The Reader‘s archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we’ll dig through and bring up some finds.
The most-read Reader story of all time is a 2012 Savage Love column with the headline “My husband violated the ground rules I’d set for our threesome.” For some reason, this regularly pops up on the weekly list of top ten most-read posts. The husband promised his wife he would not stick his penis into the other woman, but he did it anyway. Dan’s response begins, “Please hand this column to your husband. My response is for him: You are one stupid motherfucker.”
The second most-read Reader story of all time is the far less sexy “Health: Does Coffee Make You Sleepy?” Published in 1990, it was the only story Roger Downey would ever write for the Reader. Still, since the paper went digital and we started tracking these things, he’s probably racked up more page views than other staffers have in their entire careers.
That, by the way, is why the journalism business is totally fucked. Nobody can figure out why “My husband violated the ground rules I’d set for our threesome” and “Health: Does Coffee Make You Sleepy?” continue to be so popular week after week after week. Sure, people want to know what to do when they see their husband put their dick where they both agreed it shouldn’t go, and why they feel exhausted at 11 AM even after two cups of coffee. But so many people? So frequently? Whoever can come up with a surefire way to duplicate the page-view success of these two stories and then come up with a surefire way to monetize those page views will be revered by future generations of journalists as the person who saved our noble profession.
The explanation for coffee sleepiness, by the way, cannot be summarized as succinctly as Savage’s column, but the gist of it is, caffeine tricks your body into thinking it’s not tired, and then when it finds out the truth, it gets really unhappy. Sort of like the woman who was unhappy with the outcome of her threesome, I guess, but in an entirely different way. Both stories also present unpleasant truths: Savage’s letter writer is married to a stupid motherfucker, and to truly conquer morning sluggishness, it’s necessary to forsake coffee entirely. No matter how you look at it, life is hard.