Check it out

By EW Staff
September 30, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Depressed? Obsessed? Possessed? Phone in your troubles to Ask E. Jean (America’s Talking, weekdays, 3-4 p.m.) and pour your heart out to no- nonsense advice maven E. Jean Carroll. Don’t expect a sugarcoated answer, though. ”That’s such hogwash,” she admonishes a guest who claims that women look better with age. ”Their butts drop down to the back of their heels and they get skin that looks like waffle batter.”

Carroll, 50, can be found draped across the back of her sofa or pacing her sparse Fort Lee, N.J., set while she reads aloud from bizarre personal ads or responds to callers’ and studio guests’ queries about a wide variety of subjects — from weight loss to cross-dressing. ”Forget him,” she says to 38- year-old Stephanie, who has been physically abused by her father. ”The guy is mean, he’s brutal, he’s evil, he’s wicked. You don’t need him. Drop him.”

Carroll’s counseling credentials include her advice column for Elle magazine. But her resume includes stints as an Indiana beauty queen in 1963 and as the author of Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson. ”He completely took off every smidgen of clothing I was wearing—not with his hands, but with a foot-long knife!” she recalls of one interview with the gonzo journalist. Her blunt, get-tough attitude was honed by such experiences and two divorces—”Marriage is like Sing Sing,” she says. Now eager to help the hapless, Carroll merrily sums up her mission: ”I just want to make sure that the next generation gets together and boffs their brains out every day.”

No, Dear Abby she’s not. ”Can you imagine to what depths men and women have sunk if they are listening to a complete and utter derelict like me give advice?” she says. ”But people are calling in and thanking me now.”