Posted in English

Tia Angústia

I used the phrase “Tia Angústia” as the original title of yesterday’s post and that made me wonder if there really was a Portuguese equivalent to the English expression “Agony Aunt”, that would be better than my all-too-literal translation. I asked…

Acabei de usar esta frase no meu texto dia. Foi uma piada, porque aposto que a expressão não existe em português mas “agony aunt” em inglês significa alguém que dá conselho, principalmente sobre amor, por exemplo num jornal ou numa revista. Tipo: “Cara Tia Joana, Amo um rapaz mas é casado com um caranguejo. O que é que devo fazer?” / Já consideraste vestir-se a vermelho e andar de lado para chamar-lhe a atenção? Será que tais pessoas existem/iam lá? E se existem mesmo, qual é a… Sei lá… O título deste cargo…?

A Revista Maria
Yeah yeah, we believe you, José Nuno Martins

Anyway, it turns out that, no, agony aunt columns were never really a thing in papers, but that seems to have been largely because there was a magazine called Maria, launched in 1978 that absorbed all this action. People would address their letters to “Maria” and so having another personality, an agony aunt figure, wasn’t really necessary. A lot of this is based on people speculating so it’s not an authoritative answer or anything.

Maria still exists but it has modernised and moved on to fashion and lifestyle tips, but you an find old advice from it if you look around. Here, for example. Apparently the letters were real, and the people who answered them were psychologists, according to the magazine’s own account of itself.

So, bottom line, nobody will know what you’re on about if you refer to a Tia Angústia but if you need a cultural reference point in the same sort of area to drop into conversation, a revista Maria is probably the right one to reach for.