I would advise you to take advice only from those with whom you fundamentally agree. That rules out people who are unwise, ostentatious, and – usually – Republicans. This rule means that Emily Posts’s etiquette can be taken under advisement. Meanwhile, Mao’s “All power comes from the barrel of a gun,” can be disregarded. However, there is a class of people whose advice varies from reasonable to irrational – advice columnists. For those ones, you’ve got to call it like you see it.
Not all advice columnists are equal. 9 times out of 10, I’d follow the guidance of Dear Abby. Only 1 out of 10 – and that’s being generous – would I believe something in Cat’s Call. There’s a new column in Pittsburgh, and the jury is still out. Steel Advice does not have a promising name, but she seems to have a good head on her shoulders. A recent sample:
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: What is the proper amount of time after a wedding a thank-you note should be sent by the bride and groom? After attending a wedding in the middle of May, and giving a very nice monetary gift, I still have not received any acknowledgement. Is this obsolete now?
Six months prior to the wedding (back in December 2012), I received a “Save the Date” card. Two months before, a wedding invitation arrived along with the RSVP, which I sent quickly. And now I have no idea if the monetary gift was received or what? I think this situation is very rude to the wedding attendees. I placed my name on all gifts.
DEAR PUZZLED: Don’t hold your breath. Snail mail is not the problem. Chalk this one up to self-absorbed socially inept procrastinators. These newlyweds are comforting themselves by adhering to the urban myth of a year to send a thank-you note. Three months is the socially accepted maximum time frame for acknowledging wedding gifts. Their note may eventually arrive, and in the interim you may learn of a crisis in the couple’s life that makes your criticism of them seem petty.
That’s the sort of Steel Advice I would take.