Life Advice



Ask Amy: Family’s pursuits are trivial in vintage Q&A

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Before I leave at the end of the month, I’m going through my files and choosing some of my favorite “vintage” columns from over the years. The following Q&A are both from 2020.

Dear Amy: This is a “trivial” subject that has nonetheless bothered me for years.

My parents have the original Trivial Pursuit game, circa 1983.

At various get-togethers, my mom will drag out this relic, and enthusiastically try to rally us around a good old game of "General Knowledge."

I feel like she should upgrade her game, at least to a game from this century. We go round and round, arguing about the obviously outdated questions, which the parents insist be answered in the vernacular of what the correct answer was, back in 1983.

Any suggestions to update, or at least omit the blatantly wrong answers, fall upon deaf ears.

I've become so exasperated by their childish behavior, and refusal to update, that I simply refuse to participate.

We used to enjoy the familial camaraderie, but it now seems ludicrous to me, when most of these questions are no longer relevant.

Any suggestions?

– JC

Dear JC: The childish behavior in your family may have passed to the next generation. You are pouting.

Your folks have anchored themselves to this particular tradition. They are eager to recreate times of togetherness. I suggest that you work harder to laugh about it, in a good-natured way, putting this into the category of bad “Dad jokes,” your Aunt Marjory’s molded Jell-O salad, and other groaning reminders of family traditions that seem absurd, silly, or pointless.

Instead of trying to replace this game, you could try to introduce a new game, to be pulled out after all of the questions about the Reagan administration and Madonna’s career have been answered, and all of the Trivial Pursuit pie pieces have been played. There are a lot of fun parlor games that are not trivia-oriented, and still encourage conversation and laughter.

I assure you, if you don’t laugh about this now, you will regret it later. Some day (hopefully well into the future), you and your siblings will be going through your folks’ stuff. You’ll pull out that well-worn relic and fight over who gets to keep it.

Dear Amy: I am a middle-aged, happily married woman with a wonderful husband. We have a relationship that others spend their lives trying to find, and we are both extremely grateful.

I am not social, and I am not conscious of my appearance.


I never wear makeup. I am a jeans and T-shirt type of woman. Also, I’m a bit overweight. I don’t fit the typically “girly” stereotypes.

Given all of that, why do men continually try to hit on me and chat me up?

I grew up with two older brothers and have a history of having platonic male friends of all types throughout my life.

I talk about my wonderful life and relationship with my husband, and it doesn’t seem to stop these men from hitting on me.

What am I doing wrong? And why me?

– Sick of Being Hit Upon

Dear Sick: You are not doing anything wrong. Your crime is to attempt to move through the world, minding your own business.

Women who are “girly” and wear makeup and feminine clothing are not asking to be hit on. Women who wear jeans and T-shirts are also not asking to be hit on. Women jogging, riding bicycles, walking their dogs or talking with their friends are not asking to be hit on.

I have a caveat, however. I grew up in chilly New England where people tend not to speak to people they don’t already know. But I spend part of each year in New Orleans, a city where people are so outgoing and gosh-darned friendly that – it is almost off-putting. And yes, oftentimes strange men will call out and comment about hair, clothing, or urge me to “smile more,” rudely intruding into my comfort zone. But occasionally they are also only saying, “Hello!” It can be hard to decode the difference between someone being friendly and someone trying to “chat you up.”

In my view, you should never get far enough in conversation with a strange man to wax on about your wonderful husband. Men who hit on random women are pulling a power play: they don’t care if you are married.

Dear Readers: In July, R. Eric Thomas will start a new advice column, “Asking Eric.”

You can send your questions to


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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