Dear Prudence: A Love Letter

Note: This was written while Prudence was Emily Yoffe, a wonderful and amazing columnist. We love the others too, but we wanted you to know that this was for her.

Dear Prudence,

Where do I start? I am a longtime reader. I know that there was a Prudence before you, and while I do love advice columns in general, your answers are the ones I love. I can’t get enough of reading your column. You give advice the way it should be given.

I read through your column all day long at work. Don’t worry, I finish all my work too, but I read your answers in between answering customer questions. It’s fascinating and I often find myself four years back in the archives, looking for posts I haven’t read yet.

Your advice is so pragmatic and logical. Sometimes it even surprises me! I think while reading a question that you’ll surely tell the person to forget about it, and instead you give solid, constructive advice that I never would have thought of. I love that you give advice for seemingly trivial things in the question, such as recommending that an elderly third-party see a doctor, which is so important later in life, and many people don’t jump to as a solution.

I also love that, in spite if it being a typical Prudie trope, you recommend so many people seek therapy. Obviously an advice columnist cannot fix everyone’s lives and it’s great that you not only offer advice but also encourage them to follow up with professionals. Therapy also of course isn’t a cure-all either, but if people need help helping themselves, what better option! (Although honestly I wish you had a resources page somewhere on Slate. I’m sure many people read your recommendations for medical or psychiatric evaluations and assume it’s too expensive.)

Sometimes I read so much of your advice in a day that I find myself repeating the outrageous (or mundane) stories to the people around me. I tell my friends what crazy things people asked and let them guess at the solid advice. Then we have a laugh at the letter writer, that they even had to ask. We discuss your advice and wonder if anything is missing. Nothing is usually missing.

People’s stories are so outrageous. I assume some are made up. I also assume many are people talking about themselves and referring to the questions as someone else’s. It’s still all so strange and wonderful. I wish the navigation on the site were better only so I’d know if there are more pages to read.

Sometimes I read so much of your advice in a day, that beyond telling friends tales of your column, I tell bewildered acquaintances. Can you even believe it? I ask them. Isn’t she amazing? Don’t you wish that you had a small Prudie on your shoulder to tell you what to do all the time?

I do.



Dear Prudence by Amanda Wood

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