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 30, 2010

...on Crazy Exes, Crazy Bank Mistakes (or not), and Crazy Crazies! (12/30/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine post-Christmas, post-Solstice, post-Hanukah day? Did you have a wonderful day(s)? How is everything? I hope that you’re all wonderfully well, sipping coffee (perhaps a medium Columbian roast, freshly ground from a local shop?), or tea (some English Breakfast?), or, your own favorite beverage prepared in your own favorite way (like, maybe a float concocted of homemade ice cream!), and, that you’re enjoying the wonderful day! In that state of being, new letters are like the cream in the coffee or the sauce on the ice cream, eh? :-) So, without further ado, let’s get crackin’ on ‘em, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. I was married to my ex-wife for seven years. Right about the time that the infamous itch kicked in, she made the decision to quit having sex with me. She said that she was doing this due to my indecision about starting a family. Prudie, fact is, I wasn’t sure of a lot of things regarding our relationship, but, what I was sure of, even if it was just a whisper in my soul, was that I didn’t want to have kids in that situation. Well, things deteriorated and we divorced. Now, two years later, I’m engaged to be married to my newly-pregnant girlfriend. Strange thing is, I’m thrilled about this pregnancy and can’t wait to be a father! Unfortunately, because my ex-wife and I have many friends in common, she found out about the pregnancy and called me in a livid rage, blaming me for the demise of our marriage and saying that I should have told her personally about the pregnancy! I disagree. Was I insensitive not to tell her? Is she right to be angry with me because I'm happy about my impending fatherhood? Signed, (I Have A Working) Dick

Dear Daddy Dicky. Okay, news flash, you really are the reason (or at least half of the reason) for your former marriage’s collapse. And, while that sucks balls to think in those terms (because you sound like a decent-enough fellow and probably don’t like to think that you caused anyone any pain), it’s just a fact. Fact is that your ex loved you (ostensibly), wanted to have kids with you (assuredly), thought you were the bomb-diggity-bomb with the magic sperm, and, the cat’s meow! But, regardless of the reason, it wasn’t working for you. So much so that, after having been married to a woman for seven years, you didn’t want to have kids and didn't know if you ever would. Things just didn’t work out, Dude. And that happens sometimes.  You both need to come to terms with that fact. And, unless you and your ex-wife were still very good friends (speaking frequently, getting coffee, etc.), which, you specifically said was not the case, then you most certainly should not have told her anything about your fiancée’s pregnancy! It’s absolutely, 100% none of her business! And your response when she called? It should have been, “Martha, I’m sorry that you feel that way.” Click. Shitake! As for your question, there’s no agreeing or not agreeing with your ex in this, Dick, as she’s your ex. And whoever's "right" or "wrong" is completely irrelevant.  At this point, you guys are just two people pissing on each other. Be the bigger person and politely hang up next time. Plus, your non-ex, the one who’s carrying a baby the two of you created? Yeah, there’s where your focus should be. Just sayin’.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my very generous friend sent me a $1,000 cashier’s check to cover travel expenses for a cross-country trip to see her. She then made and paid for non-refundable plane reservations. I’m in debt, work at a minimum wage job and live on a shoestring. When I deposited the check that she sent, it bounced because it was unsigned. As this was during bill-paying time, it racked up ruinous overdraft fees for me in a nasty cascading effect the likes of which have never been seen short of a domino toppling event attended entirely by crack addicts. I had to take out a loan just to cover my living expenses! I obviously can’t travel now, and my friend, believe it or not, demands that I pay back not only the original check, but the plane fare, too! I’m understandably bitter about this! What can I do? Signed, Banks are Mysterious, Like, Impossibly So

Dear Lying Liar and Who Lies. You are a liar. Or, if not, you’re a Class 4, Grade A Idiot. I’m not sure which, but, it doesn’t really matter because the result is the same. Here, let’s do the math. If this was a normal month and you were paying bills and had enough in your account to cover those bills, those checks wouldn’t have bounced, right? Right! And, if they had bounced, that would have been on you, right? And then, when you had to take out a loan to live on, you wouldn’t have been mad at anyone but yourself, right? Now, let’s get to your friend’s mysterious, unsigned, bouncing cashier’s check that apparently up and caused all of this mayhem? Um, no. If you deposited a check that didn’t meet your bank’s requirements for deposit, they’re not going to charge you for it. They’re going to simply not credit your account. And, since we’re on the topic, the bank cashier is the one who “signs” cashier’s checks, not the person who buys it--that’s why it’s called a “cashier’s” check. These checks either get credited to your account or they don’t. The only way it’d not be credited is if your friend cancelled it. What happened, I suspect, was that (for some reason) you were writing checks against that $1,000 check before it had cleared. And when those checks hit, you overdrew your account. And you were charged for that mistake over and over due to your own idiocy. I hate to get all math professor on your ass, but, I’m pretty sure you know exactly happened here, just as well as I do. And, news flash, so does your probably now ex-friend. As for paying her back, that’s on you, but, as for your bitterness? Have a look in the mirror. There’s the person who deserves that nastiness, not your friend.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my business partner (and very good friend) unexpectedly lost her father two years ago. His death has been devastating on her. Since then, she’s gone off radar two or three times a year, sometimes breaking down completely and becoming entirely unable to function. Prudie, I’ve tried to be personally supportive and as good a friend as I can be. I’ve tried to carry the business during these increasingly difficult and lengthy grief breakdowns. But, Prudie, I can’t keep on doing it! The holidays are especially bad because it’s the anniversary of his death and she’s already pre-declared her inability to get any work done. At what point is it okay to tell her that she’s hurting our business and testing our friendship? Signed, Torn Between Duty and Friendship

Dear Torn. This is a tough spot to be in, and I certainly don’t envy you. You’ve got to talk to your friend as a friend, not as a business partner, and tell her that she needs professional help. That her grief is affecting her to a point that is well beyond what is healthy, and that you’re concerned for her mental wellbeing. Telling people who are emotionally compromised that they need to just “buck the fuck up” isn’t going to do anyone any good. And while we can all e-guess at her diagnosis, it’s clear at this point that she needs professional help to get at the cause of her symptoms. My e-opinion (as a certified e-doctor) is that this goes way beyond her father’s death. I e-believe that his passing was only the catalyst to this current state of being--one that had been brewing for quite some time. As for the professional side of things, instead of saying to her that she’s not pulling her weight, how about talking to her about bringing on someone part time until she gets back on her feet? Tell her that you think it’s best because you want her to be able to focus on her health, but, make sure that this isn’t a move on your part to squeeze her out of the business that she co-founded with you! If it is, you need to be honest and tell her that you want to move on professionally. Of course, if this is the case, be ready to lose her personally, too.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m a junior in college who has a boyfriend who says we’re in a very mature and wonderful relationship (we’ve been together for five years), and that he’s the bestest guy ever for me because he knows what’s best for us both. My problem? I really want to travel the world and study abroad, but, my boyfriend says that I shouldn’t. He says that it’d cost me too much money and that I should wait until we can afford to do it together. But Prudie, the desire to travel and see the world is part of my very essence and I feel as if I don’t go soon, I’ll burst. What can I do? Signed, I Have No Clue At All Why The Caged Bird Sings

Dear Birdie. Let me explain to you what’s going on. Your boyfriend is scared he’s going to lose you. And so he’s manipulating you into staying (consciously or no). And, fact is, he’s not ever going to be interested in travel the way you are. He’ll stand for two minutes in front of the Eiffel Tower and say, “Yep. Seen it. Let’s go home.” That’s assuming you can even get him to take one trip with you. You two don’t have a mature relationship. You don’t know what that is. And that's okay!  I don’t mean that in a mean way! I’m sure that you two are very nice people, but, what you have is a relationship in which two people who should be enjoying the greatest and most carefree times of their lives are talking about finances and the future when both members aren't ready for that (perhaps neither are!). Further, the relationshiop is one in which the interests and priorities of the participants are vastly divergent. Listen, almost every single old, crusty, long-in-the-tooth (but wise) person you talk to about this (save for his parents, and certain Republicans who think that all other countries are run by pansies and/or communists) will tell you the exact same thing. Go! Go have the time of your life! Travel! Write! Paint! Learn the language, experience the world, see the sites and experience the love. Live, Birdie! You don’t get this chance often, and if your boyfriend would hold you back when you have such a chance, he’s either a well-meaning, but ignorant youngman, or, he’s willfully caging you.  But out of fear, not love. You have to figure out if you want to be with someone who could be and/or do either. Plus, you already know what you want. So, go! And when you do, don’t be constantly calling and texting and chatting with him. Live in the moment and experience the life where you are! Promise a call or e-mail per week or something but otherwise, live! If, when you return (if you return), you two still click, great! You'll have something wonderful to share.  But, if you don’t, wouldn’t it be better to find out now rather than in seven years (re: LW#1)? Good luck! And enjoy Paris! It’s beautiful every time of year!

