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Monday, June 23, 2008


posted by on June 23 at 10:53 AM

Easily half the mail at Savage Love now arrives with a qualifier like this….

I’d appreciate your advice. Please do not print this in your column. Thanks :)

At least the person that wrote the above had the decency to include it at the start of her letter. It’s extremely annoying to read a long, involved letter about a fucked up, complicated problem and—after having composed a little advice in my head, or having already gone and looked up some stuff online, or having already sent a query to a potential guest expert—stumble across the “don’t print this” admonition tucked away in a P.S.

Now I don’t mean to be bitchy (it comes naturally), and I frequently write folks back that ask for advice but don’t want to see their letter in print. But really, people. I’m advice columnist, not a therapist in private practice, and my email address is at the bottom of the column to solicit questions for future columns, and not because I need something to do in my nonexistent free time.

Sometimes I do feel an urge to offer advice to fuck ups with messy personal lives outside of the context of the column or the podcast. But that’s what editorial meetings are for.

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Oh, poor you! Life is so hard.

Posted by Boo Hoo | June 23, 2008 11:09 AM

It is! Thanks, Boo Hoo!

Posted by Dan Savage | June 23, 2008 11:14 AM

Now, Dan, this is why we love Jezebel's "The Doctor Is Stoned" videos ... people don't get the choice.

At least you're discrete.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 23, 2008 11:15 AM

The phrase saying "Please don't print this" sound like an invite to print it! Along with their home address and phone number!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | June 23, 2008 11:17 AM

back when your column was more obscure, i guess letter writers weren't as worried about being identified.

Posted by ellarosa | June 23, 2008 11:20 AM


I'm an adult with serious ADD, and it's causing all kinds of difficulties in my long-term relationship, especially since my girlfriend grew up in a country where ADD is even less acknowledged and understood than it is here.

My problem doesn't really have anything to do with sex, but since you're so smart about everything, you can help me, right?  There's a whole bunch of information about ADD and relationships online, but I'd much rather have a concise answer from you that gets all the important info in one place.  You can look all that up more easily than I can anyway, right?

P.S.  Please don't print this in your column, and please, please, don't let any of those misogynistic assholes who hang out in Slog comments see it!  'kay thanx, bye!  <3 <3 <3

Posted by lostboy | June 23, 2008 11:33 AM

Can't be any worse than those infected dick pictures people send you all the time. Yeesh.

Posted by Hernandez | June 23, 2008 11:34 AM

Discreet, not discrete (consisting of distinct segments).

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | June 23, 2008 11:35 AM

Well said, Dan.

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 23, 2008 11:37 AM

It's like the people who ask Carolyn Hax on her chat at the Washington Post to answer online only. WTF? Lots of people read the online stuff, too. At the same time, Dan, apparently people trust you and value your opinion. Heck, they're dropping your name into theater reviews in the Times! You're FAMOUS! Next thing you know people'll be painting pictures of you!

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | June 23, 2008 11:44 AM

It's an interesting thing, though--wouldn't the Do Not Print letters actually be more serious and less fucked-up than the ones coming from people hoping to be featured in your column? Admittedly, everyone has problems, but having a problem compounded by the need for attention or public titillation seems somehow worse.

That said, you do an incredible job every week.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | June 23, 2008 11:45 AM

@8: That's hot.

Posted by Greg | June 23, 2008 11:45 AM

@8 Thanks Amy Kate for correcting WiS, though for a moment I entertained the idea he did it on porpoise.

Dan, loved the line "that's what editorial meetings are for."

Posted by PopTart | June 23, 2008 12:03 PM

oops - guilty. If it's ANY consolation, your advice was more helpful than anything I received from anyone else, and a young girl in need of an advocate and her very grateful family were helped. Also when i shared your advice & what i went on to do with it with colleagues, they have started listening to your show (or confessed they already did). P.S. You really nailed it with the :) ! P.SS It also should indicate to you that people are hungry to be told the truth & trust you, in a big world full of lying liars, to do it! Just sayin, that's kinda cool.

Posted by dawicksta | June 23, 2008 12:07 PM

@8: one of my pet peeves, and one of the many reasons you are awesome.

Dan, your last paragraph is pure delight.

Posted by Fnarf | June 23, 2008 12:18 PM

Dan if you use Outlook you can create a rule that filters out phrases like "do not print" and "don't print". Unless your letter is from a cursive fetishist, in which case we would unduly filter them out. And who wants that?

Posted by pragmatic | June 23, 2008 12:20 PM

I prefer my version.

I like to think of Dan in bite-size chunks of time.

Besides, Australia outlawed American speling years ago.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 23, 2008 2:04 PM

Sounds like a job for a fucktern to me.

Posted by seattle mike | June 23, 2008 2:50 PM

Read the bottom of the letter first, Dan.

Posted by yuiop | June 23, 2008 3:36 PM

@17: You don't know what you're talking about. A) discreet/discrete are 2 different words, nothing to do with differences in US/Brit/Aus spelling. B) Australia has always followed British spelling, with a couple of exceptions. 'Outlawing' seems a little hyperbolic if you mean 'failing a spelling test'. C) If US spelling was 'outlawed' here, Microsoft would owe us billions in fines for its programs (that word is one of the exceptions) defaulting back to it all the f'in time.

Posted by spelchekdownunda | June 23, 2008 5:34 PM

Give us a whole column of those letters (edited to protect privacy, of course)!

Unfortunately, I'm guessing they are no more interesting than the ones you actually do run.

Posted by amy! | June 23, 2008 6:29 PM

Hey bro, you can send the ones who want "therapy" to me. I always wanted to do some writing, to offer all my educational knowledge to someone outside of those I see at work!! let me know what you think!! could be fun!

Posted by Laura | June 23, 2008 6:32 PM

Thank you @20! The rest of us might have taken Will seriously and spent the rest of our lives in ignorance of Australian spelling logistics. Tragedy averted!

Posted by Helena | June 24, 2008 6:36 AM

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