From a Submariner's Perspective is a weekly column, written in response to the letters sent in to advice columnist "Prudie" at Each week, The Submariner responds to the letter writers in a way that author, Emily Yoffe, probably can't (but perhaps would like to...). Each entry is headed with a link to the orginal questions and Yoffe's answers. Enjoy!

Also, if you have questions that you'd like answered by The Submariner, or anyone here at "The Fly", just write to me at and I'll forward to the appropriate party/parties for an answer (or you can write to them directly via the e-mail addresses on their pages)! Once the answers are published, I'll drop you a note letting you know.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

...on Dumb Graduate Students and Dumber Adoptive Parents (12/31/09) <-- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Mornin’ Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day, which is also the last day of the Old Year, sitting smack dab on the cusp of the New? I hope it’s been a good year for you, full of love and happiness and good and memorable times. It has been those things for me and I look forward to the coming year as one that I hope will be the best ever. Can we say the same for these letters? Probably not, because, damn do they suck! But, in the spirit of endings and beginnings, let’s give these queries a go, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, a good friend of mine and I are graduate students in a very narrow and competitive field. I’m graduating ahead of my friend and have been sending out résumés . My friend really wants a job with a particular firm that’s advertising, and she has basically forbidden me from applying there by dropping all sorts of hints about how bad a fit it’d be for me, how, if I was hired there, she’d never be able to get a job there, etc. Well, fact is, by the time she started discouraging me from applying for a job with that firm, I’d already applied. I’ve now been called in for an interview, and, in my excitement, announced that fact on Facebook. My friend is furious and won’t talk to me. What should I do? Cancel the interview? Apologize? I love it when folks with graduate degrees write in with middle school problems. It demonstrates the age-old axiom that book learning and wisdom are not the same thing. At all. I’m going to lay out some wisdom for you here and I hope it sinks in. You can show this letter to your friend, too, and hope she’s not so obsessed with her own reflection that she can divine the wisdom in it as well: if this company is advertising, that means they’re hiring. Now. It doesn’t mean that they’re hiring in a semester or two when your friend gets ready to go to work. It means now. If you don’t get the job, I promise you that someone else will. Furthermore, Ms. I’m-so-happy-I-got-an-interview-that-I-posted-on-FaceBook, there are plenty of other people applying even though you applied! I know!  Amazing how that works, isn’t it? The job market is not sorority row, sister. It’s real life. And it waits for no one. If your friend can’t get that, she’s no friend at all. And maybe that’s for the best, but, hell, at the same time, and in the spirit of being as sarcastic as I can be, if you can’t live without her friendship, why not hold off on applying for work anywhere until she graduates and gets a job? Then, once she’s settled in, make sure not to apply at any firm that competes with her new firm. Or one where your work might ever be compared to hers. Or one where any of her supervisors might ever be exposed to your work. As a matter of fact, if your friendship’s that important, I suggest you apply to graduate school in another field entirely. That ought to do it. Hopefully. But, while there, be sure not to date any men that she might one day start to like...

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my mom died recently and I’ve found that my friends are uncomfortable when I bring her up in casual conversation. They’ve really tried to be supportive, but, when I say something like, “Oh, my mom loved baking those cookies”, they get all quiet and uncomfortable. But Prudie, talking about my mom helps me deal with her death. What can I do to let them know that I don’t want a pity party when I mention my mom, but rather that I want to keep the discussion going? Well, sadly you’ve obtained some wisdom that few people your age have obtained. But, just so you know, even as one gets older, death does not become a comfortable topic of discussion (for most folks, anyway). Most people don’t know how to deal with it no matter how old and experienced they get. As Prudie suggests, your friends will take their lead from you. You need to explain to them what you’ve explained to us. They’ll figure out where to go from there. Hang in there, and good luck.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my son just turned one year old. He’s adopted. We knew the birth mother, were close with her through the end of her pregnancy, and so have been with our son since Day One, Hour One, Moment One. On the day of his birth, the maternal grandmother, hereafter referred to as “The Worm”, made “an appearance” at the hospital and asked for our address in order to send a gift. We haven’t heard from her all year, which is really pretty fucking rude, if you ask me, but now, on his birthday, The Worm sent a wonderful handmade outfit and some money to start a college fund. I want to take The Worm’s money. My wife does not. It’s not like The Worm can claim our son. The adoption is final, so I find my wife’s objections to be unfounded. Plus, I think it’d be helpful to have limited contact with Wormy Lady so that if our son has any questions about his biological family, he can ask us and then we’ll contact the Worm Family through a lawyer and compel The Worm to give us an answer to anything our son wants to know. Any advice on how we can go forward? Aw, how sweet and fucking heartwarming your story is, you magnanimous twat. Listen here you motherfucking douche bag, perhaps you can’t imagine being in the biological mother’s shoes. Perhaps you can’t imagine being in the biological grandmother’s shoes. Perhaps you’re perfect? But, dehumanizing this woman says a hell of a lot more about you than it does about her. “Made an appearance”? Really?! “Worm their way into his life”? Wow. Just, fucking, wow. I’d suggest that you send back the money and try to kindly ask the biological grandma to invest it in a college fund herself. Explain to her that if your son wants contact once he’s an adult, he’ll come to her and that the fund will be an amazing, unexpected gift. Don’t tell your son about it, though. Then, when he reaches school age, if he looks for his biological family, the biological grandma can choose to bestow the money or not. Her choice.  But frankly, I don’t suggest that you or your wife touch this money. I don’t think you’re currently objective enough to handle the responsibility. Here’s hoping you can calm the fuck down over time and quit seeing this woman as some sort of sinister threat to your happy lives. But, until that happens, you shouldn’t be taking anything from her. Your motives are too suspect and your assholes are showing.

LW#4: Dear Prudie. I’m a 32 year old mother of a teenager. Until my current boyfriend, I haven’t seriously dated since the birth of my son. I’ve been dating my current boyfriend for about a year now, though, and he is great! And not that fake kind of great that most of your letter writers write about where the letter writer says he's awesome, but, you know, then they say he’s got gay porn in his gym bag, or pees on the bathroom floor, or has naked pictures of his step-daughter, taken on her wedding day, etc.  Mine's the real kind of great, where he gets along with my son, helps around the house, dotes on me and appreciates me, plans his time around us, and is a genuinely good guy. As is always the case with these letters, though, there is a “but.” He is all of the great things that I mentioned, but, he doesn’t bring me flowers. Ever. In my fucked up fantasy world, flowers mean that a man loves me and so, since this guy doesn’t bring them to me, I am grouping him with closeted gay, floor-peeing, perverted men. I’ve tried to talk to him about this, about how he needs to bring me flowers to prove his undying love, but he hasn’t figured it out. What should I do? Well, either you’re lying about how good he is to you, or you’re the stupidest fucking idiot in the entire animal kingdom. And that’s pretty stupid considering the fact that there’s probably a whole species of worm that actually has no brain whatsoever, but that survives by absorbing cow shit through the skin for nourishment. As such, I have no patience for you. You’re stuck in some sort of emotional time warp because, what? You feel your childhood was stolen from you, so now you want to reclaim something that you missed out on? News flash for you: your life is what it is because of you. Not anyone or anything else. If you don’t want mature love, that’s fine. Cut this guy loose. You don’t deserve him. And it doesn’t sound like he deserves to be shit on by you. Maybe after you let this guy go, you’ll get lucky and find a guy who’ll bring you flowers. Good luck with that.  Idiot.

Well shippers, that’s it. The final word from 2009. I look forward to 2010 with more anticipation than ever. It’s going to be a wonderful year and who knows what fun and excitement it’ll bring?! Here’s hoping the best year ever for all of you. Remember to keep your surface to dive ratio squarely at one. Fair winds and following seas, shippers!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

...on Assholes and the Families that Bore Them (12/24/2009) <-- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey ho, Shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! It’s Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate something else, to the young and the old, Christmas or holidays or no! And, if you don’t celebrate any holidays at this time of year, that’s fine, too, as I hope to secularly tickle your funny bone via my non-holiday-specific submarinerly snark. With that in mind, and, because there’s much to be done before the day is finished, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my younger sister is coming to visit for the holidays. This is a wonderful thing, and I’m thrilled beyond words because I love her so much, but, she recently let me know that I’ll have to ship her gifts to her home after the holidays, as she refuses to check luggage while traveling. I’m aghast by her entitlement, Prudie, aghast I tell you! I think it’s highly objectionable that she’d just assume that I’d be available to do such a thing since I’m a professional woman! She pointed out to me that if she wasn’t visiting, I’d send her gifts to her anyway, which is a bit of logic I can’t seem to escape, but, regardless, I’ve been really worked up over her presumptuousness. What should I do? You’re a professional, you say? In what field, professional dumbassedness? Professional overreacting to nothingness? Professional mountain-out-of-molehill making? This is what you’ve come up with to stress about over the holidays?! I mean, holy shit, there’s so much good stuff in any family to get resentful over, and you’ve picked this? Sure, your sister is being presumptuous (agreed), but, let me lay it out for you as to why she is being so. You’ve obviously spoiled her to the point of losing her cute little mind. I mean, I would never presume that I was receiving a gift from my brother that’s big enough to need shipping (or too big for a carry-on). Hell, I don’t even presume that I'll receive a gift?! My suggestion, if you’re really so worked up about this that you wrote in to the Internet Lady (which, by the way, may I point out, again, that this issue is about as minor as your sister borrowing your favorite blouse when the two of you were teenagers--your parents fixed that drama in thirty minutes and three sets of commercials, I’ll bet), is that you should take her big, huge-assed gifts back from whence they came and buy her a watch. Or a broach. Or an iPod. Or a gift card. And then, you know, see if you can’t start a little earlier next year on what you’re going to get stressed about for Christmas (you obviously thrive on the drama) so that you don’t look like such a fucking moron when it comes time to write to Prudie next year.