Well, that’s it, Shippers! Here’s hoping that 2010 was a wonderful, incredible year. And that 2011 will be even better. Times two! See you all on the other side, and, fair winds and following seas to ya all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

...on Potentially-Gay Sons In Skirts and Not-So-Potential Asshole Husbands-in-Law (12/23/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And happy holidays to you all! No, I will not qualify that salutation--it’s all-inclusive, which means it’s not, in any way, exclusive. Got me? ‘Cause, you know, I don’t want to have to pull out the snark stick on any of my Shippers! But, if I hear one more “what happened to Merry Christmas, Smag?”, I think I might just have to open up that can! Don’t think I won't pull this car over right now and do it! The joy of the holidays, eh? Brings out the best in us all! ;-) Anyhoo, we’ve got letters for Christmas Eve's Eve! Woo-hoo! So let’s get crackin’ on ‘em, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I have a wonderful five-year-old son. He’s incredibly bright, artistic and thoughtful. Recently, though, my wife and I have developed a concern. Prudie, our son sometimes likes to dress up as a girl with his mother’s clothes and jewelry. And, fact is, that would be fine, but, now he’s asked Santa for a skirt of his own. And not just any skirt, but an absolutely fabulous one. Of his own! And Prudie, I’ll be honest, my wife and I don’t know how to handle it. We want him to be who he is, we really do, but, we also know that he’ll eventually want to wear the skirt outside the house. And that’s something we just can’t abide. Yet, we know he’ll be heartbroken if Santa doesn’t bring him a skirt. What can we do? Signed, We Love Our Cross-dressing Gay Son

Dear Meet the Gleekers. While I certainly understand and appreciate your concern, I want you to recognize that the gift and teaching your son where it’s appropriate to be used is a dynamic that exists with most any gift you might give. If you bought him a Red Ryder BB Gun, for example, would you have a problem telling him that he most certainly may not, ever, shoot it indoors? Nor at other kids? Nope. You wouldn’t even flinch. And what about the warnings of shooting his eye out?  So, it’s not the gift that’s at issue here, or when and where it’s to be used. It’s just you. And I’m not trying to be mean here! I just want you to recognize the dynamic that’s actually at work. You and your wife need to simply be parents and explain to your son in age-appropriate terms the reactions he might get, and why. Just like you would with the BB gun. And you two need to be comfortable enough with the subject and with how to explain it so that he understands that he is always safe with you. It's a tough line to walk, and I don't envy you, but, the worst thing you can do is have this talk be about any sort of shame or about anything to do with you or your wife! Do some research, solicit some help about what to say and how to say it, and then, embrace whatever may come. This may be a phase. It may not. But he is your son, regardless.  And denying him a skirt won't change who he is any more than giving him one would.  So, fuck what other people think and engage your son and be part of his strength and security in the world.  And, if it were me in your shoes and he was my wonderfully brilliant son? I’d buy him some costume jewelry, fabulous elbow-length dinner gloves, and a boa, too.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my sister-in-law just married the biggest asshole in the Western Hemisphere. He is an arrogant, rude, know-it-all, and, he seems to not only enjoy, but revel in talking down to all of us (the whole rest of my sister-in-law and husband’s family). Prudie, I’m afraid that someone’s going to punch him! Is it appropriate for one of us to have a talk with my SIL about the family shunning her new husband? My SIL is so sweet, and this is such a shame, but, assholes are as assholes do. Signed, We’ve Had It Up To Our Butts With This Asshole

Dear New Member of the “We’ve All Got One” Club. Count yourself lucky she just recently married the asshole and that you haven’t had to deal with him before now! No, I know, my gloating is not helpful. I’m sorry. Truthfully, I think the appropriateness of having a talk with your SIL or her husband is determined by your family members individually. Just because you’re fed up doesn’t mean that anyone else is (they might just be agreeing with you to keep you from being an asshole!). Then again, you all might be fed up with this guy! Regardless, don’t say a word to your SIL unless dealing with the inevitable shit storm and its after effects will be less uncomfortable for everyone than the SIL’s husband's status quo (and you might already be there). I agree that, at some point, someone might have to say to your SIL, “Jill, I’m sorry, but Jack isn’t welcome here.” Be very, very careful about deciding that you’re at that point, though. The decision to go there should be unanimous within the family, and unforced by anyone. And, too, recognize that very little good will come of it. Sometimes, it’s better to let a boar be a boar and enjoy the schadenfreude, than it is to lower oneself to the boar’s level.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I recently broke up with a long-term boyfriend due to his serial infidelity. With the holidays coming up, I want to make sure that his family knows that I didn’t break up with him over some stupid argument, and that, in fact, it was because he is a cheating bastard. And, I want them to side with me! I love each and every one of them like they were my long-lost family, Prudie. Honest! Why, we’re even friends on FaceBook. If that isn’t proof-positive, I don’t know what is! Isn’t there a way that I can let them all know that I’m not the bad guy here? Or should I just quietly disappear? Signed, Broken Hearted, But Not At Fault

Dear Thinking Too Hard About This. You need to check your motives here, Missy/Mister. If you really, truly like certain members of this family, why are you “disappearing” from their lives? I’m not suggesting that you take a casserole over for Christmas dinner, but, my guess is that you’re only “close” to them around the holidays because you visited them with your boyfriend. If your relationship really was close with some of them, they’d know already exactly what went on, and why. And you’d know that they know. But, fact is, what’s really at work here is that it chaps your ass to think that your ex might be telling stories about you and that these folks, with their dickeys and shiny white shoes, drinking eggnog out of moose head-shaped cups and laughing, might actually believe him. Listen, I’m going to give you some advice here that I know that you won’t follow, but, it’s what I do. Ready? Fuck him! Fuck them! Get on with your life! Holy shit, Woman/Dude! Listen, the people that matter already know what went on. Those who don’t matter? Well, they don’t matter. And this guy's family?  They don't matter.  And here’s another thing, just in case you didn’t notice: you broke up with him. Time to quit letting him rent so much damned space in your head! You’re better off without him and his indiscriminate penis.

And, as a special P.S., if you really like a family member of a boyfriend, as in, you know, think they’re all great and wonderful and awesome, and if the two of you share a great relationship that is separate and real, a breakup from your boyfriend won’t prevent future contact with that person. Just sayin’ you need to realize who these people really are, and to analyze why you’re still worried about them.

LW#4: Dear Prudie. I had a friend of several years who totally and completely and without cause, without rhyme or reason or even so much as a final toodle-do, just quit talking to me. She just got “too busy”, quit calling me (or returning my many calls), and seems to have even forgotten my e-mail address! This is inexplicable, Prudie. I’m an excellent friend! So excellent, in fact, that, you know, just for example, a few years ago, I handmade for her an outstanding Christmas gift that I bet she’s now keeping in a box in her basement. Yes, okay, fine, I admit it, I solicited a mutual friend to surreptitiously ask her about the gift, where it was, what her plans are for it, if it’s properly willed back to me in case of her death, and, you know, several other details too mundane to go into here. And, since it is such a great gift, I would like to ask for it back. But, you know, only if she doesn’t value it anymore (as I don’t want to be mean, as I am a great person, as I mentioned). But, you know, since if it’s just in a basement, collecting dust? What do you think? Signed, I Really Am a Good Friend. Honest!

Dear Protesteth Way The Fucketh Too Much. Are you serious right now? There’s really no way that you’re serious. Is there? Jerry fucking Garcia And The Five Horsemen of the Apocolypse on a popsicle stick! You are serious! Listen here, Assmuch, you need serious and real professional help. You are the kind of asshole that embarrasses asshole clubs. You are the kind that makes even long-term members of Unapologetic Assholes Anonymous shudder with the heebie jeebies due to your assholeness. You make the new husband from LW#2 look like the Patron Saint of Compassion! Listen, you say the friendship ended “inexplicably”? I say that it’s obvious as fuck why it ended, and that you asking for your macaroni self portrait to be returned won’t change a single thing about that. So, why not.  It’d be just another story (in what I'm certain is a long line of them) for your newly-fortunate ex-friend to remember as to why she is, in fact, your ex-friend.

Well, Shippers, that about does it! I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and many happy returns. I know that, for some of you, Christmas Day is the coup de grâce, but that, for others, the holidays run well into even late January (and maybe even early February?). I wish you all the happiest of seasons, regardless of their beginning or end, and, much love, happiness, and, of course, as much snark as you could ever desire. Fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

...on Control Freak Boyfriends and Various Holiday Cheer (12/16/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine winter Prudie Day? Are you enjoying the snow? The sleet? Or, perhaps you have balmy weather and bikinis? Regardless, in whatever latitude you find yourself, may your day and week be lovely. And, may your various celebrations during this time of year be joyous, however it is that they manifest themselves! And with that convoluted thought, I contend that it’s time to celebrate a new batch of letters with, well, responses! So, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my boyfriend wants me to take a lie detector test prior to asking me to marry him. He caught me in a couple of white lies early in our relationship (regarding things that happened prior to my meeting him), and has since said that if he can’t trust me in those things, he can’t trust me enough to marry me. He’s a great guy, Prudie, and, obviously I’d like to marry him, but, is this kind of request normal? Or, is it a sign of overall problems in our relationship? Signed, No Lie Detector for Me--Probably

Dear Abuse Victim. I am normally very snarky and flip with my answers. I can’t be in this case. You are being abused. You are being manipulated. You are in a destructive, oppressive, soul-crushing relationship that will only get worse with time, until, finally, one day, you will have been completely erased. The fact that you’re even questioning the sanity of the “request” of this asshole you call a boyfriend is proof of that, even if you can’t see it. Please leave him. Please get out of the relationship today. This moment. Your jackass, abusive boyfriend will be angry. Or, he’ll cry--it just depends on what best pushes your buttons. Regardless of how he does it, though, if you turn to leave, he’ll plead with you. He’ll attempt to manipulate you. He’ll claim that he’ll get better. Or, he’ll say that you have nowhere to go, that you’re nothing without him. He’ll promise you anything to keep you, up to, and likely including, offering to marry you. I can’t stress this enough: do not fall for it! You are a victim and in the middle of a highly destructive relationship. I realize that you can’t see that right now. You’re likely wondering, “Why in the hell is SmagBoy using such strong language? It’s not that bad.” Listen to me. It is that bad. You need help. Please, for the love of all that is living, enlist any true friends and/or family that he hasn’t already managed to alienate you from and get out today. Right now. Every moment that you hesitate is a moment that he sinks his claws deeper into you and one more piece of your soul that gets locked away. I implore you to leave him. It doesn’t matter if you have holiday plans. They’re nothing compared to the danger you’re in. You can make new plans! He may call you names, curse you to his friends. So what. Even if you can’t see why, please trust me in how important this is. And then, after you get out, as soon as you can, you need to find counseling. This is vital. You must figure out what was happening, how it happened, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. Good luck, and, please hear me on this--trust me, I don’t break character for nothing.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. For years, my dad ate poorly, didn’t exercise, lazed about, contracted diabetes (though didn’t know it), and, as a result, became extremely overweight, had a heart attack, and nearly died. For about a year after that, he was better and took care of himself. But, since then, he’s gone back to his old ways and is eating everything in sight and, well, obviously, gaining weight. Further, my sister and I suspect that he hasn’t been to his cardiologist in over a year. Whenever anyone brings up any of this, my father goes into a screaming fit of pique. My mother has given up. To add to my concern, we’re planning a Christmas trip to a third world country where we’ll do lots of hiking. We’re all worried that my dad will become ill and require medical care, but that, given the location, there won’t be adequate care and he’ll die. What can we do? Signed, Worried Daughter

