Dear Tell All: I find the Wisconsin State Journal's advice columns boring, but I keep reading them anyway, maybe just because they're there. I'm curious about your take on them.
Dear Gentle Reader: The Wisconsin State Journal runs Amy Dickinson's advice column right above Caroline Hax's advice column. Both women smile wide in their photos. Dickinson looks middle-aged; Hax looks younger. Dickinson's hair is short; Hax's hair is long. Dickinson's head tilts slightly to the left; Hax's head tilts slightly to the right. Aside from those differences, I can't tell the columns apart.
Both women offer the kind of advice you'd get from walking up to a random person on the street - the conventional wisdom, blandly expressed. And both specialize in belaboring the obvious.
A woman recently asked Hax about the nature of love and attraction. You'd think that would be a juicy topic for an advice columnist, but all Hax had to offer was this: "Love is not an easily quantified thing." Do tell!
Another woman wrote in complaining about her husband's penchant for going off on bachelor-party weekends. Hax's response: "Let him know the idea of this weekend really bugs you." Now why didn't I think of that?
Dickinson's advice also falls into the "duh" category. To a woman who's leaving a controlling and abusive husband: "If your husband is controlling and abusive, then you are doing a good thing to get out."
To a man who's worried that his father is browsing pornographic websites: "If his web browsing worries you, then you should express your concern to him."
To a man wondering if he should go to the wedding of an old pal's daughter: "Weddings are a great way to gather new and old friends and family."
State Journal readers must be delighted to have finally learned what weddings are.
So back to your problem, Gentle Reader. I'll give you the same advice that I believe Carolyn Hax or Amy Dickinson would: If you find their advice columns boring, stop reading them.