When I was a kid, I was teased mercilessly for my last name. Now, with a nationally syndicated column bearing it, I feel a certain smugness in saying, “Who’s teasing now, suckas?”
Seriously, though, this column is one of the most gratifying, fun gigs I’ve ever had in my career as a freelance writer. I like the idea of helping people through those tricky matters of the heart, I enjoy making readers laugh and I love being just a tad snarky in the process.
Here, a little more insight into the Bachelor behind Ask a Bachelor.
Q: Do you have professional training in psychology?
A: No, but I am CPR certified.
Q: So why are you qualified to write an advice column?
A: Because my editors think I am. Oh, and because throughout my life I’ve been the go-to gal for helping people sort through their issues, because I’ve kissed a lotta frogs, and because I have no problem telling it like it is, yo.
Q: How did you get into this gig in the first place?
A: Like everything else in my career: with a little luck and a lot of persistence. For two years, I wrote a column called “On Being a Bachelor” for The Sunday Paper, about my own dating (mis)adventures. But a dashing young man whom I referred to in the column as C. captured my battered heart, and the column slowly evolved from bitterness and bitching to butterflies and warm fuzzies. And who wants to read about that crap? So I approached my editors with the idea of writing advice — a way to bring the dark side of dating back to my readers, if you will — and Ask a Bachelor was born. In 2010, it was syndicated by McClatchy Tribune and now appears in papers across the country, as well as here.
Q: What if I don’t like your advice?
A: Then don’t write me another letter asking for it. Or don’t read my column. Or, even better, join the angry, anonymous masses out there in cyberspace and vent on my blog. If your argument or perspective is well-thought out and NOT JUST AN ENRAGED ALL-CAPS RANT WITH NO POINT OR REALLY BAD GRAMMAR, I’ll certainly consider publishing it in a future column. It’s been known to happen.
Q: Do you really keep all letters anonymous?
A: Of course. Though, when you submit one, you’re automatically signed up to receive my free newsletter, delivered hot and fresh to your inbox every week (wow, that sounded kinky, didn’t it?).
Q: Are all the letters real?
A: Yes. Although in the early days of the column, when letters were just starting to trickle in, I had no problem encouraging friends with particularly scintillating or troubling issues to submit them as a letter so everyone could enjoy the drama (and so my editor wouldn’t fire me).
Q: What happens if you get a letter you don’t feel qualified to answer?
A: I have no problem punting to a qualified expert when the issue requires it. I’ve built up a stable of trained pros with a hodgepodge of fancy titles who are always willing to chime in with their $0.02. Some of the issues I’ve been approached with in the past include sexual identity struggles, a guy being physically abused by his girlfriend and seriously low self-esteem. And, in situations where the letter is inappropriate for publication, I personally respond to the letter writer with a few suggested resources for help.
Q: Is this your only gig?
A: [ deep belly laughs] I wish I made enough money off this column to pay all the bills. I also write for publications including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, The Atlantan and several others; help businesses with their marketing materials and websites; and speak for various business and organizations.
Q: I’ve always wanted to become a writer/columnist/author, and I really enjoy your work. Can we meet up for drinks or coffee so I can pick your brain?
Aw, man, I would looooove to be able to say yes to all the burgeoning writers who ask me this, but I just don’t have the time. But I am available for in-person consultations and speaking engagements. Contact me for more information.
Q: Will you change your name if you ever get married?
A: Hell to the no.