http://www.slate.com/id/2238852/ (12/17/09) <--Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There
Hey there shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! Man, the holidays are essentially upon us, as well as the requisite craziness that comes right along with them. How else to explain these letters? Or the fact that if you’re like a lot of folks, you’re still disproportionately worried about those last two or three items that you just have to buy before Christmas? Even though you’ve already gotten that person plenty of gifts and they've told you time and again to not worry about it? Well, put those thoughts aside for a minute, have a tea, and perhaps even a nap. Naps are always good. Stretch a little, read these replies, then go back to tackling your gift list. You’ll be happy you did. Trust me. So, without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?
LW#1: My partner and I are adopting twins, Prudie! We’re so thrilled! We’ve decided that we’ll raise them in the most Nouvelle Vague way possible. If it’s new, and trendy, and fashionable, we’re doing it! Diapers? No way! They’re so, 20th century. We’re all for letting the little ones poop and pee as they see fit and they'll be better people and less traumatized for the effort, too! Synthetic clothes? Nope. Synthetic toys?! No way, José! But that's not even our problem, Prudie. Our problem is that we’re having a baby shower and don’t know how to let our preferences be known for all of the gifts we’ll receive? We don’t want to seem uncouth (god forbid) by putting out a wish list, but, at the same time, we don’t want to give away or donate the gifts that we do receive because that seems wrong, too. What ever can we do? Well, first of all, I’m going to say that Prudie was way out of line in her response to you. I don’t think she remembers all of the bizarre and crazy and woefully ignorant thoughts and ideals and dreams that new parents have prior to the arrival of their first kiddo (or kiddos, if they're twins, etc.). She should have been kinder. That said, though, you need to know from a non-biased party that you are, in fact, being bizarre, crazy and woefully ignorant. You need to calm the fuck down, over? But, you won’t take my word for that. And that’s fine. You’ll learn. Look, parenting is a lot of fun, but please know that it is its most fun when you’re sincerely enjoying your kids and not trying to engage in performance art for the sake of your community or friends. It’s not a competition or a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ endeavor. Also, just so you know, the more ridiculous your proclamations are now, the farther you’re going to have to fall when you give in to reality. And you will fall. Kids are powerful destructors of ideals and bringers of reality. Don’t worry, though. They won’t destruct the important ideals. Those they’ll learn directly from you and how you treat others. And trust me when I tell you that the important ones have nothing to do with clothes or toys or methods of catching poop. As for your problem, since, like I said, you’re not going to listen to me about any of the stuff above, anyway, why not just make a very specific registry list at a store that caters to your special brand of new parent ideals and ask everyone to please look there when shopping because you have some very specific desires for your kiddos. They’ll laugh, but, hopefully they’ll understand. And maybe even reminisce a little. Good luck. Heh-heh.
LW#2: Prudie, my mom recently died. She'd been ill and, as an only child, I had to pay for her surgery and funeral expenses. I've learned since then that numerous friends and family members made donations to my mom's sister to defer those costs, but my aunt kept the money?! I would sure like to have that money, Prudie. What can I do to get it? Hmmmm. This is one of those problems that's so hard, it's, like, well, almost impossible to answer. Or not. Sigh. Let's see. You either, a) make damned sure your aunt was given money to defer your mom's expenses (and that it's enough to even bother with) and then ask your aunt, "What the hell, you heathenous bitch?!", or, b) you really, in truly, forget about it and move on with your life. But don't choose some pansy-assed passive-aggressive third choice like talking about her behind her back and encouraging family members to ostracize her. Okay? Okay. Here's what bothers me, though. What did you mean by you "had" to pay for your mother's surgery? No, you didn't have to do anything, actually. Are you saying that she needed life-saving surgery to live and, without it she'd die, but that no one would perform it unless she paid for it up front? And, too, that she had no insurance, no government assistance, no assets? And, you know what? Even if all of that is true, you didn't have to do shit even then. Got it? You "chose" to pay for your mom's surgery and funeral. What would you do if no one had given your aunt any money? Would you shake her down for money anyway? Or hit up other family members? Would you be bitter with your mom for costing you all that cash and then dying anyway? Or, would you just move the fuck on with your life? Yeah, that's what I thought. You didn't have to do anything. Remember that the next time you start to get all worked up about what you had to pay for.