LW#2: Prudie, last month, I started seriously dating a woman that I’ve known for years (the amount of time that I’ve known her is important as it gives me all sorts of proprietary rights over her life and how she lives it that I’d otherwise not possess had I only been dating her for a month, although, after three or so months with anyone--if I ever get there--I believe those rights should be mine, regardless, but that’s another story). Well, when I was visiting her recently, she found some presents on her stoop (from a married man, no less). And she seemed to like them! He texted her while she was opening the presents and she laughed at his text! I told her in no uncertain terms to give back the presents, or donate them to charity, as I found them wholly inappropriate. It turns out, though, that she kept a small part of the gift and gave the rest away. I’m furious over this invasion of my property by another man, Prudie, and I will not have it. I am right. Thank you for agreeing. Listen here, you pea-brained, mother fucking, not-even-good-enough-for-catching-weasel-shit-in-your-mouth-as-it’s-an-insult-to-the-weasels-to-ask-them-to-squat-over-your-gaping-maw-and-shit-there asshole. You are not her keeper. Get it, you professional dick cheese licker reject? You are not shit to her, actually. And that’s obvious. Even if she did like you, which, thankfully, doesn't seem to be the case, a month is about the time in your relationship when you get to ask if you can keep a toothbrush at her place, not demand anything. Ever. Got that?? And that toothbrush question presumes that she likes you enough to have you sleep over sometimes. In this case, you aren’t even important enough to her that she delay taking texts from other people. You don’t know shit about this man, or the appropriateness of his presents, you presumptuous fucking piece of ass mung. Why don’t you leave this woman alone and go live in a cave somewhere. Those surroundings would be about correct for your disposition and sense of propriety. You can reign over the animals there. Have fun.

LW#3: Prudie, my fiancée’s aunt recently sent us a Christmas card that is basically a piece of political propaganda espousing a view that’s opposed to our own (it was anti-healthcare insurance reform, if you must know). My fiancée and I are very upset about this. Why, we are nearly as upset as LWs #1 & 2 combined! Perhaps even more so! Whatever can we do, Prudie? Should we send an equally objectionable card back to her aunt? Confront her over family dinner on Christmas Eve with facts and statistics and a PowerPoint show? Shoot the aunt with a potato gun? All of the above? We are very well-spoken and intelligent, Prudie, and we can take her in a debate over the issues! Well, I have only one question for you, junior: how would you two have felt if the card had said, “Our wish for Christmas is that every American be afforded the humane right of basic healthcare”? Would you have smiled smugly and taped it to your kitchen cabinet door with all of the other 100% organic cards that you’ve received? Listen, I’m a tree-hugging, green, crazy liberal myself. And I’m at peace with what that means. But if your skin is so thin that one aunt’s inappropriate Christmas card (and yes, it was definitely inappropriate) gets you this worked up, you obviously don’t have a Facebook account. Or work in the public. Or interact with anyone outside of your tight circle of like-minded friends. And that’s not healthy. You should go to Christmas dinner and simply pretend you didn’t get the card. Unless she asks. In which case you can simply and politely say, “Oh, yes, the one with the little baby Jesus in swadling clothes and Three Wise Men and ‘Reason for the Season’ in script on the front cover wherein Mary and Joseph were cared for by a benevolent community aware of the social and economic plight of the poor and uninsured? Especially considering the fact that they were white, light-haired and blue-eyed (and obviously in the significant minority because of those facts) while living in the Middle East? We didn’t even open it to look at the message inside as the cover was so magnificent! It was a beautiful card, thank you!” Okay, actually only the last sentence is appropriate to say to her. And if you do, without any hint of anger or even that you noticed the political message, you’ll be the ones to have taken the high road. Got it?

LW#4: Dear Prudence, I’m an asshole of the highest order. Well, okay, not quite to LW#2’s level, but I’m an asshole. I like to prank-wrap Christmas presents because I enjoy the frustration and forced civility of others as they try to get at the trinkets inside my impenetrable wrapping. It’s an emotional power play, yes, I admit it, but, fair enough, I suppose, because, after all, my presents are so worth the effort. Anyway, my future mom-in-law doesn’t like me much, even though I’m significantly better off financially than her and her husband. She's even had the gall to question my financial standing! But, I’m being magnanimous and giving her a Christmas gift anyway. Trick is, I’ve wrapped it in my greatest wrapping ever: an almost-impenetrable metal box that will require tin snips and plasma torches to open. My girlfriend thinks this is a gift too far and that it’ll lead to more tension between me and her mom. What do you think? What do I think?  That you are an asshole of the highest order and that you deserve nothing less than a swift kick in the nuts. And a permanent address next to LW#2’s cave.  In the rain.


Well, shippers, that’s it! All done! I wish all of you the happiest holidays ever. I wish that I could visit with you all in a big celebration. By a fire perhaps with lots of eggnog and fun and frivolity. It’s been a wonderful year and I feel genuinely blessed with so many e-friends. You guys are the greatest. Happy holidays to you all. And here’s to many, many more! And, see you next week when 2009 will be just about to bid us adieu. Fair winds, shippers, and lots of crusty hugs, all around. But don’t get used to those! It’s the eggnog talking!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

...on Two Big Gay Nuts! (12/17/09) <--Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! Man, the holidays are essentially upon us, as well as the requisite craziness that comes right along with them. How else to explain these letters? Or the fact that if you’re like a lot of folks, you’re still disproportionately worried about those last two or three items that you just have to buy before Christmas? Even though you’ve already gotten that person plenty of gifts and they've told you time and again to not worry about it? Well, put those thoughts aside for a minute, have a tea, and perhaps even a nap. Naps are always good. Stretch a little, read these replies, then go back to tackling your gift list. You’ll be happy you did. Trust me. So, without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

LW#1: My partner and I are adopting twins, Prudie! We’re so thrilled! We’ve decided that we’ll raise them in the most Nouvelle Vague way possible. If it’s new, and trendy, and fashionable, we’re doing it! Diapers? No way! They’re so, 20th century. We’re all for letting the little ones poop and pee as they see fit and they'll be better people and less traumatized for the effort, too! Synthetic clothes? Nope. Synthetic toys?! No way, José! But that's not even our problem, Prudie. Our problem is that we’re having a baby shower and don’t know how to let our preferences be known for all of the gifts we’ll receive? We don’t want to seem uncouth (god forbid) by putting out a wish list, but, at the same time, we don’t want to give away or donate the gifts that we do receive because that seems wrong, too. What ever can we do? Well, first of all, I’m going to say that Prudie was way out of line in her response to you. I don’t think she remembers all of the bizarre and crazy and woefully ignorant thoughts and ideals and dreams that new parents have prior to the arrival of their first kiddo (or kiddos, if they're twins, etc.). She should have been kinder. That said, though, you need to know from a non-biased party that you are, in fact, being bizarre, crazy and woefully ignorant. You need to calm the fuck down, over? But, you won’t take my word for that. And that’s fine. You’ll learn. Look, parenting is a lot of fun, but please know that it is its most fun when you’re sincerely enjoying your kids and not trying to engage in performance art for the sake of your community or friends. It’s not a competition or a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ endeavor. Also, just so you know, the more ridiculous your proclamations are now, the farther you’re going to have to fall when you give in to reality. And you will fall. Kids are powerful destructors of ideals and bringers of reality. Don’t worry, though. They won’t destruct the important ideals. Those they’ll learn directly from you and how you treat others. And trust me when I tell you that the important ones have nothing to do with clothes or toys or methods of catching poop. As for your problem, since, like I said, you’re not going to listen to me about any of the stuff above, anyway, why not just make a very specific registry list at a store that caters to your special brand of new parent ideals and ask everyone to please look there when shopping because you have some very specific desires for your kiddos. They’ll laugh, but, hopefully they’ll understand. And maybe even reminisce a little. Good luck. Heh-heh.

LW#2:  Prudie, my mom recently died.  She'd been ill and, as an only child, I had to pay for her surgery and funeral expenses.  I've learned since then that numerous friends and family members made donations to my mom's sister to defer those costs, but my aunt kept the money?!  I would sure like to have that money, Prudie.  What can I do to get it?  Hmmmm.  This is one of those problems that's so hard, it's, like, well, almost impossible to answer.  Or not.  Sigh.  Let's see.  You either, a) make damned sure your aunt was given money to defer your mom's expenses (and that it's enough to even bother with) and then ask your aunt, "What the hell, you heathenous bitch?!", or, b) you really, in truly, forget about it and move on with your life.  But don't choose some pansy-assed passive-aggressive third choice like talking about her behind her back and encouraging family members to ostracize her.  Okay?  Okay.  Here's what bothers me, though.  What did you mean by you "had" to pay for your mother's surgery?  No, you didn't have to do anything, actually.  Are you saying that she needed life-saving surgery to live and, without it she'd die, but that no one would perform it unless she paid for it up front?  And, too, that she had no insurance, no government assistance, no assets?  And, you know what?  Even if all of that is true, you didn't have to do shit even then.  Got it?  You "chose" to pay for your mom's surgery and funeral.  What would you do if no one had given your aunt any money?  Would you shake her down for money anyway?  Or hit up other family members?  Would you be bitter with your mom for costing you all that cash and then dying anyway?  Or, would you just move the fuck on with your life?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  You didn't have to do anything.  Remember that the next time you start to get all worked up about what you had to pay for.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie, I have a friend who sounds mysteriously like Tiger Woods.  He plays the same sport as Tiger Woods (you know, using his "club" to get it in the "hole"), as well as the same games that Tiger plays (texting, voice mails, cheating).  I wish I could think of a more original letter to write, Prudie, but I really want to be featured on your page and you only publish letters from the other, more clever interns, so I thought I'd give this angle a shot.  Let's say, to add color to this story, that my friend, "Jason", asked me to lie to his wife and to provide an alibi for him for when he'd been out with one of his many "golf friends" getting his balls cleaned and the shafts of his clubs polished.  What should I do?  So, okay, remember in the last response when I sarcastically said that the question was so difficult that it was almost impossible to answer?  Well, I'm dropping the sarcasm here.  Are you such a fucking dense, stupid, ignorant, shit-for-brains idiot that you can't figure out the answer to this middle school-inspired question (or perhaps you've just been watching too much "Tool Academy")?  And worse, you silly prick, do you think the readers of this column are so dim as to not know their being fucked with?  If you're real (and you're not, but if you are), the answer is simple, tell the guy that he's not your friend (friends don't treat friends that way), that you're not lying for him (regardless of what kind of magical "I already told her, so you have no choice" logic he uses on you), and then turn your body in the opposite direction from his, put one foot forward and then walk away.  It'll be hard with limited brain function, but I'm guessing you can manage it.  Maybe.

