http://www.slate.com/id/2218711/ (orig. 5/21/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Since we get a weekly perspective from land and outer space, I’m going to try something new this week and see how it goes. Here's my take from under the waves...
LW#1: Found icky photos of boss’s daughter. I think that it’s likely that Prudie’s wrong here, or at least that what she considers to be least likely (the daughter taking these pics herself), is actually far and away the most likely scenario. That said, I’m not touching this letter with a ten foot pole (pun, sort of intended) because, in the end, you can’t know exactly what to do. If the daughter was younger, there’d be no question. You would go with Prudie’s advice and have it investigated, consequences be damned. Because she’s not, I think it’s more nuanced that Prudie lets on precisely because I think the pics are most likely the daughter’s doing. Then, again, remember, I’m not going to advise on this one. It’s just too difficult. I guess if it was me, I’d do the ol’ ostrich act and stick my head in the sand. Seriously. Hate to be you, dude. Ostrich. Head. Sand.
LW#2: Disrespected young, female doctor. Are you single? Do you want a kept man? I do dishes and cook! I realize the staff calls you Mrs., but a guy can dream, can’t he? I’ll always call you doctor! Okay, I’m supposed to be serious. Well, to do that, I really need more info. How does the nursing staff treat the patriarchal doc? They might question him in front of patients, too? But maybe he’s used to it, or they don’t mean it, or that’s part of the office personality, or the patients all know everyone and it’s just more casual there than what you’d like? How does the male doc treat the staff? For example, instead of asking a nurse to get a patient’s chart, does he ask her where so-and-so’s chart is? That might sound like a minor difference, but it’s not. What area of the country are you in? Does it have a culture that you’re not familiar with?
All of that aside, I’ll point out something that I’ve noticed time and again in the south. A large group of women will eat new (and especially “outsider”) women for breakfast. I don’t know why, but it seems especially true if the group has known each other for a long time. A male comes into the office and, regardless of position, they’ll treat him like a favored son/hunk/dad, even giggling and bending over backwards (not literally) to take care of him. A female comes in and she’s eviscerated. Why? I don’t know. And, too, please know that I recognize this to be a wildly stereotypical statement and probably very unfair. That doesn’t make it any less true.
What to do about it? Make damned sure that the behavior that you desire is what the male doc gets/gives. If things truly are disparate, then take Prudie’s advice. But do that soul searching first and make necessary changes to your expectations and your behavior to come in line with how he’s being treated and how he treats the staff before enacting Prudie’s plan. It’s important! If you find you don’t like how he’s being treated either, then the two of you can make a plan together. It’ll be much better received that way.
LW#3: A pregnant wife who can’t get over the infidelity of man who once cheated on a previous wife. Okay, you’ll find that I don’t react well with letters like this. I’ll try to behave, though, as this is my maiden column. You knew all of this before you married the guy, right? You knew it before you got pregnant, too. Here’s me having zero sympathy for you. At all.
That said, recognize a couple of things. First, you’re pregnant. You may have never had your hormones go all wacky-doodle on you, but, they do during pregnancy, and they likely currently are. And it’s only going to get worse. As the nesting instincts kick in, you’re going to really dislike this guy because you’re going to want everything just so and his past won’t fit that expectation. At all. Recognize that for what it is, though, and, as Prudie says, concentrate that energy on painting the nursery. However, if you felt this way about him BEFORE getting preggers, well, go back to my sympathy sentence as I have none.
LW#4: Money-poor sister doesn’t like being invited on expensive trips when she has to foot her “share" of the bill. Okay, first off, come on. There is soooo-oooo-ooo much more going on here than the yearly get together. You are going to have to address that stuff. Was the rich sister your parents’ favorite? Was she always the one who got the boys? Was she always a bitch?
Here’s the thing, you have to get to the root of that stuff before you can have a civil conversation with her. And whatever that unaddressed stuff is, it’s HUGE. Trust me, I can tell. I’m like that. Plus, your dislike of her practically jumps off the page! That said, you should do what Prudie says and just let her know in a very simple way that you can’t afford that type of trip, but thank you anyway. Thing is, and Prudie didn’t address this, if your sisters acquiesced and picked a cheaper place, or offered to pay for you guys, or even decided to meet up in your neck of the woods, I don’t think you’d want to be there anyway. You have to get at that underlying nastiness before you can find peace with them--this trip is just a symptom of the real disease.
Finally, just so you know, I hate that type of invite, too. It pisses me right the hell off. If someone says, “Hey, we’re thinking of doing X and it’ll cost Y,” then I’m okay with it. I can opt out. I can make other suggestsion more suitable to my tastes/income, etc. But when they say, “Hey, we’ve already made plans and booked you into this room at this price” then I get prickly and treat them like they’d married a cheater and then got all pissy about his past.
That’s all for this week, kiddies. See ya next week!