For nearly 60 years, Pauline Phillips gave advice to tens of millions as the syndicated columnist Dear Abby. Yesterday, the family said their goodbyes at a private ceremony. She had suffered with Alzheimer’s for more than a decade and had moved to Minneapolis to be near family.
I learned how to listen, Mrs. Phillips told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1989. Sometimes, when people come to you with a problem, the best thing you can do is listen. But she didn’t just listen: she responded with short, sharp answers often with humor and her trademark bite.
Phillips choose the name Dear Abby in 1956 after the Biblical Abigail: Then David said to Abigail ‘Blessed is your advice and blessed are you' . The popular column was officially taken over in 2002 by her daughter Jeanne. Everyone seems to have their favorite response with many of them repeated in her book The Best Of Dear Abby
Ten funny and memorable Dear Abby responses:
Dear Abby: Is it possible for a man to be in love with two women at the same time? Jake
Dear Jake: Yes, and also hazardous.
Dear Abby: I don’t want to appear conceited but I’m forced to admit that I am one guy who has everything. Women are always flocking around me and telling me how good-looking I am and what a marvelous personality I have. I’m beginning to find this pretty annoying and extremely tiring. I just want to live a normal quiet life. How can I dissuade these hopeful females? C.W.
Dear C.W.: Keep talking.
Dear Abby: My wife sleeps in the raw. Then she showers, brushes her teeth and fixes our breakfast — still in the buff. We're newlyweds and there are just the two of us, so I suppose there's really nothing wrong with it. What do you think? Ed
Dear Ed: It's O.K. with me. But tell her to put on an apron when she's frying bacon.
Dear Abby: My husband has always been very close to his mother and she has never cared much for me. I asked my husband if I was drowning and his mother was drowning which one would he save? He said “My mother because I owe her more.” I am so terribly hurt, Abby. What shall I do? Arlene
Dear Arlene: Learn to swim.
Dear Abby: I’m 19 years old and not very experienced, but my mother told me to be careful of men with mustaches. Is there any truth in this? Anita
Dear Anita: Yes … and also be careful of men without them.
Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? Wanting to Know
Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.
Dear Abby: Two men who claim to be father and adopted son just bought an old mansion across the street and fixed it up. We notice a very suspicious mixture of company coming and going at all hours — blacks, whites, Orientals, women who look like men and men who look like women. This has always been considered one of the finest sections of San Francisco, and these weirdos are giving it a bad name. How can we improve the neighborhood? Nob Hill Residents
Dear Residents: You could move.
Dear Abby: My boyfriend is going to be 20 years old next month. I'd like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he'd like? Carol
Dear Carol: Never mind what he'd like, give him a tie.
Dear Abby: My problem is my husband. He wears false teeth — uppers and lowers — and he thinks it’s real funny to take them out at parties and do a Spanish dance using them as castanets. He thinks he is being the life of the party — but I’m embarrassed to death. Should I keep him away from parties, or should I just tell him that he isn’t funny? Marsha
Dear Marsha: Let him have a good time … I think it’s hysterical.
Dear Abby: I am 44 years old and would like to meet a man my age with no bad habits. Rose
Dear Rose: So would I.