LW#4:  Dear Prudie.  I'm in my 20s and dating a wonderful guy whom I plan to marry in a few years.  Our problem?  He's an atheist and my parents are devout Christians.  They like him except for this one "character flaw."  We're spending Christmas Eve with my folks and I want him to come to church with us.  He doesn't want to.  For me, it wouldn't be a big deal, honest, except my dad is a musician and he plays in the church band.  If I tell my boyfriend that it's important to me that he come with us, he'll will, but, I don't want to force him to.  Prudie, I'm conflicted.  How can I manipulate him into wanting to come with us without, you know, manipulating him?  Well, chicky doodle, there are just tons of contradictions in this letter.  First of all, if your parents like your boyfriend, and already know he's an atheist, they probably won't be that surprised about his desire not to go.  So, your worry about that is a bit of a contradiction right off the bat.  Further, as you point out, his atheism isn't why he doesn't want to go.  That has absolutely nothing to do with it, actually, and you shouldn't have mentioned it (except that I suspect that you're intern #3 and have been frequenting The Prudie Fray, too).  See, as an atheist, he doesn't believe a god exists.  Any god.  So it's not like it's a big deal to go to a church where Jesus is being worshiped versus a synagogue or mosque (like it might be for a devout Jew or Muslim, etc.).  He doesn't believe in any of it.  It's not different than attending a play to him.  And you even said that he'd be "bored" and "uncomfortable".  Not that he'd be deeply "offended" by the religious goings on.  So, if it's important to you that he go, just ask him.  What, he can't get over a little boredom and discomfort for you?  But, that isn't what's really at issue, is it?  No.  You want him to want to go.  And you might want to think about why that's so important to you?  I think that you're the uncomfortable one with his atheism, not him (as I said, it isn't even a point of contention and shouldn't have been mentioned in this letter).  If you can mange it, you need to try really hard to analyze why you want him there so badly and see if you can't get off the manipulation and start just being honest with him.  If he's worth marrying "in a few years", he'll understand.

Okay, shippers, that's it for another week.  I hope that you've enjoyed this batch of fun?  All here in the lagoon is extremely festive, with multiple Christmas cards being sent back and forth, lots of happiness and love and frivolity and even some heavy snarkiness that isn't necessarily holiday-related, but fun none-the-less.  Have a great week and we'll see you soon!  'Til then, fair winds and following seas to you, shippers!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

...on Santa Claus and Accepting Gifts (12/10/09) <--- Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hot damn! Good morning shippers! What a fine, fine Prudie Day it is today, ain’t it?! If you’re in college, you’re likely studying like crazy for finals, or putting the finishing touches on your term papers. If you’re younger, you’re probably already on the glide path into Christmas break--as I know your teachers are! For submariners, this time of year isn’t much different than any, work-wise. But, it sure is festive! And happy! And there’s nothing like a festive, happy submariner to dispense a heapin’ helpin’ o’ snark. So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we? Woohoo!

LW#1: My child’s father and I split up when I was pregnant with my child. For my child’s sake, I’ve been letting my child see my child’s father. My child believes in Santa. Or, at least my child did believe in Santa until my child’s father told my child, last year, that Santa doesn’t exist. My child’s father said that Santa is a lie that parents tell their kids and that the parents are the ones who actually buy the presents for the children. Now my child doubts the existence of Santa. With this doubt, what is there left for my child to live for now, Prudie? Holy fucking Merry Christmas to you, too, you crazy nut job! I mean, holy shit, woman! Listen, I was with you, I even overlooked all of the terribly impersonal, distancing words that you used to describe your ex-fuck buddy. And I even understood your need to use them (although I do think it’s mighty petty--you did sleep with him, after all (unless the guy’s got really, really good aim), so why make him into a non-entity? Just accept that you made a mistake, but that this wonderful life came about out of it. Animosity does no one any good, but, anyway, I digress...). Like I said, even after that, I was with you. But when you said “And what’s there to live for when you don’t believe in all the things that make a moment special?”, well, I about blew chunks, Sister. I mean, come the fuck on! You’re kidding, right? Yes, your ex-sperm donor sucks. Yes, he’s truly an asshole with a capital hole for telling an eight-year-old (or, worse, a seven-year-old at the time) that there’s no such thing as Santa. That was an asshole move of the highest order. And he should be beaten with a rubber hose for it. But you don’t have to go there! You don’t have to stoop to his level. Especially not with your child. Please don’t pass on your animosity and disappointment to your child--your ex-sword partner is doing that enough for the both of you, and it takes years for kids to get over that and figure out the truth--that we all have issues, none of us are perfect and that that’s just a fact of life. Save your kiddo the hassle and just keep believing in Santa. If you do, he will, too!

LW#2: I work in a small office with a great group of people. Well, except that they’re inconsiderate asses (whoops, I can’t believe that slipped out). See, I’m the youngest in my office. By far. And I’m living paycheck to paycheck right now. Well, Christmas has come ‘round and the office has a tradition of buying the boss a present--with a set contribution from each of us of $75! Plus, we’ve planned a Christmas dinner at a really swanky restaurant--one that I absolutely cannot afford! I don’t want to be looked down upon for not participating, Prudie, but I can’t afford to do so. What can I do? Boy howdy, the holidays do bring out the craziness, don’t they? Listen, you are under NO obligation to participate at this level of craziness. You’re not required to participate at all! But, thing is, if everyone in your office gets along as well as you say, I don’t see why you can’t simply pull someone aside, someone that you trust, and say, “Mrs. Smith, I hate that I have to ask this, but, is there any way that I can contribute, say, $10 to the gift fund? I’m really not anywhere near in the same financial situation as most of the rest of you here and though I really would love to pay more, my circumstances just don’t allow for it right now. Further, the dinner is one that I can’t possibly afford, either. How can I gracefully back out?” I have a feeling that, if you’re at all correct about the relationships in this office, it’ll be no problem, and, further, that things will actually get solved with the magic of Christmas. If not, you’re still under no obligation to participate, and you shouldn’t if you can’t. Period. Even if they don’t understand, you can’t go into debt for the sake of your coworkers’ shallow approval. Hang in there!

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I have a problem. My husband doesn’t accept gifts very well. At all. He’s one of those people who researches for four weeks before buying a freakin’ toaster! And he’s also the type of guy who’s never happy with his purchases, or the purchases of others. Well, I enjoy giving gifts. It means a lot to me. But he always returns my gifts, or gives them to Good Will. I’ve tried several approaches, including Wish Lists, but he still hates the gifts that I get. What should I do? Hon, there’s nothing you can do short of giving him a kiss on the lips, a gift card, and well wishes as he saunters out into the post-Christmas crowd looking for something he can stomach. Enjoy spending time picking out just the right gifts for, and giving them to, others. Your husband is a Scrooge regarding gifts. As long are your relationship is shipshape otherwise, consider this an anomaly and let it go. Some people are just that way. Maybe someone gave him coal as a kid and he’s never gotten over it? Whatever the reason, after you’ve exhausted talking with him (you have), all gift-giving options you that can think of (you have), and even fretted over it (you have), it’s time to give up and not let him rent any more space in your head regarding this issue. Enjoy the holidays and enjoy the fact that you have one less present to worry about. A gift card is the only way to go with your hubby’s as he's made perfectly clear.

LW#4: My mom and dad were a nun and a priest who each left the church (prior to meeting each other). They married and became psychologists and did a great job of raising our little family. My dad died when I was young, but my mom and my brother are still around. However, when I came out to them as gay, they basically cut me off. Over the years, we’ve begun to repair the relationship, but they still won’t even mention my sexuality around me, or talk about anything regarding my relationships, etc. My mom laments our lack of closeness, but, fact is, I feel like my friends, who accept me for who I am, are much more enjoyable to be around--especially over the holidays, which are supposed to be times of joy! I don’t want to hurt my mom, who’s elderly, but, she and my brother can’t get past their prejudices and I just can’t stand to be around them. What should I do? Fuck ‘em. And I don’t mean “fuck” ‘em, as in, you now, literally. I just mean, FUCK THEM. Seriously. Look, I know that seems like a glib answer, but, you’re not the one with a problem. You’re not the one that needs fixing. And you certainly don’t need to be preached to (via exclusion or avoidance) about your life “choice” (as if). I’m a firm believer that idiots should not be tolerated. That doesn’t mean that you should be mean or engage them in debate just for the sake of doing it. It just means that you should not waste your time with them. And frankly, that’s what you’re doing. I’m all for doing as Prudie says and telling them, in no uncertain terms, that if they can’t accept you, that’s fine, but that you WILL NOT be coming around over the holidays. Stress that you’d actually like to enjoy your holidays. And, one last point, if you don’t mind? How your mom (you didn’t mention your dad’s views, and you may not ever have learned them prior to his death) could have been a practicing psychologist (let’s hope she wasn’t), and be so prejudiced is beyond me. I shudder to think of how many young people's lives she could have fucked up as they came to her for help in sorting out real concerns in their lives that involved subjects of which she didn't approve. Good luck!

