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 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!


  1. Happy Whateveritisthatmightbehappytoday, Smag! Thanks for posting today and keeping me entertained while I have to work Christmas Freaking Eve day! OK, I'm Jewish, so it's technically not my holiday anyway, but still, I enjoy a day off as much as the next person. Just saying.
    Right on as usual with the advice. Especially that last guy. If only Prudie knew how simple the answer to that one was!
    Anyway, why do people like LW1 feel something like this is an issue of such magnitude that they must consult a "professional?" If it were me, and my brother asked me to ship his gifts, the conversation would go something like this:
    Me: Dude. You must be fucking kidding me.
    Bro: What? A trip to the post office would kill you?
    Me: It's a huge hassle. Just check your damn bags.
    Bro: Oh, come on! I'll buy you lunch.
    Me: Fine.
    Bro: No appetizers.
    Me: D'oh!
    It's no episode of the Waltons or anything, and we'd bicker about it(oh, and did I mention we're Jewish, so what an asshole he'd be to expect a Christmas present and what a saint I'd be to get him one) but the point is we'd figure something out. We're family - we can bicker and negotiate and not let a trip to the post office make us simmer with blind rage.
    Your response to her was much more helpful than Prudie's. Exchange big gifts for small, easy-to-carry stuff - so simple, yet so brilliant!
    Anyway, enjoy your holiday.

  2. Hey Amy! I like "Whateveritisthatmightbehappytoday" Day! What an excellent thing! :-) And thanks for the props regarding the last guy. Holy smokes, what a douche he is!

    It sounds like you and your brother do just fine. :-) I'm that way with mine, too. Amazing how a little four or five sentence conversation (with no appetizers!) can solve most of life's problems. :-)

    Happy, happy, Amy! :-)

  3. Happy Holidays and Smooth Submarining next year and always Smagster!

    I gotta tell you, I took deep offense in your using "dillweed" as an insult...I happen to love dillweed! So please, next time, try finding a different weed for insulting or next year you might get a card from me saying "Dillweed prevents public health care need"! ;-D

    Also, I think big sis should mail little sis her gifts but ask LW4 to wrap them like they would be for his MIL! :-p

  4. Hey there, Roo! Being as it's Christmas, I've changed from dillweed to something far better (or worse). How's "dick cheese reject" grab ya? ;-) My bad on the dillweed usage. It just sounded like the perfect thing to say and I didn't know it was actually something lovable!

    And yes! Excellent suggestion on the combo between big sis and LW#4. ;-)

  5. Merry Holidays to Aqualad and his minions! I didn't think that Prudie would do any letters on Thursday, but... well, there ya are. My presence is greatly requested at my sister's each Christmas Eve -> Christmas, so I was there last night. Now I'm not there!

    I could get about 13 DP letters out of my visits to her place. It's like living in all of the shows that used to be on the WB. Yeah, even >that< show.

    Anyway, if asked to ship things, I'd ask for money to do it. Even just a subsidy. A rolled-up People or US magazine is reserved for if the answer is No. Because it must not be No.

    LW2: I'm glad that I don't date. But I did appreciate your use of that most blessed of Christmas animals, the weasel, to help you make your point.

    LW3: sounds like the political shit won't end at the cards, though. It'll come up during meals and other conversation, mark me words, me hearties!

    I just wanna know where she got a card like that?? I'm pretending that it was printed with that message and not scribbled. Also, I wanna know what machinations the aunt is brewing to make her wish come true?

    This has the makings of a political thriller, I tells ya!

    "Submitted for your approval: a Christmas tree. A cheerful, colorful symbol of peace on earth and good will towards men. But in tonight's tale, we meet a man whose notion of 'good will' would mean more to the architect of an inescapable prison than to you, me, or his loved ones. A man who shows affection through cruel concoctions of riddles wrapped in mysteries and inside enigmas. A man who's about to arrive gift-wrapped in... The Twilight Zone."

