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Monday, January 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Light Freezing Drizzle Fog/Mist


Sept. 3, 1993: Mr Right: In the Beginning…

It's a need like any other. Some people need it every day, even twice a day. Other people spend their whole sorry-ass lives pretending they don't need it at all. Of course, getting too much is as bad as not getting enough. I used to know this guy who could hardly brush his teeth without getting some from somebody…anybody. But, for those of you who feel like you just can't get enough, here's what I propose: I'm going to give you some every other week.

Advice, I mean.

 The world's most beloved advice columnist says bye-bye

It all began at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, California. Wait a minute, that's Ted Baxter's old line. For yours truly, it all began at a 61,000-circulation alternative newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, when I signed on to write the illustrious, outrageously popular, could-a-Pulitzer-be-far-behind-yes-it-apparently-could Mr. Right column. And who cares if that's where it's all ending, some 700 Pulitzer-worthy columns later? It's not like I thought I was Ann Landers or anything. >More
 Brief encounter

My family and I have recently tried to define "whitey-tighties." I thought they were men's briefs that are short: no legs, not high up the belly. But both my wife and my daughter believe that "whitey-tighties" includes men's underwear with legs on them, as long as they're made of a knit fabric as opposed to a woven fabric. I would call those knit boxers, and I would call woven boxers just plain boxers. What's your definition? Does it matter how tight the legs are? >More
 Steal away

I'm writing on behalf of a friend of mine who lives in another city. She and I have been talking on the phone, and I said I would ask your advice on a family matter that's been troubling her greatly. A couple of months ago, she noticed there was money missing in her purse. She'd withdrawn $200 from an ATM, and the next day, without having spent any, she was down to $180. Money kept disappearing after that, a ten and a five, until there was little enough left that anything missing would have been noticed. Then she withdrew another $200, and another $20 disappeared. >More
 Married without children

Hello, Mr. Right. We're a married couple in our 50s who've never had children, and we'd like to clear up a few misconceptions about couples in our situation. First of all, we weren't unable to have children, which is what most people assume. We're childless by choice. (Actually, we prefer the term "child-free" to "childless," since it suggests we're free of something rather than missing something.) >More
 Don't mind if I douche

There's something that happened to me that I'd like your opinion on. I was at a conference in November, and I met a woman who agreed to come back with me to my hotel room. We had a couple of swigs from the mini-bar, then we started fooling around. She was kind of a wise-ass, like me, so when I headed "down there" to get things going, I made a crack about how she smelled like lemons. "Oh, that's just the douche I use," she said. >More
 Brownie points

I can honestly say this is the first time I've ever seen the entire surface of the break-room table at one time. It is always laden with birthday or holiday treats, often both. And I must say, it was an utter relief not to have to resist temptation while passing by the door. Hasn't this phenomenon of the office snack table gotten out of hand? And isn't there anything those of us who would prefer not to participate can do? >More

I was over at some friends' house for dinner the other night. They have two kids, ages 6 and 4, and I've always tried to watch what I say around them. But this time I apparently blew it, because after I got back home, I got a call from their mother. She was apologetic (and knows I'm writing you), but she said she had to ask me to please refrain from using swear words around the kids. "What did I say?" I asked, because I didn't remember slipping up. "You said 'hell' once and 'damn' twice," she said, "but who's counting?" >More
 Completely nutty

Okay, once and for all, what are we supposed to do with these fruitcakes? It's not even Christmas yet, and we've already gotten three of the things. One would have been too many. In fact, we still have one from last year, never opened. The only person around here who can stand the stuff is my 70-year-old grandmother, who happens to be the person responsible for one of the ones we've already received. >More
 The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants

I read your recent column about girls whose rear ends show over their low-slung jeans (11/21/08) and wondered about boys who wear their own pants so low that 1) we have the "pleasure" of seeing their boxer shorts, and 2) they can't walk down the street without having to hold them up by the waistband. Do they think this is attractive? Do they think girls think it's attractive? Aren't they concerned about either tripping over them or having them fall down mid-stride? I have a young-adult daughter who tells me that girls think this is ridiculous, so what gives? >More
 Take this job and shovel it

I have this neighbor who shall remain anonymous, but he knows who he is. We happen to share a driveway, which is neither here nor there, except when it snows. Then, as often as not, the neighbor is nowhere to be found. I actually believe he sometimes leaves town in order to avoid shoveling his half of the driveway. >More
 We gather together

How was my Thanksgiving? Thanks for asking! It was great. We were down in Galena, Ill., the old lead-mining town that time forgot when a little place called Chicago shoved it out of the way. Actually, we were in an 1854 house a few miles outside of Galena, on 17 acres of land that looks pretty much like it did during the Civil War. >More
 Sticker shock

I was driving to the grocery story the other day, and what should appear in front of me but a battered Volvo covered in bumper stickers. Or perhaps I should call them rear-of-vehicle stickers since they were plastered over every square inch of the back end that would accept adhesive. >More
 Women's jeans hit a new low

Why is exposed female butt cleavage so fashionable these days? I can't go anywhere without seeing some. Whether I'm at the shopping mall, the supermarket or the park, it seems to be on a fairly regular basis that I'll be treated to an attractive woman flashing me something ranging from a quarter to a half moon. >More
 Chi whiz

I've been married to the same woman for six years. She has always struck me as reasonably sane. But after living in apartments since we first moved in together eight years ago, we've finally decided to take the plunge and buy a house. We figure, what the hell, if the housing market's going to hell, we might as well take advantage of the low prices. So, we've been looking for a house, and after wandering through nearly a dozen we've finally found one. Or at least I thought we had. >More
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