Well shippers, that’s it! I love this time of year. Did you know that sometimes, if you’re terribly lucky, it’ll actually snow sideways during the holidays?! You can get some hot cocoa or tea and snuggle in by the fire and just enjoy the wonder that is the winter. And I hope you do! ‘Til next time, fair winds, following seas and always remember to keep your dive to surface ration at one!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

...on Poor Friends and Germs (12/03/09) <---Original Questions Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers!  How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine, chilly, winter, gettin'-ready-for-Christmas, Prudie Day?!  I hope that all's well, that you're all warm, happy, and, too, around loved ones.  As for me, I had a great Thanksgiving and am looking mightily forward to Christmas and then the New Year!  But, prior to that, we've got business to attend to, yes?  So, without further ado, let's get crackin'!

LW#1:  Dear Prudie, I live with my boyfriend in a pretty nice house.  Ah, who am I kidding?  This place is great!  I mean, we are living large, Prudie!  We worked hard in college and are now enjoying the fruits of our labor.  Our friends, well, they weren't so career ambitious.  And, too, they ignorantly chose fields that were affected by the economy.  As a result, we're rich and they're not.  But that's okay, because we really like them still!  Honest!  We're always really careful not to insult their paltry budgets, and we always suggest doing stuff with them that they can afford.  When we want to be extravagant, we always do so away from them so they don't have to feel bad.  And we only rarely share pictures and stories afterwards.

Anyway, that's not so much the problem as our housekeeper.  She sucks (matter of fact, she hasn't even gone to college--I know, right?!).  And, we want to replace her.  Well, without asking me, my boyfriend asked a couple of our hard luck friends if they wanted to be our housekeepers.  They, of course, said they wanted to!  Well, I don't like it, Prudie.  Friends and money don't mix, and the combination could be disastrous.  I want to do the right thing, and my boyfriend says it's my call, but I feel really awkward about telling our friends they can't clean our house.  What can I do?  Signed, I've Got Friends In Low Places

Well, I'll be buggered.  This is a first.  I really, really, really, want to just rip you a new asshole, you entitl... littl... fuck... bitc...  But.I.can't.  As much as I hate your superior, judgmental attitude, you obviously come by it naturally.  And, fact is, your question and concern is actually reasonable.  It's the peripheral, bullshit info that you keep dropping in that's pissing me off.  Not the question itself.  So, as for the question, you're correct.  This has the potential to end badly and you probably shouldn't do it.  I'd say that you should do as Prudie suggests.  Have your boyfriend tell your friends that he's sorry, but, he didn't realize that you'd already hired someone.  And, too, that he hadn't even asked you first and that, even though it sort of looks like a win-win, it probably wouldn't end well, and that you guys value their friendship too much for that.  Then, you entitled little bitch, buy some fucking lobster and steaks and invite them over to your place for dinner.  And don't worry, I have a feeling that they won't be your friends for much longer anyway, and then they can work for you all you want.  Friends in low places, my...fuckin...

LW#2:  Dear Prudie, Over the last several months, several folks in my office (including me) have had food stolen out of the common refrigerator.  Out of our lunch boxes even!  Sometimes entire meals?!  Well, recently, one of my co-workers caught the thief red-handed.  Not only was it a high-level executive (isn't it always, those entitled bastards/bitches), but, it was a good friend of mine.  A lady with whom I spend a great deal of time away from the office.  I don't know how to handle this, Prudie.  What should I do?  Well, you've come to the right place, chicky doodle.  It's like this:  friends don't let friends drive drunk, right?  Friends tell one another when there's spinach stuck in their front teeth, or when there's toilet paper trailing from their skirt, right?  Well, friends also say, "Marsha, what the fuck were you thinking?!  I know good and well that you only pinched that one yogurt that one time (try to seem like you really mean that part), but you know good and well that there's been someone stealing from us for months!  If someone actually thought it was you that was doing it all this time, it could lead to you getting fired!  I just hope people don't think that already.  You need have about twenty pizzas delivered and then never go near that break room again!"  And then, after that, if it was me?  I'd keep my lunch in my desk.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie, I'm not a germaphobe.  Honest.  But, I do sit in the bathroom stall at work and listen to people pee and poo and then I listen to make sure they wipe at least three times (that liberal Sheryl Crow and her one square of toilet paper plan is just crazy!).  After, and this gets tricky, because sometimes people are coming in as others are leaving, I listen to make sure they wash their nasty hands.  If they don't, I get quite worked up and often even constipated!  And Prudie, it's H1NI season!  And the holidays are approaching!  Which means open food, buffet style, in the office!  Snort!  Prudie, how do I get these Neanderthals to wash they're freaking hands after touching their privates and/or their snotty noses before they kill us all?!  (Submariner's note:  you guys know how I love letters that start with, "My boyfriend's the bestest, most wonderful guy in the whole world, but..."  Well, this is now my new favorite, "I'm not a germaphobe, but...")  Okay, Ms. I'm-not-a-Germaphobe, I have a solution for you.  Mind your own business.  There's nothing you can do.  And, what you're currently doing is giving yourself an ulcer.  Fact is, you've ingested more poo in your life than you can possibly imagine.  And amazingly, you've yet to expire.  Your brain isn't working on all eight four cylinders, but at least you're still with us.  Look, you practice good hygiene, forgo the buffet if it's going to cause you emotional stress, and life will be good.  I promise.  If you need some perspective on how silly you're being, think about how many people have been seriously ill in your office in the last year.  How many times have you been seriously ill (other than stress-related illnesses, headaches, etc., which, I assure you is common among germaphobe busybodies, so don't worry about those)?  See, you're going to be fine.  Now, go have a macaroon, you nut.

LW#4:  My brother is a schizophrenic with a violent past.  He has abused me and others, even trying to kill my brother once.  One night when I was wearing just a football jersey and my panties, we picked up a hitchhiker wearing a red and green sweater and a hockey mask.  We didn't notice 'til he got in, but he'd been burned badly on his face.  It gave me the creeps.  Well, we brought this hitchhiker home and he and my brother started drinking beer while I took an unusually lengthy and soapy and slow shower.  I then went to sleep, full moon's light streaming in my window so you could see my erect nipples through the bed sheet.  In the morning, as I stumbled into the living room, hair and makeup perfect and perky, I noticed the hitchhiker gone, and my brother, on the couch, muttering about "Zuul".  Now it's almost ten years later, to the night, and, though I've never given it much thought until now, I'm getting worried that my brother may have killed that hitchhiker, Prudie.  What should I do?  (mad props to tribble22 for the inspiration behind that letter summary)  Well, first off, you've got to work on your fiction.  What you have here has been done many times before, and far better.  If we're to assume that you're letter is real, what other indication do you have that your brother killed this guy other than a gut feeling?  Besides bad 70s cop shows and CSI: Miami, no one solves crimes on hunches and pert tits.  Since it sounds like you really don't have anything other than that, I'd let this rest.  But, (and I'm serious about this), I'd also suggest that you go to a counselor/psychiatrist and get checked out.  I'm not saying that you're making this up or that you're mentally ill, but, mental illness does run in families, and, just to make sure that you aren't stressing yourself right into delusions, it might be a good idea to work this through with a professional rather than the Internet Lady and smarmy posters like me.  Know what I mean?  By the way, don't look behind you now, but...

Anyway, shippers, that's about it.  The lagoon's been really peaceful and calm and the Holidays and New Year draw nearer and nearer.  I do love this time of year!  I have lots of boat maintenance to do, so I'm out.  Fair winds and following seas to you all.  And to all a good night!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

...on God's Staying Of My Boyfriend’s Penis (11/25/2009) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Greetings Shippers! And Happy Holidays and a merry four-day weekend to you all! Too, Happy Prudie Day, one day early! And what a fine, fine Prudie Day it is, eh? Do you have visions of early-morning shopping dancing in your heads? Is Friday a day of competitive shopping for you? :-) No matter how you plan on spending the day, or any of your holidays, I hope that you’re all happy and healthy and warm and that there’s nothing but good coming your way for the holidays and beyond. But, before all of that, and before I get ahead of myself, let’s have a crack at these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Prudie, I have the bestest, most awesomest, greater-than-greatest boyfriend in the whole entire world! He’s absolutely the bee’s knees, Prudie, all wrapped up with a silver bow, dipped in honey, and then lightly dusted in powdered sugar to make him into Perfection Boyfriend with a side of stewed apples! The problem? Well, he’s withholding sex from me. Okay, wait, that sounds like a dichotomy. Let me start from the beginning. We’ve been dating for three years and he’s been all about having the sex every which way, all the time, telling me that he loves me, etc. Then, awhile back, when we moved in together, he decided that, on religious grounds, we needed to stop having sex because, due to his relationship with God, he’s decided that pre-marital sex is bad. Prudie, I admire his relationship with God, but that is pretty messed up right here. What can I do? Well, first off, and most importantly, you have to realize that this has nothing to do with God. Or religion. Sure, that’s a handy crutch that people have been using for millennia for doing/not doing whatever in the hell they want, but, it’s not what’s at work here (nor has it ever been). For whatever reason, this guy isn’t interested any more. Is it because, now that you’ve moved in together, he’s seen your dirty undies or maybe he’s realized that you do, on rare occasion, fart, or some other equally domestic thing that has turned him off because he’s not quite the bee’s knees you thought he was? Is it because, now that he can get it anytime he wants, it’s no longer appealing to him? No one can know that answer but him, but, you’ve got to know that, a) it’s not about religion, and, even more importantly, b) what it is about is manipulation. I’m not saying he’s manipulating you on purpose, but, I’m not saying he’s not. You know those women in terrible relationships you hear about on Oprah where, after twenty years of putting up with some douche bag, finally leave and say things like, “I never realized how controlled and manipulated I was.” That’s your future. This guy, conscious or not, is blaming God for his own change of mind. That’s bullshit with a capital shit and you need to leave him. Now. But, you’re not willing to do that are you? Because he’s already got you doubting yourself. And honey, that’s the first step to controlling you. I hope you read this because you’re about to become a Hallmark Sunday movie--well, 20 years from now (if ever) when you finally figure out what a spineless assmunch this guy is.

