Hot damn! Good morning shippers! What a fine, fine Prudie Day it is today, ain’t it?! If you’re in college, you’re likely studying like crazy for finals, or putting the finishing touches on your term papers. If you’re younger, you’re probably already on the glide path into Christmas break--as I know your teachers are! For submariners, this time of year isn’t much different than any, work-wise. But, it sure is festive! And happy! And there’s nothing like a festive, happy submariner to dispense a heapin’ helpin’ o’ snark. So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we? Woohoo!
LW#1: My child’s father and I split up when I was pregnant with my child. For my child’s sake, I’ve been letting my child see my child’s father. My child believes in Santa. Or, at least my child did believe in Santa until my child’s father told my child, last year, that Santa doesn’t exist. My child’s father said that Santa is a lie that parents tell their kids and that the parents are the ones who actually buy the presents for the children. Now my child doubts the existence of Santa. With this doubt, what is there left for my child to live for now, Prudie? Holy fucking Merry Christmas to you, too, you crazy nut job! I mean, holy shit, woman! Listen, I was with you, I even overlooked all of the terribly impersonal, distancing words that you used to describe your ex-fuck buddy. And I even understood your need to use them (although I do think it’s mighty petty--you did sleep with him, after all (unless the guy’s got really, really good aim), so why make him into a non-entity? Just accept that you made a mistake, but that this wonderful life came about out of it. Animosity does no one any good, but, anyway, I digress...). Like I said, even after that, I was with you. But when you said “And what’s there to live for when you don’t believe in all the things that make a moment special?”, well, I about blew chunks, Sister. I mean, come the fuck on! You’re kidding, right? Yes, your ex-sperm donor sucks. Yes, he’s truly an asshole with a capital hole for telling an eight-year-old (or, worse, a seven-year-old at the time) that there’s no such thing as Santa. That was an asshole move of the highest order. And he should be beaten with a rubber hose for it. But you don’t have to go there! You don’t have to stoop to his level. Especially not with your child. Please don’t pass on your animosity and disappointment to your child--your ex-sword partner is doing that enough for the both of you, and it takes years for kids to get over that and figure out the truth--that we all have issues, none of us are perfect and that that’s just a fact of life. Save your kiddo the hassle and just keep believing in Santa. If you do, he will, too!
LW#2: I work in a small office with a great group of people. Well, except that they’re inconsiderate asses (whoops, I can’t believe that slipped out). See, I’m the youngest in my office. By far. And I’m living paycheck to paycheck right now. Well, Christmas has come ‘round and the office has a tradition of buying the boss a present--with a set contribution from each of us of $75! Plus, we’ve planned a Christmas dinner at a really swanky restaurant--one that I absolutely cannot afford! I don’t want to be looked down upon for not participating, Prudie, but I can’t afford to do so. What can I do? Boy howdy, the holidays do bring out the craziness, don’t they? Listen, you are under NO obligation to participate at this level of craziness. You’re not required to participate at all! But, thing is, if everyone in your office gets along as well as you say, I don’t see why you can’t simply pull someone aside, someone that you trust, and say, “Mrs. Smith, I hate that I have to ask this, but, is there any way that I can contribute, say, $10 to the gift fund? I’m really not anywhere near in the same financial situation as most of the rest of you here and though I really would love to pay more, my circumstances just don’t allow for it right now. Further, the dinner is one that I can’t possibly afford, either. How can I gracefully back out?” I have a feeling that, if you’re at all correct about the relationships in this office, it’ll be no problem, and, further, that things will actually get solved with the magic of Christmas. If not, you’re still under no obligation to participate, and you shouldn’t if you can’t. Period. Even if they don’t understand, you can’t go into debt for the sake of your coworkers’ shallow approval. Hang in there!
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I have a problem. My husband doesn’t accept gifts very well. At all. He’s one of those people who researches for four weeks before buying a freakin’ toaster! And he’s also the type of guy who’s never happy with his purchases, or the purchases of others. Well, I enjoy giving gifts. It means a lot to me. But he always returns my gifts, or gives them to Good Will. I’ve tried several approaches, including Wish Lists, but he still hates the gifts that I get. What should I do? Hon, there’s nothing you can do short of giving him a kiss on the lips, a gift card, and well wishes as he saunters out into the post-Christmas crowd looking for something he can stomach. Enjoy spending time picking out just the right gifts for, and giving them to, others. Your husband is a Scrooge regarding gifts. As long are your relationship is shipshape otherwise, consider this an anomaly and let it go. Some people are just that way. Maybe someone gave him coal as a kid and he’s never gotten over it? Whatever the reason, after you’ve exhausted talking with him (you have), all gift-giving options you that can think of (you have), and even fretted over it (you have), it’s time to give up and not let him rent any more space in your head regarding this issue. Enjoy the holidays and enjoy the fact that you have one less present to worry about. A gift card is the only way to go with your hubby’s as he's made perfectly clear.
LW#4: My mom and dad were a nun and a priest who each left the church (prior to meeting each other). They married and became psychologists and did a great job of raising our little family. My dad died when I was young, but my mom and my brother are still around. However, when I came out to them as gay, they basically cut me off. Over the years, we’ve begun to repair the relationship, but they still won’t even mention my sexuality around me, or talk about anything regarding my relationships, etc. My mom laments our lack of closeness, but, fact is, I feel like my friends, who accept me for who I am, are much more enjoyable to be around--especially over the holidays, which are supposed to be times of joy! I don’t want to hurt my mom, who’s elderly, but, she and my brother can’t get past their prejudices and I just can’t stand to be around them. What should I do? Fuck ‘em. And I don’t mean “fuck” ‘em, as in, you now, literally. I just mean, FUCK THEM. Seriously. Look, I know that seems like a glib answer, but, you’re not the one with a problem. You’re not the one that needs fixing. And you certainly don’t need to be preached to (via exclusion or avoidance) about your life “choice” (as if). I’m a firm believer that idiots should not be tolerated. That doesn’t mean that you should be mean or engage them in debate just for the sake of doing it. It just means that you should not waste your time with them. And frankly, that’s what you’re doing. I’m all for doing as Prudie says and telling them, in no uncertain terms, that if they can’t accept you, that’s fine, but that you WILL NOT be coming around over the holidays. Stress that you’d actually like to enjoy your holidays. And, one last point, if you don’t mind? How your mom (you didn’t mention your dad’s views, and you may not ever have learned them prior to his death) could have been a practicing psychologist (let’s hope she wasn’t), and be so prejudiced is beyond me. I shudder to think of how many young people's lives she could have fucked up as they came to her for help in sorting out real concerns in their lives that involved subjects of which she didn't approve. Good luck!
Well shippers, that’s it! I love this time of year. Did you know that sometimes, if you’re terribly lucky, it’ll actually snow sideways during the holidays?! You can get some hot cocoa or tea and snuggle in by the fire and just enjoy the wonder that is the winter. And I hope you do! ‘Til next time, fair winds, following seas and always remember to keep your dive to surface ration at one!