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I have a friend who sounds mysteriously like Tiger Woods. He plays the same sport as Tiger Woods (you know, using his "club" to get it in the "hole"), as well as the same games that Tiger plays (texting, voice mails, cheating). I wish I could think of a more original letter to write, Prudie, but I really want to be featured on your page and you only publish letters from the other, more clever interns, so I thought I'd give this angle a shot. Let's say, to add color to this story, that my friend, "Jason", asked me to lie to his wife and to provide an alibi for him for when he'd been out with one of his many "golf friends" getting his balls cleaned and the shafts of his clubs polished. What should I do? So, okay, remember in the last response when I sarcastically said that the question was so difficult that it was almost impossible to answer? Well, I'm dropping the sarcasm here. Are you such a fucking dense, stupid, ignorant, shit-for-brains idiot that you can't figure out the answer to this middle school-inspired question (or perhaps you've just been watching too much "Tool Academy")? And worse, you silly prick, do you think the readers of this column are so dim as to not know their being fucked with? If you're real (and you're not, but if you are), the answer is simple, tell the guy that he's not your friend (friends don't treat friends that way), that you're not lying for him (regardless of what kind of magical "I already told her, so you have no choice" logic he uses on you), and then turn your body in the opposite direction from his, put one foot forward and then walk away. It'll be hard with limited brain function, but I'm guessing you can manage it. Maybe.
LW#4: Dear Prudie. I'm in my 20s and dating a wonderful guy whom I plan to marry in a few years. Our problem? He's an atheist and my parents are devout Christians. They like him except for this one "character flaw." We're spending Christmas Eve with my folks and I want him to come to church with us. He doesn't want to. For me, it wouldn't be a big deal, honest, except my dad is a musician and he plays in the church band. If I tell my boyfriend that it's important to me that he come with us, he'll will, but, I don't want to force him to. Prudie, I'm conflicted. How can I manipulate him into wanting to come with us without, you know, manipulating him? Well, chicky doodle, there are just tons of contradictions in this letter. First of all, if your parents like your boyfriend, and already know he's an atheist, they probably won't be that surprised about his desire not to go. So, your worry about that is a bit of a contradiction right off the bat. Further, as you point out, his atheism isn't why he doesn't want to go. That has absolutely nothing to do with it, actually, and you shouldn't have mentioned it (except that I suspect that you're intern #3 and have been frequenting The Prudie Fray, too). See, as an atheist, he doesn't believe a god exists. Any god. So it's not like it's a big deal to go to a church where Jesus is being worshiped versus a synagogue or mosque (like it might be for a devout Jew or Muslim, etc.). He doesn't believe in any of it. It's not different than attending a play to him. And you even said that he'd be "bored" and "uncomfortable". Not that he'd be deeply "offended" by the religious goings on. So, if it's important to you that he go, just ask him. What, he can't get over a little boredom and discomfort for you? But, that isn't what's really at issue, is it? No. You want him to want to go. And you might want to think about why that's so important to you? I think that you're the uncomfortable one with his atheism, not him (as I said, it isn't even a point of contention and shouldn't have been mentioned in this letter). If you can mange it, you need to try really hard to analyze why you want him there so badly and see if you can't get off the manipulation and start just being honest with him. If he's worth marrying "in a few years", he'll understand.
Okay, shippers, that's it for another week. I hope that you've enjoyed this batch of fun? All here in the lagoon is extremely festive, with multiple Christmas cards being sent back and forth, lots of happiness and love and frivolity and even some heavy snarkiness that isn't necessarily holiday-related, but fun none-the-less. Have a great week and we'll see you soon! 'Til then, fair winds and following seas to you, shippers!