LW#2: Prudie, there’s a new girl in our small office. She’s lovely and wonderful, but, when a cute little laugh at the end a sentence would be just the kind of manipulative thing to affect to perfectly convey the right amount of vulnerability and nervousness, she snorts like a pirate. It’s a horrible snort. Terribly unladylike. I believe I should tell her about it because everyone notices it. How can I tell her that she needs to “nip it in the bud before it becomes a crazy habit that she carries through the rest of her adult life”??  Hmmm, so, this fresh, young, just-out-of-college girl snorts a bit sometimes and you’re worried about how it might affect her career if this “habit” continues? Condescend much? Why is it that I completely doubt that your motive is philanthropic? If you’re male, I’m going to say that you want to bed this fresh young thing but that you’re afraid that the girl’s snort will make you discernibly less turgid than you already are with your wife, and therefore even less able to perform than you currently are. If you’re a woman, I’m going to say that you’re the kind who thinks that looks, the right shoes, and appropriate hair-flicking are more important to climbing the corporate ladder than actually producing good work. Regardless, you’ve obviously never looked at Donald Trump’s hair. Talk about an annoying habit! Maybe he should change it so that he’ll be even more successful? My thought is that you should spend less time worrying about this girl’s “career” and “habits” and more time on your TPS reports. And if you’re genuinely worried, why not have a neutral third party observe you for a few days and then they can produce a report for you about your annoying habits. Once you fix all of those, then worry about this girl’s. Kay? Kay.
LW#3: Prudie, my father has been out of work for over a year. He left his last job due to personal issues with a petty and vindictive boss. As a result, he can’t use his last boss as a reference and has decided to put down my name instead. He’s asked me to act as if I was his supervisor and praise him to the heavens when I’m called. The problems with this idea are too copious to detail here, but, the most obvious is that I know nothing of his business (and second is that he raised me not to lie)! What should I do? Well, first off, you’re right, you know nothing of his business, which includes what type of worker he actually was. Secondly, why does he have to list his supervisor at all? He can enter “co-worker” or “colleague” or “shift supervisor”, etc. on his résumé and completely avoid the “boss”. No, there’s more to it than what you’ve been told. As for what you should do, though, I’d suggest being very frank with him and explaining that he’s put you in a terrible position by asking you to do this thing for him. Explain that you don’t know the first thing about his work, that you’re unwilling to participate in the ruse. Explain that you love and support him and that you know that if he does things the right way (the way he raised you), he’ll find a job. Finally, if you do get a call from a perspective employer, you can state that they have the wrong number, or that you now work for XYZ company and that you don’t wish to discuss anything about any other companies. Neither are complete lies and the strategy will allow you to beg off answering the questions without calling out your father to his potential employers. Good luck.
LW#4: Prudie, about six months ago, my wife and I moved into a new apartment. We can hear the neighbors fighting almost every night. Loudly. Perhaps violently? The language and attitudes are very abusive and we are worried for the wife. Also, the couple has a new baby, which makes us feel even more like we should say something. Should we call the police? If we do, they’ll pretty much know it was us who did as only one other couple shares a wall with them. What should we do? Should you call the police? What, as opposed to writing the Internet Lady? Listen, how will you feel if the wife and/or child end up dead? What if the wife gets a gun and shoots the husband for fear of her life? What if the bullet comes through your wall? If you’re just thinking a couple is fighting, you don’t call the police. However, when you’ve got proof of abuse, of course you do. I respect privacy as much as the next guy, but they’ve brought their fight into your home. Since you haven’t been specific about what you’re hearing, I can’t say for sure what you should do, but, I can say that once it went from suspicion of fighting (maybe someone saying something that indicates things aren’t rosy), to you actually knowing there’s fighting (black eyes, walls banging, abusive, threatening noise invading your space), you need to do something. Again though, I don’t know what you’re hearing, so I don’t know what’s appropriate. You can drop anger management pamphlets on their stoop, you can call CPS if the child’s in danger, and/or you can call the police if you feel a crime is being committed (abuse, beatings, etc). Regardless, start with talking to the apartment management because, even if this just how they “get along” it’s not fair for you to have to listen to their shit. Let management know what you’re hearing and how often. And don’t stop at telling them once if it continues. You have a right to not have your space invaded, too. Do the right thing.

So, Shippers, that’s it. May your gravy boats be full, your turkeys be stuffed and your cups runnething over and then over again. I’m off to decorate the lagoon and to BBQ a turkey (I’ve also caught some red snapper and mahi-mahi, and kept it raw, for my bestest diving buddy, MM). Happy weekend all. Fair winds and following seas...  And drive safely!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

...on Holiday Bitches and Pedophiles <---(11/19/09) Orginal Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hot damn! What a fine, fine Prudie Mornin’, eh shippers?! Holy smokes! A wonderful, calming mist has moved in over the lagoon and the weather is absolutely perfect today. It’s cool, the air is crisp and clean, and even though we haven’t hit the heart of winter yet, thoughts and reminders of what’s to come with the New Year are everywhere and I can’t wait! I simply love this time of year! However, we seem to have some Grumpy Gus letter writers who’d rather just skip the whole holiday scene and all of the lovely craziness that it brings. Let’s have a look, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. I’m a bitch. I’m talking, I am a fucking heartless, shitty, absolutely insufferable, incurable, dumb-assed, pursed lips, full of myself, terrible, horrible bitch. Really. Here’s what’s got me set off today. My future in-laws take a family portrait every year and send it out like they’re some sort of retarded Norman Rockwell scene wannabes (they even wear matching sweaters at Christmas and sing carols, but that’s a whole other letter). They’ve assumed that since I’m betrothed to their son (an adult man, by the way, Prudie) that I will be in their stupid, dumbass, bourgeois photo. Not only this year, but every year. Prudie, I want to have traditions with my own, as yet nonexistent, family. My fiancé is no longer a little boy and his parents need to cut the umbilical cord. What a bunch of fucking idiots they are. Can you help me with the scissors? Hmmmm. Well, yes, you are a fucking bitch. But, no, there’s no helping you. You say that you want your own traditions, with your own family, but that you can’t respect that same wish in others? That right there is the very epitome and definition of sociopathic behavior and there’s no curing you (unless, of course, you one day manage to breed and have sons and they all marry little copies of you, which, though it would be wonderfully ironic and a pleasure for me to watch as you were hit repeatedly by that psychic piano, would still be no cure). No, as incurable as you are, the only good you could ever do is to remove yourself from polite society, and the gene pool, by pulling up stakes and relocating to an uninhabited island. But, we both know that you’d never do anything so philanthropic. So, here’s my advice: tell your fiancé and his family exactly how you feel. Read them the letter you wrote to Prudie, even. That’ll solve your photo problem. I promise. Bitch.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I recently married a man who I thought was Mr. Right. I mean, he is so helpful and considerate, and wonderful and perfect, and everything I could ever hope for! Well, except for the fact that recently I found naked photos of his adult step-daughter (from a previous marriage) on his computer. Some were taken on her wedding day?! Now, I no longer think he’s all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips, but rather that he’s a pedophile. What should I do? Look, I’d like to come down on you like a ton of bricks for so many things that you’ve said here, but, I won’t. I’ll just stick to the point (mostly). His step daughter is an adult. The pics appear to have been taken of her as an adult. You are talking about some high morality about the bond between daughter and father and even accusing him of being a potential pedophile, but, fuck, he’s not her father, you don’t know when their “relationship” started (or you’re not telling), and we don’t know at what age the daughter was when he married (and then divorced) her mom. And, in truth, none of that even matters, actually. Here’s what does matter: he has naked pics of a woman that he’s slept with on his computer. That’s it. Simple. I know, you didn’t say that he’s slept with her. I did say it though. Accept it. All of this other static about you raising kids alone and these naked pics being his step daughter are irrelevant. I’m here to tell you that, a) he’s slept with her, and, b) he’s still the same guy you married (which obviously means he may not ever have been what you thought he was). What you have to figure out is if any of that bothers you (it clearly does), and what you’re going to do about it. He’s lied about the photos, so, if I were you, I’d leave. But, too, I wonder why he lied? Was it that you blew a fucking gasket and asked “Why in the hell do you have naked pictures on your computer that I found while snooping?!” If so, he might have just lied out of impulse (which is no excuse, but still). What if he got those pics long after his divorce from her mom? You’ve left too much out (or it’s been edited out) for us to give specific advice, but, fact is, you don’t trust him, so, unless you can change your mind (and jumping to "pedophile" and "threat to your daughters and grandkids" indicates you’re past the point of no return), you should leave. As for if you can trust him with your adult daughters, why not also ask if you can trust your adult daughters with him? Are they helpless?