Dear Daughter. Here’s one of life’s toughest lessons: you can’t control anyone but yourself. You can ask, you can plead, but, in the end, you can’t be your father’s hands or his mouth. And, if you’ve talked to him about your concerns and he can’t or won’t change, there’s nothing you can do to change him. But, remember what thing I said that you can control? Yourself. So, if taking this trip worries you, if it seems as if it's the worst possible idea in the history of ideas, you can simply choose not to go. I wouldn’t want to come to associate the holidays with the vivid memories of the terrible death of a beloved family member, either. I mean, hell, what if there are canibals there and they eat his dead, cake-laden flesh?!  I wish I had more for you, but, some life lessons truly are that simple. Or maybe I’m just off my game after the first letter? Nah. Regardless, good luck to you and your family. May your father see the error of his ways before it’s too late and may you have together many more holidays to come.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie, I’ve worked for the same, privately-owned company for ten years. I’ve never gotten a single raise.  Yet, each year, we’re asked to donate more and more of our salary to a company-approved charity. Further, we’ve recently been asked to contribute more to our health insurance costs, and, frankly, I just won’t have the money to contribute more to health insurance and keep up with the Joneses regarding charitable donations. What should I do? Signed, Charitably Uncomfortable

Dear Bob Cratchit. You surely do have some patience! Holy smokes! Listen, you’ve got to do only what you can do. And, if your disposable income has decreased by X percent due to healthcare payments that have increased by X percent, you can, with an unburdened heart and free conscience, contribute that much less to the company’s charity. As a matter of fact, on the donation form, you could even enter what you would have contributed, then, a minus sign with the X percent after. Title that minus section “healthcare increases”. Then, enter the final sum. If questioned, you can say, and quite righteously, “Listen, Mr. Scrooge, I’ve worked here for ten years without a single raise. My less-expensive healthcare benefits and your stone cold companionship were my only comforts. Not even any coal for heat! Now that I have to pay more for healthcare, with no raise, in ten years (did I mention), I have no choice but to reduce my charitable donations.” Personally? I’d look for another job. But I’m not patient like you.  At all.

LW#4:  Dear Prudie, after I graduated from college and moved to a nearby city for a great job, my parents downsized by buying a smaller house. Now, when I come home for holidays, there’s no room for me! The longer I stay, the crankier they get, to the point where I don’t feel welcome in their home anymore! I get the distinct feeling that they’re over being parents and want me out of their lives. What can I do? Signed, No Longer Wanted

Dear Butt-hurt Bunkmate. Listen, amazingly, once one reaches adulthood, one typically learns to ask before just showing up at the homes of other people.  Interestingly, this rule even counts for family. I have a great relationship with my parents, but I would never just invite myself to their place, on my own schedule, pretend that I own the place, and expect them to cater to me. Of course, I’m a fully-functioning adult, not a diva who thinks the world revolves around him/her, so, you know, there’s that. And, truth is, I’m not talking about anything fancy here. All you need do is call your folks a few weeks in advance and say, “Hey, Mom, Pops, I was thinking of coming home for Christmas. I’d love to see you! What are your plans? Do you have some free time? Could I crash at your place, or is a hotel better? Is there a good or bad time? I was thinking from the 22nd to the 26th?” Something like that. My folks have plenty of room at their homes, but, what if they’d already invited someone, thinking that I wasn’t going to be in town? You know, as in, gasp, made other plans?!  Sort of like real, live, functioning adults who have lives outside of being my parents? It’d be awfully presumptuous of me, also a real, live fully-functioning adult, to assume that they’d drop everything and all of their plans to cater to my “great job”-having ass, don't'cha think? And, as such, ipso Eggo-Pocono, it’s awfully presumptuous of your fully-functioning adult ass to presume same of your folks. Grow up! And merry fucking holidays. Ho-ho-ho.

Well, Shippers, that does it for this episode of “As the Smag Turns”. Tune in next week when we’ll hear our hero exclaim, “Oy! Who drank all of the damn eggnog! Bastard ingrate bastardly bastards!” Ah, the holidays... Good cheer, Shippers, and fair winds and following seas to you all.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

...on Sexy Time with Teacher, SIDS, Family Christmas and More! (12/09/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! It’s final exam week here in The Lagoon. I’ve just completed one, and am now gearing up for another. Crazy days, indeed! But, far be it for me to miss a day at the dock! I hope that December is treating you all well--better than our poor Letter Writers, that’s for sure! And, speaking of those poor sods, let’s get crackin’ on their letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’m a high school senior who’s just discovered that Mr. A., my favorite teacher at my all-girls private school, is having sex with one of my closest friends and fellow student, Ms. Bee. We’ve known Mr. A. forever and he’s helped us through all sorts of rough times (divorcing parents, deaths of family members, etc.). I think of him as a father figure, yet, what he’s doing is so wrong on so many levels! What’s worse is that Ms. Bee wants to use me as cover so that she can spend the night with Ms. A. in a motel! I’m not sure what to do? Do I tell someone? I’m afraid of losing this friendship if I do the wrong thing. Signed, I’m Only Sixteen

Dear Sixteen. You had me at “all-girls private school”... Huh? What? Oh, your letter! Listen, there are so many problems with this letter that I don’t know where to start, but, let’s prioritize, okay? First off, and most importantly, no, you do not, under any circumstances, provide cover for this tryst. Tell your friend that, while what she does with her own time is her business, what you do with your time is yours. And lying for her is something that, a) you won’t do, and, b) not something a true friend would ever ask of you in the first place! If she’s adult and grown up enough to be having sex with a teacher, she’s adult and grown up enough to figure out for herself how to do it without involving her friends. Next on the priority list, though, is the throwing around of words and phrases by other advice columnists like “sexual predator”, “conquests”, “stalking of victims”, etc. Let’s get this straight. Based on what you’ve said, your friend is a victim only of bad judgment and of a poor taste in her fuck buddies. Her idiot teacher is an adult, yes, and technically breaking the law, yes, but it doesn’t sound, at all, like he’s victimizing her. Further, if the gender roles were reversed, I doubt there’d be so much moral outrage. Your friend is making a bad decision (she’s Ms.Bee-havin’!), but, it’s not one that’s particularly uncommon at her age (sex with inappropriate people). And it’s certainly not one that has to (or even should) lead to arrests, jail time, court cases, trauma, late-life suicide, counseling, etc. It should end when your friend realizes she’s dating a 45 year old man (and all of the crap that that type of relationship implies)! And you need to stop with the “he’s having sex with her” bull. Try “they’re having sex.” It’s a lot more honest. And accurate. I’d advise telling your friend that you will not help her, and, too, that you want to hear no more about this unless it ever becomes a situation where she does become the victim of any form of abuse. Tell her that you don’t want to harm your friendship, but that you can’t be complicit in her geriatric love connection (you can say that un-ironically, I cannot, since, you know, I’m of the “geriatric” age that your teacher is). Good luck!

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my husband and I recently lost an infant child to SIDS. We’re understandably devastated, as is our family. We’re planning to spend Christmas with my in-laws, but, I just don’t have the heart or energy to buy a bunch of presents. So, to solve this, I want to spend time to buy our one niece something nice, and then, for our adult relatives, I want to purchase gift cards. My MIL, god bless her, is appalled by this idea, and, because she wants to “help us in our grief” (and, because I suspect she’s grieving, too) has instructed all of our in-laws to send us a Christmas list in order to “ease the effort of our gift-buying”. Prudie, I get nauseous even at the thought of doing that shopping. My MIL thinks she’s doing the right thing, but, she’s killing me. What can I do? Signed, Hurting and Being “Helped” Too Much

Dear Hurting. I’d send a note to your MIL that says, “Thank you, Mom, but I don’t have the energy to buy presents this year, and, no, I don’t want anyone’s help to do so. I want to fucking buy gift cards. Is that so fucking difficult?! It’s what I’m going to do, too. I’m sorry that it offends you, but, frankly, it fucking offends me that it offends you! Get the goddam fuck over yourself! Thank you, and God Bless you in this most wonderful time of the year. Love, Your Loving Daughter-in-Law.” You can take out the cussing if you want, but, the sentiment is clear, yeah? You’re the gift-giver. You want to give gift cards. Give them. They’ll be appreciated by those who are worth your time, and, for those who aren’t? Who cares?

LW#3: Dear Prudie, for the last many years I’ve included my daughter’s financially destitute best friend and her poor-ass, beggar, barely literate family in our Christmas celebration. They’ve been very gracious, well-behaved, and almost engaging on this day every year (and, truthfully, intelligence and affluence is often over rated in our dog-eat-dog society and it’s important to demonstrate graciousness from time to time, don’t you agree, Prudie?). Sadly, as my family has grown (my son is now married and has a child, and my daughter is engaged), I don’t have room for this family of vagabonds. There’s just no longer any room at the table. I feel, um, guilty that I won’t be able to brag to my true friends about helping the poor people this year invite them this year, as they have nowhere else to go, but, I can’t just magically shrink my real family. Do I have a moral obligation to host these people, despite a lack of seats at my table? Signed, Happy Homemaker

Dear Pretentious Prick Asshole. Congratulations on the growth of your blood family. May the blood that binds you all continue to be a source of great pride for you and yours. No, you have no moral obligation to anyone, least of all, people upon whom you so obviously look down your nose. So, you know, free yourself of guilt and continue encouraging your blood family to grow. Me personally? There’s only one thing that gets someone uninvited from my table, and that’s rude assholery. And that occurs in equal proportion among my blood family and non-blood family. Matter of fact, I find the idea of family to be defined as those who I identify with as family, not those whose DNA indicates a biological accident of similarity. But that’s me. I have a feeling that this family whom you’ve been gracing with your benevolence will be just fine this year without you. May you be equally as well off. And may you live long, and prosper.

