You hear a lot these days about discrimination against women in the workforce. They don’t get the good jobs, they don’t get promoted, they get paid less than men for the same work, when a female top-executive commits a workplace crime she actually has to spend time in prison. The list goes on.
But there’s one job where, far as I can tell, only women are hired: newspaper advice columnist. Of course, I’m talking about personal advice, not ‘Car Talk’ or something where guys write in to find out about timing belts or dual-injection carburetors or other things important to them and their cars.
In the two newspapers I subscribe to, there are four personal advice columnists: Dear Abby ( Jeanne Phillips), Ask Amy (Amy Dickinson), Tell Me About It (Carolyn Hax), and The Advice Goddess (Amy Alkon). Not a man in the group. Go back a way and you have more women: the original Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren) and Dear Ann (Ann Landers). And guess what? Abigail Van Buren is the mother of Jeanne Phillips and the twin sister of Ann Landers. So not only is there sexism in the field, there’s also nepotism.
I’m not sure that’s a bad thing though. Let’s face it, when it comes to giving personal advice, men suck. Men’s listening/empathy skills are about a 3 on a scale of 100. Most men go through life thinking mainly about three or four things. You’ve got the 3 s’s-sex, sports, and $upport (aka ‘how can I make as much money as possible doing the least amount of work or, even better, having someone else doing it for me’). Men think about one or two other things, but damned if I can think of what they are right now.
Be that as it may, I’m tempted to bring a class-action lawsuit (easy money fella’s!) on behalf of all men against these (and other) newspapers. Problem is, any halfway decent lawyer wouldn’t have much trouble having it thrown out of court. They’d just say “OK, give us your best guy, we’ll give him a trial run at newspaper X.” So we’d elect some guy named Todd for the job and it would go something like this:
I’m a 40-year-old woman with two beautiful kids and a loving husband I’ll call “Calvin”. We’ve been married 12 years and, while we’ve had our ups and downs, have a generally happy marriage. My concern is our “love life”. Until the last couple of years, Calvin couldn’t get enough, if you know what I mean. While I’m still fairly trim and attractive it seems he just isn’t all that interested lately.
E.g., last Sunday his parents took the kids to the zoo and we had the house all to ourselves. After taking a long bath and putting on his favorite perfume and my sexiest negligee, I went downstairs, where he was watching the Cowboys-Redskins football game. Todd, he barely noticed I was there! Between cheering and yelling at the tv, about the only thing he said to me was “Hon, could you grab me another beer?” Then, when the Cowboys lost (and he lost a couple of hundred dollars betting on them!), he barely spoke the rest of the day.
I’m at my wit’s end Todd, what can I do?
You have good reason for concern, but let me first say I also watched that game and in my opinion it was one of the best games this season. Tony Romo had a good game, but Robert Griffin III showed he’s one of the 3 or 4 best quarterbacks in the league. I swear DeMarcus Ware must have broken an ankle when RG III put that move on him on the game-winning drive in the 4th quarter.
But let’s get to your husband “Calvin”. What was he thinking betting against the Redskins when they were 2 1/2 point underdogs at home!? Everybody knows you don’t bet against the Redskins when they’re ‘dogs at home! And no, being a die-hard Cowboys fan is not an excuse. My advice is to get him a subscription to the NFL Bettor’s Guide put out by ESPN the Magazine.
p.s. You mention that his parents took your kids to the zoo that day. The fact that your father-in-law was at the zoo and not home watching that game tells me a lot. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Calvin was raised in one of those New Age, touchy-feely homes that valued so-called “family time”, spending Autumn weekends going on camping trips, barbeques, picnics, etc., instead of watching college football on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays. For Calvin’s sake (as well as yours and the kids), I hope I’m wrong, but this could explain why he would make such a bone-headed wager.
So, a few more letters/answers like that and, unless the Judge has lost a lot of money betting on football, that lawsuit’s gettin’ tossed. So much for the easy money fella’s. But if I can get my mind off 2 of the damn 3 s’s, maybe I can come up with some other scheme.
Amy Alkon, The Advice Goddess; for good reason, there are no Advice Gods
Martha Stewart; she made a couple of bucks by having a little inside info on some company and spent time in prison for it. The male bigwigs responsible for the economic meltdown who run Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bear Stearns, et al are sitting in cushy leather chairs at their private clubs smoking banned Cuban stogies, drinking expensive single malt scotch, and laughing their asses off at Martha and the rest of us.
Thomas Edison; while he probably gave lousy personal advice, let’s thank our lucky stars there are men like him who can think beyond the 3 s’s. Although let’s face it, it was easier back then; most women looked liked Eleanor Roosevelt, football was played by a bunch of scrawny white guys wearing leather helmets, and, except for travelling preachers and congressmen, men had to actually work hard to make a buck.