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I work in oncology and really like a patient at our practice. He’s single and looking to date. He has terminal cancer, but, I really like him and think we could be happy together. The whole idea seems awkward as he doesn’t know that I exist, and, I don’t know how to approach him. What should I do? I’m going to try to not be crusty here because this sounds like a legitimate, honest and sincere question. But, I must admit that the first thing that came to my mind when reading this letter was the women who court and marry inmates in state prisons (you know, the kind of prisoners who have little or no chance of getting out in the near future?). But because I wanted to be nice to you, I tried to imagine why a woman would go after a man like that in the first place? Is it fear of intimacy? Is it some deep need to commit to an impossibility? Your situation is not the same as the women who court prisoners, but, in many ways, it sounds similar. You know relatively little about this man other than what you can glean in a professional setting. I admit that that’s enough to be attracted to someone. And it’s enough to create a desire to see if there’s more. But, since there’s nothing there currently (relationship-wise), why start something that you know is doomed to be short-lived and very painful (physically and emotionally)? This ain’t Jane Eyre, sweetie. We don’t actually have to live a life of drama and misery. Sure, many people often choose to do so, but, it’s not a prerequisite. I hope that you’ll choose to find someone who has all of the qualities of this man, but who doesn’t have a terminal condition. He does exist, I assure you. Sure, he may be hit by a bus tomorrow. But at least he’d be someone who’s end hasn’t already been determined.

LW#4: Prudie, I have been with my boyfriend for two years and decided to host a family Thanksgiving wherein I’d invite his parents and my parents and we’d all have a great dinner and loads of fun and it’d be an event like they talk about in Home and Garden magazine and the kind that I’ve dreamt about hosting all of my life. And all was going well until my BF’s dad invited his gun-carrying, belligerent, asshole brother to the dinner. Now I don’t even want to have the get together. What should I do? Ah, the fantasy runs squarely into the wall of reality. As Morpheus says in my favorite movie, sweetie, “Welcome to the real world.” Look, this is actually a simple problem to solve, but, it involves a boyfriend who supports you and understands that your feelings are a priority in this case (because this is something very, very important to you--that’s also part of the real world, spouses sticking up for one another and being advocates for one another). Your boyfriend needs to make it 100% clear that you are both uncomfortable with guns and that you won’t have any in your house. Period. Sure, it’s your uncle’s 2nd Amendment right to arm himself with all sorts of powerful weaponry capable of destroying a small country several times over. Well, it’s your goddess-given right to deny him access to your property while thusly armed. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to include drama. It’s simple, really. If he wants to come by your place, sans penis extensions, let him. If not, your BF needs to tell him that he’s not welcome at your home. And if it comes to it, and he shows up armed to the teeth anyway, call the cops. I know, that’s pretty shitty, but either it’s important to you or it’s not. Lastly, though, I want to point out to you that no family dinner is ever going to turn out like they do in fairy tales. And life if full of compromises, so, make sure that the battles that you do fight are truly worth fighting.
Well, shippers, that’s it for today. What a batch of craziness, eh?  'Til next time, shippers, fair winds and following seas to you all. And remember to take it easy over the holidays. Your family may be mostly nuts, but, they’re you’re nuts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

...on Plain Jane's Desire for a Man (orig. 11/012/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers! Holy smokes, it’s November! I mean, okay, I realize it was November last week, too, but I can really feel it and see this week. The cool, crisp air. The falling leaves. The kids building leaf canons out of cast off 50 gallon drums and gasoline. Ah, November and Darwin! Mixing since the beginning of time (or at least since the invention of gasoline) to bring us a more perfectly evolved race. But, that’s not our concern today, is it shippers? Nope. Today we’ve got letters! So, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Prudie, I’m plain. And men, well, you know, they’re all into hot chicks because they're all visually stimulated and don’t care about anything other than a hot rack and tight ass. So, I guess that leaves me out of the race. My friends say that I’m attractive and should get all gussied up and flirt (neither of which I’m comfortable with) and land me a man. But, since I know they’re lying about my looks, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Now, if I looked beautiful, you know, like Pam Anderson, with over-filled lips, boobs and butt, and barely two brain cells to rub together, I’d be more than happy to get out there. But, as I’m not Pam, I guess I’ll be a spinster. At least I’ve got my cats. What say you? Listen here, you fucking idiot. How dare you make blanket statements about guys as if we’re just brainless, thoughtless, walking penises, always looking for the next hot lay? So, women have a lock on desiring romance and chemistry and intelligence and wit, do they? Listen, if you have something, anything, to offer, there are men out there who will find you attractive. Would you wrap a diamond ring in a gawdy box with shiny wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and one of those cards that plays “Suwannee River” when you open it, or would you simply allow the ring’s class to speak for itself. Your friends are idiots and likely need to be wrapped in mylar and bows. You want a mindless prick? Follow their advice. You want someone who gives a shit about you? Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, in your own comfort zone, and quit blaming men’s supposed desire for a pretty face for your marital status. Some many of us actually value intelligence and wit and humor and class above vacuous playthings. And if that’s what you want, we’re worth looking for.  But, truth is, given what you've told us, I don't know if I'd want you to find me.

LW#2: Since getting married, my husband and I have attended Thanksgiving at his sister’s house with the rest of his family. Prudie, it’s horrible there. She runs the place like some prison camp! The kids are relegated to a single room to play in, dinner is eaten precisely at fourteen hundred hours, and, even before we all sit down to eat, my SIL is packing up the food! I’m through with this Gestapo treatment and want to do Thanksgiving like it should be done, in a relaxing way, valuing family unity and being welcoming rather than pretending we’re contestants on “The Thanksgiving Boot Camp Show”. What should I do? Okay, here’s the thing. Prudie has the right idea. You need to host your own soirée. But, she’s way wrong on execution! It’s too late this year to throw your own, alternative party. That’s just going to piss off everyone and cause much strife. You don’t have to attend your SIL’s this year if it’s just going to stress you out (feign sickness), but don’t throw a competing party this year at this late date. That’s just shitty. Instead, make sure that your husband is 100% behind you (because, without his support in this, you’re sunk and would be better off ordering out for Chinese food). Tell SIL that next year, you are going to host, and, too, that you’re going to host each alternating year. Period. From there, do just like Prudie said. Don’t back down, don’t take no for an answer, and, if SIL doesn’t show up, so be it. Maybe she can learn from you how Thanksgiving is supposed to be celebrated? P.S. As for how often you see hubby’s family members? That’s irrelevant and you need to drop it from your argument. Family is family, and Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving, no matter how often or infrequently you see them.

LW#3: Prudie, I work for a great dentist. Actually, he’s positively dreamy! His wife, though? She’s a flaming bitch. I hate her. Truly. Worse still is the fact that she’s the office manager and is committing insurance fraud by overcharging our customers’ insurance companies. I know good and well that she’s doing it and, too, that the dentist doesn’t know it’s going on. At all. He’s the model for honor and righteousness and dignity. If I can get the wife arrested without affecting the husband’s career or our practice, I can slide right into the wife’s slot (professionally and personally). What should I do? Okay, I may have been a bit unfair about motive there, but, come on! Where’s the conflict? If you value your job, if you need it to make ends meet in this tough economy, if your kids will starve or your mortgage will go unpaid, you stay quiet. Unless you’re required to commit the fraud yourself (which you should not do, obviously), you have little choice. But, too, you must start looking for another job. Today. As soon as you find a place to go to, then send the detailed, anonymous letter to the authorities that Prudie suggests. That may seem morally bankrupt and all, protecting your pay check, but I’m a realist and believe that so long as you’re not committing the fraud yourself, and so long as you’re honestly and sincerely looking for work, you’re morally okay. Now, if you don’t have to have the job to get by? Then write that letter today. What wifey is doing is wrong, and you know it. As for your aspirations to take her place? Forget them. Your dreamy dentist knows exactly what’s going on. And he encourages it.

LW#4: Prudie, I recently attended a funeral with my husband. A man there fainted, and, being a nurse, I went to help him. The man has a medical condition, so 911 was called. We got the man taken care of and went on with the funeral. On the way home, my husband asked me about the man who’d fainted. I started telling him about the man, but then went on to talk in great detail about the funeral (which, as I said, my husband attended, too). Amazingly, though, even though he’d been there and heard and seen everything I was telling him with his own ears and eyes, he got disinterested and started listening to the World Series! I was shocked and appalled and can’t believe how rude he was. How can I tell him how hurt I am by his insensitivity? Well, you can start by using your words in the future to sum.mar.ize. And, too, by noticing if there’s a game on if you decide to not summarize. You may watch the Oscars every year with rapt attention, but you don’t give a good god damn about sports, right? Well, he’s the same, only he doesn’t give a shit about the Oscars. So, out of respect, when one of you is into a big event (like the World Series), the other might want to use discretion about what they really need. Rehashing a funeral that your husband actually attended himself, while there's a World Series game going on, is a lose-lose situation. He was genuinely interested in what you did to help the man who’d fainted. He listened to those details with rapt attention, I assure you. He even asked you about it, and he was proud of you for your actions (and I’ll bet he showed it). That’s not something he could fully understand just by being there and he listened to you explain what had happened, what you did, and why. But pouring your heart out, rehashing the eulogy and the flowers and what the widow was wearing and the priest’s pronunciation of “chalice” and the entire funeral that your husband just attended, right there with you?! Come on. Give the guy a break. Unless, of course, you want a rehash of the early Sunday game while you’re watching the Oscars. I’m not saying your husband should be given a free pass to not listen to you. I’m saying that no human (man, woman or child) can be expected to listen all the time to everything. As they say, choose your battles.

Well, shippers, I guess that’s it! If we can get through November and December with all of our fingers and toes intact, who knows what wonder and happiness the New Year and January will bring? I’m looking forward to it all! I do love the holidays (and the leaf canons). Hang in there shippers, keep your dive-to-surface ratio steady at one, and, as always, fair winds and following seas to ya!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

...on Dildos and Broken Dicks (orig. 11/05/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! All here is well enough, I suppose, and I know that the world won’t fall off its axis, but, I am a bit disturbed by something that has nothing to do with the Prudie Letters. I know, I know, I’m not here to bitch about anything else. And, too, since I know that you come for the letters, I’m going to address them first. But then, after I’m done with them, I’m going to answer a bonus letter, too, if I may? If I play my cards right, it might give you some insight into my worked up state. But that comes last as it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. First up, to the letters!