  6. Hey there, herdthinner! Oh man, I love it when we get quotes from Winston Churchill AND allusions to Rod Serling's little show. Or allusions to Churchill and quotes from Serling's show. ;-)

    As for the 13 letters you could get from visits to your sister, should you ever be in the mood, I'd be happy to post them here anonymously, with answers! All allusions to you removed, of course, to protect the innocent. Just a thought. ;-)

    I'm glad that you enjoyed my reference to the Holy Christmas Weasel, herdthinner. It's important that they receive their due, else they'll want to take over President's Day as well. ;-)

    Have a wonderful day and weekend. Cheers! :-)

  7. Smags, happy new year, etc....

    Where do I get a potato gun? I'm always wondering what to do with the leftovers mashed potatoes...

    Herdthiner, I just love your twilight zone interlude... scary! I wonder what happens next?

  8. Smag m'boy, here are some quickies. You don't have to "answer" them. I'm just being silly:

    Dear Rudey,
    My sister is a germaphobe. I am not. At all. Is this relationship doomed from the start??

    Dear Rudey,
    My sister and I don't, by any stretch of the imagination, share the same tastes in movies, TV, music, literature, or art. Yet she keeps calling on Me to be her date for the movies and other events. Is this relationship doomed from the start??

    Dear Rudey,
    Oh, I already mentioned the germaphobe thing. Never mind.

    Dear Rudey,
    My sister and her immediate family hate leftovers. I can't stand the waste of food and do eat leftovers, thank you very much. Is this relationship do- Oh, wait. Never mind; problem solved!

  9. Happy, happy!

    OK, I must admit I'm not feeling all the happy, happy of this season. I'm trying but it's not working. I did a fine job of meeting the celebrations of the season head on, felt good doing so but when I'm alone I am sad. And the hard part is knowing I may simply be out of estrogen but what to do, what to do in the mean time?

    Come out and snark with Smaggie? Would this be good medicine? What the hell, may as well.

    LW1...being the older sister I get a completely different take than you Smaggie. I get...the older sister and the burr in her butt over the younger sister's request of shipping presents. It's the why she feels that way that I am in the middle of working out? Why is the older sister the fixer for the younger? Why don't the words to avoid this immediately fall out of her mouth? I agree with the thinking she could say...on a cold day in hell will I be standing in line to ship your gifts home so you can avoid standing in line at the airport. I wonder if she finds the request so incredulous she is speechless, that seems to be my issue...disbelief quiets me rapidly. And it's not all about that request, it's about the ongoing attitude of the little sister that her time is more valuable than, that she is deserving of more respect than she is giving.

    What's going on is that...the older sister is now seeing her sibling through new eyes and is having trouble meshing this new person that is so not what she thought her to be. She has with this new request become insulted beyond what she can gloss over...and she is stunned that this is her new truth.

    Oh, Smaggie LW2 needed your whip lashing on his control issues. His feelings were hurt after driving those several hours to visit his long time friend when upon her doorstep another suitor's gifts await. The married man at church, that it's OK if he gives her gifts but as she requested...don't tell my friends! What a load of crap all wrapped up in perfume and lotion and then there's the church issue for me. Why didn't this married man deliver these gifts at church? Was it because he left Dollar Store perfume all over town on as many door steps as his ego needed to feel like a huge player? Hmmm? I smell a nasty holiday weasel...smells like infidelity masked as some holly, jolly seasonal event, ya think? When he texts her and she give out her happy little giggle did her date know that sound of attraction...I can hear it in ones giggle, can't you? The forbidden giggle of, oh my, he's married and he wants me, don't tell my friends. They both deserve each other. The new guy should run all those miles back home and not return, after he's stopped by the church. Yes, my girlfriend and I enjoyed using the lotion and perfume that you left on her doorstep, nice to finally meet your wife.

    continued, 4,96 characters allowed...

  10. LW3 Ah Smaggie, loved your response at the dinner table. I figure this was the guys Auntie in law so anything goes...blast her with whatever you wish while taking the high road have a bit of fun. Amazing. I'd give her the gift of postage stamps since she could not afford to send a holiday card and a separate card to further her political issues. Woman's a nut case. Moving on! Begs the question...what does she write in Wedding cards...marriage should only be between,yada,yada, yada...or Birthday cards...Happy Birthday you're only 5 years away from Medicare and driving to Canada for low cost prescriptions is a good plan! hit the pin on the head Smaggie or should I say hit the pinhead? Man's another nut case in need of drama. Wonder if that box would open if she banged it on his head a few times? His girlfriend needs to run. He's clueless and juvenile in thinking he's helping his fragile existence.

