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National Editorials & Columns

Advice from a male perspective

Over the past 30 years, I’ve gotten to do a lot of different types of writing. I wrote a song that got recorded. I wrote a coloring book that was published by five different companies. I ghost wrote a speech for a governor. Sometimes, I even get paid for these things.

But the one thing I always wanted to do was to write an advice column like Dear Abby.

It’s not the writing that appeals to me. I just like the idea of telling people what they should do and how they should live their lives.

Most advice columns are written by women – at least the general advice columns are. I’ve seen columns written by men that give advice on auto mechanics, medicine and antiques, but the life-advice columns are usually from a woman’s perspective.

Maybe that’s because women tend to be more nurturing and empathetic.

Most men aren’t going to write to a newspaper columnist about their problems. That’s because most men won’t admit that they have problems.

But even if the letter writers are mostly women, I think they would benefit from a man’s perspective.

So, I thought I would take a shot at answering some perplexing questions culled from actual advice columns as far as you know. We’ll call my advice column “Dear Mr. Fixit.”

Dear Mr. Fixit: My boyfriend likes to watch football every Sunday. I have tried to watch it with him and have him teach me about the game, but he just acts annoyed. What can I do to reclaim Sundays as “us” time? Signed, Lonely on Sunday.

Dear Lonely: Your boyfriend isn’t “acting” annoyed. It was “us” time when he went with you to the Pottery Barn on Saturday. He will be happy to explain the rules of football to you – just not during the game. He does not mind having you join him for the game, but if you must talk during the plays, try using phrases like “these refs suck,” “boo-yah” and “can I get you another beer?” Cheer when he cheers and save the chatter for the commercials.

Dear Mr. Fixit: I fixed a nice meal for my husband and he gobbled it down but didn’t say whether he liked it. Signed, Miffed in Miami.

Dear Miffed: He liked it.

Dear Mr. Fixit: My husband agreed to paint our living room, but I can’t get him to help me pick out the color. I have given him 50 color swatches, but they’re still stacked up on the end table. What can I do? Signed, Sample in Seattle.

Dear Sample: Your husband doesn’t care what color the room is. Pick one and give it to him.

Dear Mr. Fixit: I picked out a color for our living room but my husband still hasn’t painted the room after three weeks. What can I do? Signed, Sample in Seattle Again.

Dear Sample: Start painting the room yourself. Your husband will either take over or let you continue. Either way, the room gets painted, right?

Hmmm. Maybe there’s a reason why guys should not write advice columns.

• David Porter can be reached at

Dear Mr. Fixit: We have three cats, two dogs and a gerbil. I want another dog but my husband said no. What can I do to change his mind? Signed Animal Lover.

Dear Animal: Try petting your husband instead.

Dear Mr. Fixit: Last night, I fixed a wonderful meal for my honey. Then I lit some candles, put on some nice music and slipped into my sexiest nightgown, but he went out drinking with his friends instead. What do you suggest? Signed, Desperate in Dallas.

Dear Desperate: Send me your address.

Well, that’s all the advice I have time for today. Signed, Mr. Fixit in Dallas.

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