(Update!  12/11/2010:  Longtime reader JayJay had this to say to LW#3, and, it was so powerful that I felt in needed to be included right here.  Sometimes, you just have to recognize a good smackdown when you see it.

From JayJay to LW#3:  You suck. Congratulations, you win the Shitty McShittypants award of the year. I hope your tree catches on fire. I hope you choke on your turkey. I hope your presents are actually gift-wrapped dogshit. I hope you drink too much eggnog and throw up.

All I have to say bout that?  Amen, JayJay.  And to all, a good night.)

LW#4: Dear Prudie. I like to contribute money to my grand-niece’s college fund for Christmas every year. I have three other grand neice’s/nephews by my sister’s other children, but, they have never acknowledged a single gift from me (from weddings to births to holidays). I would like to continue gifting just the one, appreciative niece’s daughter in this way, but, my sister manages the kids’ college funds, so, she’ll know if I don’t start putting some toward each child. Is there a kind way to give to only the family to which I’m close? Signed, My Sister Has Only One Good Kid

Dear Gift-Giver. Of course you can give to whomever you want, whatever you want. The issue here is not the gifts, however, but rather, your relationship with your sister and how you fear it may suffer. I’d discuss this with her! Why not? Explain to her why you feel the way you do! Too, I’d recognize that the children are not at fault for their parents’ sins. That’s not to say that you should give them gifts, but, perhaps you could consider putting aside money for each child that you, yourself, manage. Attempt to get to know the children on their own terms (ignoring their relation to their rude parents). Some may share your interests? If, as they grow, you see that they’re demonstrating the ability to move past their parents’ rudeness and, too, if you feel they could benefit from your largess, by all means, give them the money you’ve saved. If you do not see that it’d help, go to Europe with it! On you! Win-win! Good luck!

Well, Shippers, that about does it! I’ve got to get back to schoolwork, but, before I do, let me wish for you a wonderful and happy day and weekend, and, fair winds and following seas to you all! And Cornish game hens for your plates this weekend. They’re yummy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

...on Fetishes, Wreckages, Christmases and Vegas Trips (12/02/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho-ho-ho, Shippers! And happy December to you all! How are you on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I’ll admit that I’m pretty run-down with a stuffy head and even some nausea, so, if I’m off my game today, please cut me some slack (or not--I don’t usually cut any slack for the LWs!). May those of you transitioning to new things this week/month/new year have the best transition ever. I know that December/January is a time for that sort of thing and my support and good wishes go out to you all! That said, though, and before I get too sappy, we have letters, eh? Well then, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, My husband has some sexual fetish desires that I can’t “deal with”. What I mean is, they aren’t my thing and I’ll be damned if I want to try them! It’s my right not to, isn’t it?! He’s proposed visiting a dominatrix to occasionally scratch his itch. And I’m actually considering allowing it. He’s been to a therapist to try to get past this fetish and he can’t. I don’t believe he’ll have intercourse with the dominatrix, but, at the same time, I don’t want another woman being intimate with my husband. What should I do? Let him, or don’t? Signed, Passively Conflicted

Dear Conflicted. What are you conflicted about? I mean, in the end? Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Your husband is apparently being honest with you. He’s asking for permission to go to a professional, not for sex, but for a fetish release. If you desire, I’m sure you can go talk to this woman and ensure that she’s actually a dominatrix and not his office secretary dressed up in latex. You could ask to have explained to you how things will go. And, ultimately, you can decide if you can live with it or not. If you can’t, though, be upfront and honest with your husband and leave him. On good terms. Respectfully. Sexual incompatibility between two people who can’t (in his case) or won’t (in yours) try to meet in the middle is probably a deal breaker because of all that it leads to. Try to work it out, try to understand, try to be comfortable with things, but, most of all, be honest. Honesty is working so far with you two, and, if it means going separate ways or having him visit a pro on occasion, that’s a hell of a lot better than being miserable, yes?

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my crazy, temperamental mother-in-law, who’s been in 20 automobile accidents (the vast majority of which were her fault) likes to come by and pick up my two year old daughter and take her places. I’m a non-confrontational person, so, I try to be okay with this, but, every time my MIL has my daughter, I’m out of my mind with worry. My MIL’s own two daughters won’t let her drive their kids anymore, yet, when I try to express my fears, my MIL flies off the handle. What can I do? Signed, Scared Mama

Dear Scared. Your daughter is helpless. You are not. You are charged with your daughter’s care. Therefore, if something happens to your daughter in your MIL’s care, it’s on you. Period. See this: I hope that wasn’t your daughter. I hate that it was anyone’s daughter. How do you imagine that mother feels? I can’t even fathom it. If that doesn’t scare you straight nothing will, but, as a second point, one that ought to light the fires of your belly into a full-blown volcano, why isn’t your husband helping control his mom? If he’s deployed or his job has him otherwise out of town, that’s one thing. But, unless he’s deceased, he can still talk to her. He can still affect the situation. You shouldn’t have to face this alone. And, like with the letter above, honesty is the best policy. Be firm and honest with you MIL and say that your child will no longer drive with her. Anywhere. They can spend time, just not in a car. As for your MIL still driving after 20 accidents?! I think there’s more to this story than you are sharing with us. Will it paint you in an even worse light, like, does this woman have no license? Wake up, Mama, and start doing your job.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, Christmas is in full swing in our office and I’ve noticed over the past several years that the celebration has gotten more and more religious. And while I’m fine with personal expressions of faith, I don’t like Christianity bombarding me in all of common areas of the office during this season. Last year, my boss asked me why I didn’t attend the tree lighting and I said it’s because I’m not a Christian. Her response was that I could hang a menorah on the tree! I’d rather have more secular celebrations of Christmas, Prudie. How can I fix this? Signed, Not a Christian

Dear Scrooge. Okay, I’m just kidding with the Scrooge thing. To me, the solution is simple. If you have tried being honest with your supervisors and management (Have you? As in, really? I’m not talking about hinting, I’m talking about, have you and others sat down with them and stated that you’re offended?) and you’ve gotten no response, I suggest erecting a Festivus pole, complete with performance of the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”. You need to insist on this. Further, you need to celebrate at least two Pagan rituals. An office bonfire with pairing for celebratory sex is a great one! This ritual rings in the coming spring and the desired crop fertility--plus it’s fun! The youngest male should also be made to hunt a buck and kill it with his bare hands. Finally, you’ll want to celebrate as Jack Skellington would, with reenactments of scenes from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. And finally, light some incense. You guys are going to need it! Seriously, though, if your honest concerns, professionally-expressed to your supervisors, don’t do the trick, I see nothing wrong with introducing these alternative takes, in full or in part. Merry meet and Blessed Be!

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I married earlier this year. My husband’s family wants to take us all to Las Vegas to celebrate Christmas. My husband and I are horrified by this idea and don’t want to go. But, since we spent Thanksgiving with my family (we all live in the same town), we feel sort of obligated to go along. What should we do? Signed, Obviously Too Young To Be Married

Dear Too Young. You may have noticed a trend with my posts today. I suggest having your husband be honest with your in-laws and explain that the two of you don’t want to go to Vegas for Christmas (presuming your husband really doesn’t want to go?). You’re not obligated to go and having spent Thanksgiving with your family no more obligates you to go with his family to Sin City than it obligates you to spend Christmas with anyone! Fact is, since you live in the same town, I’m not sure why you didn’t split Thanksgiving time, but, that’s just me being Captain Hindsight. I hope that you remember the lesson for next year, though? As for what to do, as Prudie suggested, making sure to spend time with your in-laws upon their return is what’s important here. That and honesty. You can’t be faulted for either. Good luck!

Well, Shippers, that about does it! Holy smokes, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a theme run through all of my answers like that. But sometimes, just growing up and putting on your big boy/girl panties is all that a problem calls for. And in these cases, that seems the perfect solution. May your week be wonderful and bright and your weekend full of fruitful endeavors. Good cheer!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

...on Overbearing Moms, Sister-Brides, Jobs, and Dr. Husbands (11/24/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Ahoy, and happy Prudurkey Day, Shippers! How in the hell are ya? I hope that all’s well and that you’re either enjoying the day off, relaxing and planning your upcoming few days, or, that you’re at work, but relaxing and planning your upcoming few days, none-the-less! I’ll be flying tonight (yes, the ill-advised national day of “please pat me down on the busiest flying day of the year”). Oh well. Here’s hoping I don’t end up starring in a Tom Hanks film about being trapped in an airport. Wish me luck! Anyway, enough of my prattling. We’ve got letters! So, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my mom in the very definition of a clingy parent. You know the type, the ones who won’t let their kids do anything, ever, for fear of that one-in-a-bazillion, hypothetical happenstance? For example, I grew up with a limp, so, not only were sports out of the question for me (under my mom’s iron-fisted rule), but field trips, gym classes, dance, etc., were also right out! By the time I realized how sheltered I’d been and how paralyzing my mom was to my personal growth, I was in college and just barely able to break free. At any rate, this isn’t about me. It’s about my brother. He’s 22, has a slight speech impediment, and is socially awkward. As such, my mom has home schooled him since middle school and he now does nothing but half-heartedly attend community college and sit at home playing video games. My dad is useless in helping, having given up long ago. It’s painful to see my brother missing out on life! What can I do? Signed, I Escaped the Warden

