http://www.slate.com/id/2240260/ (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!