Dear Abby: eight pithy replies from the late agony aunt

Memorable advice from Abigail Van Buren, queen of the agony aunts, who has died aged 94

LAST UPDATED AT 11:25 ON Mon 21 Jan 2013

LOVELORN, forlorn and troubled Americans are mourning Abigail Van Buren, the woman widely credited with inventing the modern day agony aunt, who has died aged 94.

The writer, whose real name was Pauline Phillips, had been dispensing advice since 1956 when her first ‘Dear Abby’ column appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Abby’s much-syndicated column was famed for its juicy manner, the Daily Telegraph notes. Here are eight of her pithiest responses to readers:

To a young man worried about his flirty girlfriend: "Putting a ring on her finger will help stop the circulation... but be sure she wants to stop circulating."

To Bess, who asked the difference between a wife and a mistress: "Night and day."

To a parent who asked about a 8.5lb baby being born just five months after their son’s wedding: "The baby was on time, the wedding was late."

To Joe, who sought advice after two years with a woman he could not get to say Yes: "What’s the question?"

To a 19-year-old woman who asked if it was true that she should be careful of men with moustaches: "Yes… and also be careful of men without them."

To Rose, aged 44, who said she would like to meet a man her own age with no bad habits: "So would I."

To a wife who asked how to cure her husband’s roving eye: "Rigor mortis."

To ‘Curious’, who asked if Abby thought much about dying: "No. It's the last thing I want to do." · 

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