But advice columnists care. My favorite nowadays is Emily Yoffe, who writes the Dear Prudence column that is syndicated on Slate. It's not so much she gives better advice; it's that the people who write to her have more interesting problems. Just yesterday I was reading Dear Abby, an old school advice columnist, and she was handling a young woman's issue of being married too young and feeling she's missed out on life and her husband's response to her difficulties, which was something on the order of "Get over it and get me a beer while you're at it."
Abby suggested she get a hobby or join a church knitting group or some other solution that was so god-awful boring and predictable that numbly fetching beers out of the fridge all day seemed pulse-pounding in comparison. Prudence, on the other hand is considerably edgier. She advises men who are worried that their wives are cheating with their "work husbands." She tells women who find out that their gay best friends were faking heteroness by telling their families they were engaged how to break the news to them that that was not possible. At the GBF's funeral. She advises young, attractive, wanton girls whether or not to provide one-night-stand services to celebrities.
But I've never written to her, because the things I worry about are usually mundane, like whether women really mean it when they say they like bald guys better or if nothing is enough to retire on. Now I've found my intractable problem, though, and I'm excited. A little background is in order.
My Significant Other recently underwent breast augmentation surgery. This was out of medical necessity, not just mere vanity. My girlfriend is an intelligent, sensitive, progressive woman who teaches at a major university, not some pole-dancing bimbo feeding her compulsion to have random men drawn to her boobies like she has Star Trek-type tractor beams shooting out from them.
She's also a California girl, though, and felt a need to look perfect at the beach when she was in her twenties, so she had breast augmentation surgery then. She had modest, tasteful, politically correct breasts installed and lived with them happily for years.
However, breast implants must eventually be replaced. And the replacement breasts have to be bigger. How much bigger? As it turns out, they have to be truly bubbalicious. I resigned myself to that fate and now, months after the surgery, the four of us are very happy together.
Here's my problem, Prudie—besides sharing them with me, she wants to show them to all her old boyfriends. When she told me this, I responded intelligently and sensitively. I said "Huh? What for?"
Her old boyfriends are a sore subject for me, not because I'm particularly jealous of them but because once we get on the subject of them she can go on for hours, filling me in on their quirks and idiosyncrasies in such detail that I feel I know these guys better than any of my old friends. Don't think that this is unfair to me. I'm free to talk about my old girlfriends at length as well, and if I have an overwhelming urge to sleep on the garage floor that night with only an oil-soaked roll of paper towels to keep me warm, I do.
We kind of dropped the subject of her going on a flash tour of all her old flames without making any decision on it, but because we have the kind of modern relationship where neither one tells the other what they're allowed to do, or even what we are going to do, when I went away for a couple of days, she just did it. And told me about it. And was rather crestfallen.
"What happened?' I asked.
"They wouldn't look," she said.
What a bunch of weenies. They don't deserve her. I would have looked. So I guess we're okay here, Prudie. Catch you next time.