LW#1: Prudie, I’m 16-years-old and wanting to buy a vibrator. I’d like to talk to my mom about this. We have a close relationship and can talk about anything, but I’m afraid that she’ll be uncomfortable and feel awkward about this particular subject. I’ve tried talking to a friend, but she was repulsed by the idea. What should I do? Unfortunately, in this case, you are the best judge of how your mother will react. And if you’re concerned about her reaction, you’re probably correctly reading her. But, at the same time, if she’s always been there for you, openly and honestly, even though the conversation may make her uncomfortable, it may be one she’d be honored to have with you, discomfort be damned! And, part of being a kiddo to a good parent is being able to be open and honest and never fear undue reproach. Ultimately, you have to decide which is more important to you emotionally: having the conversation with your mom, or, taking the plunge solo. Either way, in this case, it sounds like things will work out. Prudie’s correct in that masturbation is pretty much point and click. You’ll absolutely figure it out. That much, I promise. The trick is the emotional part. And your mom may be able to help you navigate that better than anyone else. Even if you don’t talk to her before, perhaps later it’s something you can bring up. Leave open that option, but, listen to yourself on this one. You’re the best judge of what to do next.

LW#2: Prudie, I’m a woman who’s probably a bit too over-worried about all things, but specifically regarding my upcoming nuptials and subsequent life with a man who’s much older than I am (I always tell people our age difference because it’s vitally important to my story). My soucis de la journée, though, is his fertility. He had an infection on his testicles that may have rendered him infertile. Before we get married, I’d like to know exactly how many little guys he’s shooting, how potent they are, how long they’ll be there and if they’re genetically superior to those at the sperm bank. I mean, it’s not like I won’t marry him or anything, you know, if he’s shooting blanks, but I keep my calendar updated, to the minute, for about five years out. Every detail has to be perfect and I don’t know if I can stand the not knowing. Please help me justify trooping him down to the sperm clinic to see I’m going to need to schedule appointments at the adoption agency and sperm donor center in 18 to 21 months--I don’t have too many open appointments left for that timeframe and we need to get moving! Whoa there, Little Miss Holy Batshit Crazy Woman! Calm your jets for a sec. Have you ever heard of living in the moment? I agree you can’t live your entire life in the moment. You have to plan for retirement at some point. And it’s nice to have a down payment on a house before buying. Those things do take a little planning. But you’re looking way too far ahead here (at least if you’re being honest and you’d marry this guy even if he is sterile). Listen, here’s how it works: when (and only when) you’re ready to start a family, you have sex without birth control. You do this for awhile and see what happens. If you get pregnant, holy shit, problem solved (at least for you--truth is, I’m not sure that your husband and child may not be living in ‘schedule hell’ for the rest of their lives, but, sadly, they didn’t write in to ask for advice). If you don’t get pregnant, then, and only then, should you worry. Hell, you might be the problem! What if you’re infertile and he’s not? Wouldn’t that just put your panties in a twist? Oh my, appointments at the OB, appointments at the alternative medicine doc... (sigh).

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m 27. When I was 14, I “severed ties” with my dad. That’s a euphemism for treating him like shit, threatening to call the cops on him, trying to injure his wife and baby, screaming, yelling, peeing on his furniture and just generally making a complete and total asshole of myself. But, now that I’m older and getting married, I’d like to have him back in my life. What can I do? Hey chicky, I have two portions of advice for you. The first is to go slow. Look at the letter above. This thing can’t be put on a schedule. Prudie has some wonderful advice for you and I think you should follow it. But (and here’s the second part), what kind of insensitive, crazy, lunatic bitch do you think you are by asking this man and his family to your fucking wedding after having not been in touch with him all this time? Like, “Hey dad, sorry about the shit earlier, but, you know, could you come to my wedding?” Holy fuck?! How about you slow the fuck down and meet on his terms, not yours, on his turf, not your? How about you express your unbelievable, extreme, gut-wrenching sorrow over how you treated them? Yes, you were young and you should not be held completely accountable. I agree. Your mom seems to have played some crazy nut-job role and your dad should come to understand that, but, it’s not like he’s going to just say, “Hey, sweetie, so glad to have you back! Let’s go to your wedding!” It’s going to take years, not days. It’s going to take tears and sorrow and pain. And if you’re not willing to admit to yourself that the effort is going to be extremely hard, if you’re thinking you can just show up, invite him to a wedding and all will be okay, well, you’re well on your way to reaching your mom’s level of craziness. And he can see that. Your wedding is not the place for a family reconciliation, idiot. This isn’t about you. It’s about the two of you. And your wedding ain’t that.

LW#4: Prudie, I’m a woman whose work is incredible. Not only that, it’s so good, the increased revenue for the firm that I work for is clearly measurable and has increased the workload of others! Isn’t that great? In terms of the bottom line, I’m a goddess. My problem is with my male co-worker, who, for obvious reasons (you know, because he’s lazy), hates me. He leaves stinky socks in our shared bathroom and even leaves the seat up as a “final protest” to my being there. What can I do? Holy fucking batshit on the windshield of your brain, you fucking vapid idiot! How about you put down the goddamned seat?! Is your back hurting you? Are you a double amputee (arms)? Do you put the seat up for him when you’re done, you double-standard, crazed, lunatic freak? You may be good at your job, but you’re a fucking idiot as a human and that usually doesn’t go over well in the workplace. Not for long. If I were you, I’d spend less time gloating and more time trying to be a fellow human being.

Bonus LW: Prudie, I live in Maine. I was full of hope and happiness and wonder that we, Mainers, would be the first voting population to allow gays and lesbians to marry. And things were absolutely heading that way! But, sadly, over the last several months, literally tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars have poured into the state from outside, funding sickening advertising that claimed things like “voting for gay marriage means they’ll teach kindergartner’s about anal sex.” Seriously! That’s a paraphrase, but not an exaggeration. Prudie, this is 2009. When will people get over thinking that they should be allowed to choose how other people live? I’m sorry, Mainer. I really am. I, too, hoped that at least one state's electorate would allow for gay marriage. And though you didn’t say it, I know good and damned well it was the Bible-thumping, Nazi, righteous, fuckstains out there in full force over the last few weeks. Just like in California. Fucking assholes. What a shame, too, and ironic, in that they want all the rights of practicing their religion, tax-free, with no limitations, but, you know, if someone is different than them, or if someone lives in a way that they can cherry pick a verse from Leviticus and use it to condemn them, they will. I can't say that I'm surprised by this. It’s not new. But it does hit me hard each time this happens, because it's just devastating, actually, the irony and ignorance and arrogance of these fucking asshats. But hold up your head, Mainer. Even if it didn’t happen on Tuesday, it will. Kids today are more and more tolerant of homosexuals. Eventually these asshat idiots will be the ones in the minority. It’s actually closer than it feels. And when that day comes, oh sweet baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, they’d better hope like hell that those of us who believe in true equality won’t vote to ban religion outright. Because, you know, when we’re in the majority, what’s to stop us enforcing our will on them?


Well shippers, that about wraps it up for another week. I’m off to a swim call in the lagoon. We throw a cargo net down the side of the sub and dive in from the turtle back. Then we can use the net to climb back aboard. It’s great fun and good exercise, and, too, I hope to get a visit from my bestest diving buddy while there! And that’s always a treat. So, ‘til next week shippers, keep your dive-to-surface ratio at one, and fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

...on Tickling, Jackass Boyfriends (orig. 10/29/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Ahoy there Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this absolutely fantastic and fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that you had a great week and that the weather wasn’t too bad for you? I’m enjoying the new lagoon here, all its visitors, old and new, and the relaxed mojo of the whole place. I do apologize for having to post a bit later in the day than what you grew accustomed to in The Fray. Working in a new lagoon sometimes forces new schedules and rules, so, we just have to do our best with what we’ve got, eh? Anyway, enough of my blubbering. On to the letters!

