http://www.slate.com/id/2233031/ (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...