After editing an advice column for two years, I’ve decided that there is no such thing as advice. There are only problems and the ways people handle them. Advice, on the other hand, is when you hear a description of someone else's problem and then tell the person something about yourself. Hopefully whatever you say is funny or interesting, but it has little to do with actually helping anyone. It may seem or feel like it does, but there are always more variables than we'll ever be able to see or understand, and best case scenario you’re pressing on the problem a little bit in a way that engages [...]
Not that you ever would, or should. But in light of these condiment bottles…
1. Get a doll with a plastic head. They sell good, cheap ones at CVS, Rite Aid, and places like that.
2. You’ll also need a pair of scissors, a plastic wine glass, and a hammer. (Optional but not actually recommended: clear nail polish.)
I started reading the new Sweet Valley High book last night, and oh my god I love it I hate it I love it I hate it. It's unexpectedly stirring — you can feel it in your heart, this fluttering memory of caring about Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and aren't we all Elizabeths? Did anyone identify with Jessica? Oh you sluts! Just kidding, somewhat, because Jessica, what is wrong with you?! but I'm getting ahead of myself — but the book's main problem is that Jessica, what is wrong with you?!
The thing she does to Elizabeth — the drama that provides the book's foundation — is so ridiculously [...]
Is there a certain food you find disgusting but wish you didn't? Oysters? Martinis? Coffee? Something other people enjoy but that looks and tastes repulsive to you? Well, you, too, can like it by following these eight simple steps. Or, if this doesn't work, oh well, you had a few mouthfuls of food you didn't like.
Quick backstory: I used to like nothing. I ate only cereal, pasta, and ice cream, and when I ordered a sandwich I ordered it with white bread, turkey, and mayonnaise—mustard, lettuce, and tomatoes being too freaky and exotic. Then I did this thing when I thought that [mumble, mumble, mumble—long story about falling [...]
Would you like to know your fate? Come in, come in. *Book creaks open.* And here's an apple, I'm told you can barely taste the poison. Oops, why do I always say that part out loud!
A Junk Food Wake-up Call I loved “The Big Junk Food Test” [November 2010]. I’m a college freshman and typically eat things like pizza, chips and ramen noodles. I always feel tired and lethargic. This article opened my eyes; thank you for helping me realize how important it is to eat better and not put my health on the back burner. Deanna M., Medford, Ore. (Glamour, January 2011)
I typically boil butter, sugar, pesticide, and lard together, then inject it into my butthole with a needle I stole from the veterinarian. I’m actually gonna go do it again in about 10 minutes, but I just wanted to take a [...]
A woman wrote in to The New Yorker demanding a refund because two issues in a row featured not very many pieces by women.
We were already alarmed when we flipped through the Dec 20th & 27th double-issue to find that only one piece (Nancy Franklin) and one poem (Alicia Ostriker) were written by women. A friend pointed out that Jane Kramer wrote one of the short Talk of the Town segments as well, though it barely placated our sense of outrage that one extra page, totaling three, out of the 148 pages in the magazine, were penned by women.
Marie Claire's Maura Kelly asks, "Should You Lock in a Winter Boyfriend?" and I don't even want to know what she's talking about because YES. Lock him IN. Lock, lock, lock. Who's there? "My winter boyfriend!" … is what you'll say when someone asks who it is you keep trapped inside your room. Ahh, anyway.
Get Fit Your Way!
I love the “Lose 8 Pounds at Home” feature [September, page 64]. I can’t afford a gym with fun, fresh classes, but I get really bored at home and don’t always know how to give myself an effective workout. Your plan keeps me focused the entire time I’m exercising. Best of all, I can do it at home for free!
Jessica, North Royalton, OH (Self, November 2010)
Sometimes I think about how perfect my life would be if I were eight pounds lighter. First of all, I would be beautiful, and so then I would get married. And then once I was married, my [...]
HP: OMG tell me about yourself!