Dear Escapee. Congratulations on your hard-earned emancipation. Did you learn nothing from it? Are you kidding me that you want to “help” your brother away from your “helping” mom? Perhaps you might want to keep on helping yourself into no longer needing to, well, “help” anyone else. That right there might set the kind of example that would cause your brother to spontaneously say, “Wow! Sis sure is living the good life. How can I get me some of that?” Then, when he asks you how, you can say, simply, “Quit counting on mom to do everything for you, dumbass. You know, as in, be a functional adult.” By that point, he might be able to hear you and ask follow-up questions. But it’s him who has to decide that. It’s him who has to get to that point. Not you, little Miss “Helpful” Sister.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m scheduled to be in my sister’s wedding as the best man. She has insisted that I shave my beard for the ceremony. I have a nice, full beard, Prudie. I don’t want to shave it! It takes a long time grow! Should I shave it anyway, to keep the peace, or, should I not and risk losing my spot in the wedding party? Signed, I Think I May Be A Spineless PussyBoy, But I’m Not Sure

Dear, Don’t Think That You’re A Pussy Boy, Embrace The Fact That You Are A Pussy. First off, is this your sister’s wedding, or, you know, the couples’? Second, since the fuck when does the bride get to dictate what the groomsmen do?! If your “good friend”, the groom, asks you to shave your beard, you can consider it on those terms (personally, I’d tell him that wherever you go, so goes your beard, but, then again, I’m not a pussy like you and the groom), but, your sister asking? By even considering her request as in any way valid, you’re buying into the insane notion that this is her day. Too, you’re a guest at their wedding, not the hired fucking help (whom would never be asked to shave, would they? And, if they were, how inappropriate would you find that shit? “Excuse me, Mr. Caterer’s Helper, we like you and all, but, we’ll be requiring you to shave your beard. Here’s a Bic.” Yeah, right.). Just sayin’.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I was promised a promotion at work, sent to training for the position, and have really been looking forward to it! After my last round of training, I returned to work only to be introduced to the new hire--not as a backfill for my old job, but for the position I’d been promised! Prudie, I was gracious with this person, but, I could feel tears welling up, so, I left the building and began to cry. And then sob. My supervisor saw me in that state and now I’m mortified about returning to work. I’m so embarrassed. How can I ever face my supervisor after he saw me like that? Signed, Cry Baby

Dear So, What, Again, Is Your Problem? I’m not sure what your issue is? If everything is as you claim, you’ve been wronged here! Now, I would caution you that it’s likely that you’re still going to be promoted, too (why on Earth would you have been sent to that training?), or, that the new person was actually hired to backfill behind you and you were just incorrectly introduced, but, that possibility aside, what have you done wrong or in an embarrassing fashion? Everything you did sounds like it was super-professional? Are you intimating that you don’t think it’s professional to cry? Well, it might not be, you know, in the office while throwing things around and screaming. But to quietly and graciously leave the building and then cry in the parking lot and to just happen to be seen by your boss? Such is life. Nothing unprofessional about that! At all. As a matter of fact, it was quite the professional way to handle the situation! As such, I’d compose myself, as Prudie suggests, and just ask the boss what’s up with the new hire (of course, I’d make sure that you know exactly what position s/he was hired into first--I still suspect you don’t have all of the facts).

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m finishing med school and my husband is doing his residency. He’s currently doing a women’s health rotation and is acting extremely unprofessional! He and a friend went out for coffee recently and he spied a recent patient of his. He pointed out the woman, told the friend he’d done a pap smear on her, and that she was “very tight.” I’ve also heard my husband make other immature comments about women patients to his friend. I’ve told him that I find his behavior deplorable, and, while I don’t want to jeopardize his career, I wonder if I have an ethical duty to report him to his supervisor? Signed, Bride of Frankenstein

Dear Ethically-challenged Wife. Professionally, your husband is a walking HIPAA violation and will get himself thrown out of the program if he keeps it up. As for telling, you only have second-hand information, so, it’d be tough for you to prove anything and you don’t need that mess. The woman at the coffee shop (or anyone within earshot who heard and then said something to her--I would have), though? She could have cost the hospital tens of thousands of dollars in fines, could have cost your husband the same, and, both could have been liable for civil penalties, too! Personally, though? What the fuck are you still doing with this Neanderthal? You think he’s not comparing notes on your relative tightness with his buddy, or, what, perhaps you think you’re exempt from his objectification and dehumanization of women? Cling to that belief, kay? Whatever lets you live with this asshole, right?

Well, Shippers, that about does it! Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May it be happy and relaxing! And, may your big turkey, or small turkey, or, even your Cornish game hens, be succulent and juicy and full of flavor. Fair winds and following seas, Shippers!

†Please note that the term "pussy" is not, in any way, meant to invoke any meaning other than "spinelessness" on the part of one person toward another, regardless of gender.  Any other connotation you take from this word is purely your own.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

...on Lies, Family and Cheating Times Two (11/11/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie and Veterinarian’s Day?! I’ll be honest, I’ve never known exactly why we celebrate vets over, say, celebrating all physicians. It’s a tough job, regardless of what type of doctor you become, and it takes a lot of schooling either way. So why vets, specifically? We did start as an agrarian society, so, maybe that’s it, since animals were so valued for food and labor? Whatever the reason, it’s a great thing because I don’t have to work today! So, anytime there’s a Veterinarian’s Day, I’m all for it (even if it does seem unfair to other physicians). With that, let’s get crackin’ on the letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. All of my life, I’ve lied. Little lies, big lies, it didn’t matter. Anything to get my way. And, it’s been a great ride! But, recently, I lied to my husband about spending a huge wad of cash on myself that we totally couldn’t afford, and, since I’m somewhat suspiciously-pregnant (we travel a lot for work and hardly ever see each other), when he found out about the cash, not only was he angry about what I’d spent on myself while lying about it, he became concerned about whether or not he’s the father of our child! Prudie, what lie can I tell him to get him to fall back in line? This is killing me! Help! Signed, Live to Lie, Lie to Live

Dear Lying Liar. You do understand the irony here, right? That I’m somehow supposed to take your letter at face value, even though you’ve admitted right up front that you’re a compulsive liar? Well, that incongruity aside, I’ll answer you as if I believe you, kay? Kay. First off, you’re not nearly as clever as you think you are. You need to come to terms with that right now. I know, I know, you lie all the time and you’re great at it. Well, news flash, Sister, fully two-thirds of those lies are so bad and outrageous that everyone not only knows that you’re lying, they just roll their eyes behind your back. Those people who hang around you because they have to? They enjoy cataloging the ridiculousness of your tales. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of your whoppers have even become part of the group meme. Those people who genuinely like you, but aren’t usually put in harm’s way due to your dishonesty? They’re okay with you because they like you, but, don’t think for a second that they’re fooled. They’re not. They put up with you. The worse category, though, is family and close friends. The ones you most need, yet most hurt with your dishonesty. Thing is, they know you’re a heinous lying idiot, too. But, either by blood or by choice (ignorant at the time of making that choice or no), they know you’re a liar, too. Yep, your husband as well. The problem is that he thinks he knows when you’re lying, so he’s always imagined himself as safe. But then, when you lie about something that he sees as mundane as going out for the day, and he later, innocently finds out that that, too, was a lie?! Hell yes he’s going to start to question the very foundation of your marriage! Of course he is. And you? You’re more interested in regaining his trust than in fixing yourself. That’s bad. Because it’s just going to cause you lie more. You need to get a counselor and some help. And as for the baby being your husband’s? Yeah. Right. You need to come to terms with that mess, too.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. My teenage daughter was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. This explains so many things and has really helped us as a family. The problem is that, in light of this diagnosis, we want to have a quiet, small Thanksgiving. In the past, we’ve hosted the whole family here in our house. My sister’s kids are heinous brats who are more demon spawn than they are children. My sister is a flaming bitch and it’s never a fun time because my sister’s family’s behavior stresses out the whole family and causes my daughter to act out in terrible ways. Well, I’ve announced that we can’t host Thanksgiving this year (though I didn’t say why), and so my mother wants to take over that role. Well, I don’t want that, Prudie! Whine! Whine! I want my sister to step up and host! I mean, that’s only fair! Not that we’ll be going, as I say, but still, my mom can’t handle the hosting duties! And, too, what do I say to my family about why we’re not attending? I reckoned that I’d lie and say that we’re leaving town, although, it’s a small town and they might see us. What do you think? Signed, I Totally Hate My Sister (and her bratty kids, but mine are angels, by the way)!

Dear Hater. Okay, first off, let’s review problem #1. You are neither your mother’s nor your sister’s keeper. And, if you’re removing yourself from the festivities this year (for obvious and valid reasons), you get no say over how they celebrate Thanksgiving, or, over who hosts it. You got that, Master Sergeant Type-A, Controlling Personality Person?! So, get the fuck right on over yourself on that one. And do it now, Soldier. You have absolutely no ground to stand on there, and all you’re doing is creating drama, which, in light of your second question, seems completely and totally in sync with your personality. What do you tell your family about why you aren’t attending? Hmmmm. Let’s see... Well, you can make your daughter feel triply-ashamed of her diagnosis by hiding it and lying to family about it, all while letting her know that that’s what you’re doing, you know, for her sake (yeah, right). That sounds good, eh? No? Hmmm, okay, then, let’s see, you could, I don’t know, grow the fuck up, be a parent and an adult, and explain that this year you’ve promised a family get-together with just you four, and, in light of your daughter’s diagnosis, you’ll be altering how your attend all future family functions, too. You can explain that it’s nothing personal, and that you’re so happy to know now what’ up with your daughter because you’ll know better now how to prevent her from melting down at these events in the future (and let’s face it, that’s what’s been happening--this isn’t all about your sister’s kids. At all.). But let me warn you of something: this is not your diagnosis. You don’t get to wear it as some sort of fucked up badge of honor. Your daughter is the one who’s been forced to endure these get-togethers and who’s obviously acted out in ways that have brought a great deal of shitty-ness over the years. She’s the one who’s been basically screaming that she’s uncomfortable, begging for help. This isn’t a time to punish the rest of the family for your feelings of guilt. It’s a time for you and your family to learn about how to better interact with your daughter, but, without dictating anything to anyone else. This is a time for inner-reflection, not outer-dictation. Got me?

LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m 24, married and have a baby. I’m very lucky in that my mom and I are very close, and she watches the baby while my husband and I work. Recently, I suggested that this year I could host Thanksgiving. My mom responded by saying that the family likes “good” food, and that I’m “not ready” to host. As you can imagine, I was devastated! I’m thinking of not attending Thanksgiving, but, I don’t want to give up all of this great free child care. What can I do? Signed, I Can So Host Thanksgiving!

Dear Betty Crock. Look, I don’t know how close you and your mom really are, but, I have a feeling that there are a few things at work here. First, do you say you two are super-close because, that way, you don’t feel like you have to pay for the child care (and I don’t mean pay in cash, necessarily, but, you know, with gratitude, hosting dinner on occasion, showing appreciation in a very real and substantial way for all that your mother is doing, which, by the way, is a HUGE fucking deal!)? Or, do you say it because, as far as you know, you really are super-close and this thing really threw you for a loop? Regardless of your answer, it’s clear that your mom is upset about something. My suggestion is that you haven’t been showing her the gratitude she deserves for taking on this task (is she running errands for you, too? Cleaning? Etc.). Even if she says she doesn’t mind it, which may well be true, she would surely appreciate the occasional offer of a day spa or even just breakfast out with you, or something? So, for you to offer, just out of the blue, to usurp her role as family matriarch, all while charging her with child care, may just seem like too much for her. I’m not saying that you’re actually doing any of that! I’m just saying that surely you can see how she might take it that way, yes? And finally, if you really are close, and if none of what I’ve said is true, why can’t you just talk to her about it as she obviously just blurted out something off the cuff that came out sounding really wrong, but that was, in fact, not at all what she meant? I don’t know the truth here. That’s up to you to find, but, my guess is that your mother’s words didn’t come entirely without motivation. She’s been stewing on something. Your job, as the representative of half of the close relationship that you and your mom purportedly share, is to find out what. Good luck!

LW#4: Dear Prudie. Last year, my boss had an affair. He ended up leaving the company in order to try to patch up his marriage. It was a dark time for us here in the office as the new boss was terrible. Well, after several months, the original boss came back, and, though stressful due to work, things have been better than ever and camaraderie has grown exponentially as a result of getting past the Dark Ages! Well, last week, my co-workers threw me a bridal shower. Our boss stood to give a toast and, without thinking, I blurted out, “Hey there, Mister Cheater Man, I don’t want any martial advice from you, of all people! Got it?!” This led to a great deal of laughter and cat-calling from the staff and we all had a good laugh. Including the boss. But, Prudie, I feel terrible! I so didn’t mean to say what I said. It just came out! And now I don’t know if I should apologize, further opening the wound, or just let it go? I feel terrible! What should I do? Signed, Missy Big Mouth

Dear In Vino Veritas. I think that, in order to make it up to him, you should have sex with him. That’s really the only way to even the card. No! Just kidding! The truth of the matter is that you blew this one. Big time. And you need to humbly go to him and ask to speak privately (albeit in a room that has clear line of sight to the rest of the office so everyone can see that you’re not under his desk!). Then, apologize. Tell him that you’re so sorry. That what you said was wildly inappropriate, none of your business, exceptionally out of line, and beyond the fucking pale and that it’s a credit to his leadership that you and your officemates felt comfortable enough to act like total social idiots around one another. Then, you need to hope like fuck that you never find yourself in his shoes where some upstart little tart decides to air your dirty laundry for the whole staff. Idiot.

Well, Shippers, that’s about it! Happy Vet’s Day (I still don’t get that, but, hey, whatever. Like I said, a day off is a day off!). May you have fair winds, following seas, and may the sunshine lightly kiss your backside, wherever you may roam. ‘Til next week, Shippers...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

...on Addicted, Mean, Smelly Family (11/04/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey ho, Shippers! How in the heck are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? Are you enjoying the crisp fall weather? The cheese poppers? The bacon-wrapped water chestnuts-and-shrimp hors d'oeuvres? With dipping sauce?! Oh my, what a grand time of year this is! I get all tingly inside just thinking about it! And you know what else I get all tingly over? Prudie letters! HA! You guys thought I was going to say something naughty about Mermaid, didn’t ya? ;-) Fooled you (although...)! So, with that, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. My mom is an addict. Has been all of my life. When I was ten years old, she and her boyfriend physically attacked me. After reporting this fact to a teacher, I was removed from their care and sent to live with my dad. My whole family shamed and guilted me for turning in my mom and I still carry that with me. Later my mom’s addiction became so extreme that my half brother was taken from her. He was going to be placed in foster care if I didn’t take him in, so, I did. My wife and I raised him with no financial help from my mother. Recently, my grandparents (who’ve been a great help in my life) asked if I would contribute to my mom’s care. They said that $75 per month would do. Prudie, I’ll bet her cigarette habit costs that! I suggested to them that they get her on disability, but they will never quit enabling her, or telling me about it. I’m a social worker and don’t make a lot of money, yet I feel extremely guilty for letting down my grandparents. What should I do? Signed, Ungrateful Grandson?

Dear Run, Run Like The Wind. You say you’re a social worker, so, I’m sure that you see this type of sick shit all the time. But perhaps it’s harder to recognize when you’re in the middle of it? Look, we don’t have a choice regarding to whom we’re born. We don’t ask to be born to them, and, as a result, we owe them nothing. Quite the opposite, actually. When a person decides to have a child, however, they do, sure as fuck, owe that child. They are obligated to that child by virtue of their choice to have it (as opposed to the alternatives when one becomes pregnant, like abortion or adoption). But squirting a child from one’s loins does not an obligation from that child to that parent make. What does engender a form of obligation, at least in my humble opinion, is love, respect, care, support and peace from a nurturing parent. Your mother has given you none of that. Further, you’ve enabled her enough already (raising your half brother, letting yourself be guilted by asshole family on her behalf, etc.). So you actually now owe her less than nothing. She’s indebted to you so far already that she can’t possibly pay you back (not that she's even going to try, but still). Your grandparents are another matter, though. Their shitty-ness and evil is far more insidious. With your mom, you know what you get. An irresponsible shit stain. Your grandparents, though, are evil-enabling guilt mongers masquerading as caring people. The fact that you, as a ten-year-old, had to hear one bit of a negative word from anyone over protecting yourself (at ten years old, did I mention that?) tells me everything I need to know about them. You are not obligated to family due to DNA. Blood is thicker than water? Bullshit. Prove it, mother fuckers! When they give more of a shit about you (a productive member of society who’s been taking care of his mother’s messes long enough) than they do about their own failure, they’re nothing to you but an albatross around your soul. Shed the albatross, Brother, and breathe the clean, guilt-free air that you’ve earned. And you have earned it. I’d suggest moving far, far away to truly realize fulfillment in this endeavor. And perhaps you should have some counseling, Counselor.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. Every year, my husband and I spend Thanksgiving with his family at his cousin’s house. Every year, the cousin and wife make snide comments about a close family member of mine (a man active in local politics) and even intimate that my professional success is due to this man’s influence. Because we’re in their house, I’ve always politely bitten my tongue. Afterwards, I’ve asked my husband to please speak to his cousin about this, but, my husband’s afraid it’d upset everyone and insists that the only way I’ll earn their respect is if I speak up myself. I don’t give a flying shit about their respect, Prudie, but, I also don’t want to listen to their shit anymore. What can I say to them, in their own home, that will be acceptable and not ostracize me from the rest of the family? Signed, Fed With Shit Burgers Rather Than Turkey

Dear Doormat. First and foremost, I have to take extreme exception to your husband’s behavior. It’d be one thing if you were instigating this treatment. I mean, even if you were hinting about your politician family member, or asking for their comments in any way, I can see hubby wanting to stay out of it, but, if what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, then he’s a jack wad, wimp-assed, pussy boy who doesn’t deserve a wife with a successful family and career of her own. He deserves someone who actually deserves to be shit upon (which, hint: ain’t you). So, what to do? Personally? I suggest having dinner with friends or other family, as far away from Hubby’s family as possible. Or with pretty much anyone who doesn’t treat you like shit. If either you or your husband are afraid that that would cause a rift between you and his family, then you’re giving them far too much power in your lives. It’s one thing to sacrifice time, resources and effort to those who reciprocate with love, respect, care, support and peace, but to provide consideration to assholes? The only thing that does is encourage their shitty-ness. And we should not encourage shitty-ness. Listen, you deserve better. And I’m not just talking about the way your husband’s family treats you, either.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I have a beautiful, talented, gifted daughter who has a good job and many friends. But she doesn’t use soap when she bathes, Prudie. And she almost never shampoos her hair (maybe only once or twice per month)--she says she doesn’t want to strip away the body’s natural oils. Prudie, all of this is fine, but, the result is that she sometimes smells bad. I mean, like, bad bad. I’ve never had a problem with expressing my opinions to my children, but, I’m afraid of the extreme insult that my commenting on her hygiene would cause my daughter. Can you help? Signed, Stinky Girl’s Mom

Dear Mistaken. You mentioned several things about your daughter’s habits that you believe are leading to her odor, but, none of what you mention necessarily should lead to odor. Plenty of people don’t use soap. At all. But they don’t stink. Know why? They shower every day (sometimes twice), keep their hair short and/or use warm, nearly hot water to rinse it (daily), and, use powder and/or deodorant in and around their areas of odor concern. Oh, yeah--they also know how to wipe their asses. It sounds to me like your extremely gifted and popular daughter might be struggling with a deep funk (see what I did there? The pun? I meant “depression”, you know, in case you missed that, but used the word “funk” because of its dual meaning...what?), or, perhaps works in a place that smells so bad that her olfactory nerves have been affected. Maybe the friends you mention are smelly because they don’t wipe their asses, and your daughter wants to fit in? Lift your arms and smell your pits. Do you smell anything unpleasant? Even slightly? Then imagine what her pits must smell like to her?! If her state of funk is in any way frequent, you owe it to her to be very direct about your observations and concerns (especially if the smell is coming from her back side, which she may not be as able to notice). You don’t have to be rude like me, but, you do need to say something. Prudie’s suggestions were top notch, but, a minimum. Personally, I’d say, “Honey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you smell pretty ripe. Did you forget to wipe? I mean, seriously. You smell a little bit like ass.” But that’s just me. On a good day.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I have a leadership position at the University for which I work. There’s one problem, though. When we do training or orientation, there’s a great deal of “cheering and chanting”. I find it to be rather proletarian, but I do try to participate. The problem is that I always fail miserably. If I try to cheer, I look and feel like an idiot. If I stand in the back, I’m seen as the group naysayer. How can I go through this stupid and ridiculous custom without letting on that I really am the group naysayer? Signed, So The Group Naysayer