LW#1: Prudie, I’m ticklish. Not the kind of ticklish where I laugh, maybe pee myself, and then attack back, but rather the kind that actually feels painful, both physically and emotionally. The kind that gives me headaches after someone tickles me. The kind that is genuinely miserable. Regardless, my jackass boyfriend likes to tickle me. A lot. Even though I’ve explained to him that not only do I not like it, but that it makes me feel vulnerable and not in control of my body. He says that I must like it because I’m laughing when he does it. Further, he says I need to learn to control my mind better. Other than these tiny flaws, though, oh, wow, he’s a sweet, caring love muffin! What can I do to convince him to stop with the tickling and the jackass Zen master advice? If I were you? I’d kick him in the nuts! As hard as I possibly could. At some time that he’s completely not expecting it. Tell him that it can’t possibly hurt since all he has to do is learn to convince himself that the pain is actually pleasurable. Tell him that he might actually be able to learn to reach orgasm in this manner. Further, if I were you, I’d look up the meaning of the words “sweet” and “caring” and learn the definitions, because currently you have absolutely no clue what they mean. Oh, and in case you didn’t hear Prudie, I’d also leave this jackass.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my mom is celebrating 6 years of sobriety this month and would like to have lunch out to talk about my childhood--something she missed entirely due to living in an alcohol-induced stupor. I was put off by what seems like a cursory request (I mean, who can go over their entire childhood over lunch?!) and suggested instead that I write it down for her. Well, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to write it down. The effort is not going to do me any good and it might even piss me off! Hell, it’s pissing me off just thinking about doing it! I’m happy for my mom’s sobriety, but, I’m not ready to tell her about my childhood. What should I do? If I were you? I’d kick her in the nuts! No, just kidding. Listen, there are two people here who need some healing (at least two) and you can’t possibly unconditionally help your mom find hers until you’ve found yours. I’m not saying you can‘t be supportive. I’m not saying that you can’t be a friend and a daughter. But anyone who could ask you to go over your childhood “over lunch” still has some issues to address with their disease. She’s minimizing your childhood because, considering she missed it all, it’s emotionally easier on her to do so. It’s easier to feel less guilty about something that can be discussed over lunch versus something real that would take, literally, months or even years to really get into. There is a lot of emotions and experiences to be hashed over there. So, until you’re healed, or a lot closer to it, this is simply a road that you can’t help your mother navigate. Tell her that. And why. She needs to hear it. And I think you need to say it, too.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m new to “grown-up” socializing and I want to throw a dinner party for all of the gang from grad school. My apartment is small, though, and I can’t have them and their spouses/significant others over all at once. Plus, I don’t like their spouses/significant others! How can I do an invite that will let it be known that I only want my friends to come, but not their freeloading parasite partners? If I were you? I’d kick myself in the nuts! Seriously. Dude, what the fuck is your major malfunction? You went through grad school, eh? How on god’s green Earth did you manage that feat around a handful of people who seem to like you and who didn’t kill you due to your assholism? The solution to your problem is so simple as to be (almost) a waste of electrons in typing it, but, in case you really are a complete and total dumbass and not just trying to get a rise out of me, I’ll share. Either have the party at a restaurant or some other large place that can accommodate everyone, or, invite them in more than one group, on more than one night, but with their spouses . However, you’ve already figure that out on your own, haven’t you? You’re just a selfish shit who wants your friends to come over by themselves. Fine. Invite them exactly how you want to. Put on the invitations “Grad School Buds Only! No Significant Others!” See how many people show. But hey, next time you won’t have to worry. Your “friends”, most of them anyway, won’t be taking your invitations, so this may work out just fine for your “problem”.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, we adopted our daughter when she was five. We’ve been able to allow her to meet and communicate with her birth family through a really great, wonderful therapist. Now that our daughter is 12, though, she doesn’t really want to communicate with them. We want to have a nice, peaceful, open adoption plan so that we can brag to everyone who’ll listen that my partner and I are such wonderful adoptive parents--oh, and, too, because keeping in touch with her family will be good for her. To that end, should I force the issue of calls and visits? Do I hear a two-person nut kicking coming on? Holy hot fucking hell, asshole. Are you honestly that clueless? You’ve raised your daughter for the last seven years, but have no more respect for her feelings and emotions than that? Where did that really great therapist go? Or did you drop him/her when bragging about your daughter’s emotional progress had no more effect on your friends? Your daughter is one big screaming hormone right now. She’s entering the most difficult stage of childhood and she’s going to need the ability to set boundaries for herself. And she’s going to need parents who support her in all things. She’s always had that need, but at this age, it’s absolutely essential. You can gently express your concern, but, at the same time, a few years of missing calls and visits won’t prevent a relationship later. Further, why are you more worried about what her family might think and what other people might say than what your daughter’s emotional needs are (just go on ahead and admit that’s what’s at work here and deal with it)? You can’t possibly be that ignorant? Quit treating your daughter as a pawn in your game of Yuppie Status Idol and start acting like she’s your daughter. Damn.

Sorry about that shippers. I had to take care of some issues there, and sometimes it’s not pretty. Anyway, with winter fast approaching, I hope that you’re all readying the hatches, checking all your seals, and ensuring that you’re ready to weather the cold. Just remember: any hull penetration is a potential leak! I know we’ll all get through it together. So, until next week, fair winds and following seas to all of ya!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

...on Loving Thy Sister (orig. 10/22/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers! How in the heck are ya?! I hope that you’ve found your way here easily and that the extra effort to arrive doesn’t take away from the enjoyment? These are calm and pleasant waters and the snark fish are very active here (have a look around at all of them!).  And that’s just the way I like it. If you like it, too, please spread the word as there’s plenty of room for us all! The water’s fine here at “The Fly”, trust me. :-) But, that aside, let’s get to the letters, shall we?

LW#1: I’m engaged to my boyfriend of four years and our wedding is scheduled for next year. Everything is peachy keen except for one thing: his relationship with his sister, which is, frankly, creepy! They giggle like schoolgirls when together, they share intimate secrets with one another, and, they actually touch one another’s feet! There’s something so not right about it all. I mean, I would never, ever, ever act that way with my brother. What can I do? Is it normal for siblings to act that way? Hot dog! I love opportunities like this to point out something very fundamental in life: you don’t have to marry the person you’re engaged to! I don’t care if the announcements have been printed, the cake has been made, and the guests are on their way to the wedding site; you don’t have to marry someone if there are issues! You don’t even have to stay with them another day! I’m not saying you should leave this guy. Far from it. But, the idea that you’ve got to suffer through something that angers you, something that doesn’t seem like it’ll change, is just silly. And yet so many people go into marriage thinking that things will magically change once the vows are spoken. I’ve got news for you, sister. They don’t. So, before you get married and have kids and invest anything else into this tragic E.A. Poe story, figure out what I’ve said about the fact that you can leave. Understand it. Digest it. Live it.

Then, absolutely talk to your boyfriend about his relationship with his sister! How hard is that? If he’s more attached to his sister than you, and unwilling to change, you can leave him. Easy as that. If you’re a bitch about his relationship with her and it’s all actually perfectly normal and you’re the one with the problems, hopefully he’ll get angry with you and send you packing. Eithere way, win-win for both of you. Or, if what’s going on is just friendly sibling affection, maybe he can explain it to you in a way that you can live with. But I doubt that because, let’s face it, you’re completely and entirely jealous of his sister, right or wrong. You’re thinking, “Why be part of a secret threesome when I can be part of a committed relationship with someone else?” So go on ahead and act on that. You’ll both be better off for it.

LW#2: I have a wonderful nude painting of myself (from the neck down) that I’d like to hang in my house. Unfortunately, I can’t stand the thought of hanging it anywhere that anyone could see it due to the inevitable questions it’d inspire. Conversely, I feel terribly about keeping such a beautiful work of art hidden away, collecting dust. What can I do? Wow, this is a tough one. Let’s see. Okay, I thought about it for all of one-tenth of one second. Hang that painting! Proudly! Listen, if you want to hang it, hang it! If you want to tell someone who it’s of, you can, that’s your choice. And do so proudly!  But, if you don’t want to (i.e. if you’re uncomfortable with telling them), have a most excellent story handy about your wonderful great-great second cousin (twice-removed), Cleopatra (tell them, “yes, that most certainly is her real name!”), and how she was painted by a friend of hers. Say in hushed tones how it was “very scandalous at the time”, but be sure to state, too, “how wonderful it is that we now live in an enlightened society that understands that things such as nudity and boobies are nothing to be ashamed of.” At all (regardless of what Alberto Gonzales thinks). Got it? Good. :-)

LW#3: I am a single mother of the bestest best 4-year-old ever! She’s so wonderful that I figured lying to her would be the best way to just cement our relationship and make her grow up with good moral fiber. I’m so ashamed of/angry at/completely over her father that I like to pretend he doesn’t exist (except for my acceptance of the monthly checks he sends). As such, when she asked about him (and, holy smokes, I just never imagined in a million years that she would, so I was, like, completely unprepared for such a crazy and off-the-wall question as who her daddy is--I mean, who’d ever ask that?!), I instinctively lied and told her that her father is dead. He’s not. Now what? Listen up, chicky doodle. This is the first in a long line of questions that you’re going to get from her that you’re uncomfortable with. And the more you lie, the more you shut down, the more you keep from her, the less she’s going to trust you, the less she’s going to come to you, the less she’s going feel like you’re a haven in a storm. Do you understand that? Kids are not stupid. She already knows that you’re wildly uncomfortable about this subject and naturally that piques her interest. She’s four, for crying out loud. Curiosity is like oxygen when you’re four. You need to steel yourself for life’s questions and promise yourself you’ll never lie to her again. You can always say, as Prudie suggested, that he lives far away because you two don’t get along any more, and that you’d like to talk about it more later. You can give her info little by little as you’re comfortable, but don’t lie. Ever. And don’t bad mouth her father. Neither practice will endear you to her in the long run. Now go hug your daughter and apologize for lying. Explain to her that we all make mistakes sometimes, even those of us old enough to be adults...

LW#4: Prudie, my 80-year-old mother-in-law is a thief! I take her on a weekly grocery shopping trip as she can no longer safely drive. As we go through the store, though, she just eats candy from the bulk bins and fruit from the produce section like it’s nothing! Like it’s her own personal smorgasbord! Of course she doesn’t pay for this snacking, and she even has the gall to accuse me of harshing her mellow by calling her out on the behavior. What should I do? Wow. At 80, she’s clearly not an adult, and, at 40 to 60-something, you’re clearly not either. How hard is this? You tell her that what she’s doing is stealing and that if she doesn’t stop it, you’re not going to take her shopping anymore. Period. Hell, if she steals enough, it’ll be a felony and you’ll be the getaway driver! Okay, just kidding on that part, but still. She’s not going to stop without you putting your foot down. And she still may not stop. But you don’t have to be a party to it. Are you worried about what your husband will say? Tell him that he can take his thieving mom shopping himself if he doesn’t like it. If he balks, so what. You’ve got the power sister, as you own the wrench in that relationship. And you know what wrench I mean. Good luck, as you’re gonna need it.

Well shippers, that’s about it. I can’t believe that we didn’t get any penises or diapers or masturbation in this week’s letters. How depressing is that? But, such is life. We take the good with the bad and we move on, right? I hope that you all have a wonderful week. Fair winds and following seas to you all...