Back in the early days of advice columns, nonplussed women were instructed to obey their husband’s requests, quit their moping and crying and keep their stray frizz tucked in. Now, on the internet, advice columns are telling a much different story. The following five wickedly witty and wise writers are using their columns as a vehicle for practical advice for peeps of all walks of life, doing it with a seriously tough-love approach, all the while wearing the name advice column with pride. Read, learn, write in, get served.
Slate’s Aunt Prudence
The Toast cofounder Mallory Ortberg became the new Aunt Prudence last year, taking the reigns over from Emily Yoffe who’d served up no-nonsense advice for nearly 10 years. Ortberg continues the Prudie tradition with her distinctive voice and humour that’s “mastered the Internet version of sardonic deadpan.” Check out Mallory’s wisdom for parents, students, YouTubers, newlyweds and more. Send questions to Prudence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Toast’s Aunt Acid
This salty lady’s tagline is “Everyone else is the worst. Aunt Acid will help you deal with them.” The Toast’s Brooklyn-based Esther Bloom delivers it straight, tackling big topics like dealing with racism and undisclosed trauma in relationships, and not so big topics like saving and spending. Always with sharp wit and on-point wisdom. Business Lady deserves a shoutout, too. While the site is shutting down July 1 (serious sad face), you can still enjoy the archives.
New York Magazine’s Ask Polly
You know you mean business as an advice columnist when you’ve got a book called How to Be a Person in the World in your credits. Ask Polly is just the real deal: “When it comes to writing advice, I really follow my own instincts. I’m not trying to create something that’s perfect or stylistically awe-inspiring. I’m just trying to find a vivid way to unlock some kind of answer or epiphany for the reader. I want every single column to make the reader say HELL YES, I CAN DO THIS. Got a question for Polly? Email email@example.com.
This screenplay writer and director attributes this column to her fascination with character dialogue. She says, “I can’t tell you what to do. But I can try to tell you what to say, or lend you some courage in saying it.” The forum-style Q&A tackles a wide range of life issues like the art of no, social media, comebacks and more. If you have a question, submit it here.
The Rumpus’ Dear Sugar