Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hey Times Union, here's some advice...

Time to thin the herd of women dispensing advice and get a man's opinion...

As a social liberal, I feel it is my duty to speak up for the oppressed and I can't think of a more oppressed lot when it comes to the arena of social opinion than the male species.  Yes, sexism has been permitted to run rampant in the advice world far too long.  I wonder if "Dear Abby" had a son, whether he would have been able to assume the throne of advice giving?  I think not, but yet the strong bond of maternal nepotism sealed the deal for her daughter.  As for "Miss Manners" what's all that "Gentle Reader" crap?  After reading some of the queries, I think the appropriate male response would have to start something like "Here's your kick in the ass...followed by the specific advice".  I have no doubt that some of the worried well that write in could benefit from a good jolt.

As an example, I've seen both of these dinosaurs relate their prim and proper responses to those who fail to send a thank you card.  Yes, I have a tinge of guilt for all the times that I've neglected not chasing my kids to send a thank you card.  Perhaps a better solution is to give your gifts in person.  That would (hopefully) ensure an on the spot "thank you" and would also provide a positive reinforcement for your visit.  I know what some may be thinking... the grand kids live way out in California and I'm in New York so we only get to visit once a year... blah, blah - time to think outside the box.  Who says you need to always "give a gift" for every occasion?  Maybe if you make your visits a celebration, they won't be dreaded?  Perhaps expectations need to be adjusted; no one should "expect" a gift and likewise no one should "expect" a thank you.

Moving on to our other Times Union advisers (I don't want to leave anyone out), Carolyn is the "relationship" expert.  At least it is refreshing to see that Carolyn might be younger than 50, but again wouldn't it be refreshing to include a male perspective when it comes to relationships?  Instead, I can pretty much write a template for the letters received in this column, to wit:  neurotic, insecure writer expresses some perceived concern regarding others.  Unfortunately, Carolyn's response typifies the female response of her generation.  Put simply, too many words.  That's right, take the length of the original query multiply it by about 2 and you get the length of her response.  I would venture to guess that a male response would get to the point much quicker.  For example, in today's column, insecure husband worries about not being able to trust his wife after she cheated... MTQ's response... "Dear Neurotic Husband, there are no guarantees in life.  Your wife might be doing the neighbor right now.  Don't believe me?  Somewhat shocked?  Well then, there's hope as it sounds like you might trust your wife more than you trust what I'm saying so either decide to be in the relationship or move on."

Lastly, I need to offer June an apology.  I don't regularly read your column.  I think it is partly because it is at the bottom of the advice page and I have long since reached my fill of tolerance prior to reaching it.  The other reason I suspect is that upon reading a couple of your columns, I would have to say they might be even more boring than some of the posts I've written.

Now Times Union, I realize I can't blame you for the state of advice affairs; however it is your paper that I read so feel free to share the feedback with your syndicates.  And should you all decide to take some affirmative action, please select your token male carefully.  For example, don't get someone like Dr. Oz.  He may have a popular show, but it is clear that since he spends most of his time pandering to women, he cannot possibly be objective.  Also, avoid writers such as James Patterson or Mitch Albom.  Any self respecting male who has forced themselves to read some of their books can tell you that they don't represent normal males.  Jerry Springer might be worth a try - his show is getting a little tired so change might do him good and he certainly qualifies as having life experience.  In all seriousness, I do hope that I have launched a conversation about the need for some male perspective and until the paper media catches up, you can count on MTQ to provide the advice you need.

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