awful. (Rhys)

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    2. Sorry, I am not a fan of Ask Amy if I am thinking of the same advice column. Her answers never made sense to me. I wonder if she wrote for Saturday Night Live skits?

      Diana

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  20. SO here's the thing: the columnist's answer to the take food from weddings questions was: SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN THE FOOD! Because she had not paid for it. I could not believe it. Are you kidding me? Better to have it go to waste? I was in shock. And wedding cake? Come on, there's always way too much cake and the daughter was pregnant and in bed. Sheesh. And Bumpkins? Way over the line, but that's really a different part of the story.
    But. I asked a pal of mine about this, and she instantly agreed with the columnist. Instantly! For the same reason, that she was a guest, and it was not hers to take. I could REALLY argue about that. But--live and learn.

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    2. In a public venue, BY LAW it has to be thrown out if you don't take it home. I think Miss Manners-- and your friend-- are wrong. We are too wasteful, so IMO, once it's on your plate, it's yours.

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    3. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 5, 2022 at 10:25 AM

      So agree. And it’s not like someone went up to the buffet and scooped cooked shrimp into a plastic bag into their purse. That’s another story. But this is food that was given to you. And no one else can do anything with it except throw it away.

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    4. I think they are making decisions on the wrong thing here. Why think of it as a transaction, at all? I mean, if you are going down the transactional hole, then ask "did they buy a gift?" If so, I would think they were even. If you have to think of it in transactional terms, then consider the dinner to be a gift and once it is given to you, it is yours. The idea that the party-giver retains ownership of dinner is just odd.

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    5. I have left food behind and felt terrible. I've never asked for a box in these situations, but by the time dinner is served at some weddings, it can be really late. Wasting the food seems much worse than taking it home. And, I agree with C. D. about the transactional nature. If you go out for dinner and your father, or son, or cousin, etc. pays for the meal, does that mean no doggie bag for you? Honestly!

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    6. Yikes! No. If it came from your plate - take it home - who cares where you eat it. Definitely not out of line to ask for a slice of the cake for the bed bound fob - the bride should have been happy her friend wanted to share in the joy. If they were friends, she'd probably had her captive ear chewed off by the tales of the bride and maybe even shared in selecting the cake. Fair play.

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    7. Hank, we probably know who these selfish people voted for, right? LOL. Diana

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    8. Hank, when I say "selfish", I mean good grief! Not allowing anyone to take home leftover food????

      Diana

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    9. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 6, 2022 at 2:08 AM

      LOL!!

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  21. Grew up reading Ann Landers and Dear Abby - I think they were sisters who needed their own services????? I love the NYT house hunt column and I do read the advice columns on occasion. Every now and again, ya gotta exercise the eye roll muscles :)

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  22. Hank, I saw that AITA and disagreed with the response. Sheesh! It's not like the guests were taking leftovers from other tables! And the pregnant guest on bedrest? Wow, she can't even have a piece of cake to celebrate the wedding?? I was at a wedding once and asked for one of the boxed slices of cake (it was VERY good cake) to take home for my parents. And the bride and groom were more than happy to share their joyful day!

    So, I've outed myself--I love all of the advice columns, the online ones, the paper ones. I read the local paper, scan my favorite comics, and save the advice column for last. Also love the real estate shows where the house hunter gets several choices presented to them.

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    1. And I remember URGING people to take food. (We didn't have cake, we had a huge pyramid of cream puffs, a croquembouche.)

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  23. When I was growing up in England they made little boxes to send out pieces of wedding cake to those who could not attend. Of course it was a less fragile fruit cake but it was lovely to get a piece.
    It could be that the caterers did not have boxes on hand! Rhys

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    1. Yes, well, exactly, and that common custom was discussed, too! The columnist's take on it was that in that case, the situation was that the cake was OFFERED, not requested. (The caterer had a box, instantly, in fact. The problem that was trumpeted to all in earshot was that the couple ASKED FOR the cake.)

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    2. Rhys and Hank, thank you! Diana

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  24. My favorite Ann Landers from years ago was a preacher's wife complaining that after an exhausting weekend with church duties and laundry, her husband wanted sex Sunday night. She was too tired. Ann's suggestion was short, sweet, and to the point--"Do the laundry Monday."

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  25. HANK: If I had attended these weddings that your friends attended, I would have been happy that someone was bringing home leftovers. I would hate to see the food go to waste. The only thing I can think of about why someone would be annoyed by "doggie bags" or someone taking "leftover cake" is IF they intended to donate leftover food to a soup kitchen OR the annoyed people really wanted to bring home the leftovers themselves???

    Who knows? When a relative got married, ALL of the guests brought homemade food to the wedding. It was picnic style. It was an outdoors wedding. If someone wanted to bring home leftovers, that was okay. Some of the guests were barely making ends meet so if they could take home some food instead of having to spend $$$ at the grocery store, then why not?