Dear Person Who Only Thinks S/He’s a Leader. You’re not a leader. Nor are you in a leadership position of any significant weight. A leader would change “stupid and ridiculous” activities to make them intelligent and appropriate. So, first off, you need to quit taking yourself so seriously. No one else does. Believe me. Secondly, you need to know that you’re not seen as the group naysayer. If you’re considered at all, you’re seen as aloof and inappropriately entitled. Just so you now, there’s a significant difference. As such, you need to learn to do two simple things: smile (legitimately) and clap. You needn’t smile at the activity itself. Hell, smile at how ridiculous everyone looks, if that’s what you feel. But, by simply smiling and clapping (a social construct meant to demonstrate appreciation, but one that’s so easily faked a robot with a mouse brain can learn it), you will be right in the middle with the rest of us (the majority, in fact) who find this type of exercise uncomfortable, but relatively innocuous in the grand scheme of life. Oh, and when you become a leader for real? Why not change the training/orientation program. Kay? Kay.

Well, Shippers, that about does it for me. Lots of work (school and professional), so, I need to get to it. May you have the wonderfulest of wonderful weeks. Fair winds and following seas!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

...on Yard Sex, Senility, Lying and Drama (10/28/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey ho, Shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that all’s well, that it’s a bright, shiny, happy day, and, that you enjoyed today’s letters! I know that I did! I’m glad because, with the way they’ve been lately, I was thinking I was going to have to spice things up a bit by offering something like, “So, corporal punishment of your kids? Yes or no?”, but, now I can save that topic for a later edition, you know, in case it’s needed. That said, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. I’m a happy-go-lucky 20-something in a two year relationship with the “most beautiful, fascinating woman I've ever met.” We’re talking about getting married, and I couldn’t be happier! Well, except for one little problem that’s sort of snowballed into a moral dilemma (you know, that old chestnut). My girlfriend’s parents are very traditionally religious and they really, really do not believe in premarital sex. We recently went on vacation with them (I slept in a separate room from my girlfriend, of course), but, one night my girlfriend talked me into having sex with her in the back yard (she’s got a thing for outdoor sex). The next morning, my girlfriend’s grandma insisted she’d seen two people in the back yard having sex, but, since she’s been bordering on senility for quite awhile now, no one believed her! And it looks like her insistence on what she saw (boy, does she continue to insist--over and over and over) will end up being the catalyst for the family deciding to put her in a home. My girlfriend and I would like to come forward, but are worried about that our relationship will suffer due to her parents’ anger over the backyard tryst. What should we do? Signed, Night Weenie

Dear Whipped But Good! First off, let me set you straight on something right up front you little shit! Your girlfriend didn’t “talk you into” sex in the back yard. You whipped it out, brother! You stuck it in! You need to learn to take responsibility for your actions (and she for hers). Blaming your girlfriend for your actions is pussy-boy behavior, plain and simple! That personal responsibility thing? I hope you wrote that down as you’ll see it again and again and again. Next up, I don’t care how young or stupid you are, it is morally reprehensible that you would even consider not telling her parents! Are you fucking kidding me?! Forget grandma going into a home--that might be the best place for her anyway (and hopefully she’d never be put there if it wasn’t, and hopefully, too, that decision would be based on many appropriate criteria and indicators, not just this one)--and think about the fact that your failure to speak up is making her look like senile! A woman who knows she’s right and you’re letting her take the fall?! For a little night sex?! That’s like being gay and passing anti-gay legislation in order to make sure the focus is off of you! It’s like condemning a cheating politician while you’ve got interns under your own desk! Allowing grandma to take the fall for your actions is the very height of hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy. I wouldn’t want you as a son-in-law, either! Holy shit! Look, all of my mean language aside, I’m going to give you some very practical advice: if you don’t have the balls to talk to your girlfriend’s family, and she can’t do it, either, what makes you think your marriage is going to be any different? Either you are an adult, capable of making your own decisions, on your own terms, or you are not. And if you’re not, you need to quit pretending that you are. Right now? I see a couple of scared little kids who aren’t mature enough to even be in a sexual relationship, much less considering marriage. Let’s hope that you grow the fuck up before grandma is shuffled off to Serenity Acres and thrown on the pile of medically-induced calmness that “lives” there.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. My husband and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows because a sow bitch of a woman posing as my mom’s best friend ruined our actual wedding and I want to replace those memories with happier ones. See, six months after our original wedding, my family found out that my dad and my mom’s supposed best friend had been having an affair. Since the “best friend” was our informal wedding planner, even participating in the wedding by screeching some out of tune song or other, the whole event’s been ruined for all of us. My mom wants me to throw things away from the wedding that remind her of her ex-BFF, and I can’t even watch the wedding video because it makes me weep. My question is, when people ask why my husband and I are renewing our vows, what should I tell them? I don’t want to spill the whole sordid story (much), but, that is the reason? Signed, No One’s Going To Fuck Up My Wedding This Time

Dear OMFG Helicopter! You are truly a fucking psycho hose beast, drama queen of the first order, aren’t you?! I don’t know if your husband qualifies for that designation, too, but you’re mom certainly does (some things just run in the family)! First off, you found out about this six fucking months after your wedding, yet, you’ve chosen to go back and poison an event that I presume was perfect in your mind prior to learning of this truly terribly tragic and completely uncommon news? Give me a fucking break. You love drama, don’t you? You live for it, actually! And now you’re looking for drama in your vow renewal! A vow renewal and you want the drama! “OMG, Prudie, what will I do if I just happen to slip up and tell someone why we’re renewing our vows?” “OMG, Prudie, what if someone actually asks me why we’re doing it? What can I possibly tell them?” Listen up, Cinderella, no one gives a flying fuck except you and your mom. You say, “Because it’s a special anniversary and we wanted to celebrate it in a special way.” That’s it. But that’s not nearly good enough for you two crazies, is it? Oh hell no! You want to bring down the drama, don’t’cha? And your mom?! What the hell is up her ass? She’s forgiven your father, but this woman who magically made your father’s dick hard using, what, dark magic and witchcraft, is now so poisonous a presence that 15 years after the fact she’s still affecting your lives? Let me tell you something: you and your mom (not the ex-friend) are perpetuating an evil, psycho bitch hatchet job on your family’s lives and if I was your husband, I’d take this time to go to the courthouse to renew my singlehood, not my vows. Get another hobby, you nut job.

LW#3: Dear Prudie. Through no fault of my own (it was actually a boss’s mistake), I found out that a co-worker of mine makes $6,000 more per year than I do. We do the same job, I have more industry experience, industry specific certifications and a bachelor’s degree. She has a master’s degree only and sucks at her job. And smells bad, too! Yeah, that’s the ticket! I’m pissed and feel like I’ve been kicked in the face. What should I do? Signed, Dumber than Dirt

Dear Idiot. You are an idiot. First off, you need to recognize that what you value in your job and what your bosses value in your job is obviously not the same thing. Feel kicked in the face all you want, but, fact is, your anger and seething rage is unfounded (especially when aimed at your coworker, which, though you didn’t say it, is obvious). Your coworker applied for a job, got it, and takes home the salary that she was offered to do that job. You comparing your credentials to hers is a fool’s errand because you don’t know why your bosses are paying her more (though you clearly think you have it all figured out why they shouldn’t be, don’t you? And, while we’re on the subject, just in case you don’t know how it works, one who has a Master’s Degree also owns a Bachelor’s. Just sayin’.). Let me repeat the important phrase. You don’t know why they’re paying her more. So, it’s sort of obvious who you need to talk to, eh? And, to me, it’s obvious who you should be angry at, too (if you absolutely must be angry, which, frankly, is just not appropriate in this situation). That would be your bosses and yourself, respectively. Tell your bosses what you found, and how you found it (that detail is important), and ask if there’s anything you can do to increase your pay. Your coworker? You don’t mention her! You talk in generalities. Your coworker’s just doing her job. Leave her the fuck out of this, understand? She’s an innocent. And if you fuck things up for her due to your unhappiness with your lot in life (which, apparently you were all happy and satisfied with prior to your discovery), may you die six thousand tiny little deaths per year for the rest of your spiteful and petty professional life.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’ve got an iron stomach and steel constitution. I’m like the freakin’ paragon of health! Yet, the last two times I’ve eaten at the house of a particular couple, I’ve gotten terrible food poisoning. I’m talking bad ju-ju! So, I’ll never again eat food they’ve prepared or touched. Problem is that I enjoy their company and they enjoy cooking and they are starting to wonder why I don’t want to come over. What should I say to them? Signed, Won’t Eat Their Sushi

Dear Iron Man. I hate to ask this (well, no I don’t), but, is it possible they’re poisoning you? I mean, are you rich and are they in your will? Might they be the beneficiaries of a life insurance policy on you that you aren’t aware of? Those possibilities aside, I think you have to just say to them, “Look guys, I’m really sorry, but, the last two times I’ve have dinner at your place, I’ve gotten really sick. Not just kind of sick, but really sick! And, seeing that I’m never sick (ever!), I have to conclude that I’m allergic to something in your kitchen. So, I’m happy to meet for dinner, or to have you over to my place, but, I’m sorry, but, I just can’t risk going through that again.” Now, of course, ideally, you would have called them after the first bout and ask them, politely, if they’d gotten sick because you’d retched all night and were trying to eliminate potential causes. Then, if you’d repeated it a second time, that would have made your final declaration of not eating at their place more palatable (no pun intended). But, since you didn’t do that, you’ve just got to approach them cold. Be apologetic but firm. Unless they got sick, too, I doubt it was due to spoiled or bad food or poor preparation habits, and rather due to some esoteric ingredient that they’re used to cooking with that your body doesn’t process well. By approaching them from that vein, instead of from a place that insinuates that they’re unclean, roach poachers (even though they may be), I think you’ll get better results. Good luck (and maybe consider hiring a taster for when they’re around!).

