http://www.slate.com/id/2221231/ (orig. 6/25/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Greetings and Salutations, Shippers! How’s everyone this fine, fine Prudie day? Aren’t Thursdays grand? I mean, they’re Friday Eve, really. And Friday, for me, means making port. And port’s a good thing, in its own way. So then Friday is, too. But enough of me waxing philosophical. Fire up them letters!
LW#1: Prudie, I recently married my dream husband. He’s practically perfect in every way. I mean, he actually sweats liquid perfection when he works out and exhales warm manna-breath when he breathes! Strangely, though, even though he really is entirely perfect, and God, I do so love him, he went ape-shit bananas when I told him that I was going to buy a Mac as opposed to a PC. Should I acquiesce and buy a PC, even though I work with a Mac, enjoy Macs, am replacing a Mac, and, he has his own PC already so it’s not like my computer preferences have anything to do with his perfect use of his practically perfect computer? Should you give in on this? No. Next letter.
Okay, damn, I should probably explain myself. Although “no” is a perfectly suitable answer. Sweetie, I’m going to say something right here and I hope you hear me. This little discussion you’re having with your perfect hubby over your Mac (you do realize the computer is yours, right?) is what we adults like to call a huge, bright red, warning flag. It’s about control of you, your choices and your life (I’m talking about the “you” that, by necessity, must continue to exist even after marrying a perfect man, or anyone) and he’s asserting his dominion over that part of you that should never belong to anyone but you. You’ve got to put the kibosh on this right now, or start down the path to losing yourself. You think I’m joking? I’m not. At all. The only excuse for his behavior is cost. Macs really do cost a lot more than comparable PCs. But, since you didn’t mention that in your letter, I’m sticking by my conclusion that this guy is not nearly as perfect as you think he is and that you’d better get your head around that idea and fast. Cost can be overcome. Assholes cannot. That’s why we put assholes behind us.
LW#2: I recently had half my body and most of my brain amputated below the knee. I’ve been dating a girl for awhile that could be LW#1’s perfect husband’s sister in that she’s very cool and perfect, but, I’m afraid if she learns I’ve been lobotomized, she’ll run away. And frankly, I won’t be able to catch her due to my leg operation. My question is, should I tell her that I’m a freak? See, okay, I’ve been a little glib in my summation of your letter. I would apologize, but I got distracted by how little faith you have in this girl, how grossly formulaic you are in determining when sexual relations should occur, and how warped your sense of self is.
Here’s some actual, non-snarky advice that I learned, honestly, in middle school or so: you can’t be in a good relationship with another person (a wonderful arrangement between two people that makes something more than the sum of its parts) until you can be in a good relationship with yourself. I suggest counseling about the loss of your lower leg. Pronto. And while you’re there, why not ask about how relationships work and how trust and respect are things that don’t even pause to notice slight physical issues that are completely irrelevant.
LW#3: I’ve been dating a woman for two years and thought it might be nice to put up some photos of her in my own house. My previous wife has been dead for six years and so I removed some of her photos to put up photos of my girlfriend. My 30 year old daughter is a heinous bitch who needs to go to counseling as bad as LW#2. Perhaps worse. She came into my house, took down the pictures of my girl friend, and re-hung the photos of my first wife. What should I do? Holy shit!! Are you honestly asking this question? Is the answer not painfully, crystal clear to you? Your daughter stepped way over the line. You did say she’s 30 and not 3, correct? Listen, I’m going to single-handedly keep the American Psychological Association in business this week because holy crap, does your daughter need counseling. And now.
Now, we need to go on a hunt for your balls. This is your house, yes? What pictures do you want to hang (here’s a hint: they can be of whatever you want and don’t have to adhere to any ratio or one woman to another, or any other bullshit, made-up craziness!)? You can put up pics of your girl friend if you want. Do you want to, or do you feel like if you don’t, she’ll leave you forever? Regardless, girl friend’s going to have to understand that you might want some pictures of your former wife to remain. If she can’t understand that, she’s wrong. Period. But I’m betting that she can get behind the idea of having a few pics of your former wife up so long as it’s not every other photo. Finally, your girlfriend is woefully wrong about one thing and she knows it. She’s not just “second best” in your life right now. She’s third. And as long as your daughter and former wife are first and second, you chances of an adult relationship with anyone are pretty much scuttled. You might want to think about that, too, while hanging some pics.
LW#4: My in-laws are having a 10-person get together for a long weekend and they’ve planned it to happen in a three-bedroom, one-bath house. I’m pregnant. I want to sleep in a hotel nearby. The in-laws are less than pleased about this suggestion and have threatened to be mean and nasty--you know, like in-laws do. What should I do? Amazing, isn’t it shippers? I live in a submarine with 150 other men. We, literally, have three bathrooms. As such, I can assure you that you can get by in a three-bedroom, one-bath house for the weekend with ten people. And it won’t affect your pregnancy unless you’re so totally the princess with the pea. So, in the end, that’s a truth.
But, in the end, too, your in-laws are wrong. If there’s a chance that you, a married, pregnant, adult, will have to sleep on the floor, there’s not a thing in the world wrong with getting a hotel and going there at 11:00 at night, or whenever the party winds down for the evening, and then coming back in the morning as everyone’s getting ready to prepare breakfast. I mean, what, are the in-laws wanting to touch you while you sleep? If everyone’s sleeping, does it matter if two of you sleep a few miles away? Now, if you’re planning on using the hotel room as a refuge several times per day, your staying there as an excuse to leave early and arrive late, yes, I can see them being bummed.
But, in the end, we’re talking about the sleeping hours here. And your in-laws are wrong. Have your husband deal with them--you say he agrees with you. You need to let him do this and make sure they know it’s coming from him as it’s his family. And if they can’t live with that, that you’re simply going to sleep and shower somewhere else? Tell them they can’t see the baby when it’s born! Just kidding. Sort of. No, really, don’t do that, I really was kidding...
Okay Shippers, another day, another dollar, yes? Smooth sailing to you all until we meet again.