    Reading Prudie has helped me be thankful this season. Thankful I don't have to deal with any of this spectacular junk.

    I hope everyone is settling in to a new beginning of a new year. I am finding it hard to believe it's soon to be 2010, but I can say it without stuttering from the shock if I practice!

    And on another note...may I suggest if you need a treat. A selfish treat just to regain your sanity this whatever you can to go see the 3D version of Avatar, raid your coin jar, comb your hair and push yourself out the door. It was visually spectacular, very magical and a delight for my eyes...and it had guns and battles galore for the fellows! And my husband looked so cute in his Clark Kent glasses...another plus in my book!

    Happy trails everyone...may you find some delight in your day!

  11. Hey Kati! And happy New Year to you, too! :-) As for the potato gun, it may as hard to find as a leaf canon, but, they do exist. (

  12. Greetings herdthinner. Sounds like you already have answers to your questions, and I know for sure that you don't need an Internet Rude Guy to answer them for you, but, I will wish you a Happy New Year, just because, even though I'm not answering your questions, I am thrilled for the New Year's arrival! :-)

  13. Hey Debbie,

    Thank you for coming out to snark with me! I can't address the estrogen question first hand because, well, my parts are different than your parts, but, I can say that the women in my life who've experienced the same time have all come through it happy and healthy in the end. I realize my words are probably little to no salve, but, I can't let the subject just hang like that because, you know, one of the weaknesses guys have is wishing that we could solve all of the world's problems. Of course, the world is no closer to having its problems solved, so, perhaps it's a wish we ought to suppress? Anyway, on to your thoughts on the LWs...

  14. (Debbie, cont.)...

    For LW#1, I agree with you completely. I know I didn't exactly say that in my response, but, the part where the LW complained that she and her husband are both busy professionals really put a burr in my bonnet. As you say, she needs to just face what's really bothering her about it and say it. I don't like entitlement (the sister), but I also don't care for, well, entitlement (the LW). In the end, though, your observation "why should the LW wait in line versus the sister waiting in line" is perfect and dead on.

    For LW#2, I agree that both the LW and the GF and the gift giver are all unsavory. And, had the LW been the GF, I would have called her out, too, for being an idiot. As well as calling out the church-going gift giver, had he written. But, as it was, the advice seeker was our LW, so, I provided him with a well-deserved tongue lashing. ;-)

    For LW#3, yepper, nothing like dealing with the family nut case. We all have them, yes? Sigh.

    As for LW#4, I wish I would have thought of the future MIL banging the LW's present on his head to open it. He deserves nothing less. :-)

    And, finally, as for Avatar, I found it to be visually stunning, and, what's more, there was not a single moment in the film where I thought "oh, look at that cool CGI!" I was completely engrossed in the movie.

    Merry Happy New Year! :-)

  15. Ahoy, Captain! Did you miss me? I missed you, that's for sure. I had a little too much holiday frovolity going ~ I'm working off the effects of a major bacon hangover. Bacon-wrapped shrimp. Rumaki (you know the ones I'm talkin' about!) bacon in the fettucini Alfredo, bacon waffles ~ Nothing says the holidays quite like bacon! The smell of bacon actually makes Mermaid a little frisky ~ as she associates it with early in the morning. I'll let you put two and two together on that, Diving Buddy. ;)

    Speaking of catching my drift, a few things jumped out at me in the first letter. The LW says her little sister "reminded her" that she'd need to ship her gift"s". This leads me to believe two things; first, that they've had this conversation about transporting gifts before, and second, that the LW isn't maybe giving her sister oversize gifts so much, as some have speculated, but rather gifts so numerous they make transport difficult. This would fall right in line with big sister playing Lady Bountiful each year with little sister, heaping present after present upon her... "I saw this, and thought of you... I saw that and thought you could use it..." and little sister is "enough already!"

