Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Take My Advice

I love advice columns.  I began reading Ann Landers, when it was Ann Landers, at an early age following in the footsteps of my mother.  She often put the paper down in the morning and exclaimed, "I just love that Ann Landers."  This being the only words she had spoken to me after, "Get up!"  No, I'm just kidding, she was a morning person.  I was not.  Later, I read Carolyn Hax's Tell Me About It column in the Washington Post when it first came out.  I returned to reading her column and the fake Dear Abby column (I'm not saying they are not good, I'm just saying they are not Abby.  I always preferred Ann, I will say) in the Philadelphia Inquirer when The New York Times wanted to charge me to read the paper online.

I especially love etiquette questions like, "We are getting married but we have everything we need, how do we ask for just money?"  or "How do I tell my daughter's boyfriend's mother that she is dressing like a slut?"  I may like these questions because I think I'm a walking faux pas and it's nice to know that there are people in this world who are more embarrassing than I am.

A very few people of course, but us social blunders do love company.

I sometimes think that I could be an advice columnist.  That is until I read superior advice like the Social Q's column in The New York Times.  Also following in my mother's footsteps, I realized that I did want access to the New York Times so I got Sunday delivery which gives me unfettered online access.  It also introduced me to the Social Q's column.  The New York Times Magazine has an Ethicist column but it's not nearly as amusing.  At least to me.  

To prove my point, here is a recent question and response.  The first paragraph of Mr. Galanes' response totally won me over.  (I highlighted it so you wouldn't miss it!)  And, in case you are intrigued, here's a link to the column.

I am on a dating site called OKCupid.com and list my age as 33, even though I am actually 43. When people meet me, they assume I am in my late 20s or early 30s. I feel fortunate to get away with looking so much younger than I am without Botox. My plan is to admit my true age on a second or third date, and hope he’ll forgive me. Or should I correct my age now?

I hate to be the bearer of hard (gravitational) truth, but no one who is 43 looks as if he or she is in the late 20s (or early 30s, either). And if people are telling you that you do, they are fibbing to make you feel better.
Correct your listed age. Better to underpromise and overdeliver on dating Web sites, and elsewhere, than to play it in reverse. There is also the small matter of honesty with potential mates. Why not be the youngest-looking 43-year-old on the Internet?
But I was not born yesterday (either): Online daters tell me that age shaving to the next-lower 9 (listing yourself as 39 when you are 43) is a common ploy. That way, we turn up as matches for folks who only want to date people under 40. That may be ageist of them, but it’s their loss. So why waste your time?
I know aging isn’t easy, especially when it feels as if everyone is looking for a 28-year-old. But look on the bright side: We’ll be taking advantage of those AARP group insurance discounts in no time.


  1. ha...love it....i like it when the advice givers tell it like it is or should...see that is advice and not pandering...

  2. I'm loving this, too. I am one of those that men constantly try to flatter by telling me I do not look my age. Some women have done this as well. I tell them that I am happy to have lived these years and look forward to more. When I was born as a premie, doctors told my mother to prepare herself for the possibility that I mightn't survive. Obviously and thankfully they were wrong. People who fight getting older are wasting their energy. I'd love to see an advice columnist in this agist culture say that.

  3. I have mixed feelings about advice columns -- and columnists -- in general, I must admit. How'd they get to be "experts?"

  4. Hahaha...well I've given it a bash and deleted my profile because I kept being 'chased' by 43 year olds or men holding big fish over their heads (as if that's attractive to a woman!). I do know a person who is 34 and looks about 25...but yeh. 43 and late 20's it's a stretch. I think advice columns should be treated like horoscopes - with a few grains of salt.

  5. ooh forgot to wish you a happy 2012!

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