Burning nostrils, olives in noses, and Dear Abby

NewImageI posted Sunday's curious Dear Abby column about a woman so disturbed by her husband's ice chewing that she eats breakfast in another room while wearing noise-canceling headphones. This reminded my friend Vann Hall of a strange letter that Abigail Van Buren cited as one of her favorites. Unfortunately I can't find Abby's answer online so please feel free to share your advice in the comments.
My husband burns the hair out of his nose with a lighted match -- and he thinks I'm crazy because I voted for Goldwater!"
And here's another nose-related annoyance from Abby's archives:
My husband has a problem. When we go out to a nice restaurant for dinner, he always orders a martini with 10 or 12 olives in it. Then he sticks the olives in his nose and sucks out the juice. He claims it clears up his sinuses. Abby, this is so embarrassing. What can I do?
"Dear Abby: Are All Those Weird Letters for Real?" (Palm Beach Daily News, 11/16/74)


  1. The second letter reminds me of the old joke:

    Doctor, doctor, it always hurts when I do THIS (some extreme contortion).  Doctor replies: so stop doing that.

    Personally I think it’s grounds for divorce (extreme cruelty), but if she wants to stay married to the fellow, I strongly suggest never going out to eat again.

    (I’m also wondering what level of ignorance and/or illiteracy might have caused her to write a few wrong words.¬† Sunset?)

      1.  I was wondering how she got from sinuses to sunset.

        Now I’m wondering how YOU got from sinuses to sunset!

        No, I do know: my brain makes the same errors.¬† I cannot listen to a conversation or songs while typing, or else the outside words I’m hearing will magically type themselves into my work.

    1. I don’t know‚Ķ it made me think of Neti pots and saline sinus spray. He was decades before his time!

      1.  Did you get the same mental image of 10-12 olives in nostrils that I did? He might as well have put the *entire* Neti pot up there!

        1. I ¬†can’t figure out how anyone would fit *one* olive up there.

          I’m pretty sure this qualifies as a fetish.

  2. I’m trying to build a profile of these people, so far all I have is that they are the same people that reply to yahoo news stories.

  3. Dear Goldwater: Buy your husband a nosetrimmer and a fire extinguisher.

    Dear Embarrassed: Buy your husband a jar of olives and give it to him BEFORE you go out to dinner.

    There, how hard was that?

    1. I just realized, as I considered your eminently sensible solution, that what he’s really snorting isn’t olive juice – it’s mostly going to be Gin & Vermouth, with a hint of olive.

      which sounds like it would be super painful to shove up your nose.  and not great for your mucus membranes either

      1. Hmmm…. Dear Embarrassed: Have your husband experiment with snorting Ajax. Should do the trick.

  4. Dear Embarrassed:

    If your husband needs that many ‘olives’ (olive brine, vodka, gin, vermouth)¬†to clear out the mucous and boogers from his sinuses,¬†you could try kicking¬†it up a notch.¬†

    An ENT would suggest adding 1-2 drops of baby shampoo to a Neti pot/Neil-Med bottle + salt packet, and rinsing BEFORE leaving the house. This is not for extra sensitive sinuses or the faint-hearted, but most stubborn mucous will detach from the walls of nasal passages under this pressure and chemical onslaught.

    If this should fail, perhaps the services of a psychiatrist?

    Best of luck,  Abby

  5. I thought it was fun to chew on ice cubes when I was in my twenties. ¬†A couple or so decades later, when I go to a new dentist I have to explain why my teeth are chipped. ¬†They think I grind them at night. ¬†So pay attention kids… ¬†:-P

  6. I always thought taking a flame to nose hair was a perfect solution. I wonder how it worked out for him. Apparently not so well for his wife!

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