Well, Shippers, that about does it for me. I’ve recently been tipped off that a time traveler’s been caught on a film from the 1920s, speaking on her cell phone ( I will spend the rest of the day investigating that possibility, probably by using my own time machine to go back to that exact date to see if I can spy the woman for myself. Of course, I’m pretty sure it’s a hoax, because, as we all know, when you travel through time, you lose your clothes and anything you’re carrying, so, she couldn’t really have had a cell phone... ;-) Fair winds and following seas to ya, Shippers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

...on Micro-Penises and Macro-Egos (10/21/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey, hidey and ho, Shippers! How the heck are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here in Smagland is going okay. I’ve taken the week off from work and have been traveling the southeast visiting family and friends. But, soon enough, I’ll be back Home and at work. Today, though, being Prudie Day (as it is), how could I be anywhere else but here? And fortunately so, because what a fine bunch of letters we have! So, without further ado, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’ve recently starting dating a wonderful man. He’s “smart, funny, cute, and kind.” But. You knew there’d be a “but”, huh? Well, in this case, it’s less about butt, and more about the other side. Or “less” about the other side. Prudie, he’s not well endowed. At all. Matter of fact, when we finally had sex, I found him to be so ill-endowed that I googled around a bit to see if I could diagnose his problem. Turns out that the Greeks must have invented the issue because I found that a Greek prefix, mikrós, along with the word penis, described his problem quite specifically. Prudie, he’s almost non-existent. And I consider a healthy sex life a must for a good relationship, and a healthy penis a must for a healthy sex life (and at 30, I’ve had several and I know from penises!). Plus, I like my sex to be of the penis-in-the-vagina variety. None of this oral- or toy-play for me, Prudie! No, thank you, Ma’am! Prudie, living “without an active sex life scares me”! So, what should I do? This man is great otherwise? Signed, Unfulfilled

Dear Lacking. What I think is most lacking in your relationship is not the size of your man’s penis, but rather the size of your imagination. Living “without an active sex life”?! What?! Have you never heard of any alternative to standard intercourse?! If this guy was an asshole? Sure, I’d suggest that you leave him. You know, because he was an asshole. If he beat you? I’d suggest you leave him then, too, you know, because physical abuse is bad, mmm-kay? But lack of penis size? While a problem for those, like yourself, who lack imagination and a sense of adventure or even the apparent ability to talk to your partner about the issue and explore alternatives, it’s not a problem for those who understand the fun that can be had in bed with a little motivation and ingenuity. And, just in case you were wondering, his lack of endowment may have had less to do with his shortcomings than it did with his nervousness or concern over how well he’d perform since you’re obviously way spun about your man’s third leg. Some men need a little confidence and comfort for things to realize their full potential. Who knows what’s going on with this guy, and I’m certainly not blaming you, but, it’s literally and figuratively such a small problem that you either need to try to get around it (which shouldn’t be difficult, as tiny as you say it is), or drop this guy now. Because it doesn’t sound like this problem is something you’re going to be able to get past. And neither of you deserve that.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I have an acquaintance whose four-year-old daughter recently completed cancer treatment. The acquaintance posted a request on FaceBook for friends to donate hair so that the daughter could have a custom wig made. I heard later, through a mutual friend, that the mother wanted me to donate my hair, specifically, to her daughter. Prudie, even though it makes me feel terrible, I don’t want to! I like my hair! It’s my favorite thing about me! And further, I’ve seen pictures of the daughter on FaceBook wearing a wig already. Couldn’t a cash donation be enough?! Signed, Sampson, not Delilah!

Dear Harriet, This request of your acquaintance is particularly troublesome. As an acquaintance, you owe nothing to this woman (or her daughter). And, as an acquaintance who’s been asked through the grapevine, second-hand, to donate her hair, you owe even less! Hell, even as a good friend or family member, you’d owe nothing other than what you, on your own, decided to give. So, I’m just triply perplexed as to what’s at issue here. My guess is that your mutual “friend” has way overstepped her bounds and that the acquaintance would be mortified if she learned of this request on her daughter’s behalf. I have a feeling that the acquaintance mentioned in passing how beautiful your hair is and your “friend” took it upon herself to get involved. If so, it’s a request easily solved by ignoring it completely and by mentally noting your friend’s tactics should they show up again in the future. If not, it sounds like your FaceBook group is pretty fucked up and you need to remove yourself from their presence wholesale. As is, there are so many things wrong with this story that I don’t know where to begin with advice, but, I will say that what’s most important is that you always give from the heart. If you want to donate to a cause, do so! But, never as some “surrogate” for the hair that you don’t want to donate (nor should you be pressured into donating) in the first place! Do it because you feel genuinely compelled. Being as you’ve never even met the little girl in question, and aren’t even certain of her health, it seems to me you should be outside consideration for any donation requests involving gifts directly from your person.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I likes me the drama! I mean, seriously, do I ever! But wait, okay, let me start at the beginning. My husband of one month (with whom I’m very, very happy, by the way) cheated on me over a year before we got engaged. We got over that little hiccup, obviously, and are sup-sup-super happy now! But, at a recent bachelorette party (celebrating a bride for whom I’m a bridesmaid), in walked “the other woman”! How could the bride, my friend, do this to me?! How could she invite this woman to celebrate with us on our special day?! I was, understandably distraught. I tried not to make a scene, but, having thought all along that the bride, my friend, hated this woman as much as I did, I can’t understand why she’d (the bride) invite her (the bitch) to our party and wedding. I seethed quietly in the corner, but, like a big girl, didn’t cause a scene (much). But now I don’t know what to do? Should I quit the wedding and my friend? I think I deserve to be able to, considering how much I’ve been put out. Signed, Always the Jilted, Never the Jiltee

Dear Drama Queen, how about if you’d have quietly taken the bride aside and just asked her what’s up? Further, and I know this may come as a total fucking surprise to you, the other woman may have had no idea about you and your, as-of-then, not-even fiancé. You’ve forgiven him completely, but the other woman is still a husband-stealing bitch? Okay, got it. Look, I’m know that I’m being extreme and mean here, but, damn! First off, this isn’t your wedding. Not sure if you recognized that, but, I thought it was worth a mention. You don’t get to make the guest list, nor are you required to be consulted during its making. You’re a guest, not the hostess. If this bride is a good friend of yours--good enough for you to be her bridesmaid--shouldn’t you feel close enough to her to be able to ask if she knew how you feel about the other woman? You know, like a person who wears big girl panties and doesn’t revel in drama? Further, if you are totally happy and secure in your marriage, give this whole thing a rest for the few hours it’ll take and just enjoy the wedding. If you can’t, though, by all means, tell the bride that you’re very, very sorry, that but you can’t make it. Try to do everything you can to mitigate the effect your leaving on such short notice will cause on the ceremony (my guess is that it won’t be a problem), and do so without issuing any dramatic monologues or ultimatums about “either it’s her or me, bitch!”, complete with head wagging and finger snapping. My guess is that it’ll be better for all involved.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m well into my education toward becoming a lawyer. I have just over a year left, but, truth is, I hate it! I mean, the more I learn about law, the more I hate the whole thing! As a result, I’ve put very little effort into my studies. Further, I feel guilty because, not only have my parents sacrificed greatly for my education, my mom thinks that lawyering is my dream job and can’t seem to talk about anything other than how happy she is for me! My only escape nowadays is via books that have nothing to do with law, and through daydreaming. What should I do? Signed, So Not Into Litigation

Dear Are You Sure You’re Not Just Scared of Failing (or Already Failing). First off, you have to recognize that you’ve recently learned that you don’t like this profession after a long time of thinking that you would. I’m going to lay something amazing on you: you might find in a year that there are tons of things that you would like to do as a lawyer (or in a law-related field). You just haven’t been exposed to them yet. You’re so young right now and lacking in life experience that everything is black and white. You like it, you hate it. That is bad, this is good. As you become more and more seasoned, you’ll find that very little (if anything) in life is so dramatically defined (unless, of course, you become an ultra-conservative third party advocate, in which case, black and white and fear is par for the course...). Look, the nearly-complete degree is what’s important here, not nearly so much what type it is. So, complete your education, and, in the meantime, take advantage of the people in the world who can help you find a way to a job that will fulfill you (like your mom, your professors, the school’s counselors, lawyers, Prudie, etc.). You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your calling is actually in law, or a law-related field, but, too, you might find that it’s not. Either way, your law degree won’t hurt you a bit. How could it? Or, are you perhaps having a more difficult time than you’re letting on, and trying to find a way out before your poor performance is discovered and reported? Are you in danger of flunking out and so are now trying desperately to manufacture an alibi? Regardless of what’s at the core of your problem, my advice stands. Get some help from those around you. Tell them what’s on your mind. Ask them for help. Most actually want to help you! :-) Take that advice that seems worthwhile and discard the rest. If you do or don’t follow my instructions, you won’t be any worse off than you are right now, but, by doing it, you might actually get some good help and/or guidance. And in that case, it’ll have been well worth the effort.

Well, Shippers, that about does it for me for this week. I’m going to go back to relaxing through the weekend. Then, it’s back to the happy grind on Monday. Happy Prudie Day to you all, and to all, a good night! Fair winds and following seas, Shippers!