Will The Internet Take The Place Of Dear Abby?

By Lisa Earle McLeod

Are you the next Dr. Phil?

Calling all armchair experts: There’s a sea of dysfunctionals out there just begging for your advice. I have discovered a fabulous new Web site, It combines two of my favorite pastimes:  voyeurism and telling other people what to do.

Here’s how it works: People post short videos asking for advice on everything from sex and relationships to family problems and wardrobe choices. It’s kind of like YouTube meets a meddling mother-in-law. Or, in my case, a woman with nothing better to do than stay up all night posting advice for total strangers.

With one click of the mouse, you can tell the guy who asks, “How disgusting can my apartment get before girls refuse to date me?” that yes, his beer can pyramid has indeed crossed the un-dateable grunge line, and he’d better buy a vacuum if he ever hopes to get a woman. The girl who wonders how much cleavage to show on the first date? I vote for blouse No. 2. But then again, I have two daughters and I’m more concerned about you finding a nice young man than I am about you making some loser drool. As for the college student whose mom thinks he’s going to hell for being a nonbeliever? I know the site postings are running about 60/40 against putting out the Jesus clock when she comes over. But come on, buddy, she’s your mother. She gave the thing to you, and sticking an ugly clock on your coffee table is nothing compared to labor pains.

Who needs their own life when you can spend your evenings advising strangers on theirs? With so many problems to comment on, I’ll be up all night putting these people back on the right path. I was on about my 10th video when it dawned on me, this is what the business experts mean when they talk about Web 2.0. In the old days, people who wanted to air their dirty laundry were forced to wade through the exhaustive Jerry Springer screening process. And if you wanted qualified advice, well, only 12 people a year get into the Dr. Phil house. So you might have had to park it on the couch for a few seasons before you could get an audience with the big guy.

But now, thanks to the Net, all it takes is a few minutes in front of a Web cam and presto, the whole world can help you with your problems. Be forewarned, some of the Blabbermash videos are a bit spicy. But I have to say, this site is a busybody’s dream come true.

Want details about dating dilemmas? You won’t believe how frank these people are. (Note to the girl who shared the story about shuttling her one-night stand out the door:  Sweetie, I don’t know that I’d have told that.) Prefer to tackle a tamer problem, like what to wear to a 10-year class reunion? Please help me stop that nice young woman with long dark hair from ever wearing that black flowered number again. Honey, it makes you look Elvira, and a pretty girl like you deserves something much more feminine.

All this interactive Internet advice might just put Dear Abby out of work. And I’m betting it’s going to put a serious dent in the shrink business. Why pay 90 bucks an hour to slog through 12 painful sessions of self-discovery when you can upload a three-minute video about your mother issues tonight and have 67 answers by dawn?

Come to think of it, I could use a little advice on which of my pants make me look fat. So if you check out and you happen see a woman in dark glasses modeling mom jeans, if her flabby-belly muffin top is spilling out over her waistband, don’t hold back with the truth.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of “Forget Perfect” and “Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear.” Contact her or join her interactive blog at .

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© Copyright 2007, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved.

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