    Reminds me of that old SNL skit with Gilda Radner as the daughter who comes home to visit her mother, played by the late Maureen Stapleton, and Gilda can't leave without having a dozen things pressed into her arms by her mom, over her protests, culminating in the classic handing to Gilda (who's arms are already full, and who has to take the bus home fercryin'outloud) a full roasting pan entreating her to "TAKE the brisket! Take it!"

    On letter #2 ~ I agree that he shouldn't have a say in what she does with her personal life, but don't you think it's totally skeezy that the girlfriend would come home from a date (unless by "came home to" he means they are spending the weekend together, then double ewww!) with one guy and stand there and open a present from another guy while she's taking a laughy text from someone? That's totally tacky and rude and inconsiderate! Not on my watch, Captain! And little known factoid ~ weasels have no pride whatsoever, and will happily shit in your mouth at the slightest provocation. Use care while napping during picnics.

    LW#3 ~ Are you saying people who don't have a Facebook account are not healthy? How about people who only set up a Facebook account so they could look at (I never cared for that term "stalk") other people's Facebook accounts, but not actually interact with anyone? Btw, I wrap all my gifts in baby seal skin, which really gets everyone going. Last year everyone got polar bear head doorstops. Holding an AK47 in its teeth. And my sister was all "omigod like how am I going to get all this home on the plane?" the ungrateful beeyotch, next time she gets a gift card ~ to Arby's.

    Oh yeah, Christmas cards. You stop being ungrateful for them when you realize the only 2 on the mantel are from your cable company and the dentist you saw 2 years ago. At that point, you might welcome a missive from Rush himself. Hopefully for all of our dear Friends, it never comes to either.

    LW#4 ~ Sweetie! I told you that you could use this any time, and I belive now is the perfect opportunity re the boyfriend with the sado/maso gift wrapping tendencies ~ TARDMO.

    Well, 2009 is leaving us, my diving buddy. I'll be back tomorrow to discuss coming aboard to help toot your horn to welcome in 2010. I have a feeling it's going to be a wonderful New Year!

  16. Greeting's of the season one more time!

    Ah, Smaggie...that Mermaid delights me! Don't go splish splashing about with just anyone for fear of her heading to deeper waters.

    I had to laugh at her Christmas Card thoughts. Every year when I get a card from my insurance guy I wonder what I'll think when the time comes that his is the only card...especially since I have welcomed electronic cards with open arms and never put pen to paper now.

    And wrapping presents in Seal skin let alone baby seal skin, that LW was almost as alarming!

    And who'da thought I'd ever be thankful to be weasel less (or is that one word).

    See you on the morrow...
    PS thanks for the kind words

  17. Greetings MM! Of course I missed you! How could I not?! And your bacon missive has me drooling ten ways to Sunday. But you already knew that, didn't you? You did it on purpose! Naughty MM! :-)

    On LW#1, I definitely agree with you. But, regardless of motivation and causation, my biggest problem with the LW came when she claimed that, being a "professional" she just simply didn't have the time to send packages. Yeah, my ass.

    As for LW#2, yes, she's a skeez. Of the 100th magnitude. And I would have ripper her a new one had she written in with the same story. But, as it was, our LW is also a controlling dickwad. So, for the sake of efficiency, I made a choice and only nailed him. The chicky doodle deserves an entire column all to herself. :-)

    As for LW#3, I will only say that some Facebookers aren't healthy. ;-) However, should anyone ever Facebook stalk *me*, I'd be honored! :-)

    LW#2. TARDMO. Got it! :-)

    As for coming aboard and tooting in 2010, as always, MM, you are more than welcome. Just be sure to bring an appetite for bacon! :-)

  18. Greetings Debbie. As for MM, please know that I'm more than honored by her company! This is her lagoon, afterall! I'm allowed to dock here occasionally by her grace and would be compelled to instantly leave should she request it of me. So, as always, yes, I tender full respects to her. :-)

    Happy 2010! :-)