It’s hard to believe, but Andrew W.K.’s advice column turns six months old this week. It’s been quite a hit. And quite the experience. Already he’s helped so, so many with problems ranging from how to ask your partner to fiddle with your asshole to whether or not college is worth the time and expense. It’s the only advice column we know of that has wrestled with issues as far-ranging as internet bullying and heroin abuse. That’s perhaps why, this year, several members of the Pulitzer committee resigned in shame when it failed to take ALL THE PRIZES. It’s just that good. Now, let’s talk about how we can make it better.
Because a lot of that starts with you. Each week hundreds of our fine readers write to AskAWK@VillageVoice.com with questions both personal and absurd, twisted and enlightening. We really, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for that. We (read: an intern) pare those hundreds down to a respectable number and send a few to Andrew. He picks the one that resonates most with him that week. We can’t possibly get to all of them, and there are some we know from the outset won’t make it in front of Andrew. Want your question answered? Try sticking to the following…
Don’t Be Vague
Naturally, a lot of the letters Andrew receives are of the “How do I obtain my life goals?” variety. Andrew is a shining beacon of positivity and wish fulfillment (the man is a multi-instrumentalist, an author, a motivational speaker, and professional partier), and so many people think “If he can live his dream, maybe he has some insight into how I can live mine!” The problem with this kind of open-ended and very broad question is two fold: 1) He’s already answered it. In various ways. Several times. (Check back through his archives, and you’ll see.) 2) Your letter is exactly like a majority of the ones he’s already getting. Nothing about it stands out.
When we got a letter from a reader asking Andrew if he should try heroin, it shook us. Not only is it incredibly specific, it’s incredibly interesting. We definitely wanted to know how Andrew would answer such a question beyond the pat (and cop-out easy) “Umm, no. Don’t do that. You’ll die.” Specificity is good.
Ask Something Challenging
The question about heroin is also challenging for the reasons we mentioned above. Ask something that’s a challenge to answer. (Save the HOW DO I PARTY BETTER I LOVE TO PARTY LOL!) If you’ve been reading the column, you already know this: Andrew is a deep thinker. He likes to problem solve. He enjoys meditating on these questions and answering them with a clear mind and a pure heart. Ask him something you don’t think he can answer. He gets off on it. Consider him your Rock ‘n’ Roll Ethicist.
Don’t Be Abusive or Creepy
In this week’s column we briefly (and perhaps too vaguely) mentioned that a number of the emails we’ve been receiving in Andrew’s inbox have been “troubling and hate-filled letters from disturbed young men.” Letters that, no joke, ask how to best go about “fucking” a “bitch” the reader is “obsessed” with or something similarly bro-y. In short, have some respect. You can ask questions of a sexual nature in a way that doesn’t make our skin crawl. If not, don’t write. You don’t need Andrew, you need help. We won’t pass them along to him, so don’t bother, bruh.
Keep It Brief
It’s true, there’s no such thing as a word count on the internet, but we can tell you: If your letter begins with a long-winded and meandering anecdote before you even get to your question, no one will read it. And that first no one will be us. Try being pithy. We run Andrew’s column every week online, but also in print every other week, so please be mindful before you drone on. When writing your question, ask yourself one first: What is my point?
Read the Ask Andrew W.K. Archive
We can’t stress this enough. It’s easily the most important guideline. It will help you learn a few important things. 1) The types of questions Andrew likes answering — provocative, hard, fun, funny. 2) The types of questions he’s already answered. (Want to know if you should stop eating meat? Great. There’s a column for that.) By reading through the archive, you’ll notice a pattern emerge.(Namely, all the questions Andrew answers are specific, pithy, challenging, not vague, and not creepy.) As we said, Andrew gets tons of email, and a good majority of it is from people asking questions he’s already answered. Don’t be that person. Read the back columns.
And that’s it! Stick to this, and you’ve improved your odds of Andrew answering your burning question dramatically. Now, signing off like Andrew does in every email he sends us…
PARTY HARD FOREVER!
Brian McManus totally wrote that question about butt play. Follow him on Twitter.