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No time for love

This is a cutthroat business
Dear Dr. Jones
by GZO Jones

GZO Jones offers sage and candid monthly advice on life, love and relationships. He corresponds from Brazil while recovering from a series of health setbacks that may or may not be related to the 1960s. Find out more at the new GZO Jones Town Web site, and feel free to ask Dr. Jones anything. You got a problem with that?

Dear Dr. Jones,

My wife stopped shaving her legs. What’s the deal?


Dear B,

First off, if it’s a seemingly isolated event, no worries. I’m sure you’ll simply find out that she’s been watching Oprah, and Herr Doktor Winfrey said something to set her off. Or, Cosmo decided that leg stubble is Euro-chic this month. You can probably expect the underarm hair to blossom as well. If any of this is the case, then before long you’ll hear a resounding cry of “Timber!” from the bathtub. And all will be as it was.

Nevertheless, I’m remindful of a brief period, circa 1966 or ’67. I was dating a certain rising young songstress for a short spell – exactly coincidental to a time when she threw away her razor and started hitting the Jack Daniel’s pretty hard. I have to tell you that, aside from a few whisker burns to my ever-smiling face, I actually found it quite intriguing. And I will say this: she grabbed more than just a little piece of my heart. Point being? Give something new a chance and you might learn to love it.

Do, however, make sure to watch for the following warning signs: The public library calls to demand she return “The Collected Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt”... Lists her gender as “womyn” on official documents ... Attends Ani di Franco concerts more than one hour’s drive away ... Says she is leaving you for another woman ...

If any of these occur, some sort of intervention may be necessary – and saints preserve you, my friend.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

In school I was always a matchmaker, and I know that I give good advice. I’d like to help more people, so I thought of becoming an advice columnist. How do I get started?

Dear Dolly

Dear DD,

You have picked a thorny path to enlightenment, grasshopper. This is a cutthroat business with no room for nice people such as yourself – at least in the big leagues. Modern-day requirements for advice columnists are sarcasm, envy, a tendency to verbal abuse and lots more sarcasm.

Sure, “tough love” has been in vogue for years now, but I think it’s a different sort of game than most people realize. Ginsberg once had a hankering to write an advice column for a popular San Francisco rag, and called me when he was knee-deep in letters. They weren’t pleas for advice like you might think, but complaints about what he said or didn’t say, or whom he agreed or disagreed with. Did he help anyone in his two lucid weeks of the column? Probably not.

To see if you’re made of steely enough stuff, write a personal letter to an advice column you’re familiar with. See how you like the response.

I’ll be doing the same myself, just for kicks. Check next month for my open letter to Pacific NW columnists and any response I get. Cheers!

– Jones

Examine more advice from Dr. Jones, visit his Web site and e-mail your problems, large or small, to gzojones@hotmail.com.

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