Dan Savage has the reputation for being the wild and crazy advice columnist. Porn! Human pets! Earlobe penetration!

But – call me desensitized to the decline of Western Civilization if you must – some days it strikes me, bad words and bodily fluids aside, as an utterly sensible, conservative column about a somewhat narrow range of issues. People want to try sexual things, and Savage counsels them as to whether they fit into a reasonably well defined ethical system.

If you truly want to witness the madness of humanity, a better option might be in the newspaper where they can’t use the word “fucking” – Ask Amy. My fiancee is a connoisseur of advice columns, and the letters that stop her dead in her tracks and cause her to read them aloud to me are almost always Amy’s.

For instance: white people who address each other as n***a; people who think knitting is rude; adulterers who describe their children as “fairly successful”; fathers and sons who mutually stalk each other online; people who change tables because other patrons don’t keep the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right (beats me); and possibly the greatest advice columnist letter of all time, a couple who decided they didn’t want to get married but went ahead with the wedding because they wanted to keep their issues private (!), got the marriage annulled a week later, and then, as if the problem they should most be concerned about was not being completely crazy, got irritated at someone who wanted his wedding gift returned.

Amy could have written anything in response and I would have been simply impressed that her head didn’t explode. After reading this sort of thing, earlobe penetration sounds downright wholesome.

PS: Advice columnist junkies are advised to check out A Bintel Brief, an anthology of the Jewish Daily Forward‘s Ask Amy precursor.