    Diana

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  26. So many great comments! I love Carolyn Hax. Unfortunately, my local papers stopped carrying her advice column. I think that she may have an online column? I think Carolyn Hax is very smart and insightful. She often says things that makes sense to me. Growing up, I used to read Dear Ann Landers and Dear Abby. They are twin sisters. One of their daughters was married to the actor Ken Howard (now divorced). I remember Miss Manners because my great aunt Ada (who looked like a brunette Reese Witherspoon) often quoted Miss Manners and agreed with Miss Manners' responses. I am trying to remember other advice columns. I used to read the advice columns in women's magazines like "can this marriage be saved?"

    Now I do not read advice columns. I stopped subscribing to the daily papers (neighbors were always stealing the papers and I need to sleep in! LOL). I only get the Sunday papers and I can sleep in because they deliver the Sunday papers late in the day. Before I stopped, I do not think there were any advice columns. The only columns I can remember are the once a week columns by Vanessa Hua, the gay policeman (Name?) who adopted hard to place children with his husband, and the Book Lady (Barbara Lane) who often writes about books that she liked.

    This is a great post! Sorry I am late to the party again!

    Diana

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    1. Oh, yes, Can This Marriage Be Saved! I remember that! HA!

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    2. Wasn't that a Redbook Magazine column?

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    3. I believe it was Ladies Home Journal

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    4. Karen, my old brain thinks “can this marriage” was in McCalls or the Ladies’ Home Journal. Reason: used to read it at my grandmother’s house and, as a child, heard Grammy tell Mother: “Red Book is just one dirty scandal after another.” (Giggles) Elisabeth

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    5. Everyone, we had all of these ladies' journals - McCall's, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook and Cosmopolitian. I think we also had Women's World. That is why I cannot recall which magazine it was. LOL

      Diana

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    6. Hank, yes! Can This Marriage Be Saved? was the Advice column. I remember one story about a couple where one person grew up very insecure because the family would live in a mansion one year then next year in a housing project? or living on welfare ? and back and forth! The other one spent money like water!

      Diana

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  27. I read them for a bit, but I haven't in decades. I also haven't read the comics in a paper for years. That's what I miss the most.

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    1. I find the same thing, Mark. I'm not sure if I've gotten more serious or the comics just aren't that funny anymore.

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  28. JENN: I ask myself that same question. Great comment! I try to be more aware of my actions these days.

    Diana

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  29. As I usually read the WaPo online, I'll keep an eye out for the new columnists. I had to do a bit of searching to get to the piece introducing them, but what a great slate!

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  30. I was going to comment how I save Philip Galanes’s column in the NYT as a palate cleanser after making my way through the Sunday news, since he’s so kind. Then I saw Lucy’s comment about him being harsh, and it’s making me wonder—if I think he’s kind, am I a person others write about on AITA? đŸ˜³ Hmm, something to ponder over a cup of tea…

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    1. Mary, it sounds like you definitely need to give AITA a try, to see if they're to your taste!

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    2. I’ve read many of the AITA threads on Twitter. If I add another time suck to my day I will never get up from my desk—and I’m retired! :)

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  31. I always liked Ann Landers better than Abby. No reason. Just did. As for now I just started getting the WSJ again and I think they have an advice column. I'll have to look. Our once a week paper does not, unfortunately. I'm feeling deprived!

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    1. Pat, may I direct you to relationships in Reddit? It's basically crowdsourced advice, and is a lot of fun to read. And no subscription required!

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  32. Regarding the take home wedding cake, when I was young it was a common custom for single guests to take home a slice of cake. They were meant to sleep with it under their pillows so they would dream of their future spouse.

    That never sounded appealing to me --too messy--so I always ate mine for the next morning's breakfast!

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    1. I always heard that too, Karen, and never figured out how you were supposed to sleep with a slice of cake under your pillow. Plastic wrap? Did people just have frosting smeared pillows back in the day?

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    2. The wedding cake packaged for take home and dreaming years ago, called the groom’s cake, was un-iced very dense fruit cake and came in a box ready for sleeping on. What is now called “the wedding cake” with all its frosting and fillings and flower decorations was called the bride’s cake and eaten at the wedding. Just think of me as a throwback to “proper New England customs”. Elisabeth

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  33. I grew up on Ann Landers, and felt just a little guilty when I abandoned her for younger, more relatable advice columnists. But then she died and they started rerunning her old columns, so I didn't care about that anymore. Now I read Carolyn, Amy, and Miss Manners in The Washington Post, and will eagerly look up their new columnists, too.

    By the way, Hank, I remember that wedding banquet dust-up column. Although the bride's family seemed like the bad guys to me, the columnist pointed out that taking home restaurant food you have personally paid for is different from taking home banquet food someone else has paid for. I would have let them take what they wanted and said no more, but maybe I don't quite get the nuances of that etiquette question.

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  34. It's 11:30 pm here, and I've been having so much fun reading everyone's comments before I go to bed. At the same time, I've been lamenting that the Bern daily paper has no advice column. In fact, it seems to me that the last time I read a newspaper with an advice column was when I was around twelve, reading Ann Landers and the comics, which in my family were called the funnies. At that age I loved Ann Landers because I felt so grown up reading about all these adult problems (some of which I didn't quite understand). Everyone's made me want to check out some of these online advice columns--I think I'd love them!

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