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 31, 2009

...on Dumb Graduate Students and Dumber Adoptive Parents (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!

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!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

...on Two Big Gay Nuts! (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!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

...on Santa Claus and Accepting Gifts (12/10/09) <--- Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

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!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

...on Poor Friends and Germs (12/03/09) <---Original Questions Can Be Found There

Hey there shippers!  How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine, chilly, winter, gettin'-ready-for-Christmas, Prudie Day?!  I hope that all's well, that you're all warm, happy, and, too, around loved ones.  As for me, I had a great Thanksgiving and am looking mightily forward to Christmas and then the New Year!  But, prior to that, we've got business to attend to, yes?  So, without further ado, let's get crackin'!

LW#1:  Dear Prudie, I live with my boyfriend in a pretty nice house.  Ah, who am I kidding?  This place is great!  I mean, we are living large, Prudie!  We worked hard in college and are now enjoying the fruits of our labor.  Our friends, well, they weren't so career ambitious.  And, too, they ignorantly chose fields that were affected by the economy.  As a result, we're rich and they're not.  But that's okay, because we really like them still!  Honest!  We're always really careful not to insult their paltry budgets, and we always suggest doing stuff with them that they can afford.  When we want to be extravagant, we always do so away from them so they don't have to feel bad.  And we only rarely share pictures and stories afterwards.

Anyway, that's not so much the problem as our housekeeper.  She sucks (matter of fact, she hasn't even gone to college--I know, right?!).  And, we want to replace her.  Well, without asking me, my boyfriend asked a couple of our hard luck friends if they wanted to be our housekeepers.  They, of course, said they wanted to!  Well, I don't like it, Prudie.  Friends and money don't mix, and the combination could be disastrous.  I want to do the right thing, and my boyfriend says it's my call, but I feel really awkward about telling our friends they can't clean our house.  What can I do?  Signed, I've Got Friends In Low Places

Well, I'll be buggered.  This is a first.  I really, really, really, want to just rip you a new asshole, you entitl... littl... fuck... bitc...  But.I.can't.  As much as I hate your superior, judgmental attitude, you obviously come by it naturally.  And, fact is, your question and concern is actually reasonable.  It's the peripheral, bullshit info that you keep dropping in that's pissing me off.  Not the question itself.  So, as for the question, you're correct.  This has the potential to end badly and you probably shouldn't do it.  I'd say that you should do as Prudie suggests.  Have your boyfriend tell your friends that he's sorry, but, he didn't realize that you'd already hired someone.  And, too, that he hadn't even asked you first and that, even though it sort of looks like a win-win, it probably wouldn't end well, and that you guys value their friendship too much for that.  Then, you entitled little bitch, buy some fucking lobster and steaks and invite them over to your place for dinner.  And don't worry, I have a feeling that they won't be your friends for much longer anyway, and then they can work for you all you want.  Friends in low places, my...fuckin...

LW#2:  Dear Prudie, Over the last several months, several folks in my office (including me) have had food stolen out of the common refrigerator.  Out of our lunch boxes even!  Sometimes entire meals?!  Well, recently, one of my co-workers caught the thief red-handed.  Not only was it a high-level executive (isn't it always, those entitled bastards/bitches), but, it was a good friend of mine.  A lady with whom I spend a great deal of time away from the office.  I don't know how to handle this, Prudie.  What should I do?  Well, you've come to the right place, chicky doodle.  It's like this:  friends don't let friends drive drunk, right?  Friends tell one another when there's spinach stuck in their front teeth, or when there's toilet paper trailing from their skirt, right?  Well, friends also say, "Marsha, what the fuck were you thinking?!  I know good and well that you only pinched that one yogurt that one time (try to seem like you really mean that part), but you know good and well that there's been someone stealing from us for months!  If someone actually thought it was you that was doing it all this time, it could lead to you getting fired!  I just hope people don't think that already.  You need have about twenty pizzas delivered and then never go near that break room again!"  And then, after that, if it was me?  I'd keep my lunch in my desk.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie, I'm not a germaphobe.  Honest.  But, I do sit in the bathroom stall at work and listen to people pee and poo and then I listen to make sure they wipe at least three times (that liberal Sheryl Crow and her one square of toilet paper plan is just crazy!).  After, and this gets tricky, because sometimes people are coming in as others are leaving, I listen to make sure they wash their nasty hands.  If they don't, I get quite worked up and often even constipated!  And Prudie, it's H1NI season!  And the holidays are approaching!  Which means open food, buffet style, in the office!  Snort!  Prudie, how do I get these Neanderthals to wash they're freaking hands after touching their privates and/or their snotty noses before they kill us all?!  (Submariner's note:  you guys know how I love letters that start with, "My boyfriend's the bestest, most wonderful guy in the whole world, but..."  Well, this is now my new favorite, "I'm not a germaphobe, but...")  Okay, Ms. I'm-not-a-Germaphobe, I have a solution for you.  Mind your own business.  There's nothing you can do.  And, what you're currently doing is giving yourself an ulcer.  Fact is, you've ingested more poo in your life than you can possibly imagine.  And amazingly, you've yet to expire.  Your brain isn't working on all eight four cylinders, but at least you're still with us.  Look, you practice good hygiene, forgo the buffet if it's going to cause you emotional stress, and life will be good.  I promise.  If you need some perspective on how silly you're being, think about how many people have been seriously ill in your office in the last year.  How many times have you been seriously ill (other than stress-related illnesses, headaches, etc., which, I assure you is common among germaphobe busybodies, so don't worry about those)?  See, you're going to be fine.  Now, go have a macaroon, you nut.

LW#4:  My brother is a schizophrenic with a violent past.  He has abused me and others, even trying to kill my brother once.  One night when I was wearing just a football jersey and my panties, we picked up a hitchhiker wearing a red and green sweater and a hockey mask.  We didn't notice 'til he got in, but he'd been burned badly on his face.  It gave me the creeps.  Well, we brought this hitchhiker home and he and my brother started drinking beer while I took an unusually lengthy and soapy and slow shower.  I then went to sleep, full moon's light streaming in my window so you could see my erect nipples through the bed sheet.  In the morning, as I stumbled into the living room, hair and makeup perfect and perky, I noticed the hitchhiker gone, and my brother, on the couch, muttering about "Zuul".  Now it's almost ten years later, to the night, and, though I've never given it much thought until now, I'm getting worried that my brother may have killed that hitchhiker, Prudie.  What should I do?  (mad props to tribble22 for the inspiration behind that letter summary)  Well, first off, you've got to work on your fiction.  What you have here has been done many times before, and far better.  If we're to assume that you're letter is real, what other indication do you have that your brother killed this guy other than a gut feeling?  Besides bad 70s cop shows and CSI: Miami, no one solves crimes on hunches and pert tits.  Since it sounds like you really don't have anything other than that, I'd let this rest.  But, (and I'm serious about this), I'd also suggest that you go to a counselor/psychiatrist and get checked out.  I'm not saying that you're making this up or that you're mentally ill, but, mental illness does run in families, and, just to make sure that you aren't stressing yourself right into delusions, it might be a good idea to work this through with a professional rather than the Internet Lady and smarmy posters like me.  Know what I mean?  By the way, don't look behind you now, but...

Anyway, shippers, that's about it.  The lagoon's been really peaceful and calm and the Holidays and New Year draw nearer and nearer.  I do love this time of year!  I have lots of boat maintenance to do, so I'm out.  Fair winds and following seas to you all.  And to all a good night!