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Rude Little Shit Of The Day
I answer almost every piece of e-mail I get requesting advice -- regardless of whether it will make my column -- sometimes just to direct somebody to a book they can read that exactly targets their problem. Most people are grateful. I know this because some even thank me. Not this guy. Here's his response e-mail that ticked me off (I'm leaving his name blank because he later apologized...but he was pretty amazed that I tracked him down, down to his photo and his mother's name and phone number in [not Merrick, NY, but] Staten Island!):

In a message dated 8/30/06 5:33:02 AM, writes:

No offenses, but your advice sucks.

On 8/30/06, wrote:

Here's his original e-mail, to which I responded at 4:59 am:

In a message dated 8/29/06 6:08:16 PM, writes:

I like this girl. She asked me out once but then she dumped me the same day because my cousin is her friend too and got mad at the girl. I want to ask her out but I don't know how under the circumstances. HELP.

Here's my response:

Just ask her out. What do you mean, you don't know how? Just ask, and while you're doing it, don't be too attached to the outcome. See rejection as a sign you should ask out somebody else, not a sign there's something particularly wrong with you.

And here's my later response to his "no offenses" e-mail:

Um, here I am, giving you free advice, at about 4:30 am, rather than ignoring your letter -- even though it will never make my column. I wanted to be helpful even though I was exhausted out of my mind, answering letters that had backed up during my deadline. It's no wonder you have a hard time getting a girl to go out with you with your rude sense of entitlement. You're a badly raised little shit, and I'd like you to forward this e-mail to your mother so I can ask her what she was doing when she was supposed to be teaching you manners. The correct response here was "Thank you" even if you thought it was the worst advice in the world. And frankly, telling somebody not to be too attached to the outcome and to understand that rejection is a sign to go on to the next is very good advice. Your question was not well written, perhaps because, in addition to lack of manners, you're not very literate. Manners are a form of ethics, and so is having the integrity to work hard and learn something in school. At 21, it's about time you made something of yourself -- besides being a rude, ungrateful little shit. Consider yourself lucky that I don't track down your Mommy there in Merrick, NY.

Posted by aalkon at August 31, 2006 8:10 AM

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I'm wondering what could have prompted this nasty response. I've looked at the timing of the two emails from him, and I wonder if he could have actually asked the girl out and been rejected. Perhaps he sees you for being the cause of his rejection. Ridiculous, I know, because, as you say, he is better off finding out there's no future together with this girl than to be stringing himself along in the fantasy world he's living in.

Or perhaps you were supposed to give him detailed instruction. "You walk up to her, give her your most pleasant smile, while nodding your head once with it slightly tilted to the right, give her a sensitive heartfelt compliment...blah, blah, blah."

Or perhaps he's just a pathetic little loser who gets off being rude to total strangers in email. There are many people like that in cyberspace (some of them post here). I guess because they're free to be themselves in the anonymity of cyberspace, without the risk of receiving a realtime right hook.

Posted by: Patrick at August 31, 2006 4:52 PM

Unfortunately, people like this are becoming more the rule than the exception.

Posted by: Doobie at August 31, 2006 8:03 PM

Dearest Amy:

If you're up at 4:30 am answering asinine emails, you need an intern.

Speaking of asses: thanks to Canada for the tip about Candida Royalle.

Posted by: Someone's Intern at September 1, 2006 10:17 PM

Well, speaking of ethics, I think it's unethical to have an intern. I have an assistant, and I pay her as well as I can, and value her very much. If I get a big book advance next month, I'll pay her even more.

PS Answering mail is what I do. Most of it isn't from assholes. You never know, though, until you open it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 2, 2006 1:51 AM

Regarding the 4:30 comment, since Amy is a syndicated columnist (as opposed to the type of person who -- like me -- is on a work schedule), it doesn't matter what time of the day it is. Perhaps she took a nap during the day, and consequently is awake during the night. Or maybe she just prefers to sleep during the day and be awake at night. There's no law that dictates when a person is allowed to be productive or not, no rules that dictate when a person is supposed to be asleep or awake to be deemed "sensible" by others, and in the case of those who don't have a work schedule (or a schedule of their daily activities, no matter what they are), she can work whenever she likes.

Posted by: Patrick at September 2, 2006 3:30 AM

Hey Amy- fellow redhead here. Random question, but you'll understand if you're a naturally curly girl--what product do you use on your hair to keep it from being frizzy? Thanks in advance,


p.s. enjoying your blogs!

Posted by: Jennifer Leman at January 21, 2007 10:47 AM

Leonor Greyl creme du jour or Kiehl's leave-in conditioner. Kiehl's is cheaper! And Biolage for curls. Don't have the exact names at the moment, because I just packed my back. I also either use dog shampoo -- Buddy Wash shampoo and conditioner -- and/or Leonor Greyl's Creme Moelle de Bambou (which does not lather).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 21, 2007 11:31 AM

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