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January 9, 2008

Dear Abby

The column "Dear Abby" was published for the first time today in 1956, according to ButlerWeb's January calendar of observances (our source for all the awesome faux-holidays such as Clown Month and Spaghetti Day - January 4th).

"Dear Abby" is the most popular and widely syndicated column in the world. We sort of have a "love/hate" relationship with "Abigail Van Buren" (who is actually named Jeanne Phillips and is the daughter of the original founding "Abby", Pauline Phillips).

Jeanne Phillips recently officially came out in support of same sex marriage.
"I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em," the syndicated advice columnist told The Associated Press. "That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake." She also said that she believes in full marriage rights, that civil unions just amount to second class citizenship.

She's also a big supporter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and they honored her with a "Straight for Equality" award.

On the other hand, while the column claims to be known for its known for its "uncommon common sense and youthful perspective", sometimes she's a little old-fashioned and outdated. Or just plain dumb.

So we decided in honor of today, we would critique (and re-answer in our own evil slutty way) some of her recent advice.

Take this letter from December 27:
Dear Abby: I have a close friend, "Dee," who is more than 50 pounds overweight. She wears the trendiest clothes, styles her hair and makeup to perfection and has oodles of male friends she'd love to be more than friends with, but has never been in a serious relationship.

When we go out with her male friends, they shower me with compliments and attention.

I love spending time with her, but feel like if I'm there she'll get less attention and lessen her chances of finding a significant other.

I have even resorted to lying to her about men looking at her in a bar or fabricating compliments that I say I overheard a male friend say about her. I'm becoming exhausted trying not to show interest in her friends, "dressing down" when we go out so as not to attract attention and lying to her to make it all better. What can I do besides avoid her altogether?

-- "Dee"-voted Friend in D.C.

Dear Friend: The first thing you must do is stop lying to her. Every time you do, you raise her hopes that the person you have invented will show an interest, which of course can never happen.

The second is to have a loving and truthful discussion with her about how much you care about her and about her weight because it affects not only her social life, but it could also affect her health. Sometimes it takes a loving friend to direct our attention to something we would rather ignore.

Basically, Abby is recommending that she tell Dee... that she's fat. I'm pretty sure she already knows that and doesn't need her self-proclaimed skinnier, prettier friend to tell her, "I'm skinnier and prettier than you are!"

And who is to say that Dee is actually even "fat" in the first place? Her friend claims that she is 50 lbs. overweight, but by whose standards? (Is she a doctor or nutritionist?)
We've known many people who have unnatural obsessions with food and their weight - to the point that it extends over to other people's bodies and eating habits. Her friend may be too judgmental. Even if she is technically overweight, since when does being "fat" automatically make you unattractive? Sounds like her friend is possibly a bit "sizist" and is stuck with a society-constructed sense of what is beautiful.

Being "fat" doesn't make a woman incapable of attracting men and sustaining a relationship. Maybe she hasn't had a relationship because she's trying to date the wrong guys. Maybe her guy friends have no idea she'd even be interested in them in the first place, seeing as they are, in fact, just friends. Maybe Dee hasn't had a relationship because of confidence issues (which her friend "directing her attention" to an apparent weight problem is likely going to make worse, because believe me - she already knows). Maybe she hasn't had a relationship, because she's holding out for a relationship with one of the fictitious men her friend "overheard" giving her fake compliments.

Her friend seems to be both totally full of herself and a little wacky too. She's so incredibly gorgeous that it's "exhausting" for her to even hang out with her friend, what with the burden of knowing that her amazing beauty and charm is ruining her friend's love life?

I think our version of the advice would have been something like...

The first thing you must do is get over yourself. The second is to look up the definition of the word friend in the dictionary, study it, think long and hard about it, and revise your actions accordingly.

Still, we've got to have some love for Dear Abby just for craziness like this:

DEAR ABBY: I was married in November, and one of my co-workers, "Brooke," attended the ceremony. Her gift to me was a vase. When we opened the box, my husband and I discovered that the vase was engraved with Brooke's and her husband's names and their wedding date. Tucked inside the vase was a card from the couple who had given it to them for their wedding.
How should I handle this? Should I return the vase to her, or ignore it and give it to Goodwill? -- JENNIFER IN PORT ORCHARD, WASH.

DEAR JENNIFER: Neither. Remove the card, re-wrap the gift, and give it to Brooke on her next anniversary.
We don't always agree with her, but we're definitely glad that she answers this stuff so that we don't have to.



If you just can't get enough of Dear Abby and her "youthful perspective", here are some more links:

Article by Religious-Bigot who blasts Abby for being "Pro-Gay" and "Pro-Abortion"

Wikipedia entry for Ann Landers, Dear Abby's twin sister and fellow advice columnist (her daughter is also an advice columnist, so apparently it runs in the family)

Drama about Abby vs. Ann and their daughters

Abby falls for fake letter based on simpsons' episode

The "new" Dear Abby took over for mom



1 comment:

Heather said...

Yay! I'm an overweight girl (by about 50ish lbs, haha, but it used to be WAY more) and I had the gorgeous best friend who everyone drooled over... I am sure she thought similar things but didn't say them, at least. I would never say that sort of shit about anyone. That's fucked up.