AA: Welllllll, I've been living in Mono Lake forever basically.
HP: Wait like literally forever?
AA: Hahaha, ummm.
AA: Hahahaha, LOLOLOL.
This is the ridiculously long story of how I exchanged regular deodorant-antiperspirants (Secret, Dove, Degree, etc. — the ones that make you smell nice) for natural deodorants (Tom’s, Jason’s, the crystals, etc. — the ones that make you disgusted with yourself, your body, your clothes, and the haze of putrescence that surrounds you at all times). Here we go. READ MORE
I thought this story ["The Mistake That Nearly Cost Me Everything," by Piper Kerman] was very interesting, and I can't wait to read her book. It's amazing to think that something we may have done 10 years in the past could affect our future.
Kellymusil, marieclaire.com (Marie Claire, June 2010)
Wish You'd Reconsider I am appalled at the comment you made concerning Michelle Obama in "The Style 100." Saying she deserved a Congressional Medal for "banishing the nattily tailored First Lady suit" was distasteful. Apparently you don't know what the medal is since you made such a lighthearted comment. Judy C., Santa Clarita, CA (InStyle, March 2010)
You deserve a Congressional Medal-thrown at your head. But I know that there's a lot of you guys working there, so imagine like you're all standing in a line and the medal just goes through each of you guys's heads one by one. Blam, blam, blam! It also has a little gun [...]
Winning Hands I haven't worn playful nail polish since I was an adolescent, but the painted nails in "Power Points" [September] were so stylish, they made me reconsider my go-to French manicure. Your article showed me that my nails are another accessory I can have fun with. Stephanie B., Overland Park, Kan. (InStyle, November 2009)
Why do we have ten fingers? That seems like a lot-personally I think I'd rather just have one. I'd want it to be made out of all the other fingers, though, so what I'd do is cut them all off and sew them together end to end, and then reattach the whole thing back [...]
This question is casual and simply off-hand, but where are the people? I want to approach one and talk to he or she. There is nothing unusual about me, though. On the contrary, I am a normal human woman who lives here on America. I keep my typical human thoughts in my brain, which is inside my skull of bone. Just one regular human woman looking for other humans to meet and stand near, for reasons that are the same as your reasons.
Anonymous, via e-mail
Short and Sweet I really enjoyed reading Johanna Cox's article "Get Shorty" [August 2009]. I think I must have married one of the only straight men who actually prefers short hair. Ms. Cox and others have to ask themselves why they would desire a man who is that superficial. The great thing about hair: It grows back. Kristina, Easton, MD (Glamour, November 2009)
I don't mean to brag, but my husband doesn't care what I look like. He's like, "Nope, doesn't matter." I'll be like, "How do I look, Dave?" and he'll be like, "I don't know-not looking, can't hear you." Seriously, he'll be like, "Do whatever, leave me [...]
Keep It Real, Taylor! The jeans issue with Taylor Swift caught my eye ["Bombshell in Blue Jeans," August 2009]. I was so inspired when she talked about the challenges she overcame to get where she is today; it convinced me that my dreams aren't worth giving up on. Samantha G., Sarasota, FL (Glamour, October 2009)
Do you guys dream in color? Me, I dream in silent black-and-white squigglies, but they make me laugh. Dreams-where do they come from? I guess that's one question we'll never know the answer to. Not until we can invent tiny cameras that go in our heads. Kristy J., Atlanta
I just received the latest issue of SELF, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it from cover to cover! The section on how to save someone's life in an emergency, the delicious-looking recipes and the fashion suggestions I can actually afford are among the many standouts. It's the best issue I've gotten in a long time. Style and substance-that's why I subscribe! Keep up the good work. Kerrie Smothers, St. Louis (Self, August '09) My most recent copy of SELF fell through the slot in my door with a bang, and I screamed because I thought it was a gunshot. Nope-it was just my magazines in the mail! Anyway, [...]