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, January 28, 2010

...on Manipulative Bastards, One and All (01/28/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found Here

Greetings Shippers, and how the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? My apologies for the tardiness of my response, but, as previously advertised, I was otherwise engaged in secret squirrel government stuff. Shhh! Sometimes the life of a submariner is interrupted by submarine duties. Sigh. Such is the way of the world, I guess. But, regardless, I’m here now, ready to dispense a few pearls of wisdom if I can. Here’s hoping they’ll be worth your return trip to the lagoon and I’ll try my best to never be tardy again!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, either I’m a lost, vulnerable young man, sincerely trying to learn how to do better in relationships with women, or, I’m a terribly manipulative cretin, already fully quench-hardened in the furnaces and quenching pots of Hell. Regardless of which it is, my girlfriend recently left me, a huge shock to me because she seemed so in love with me, yet I imagined her to be so blissfully happy and content that she'd never dream of leaving me! It turns out, though, that, in actuality, she found me to be a terribly jealous, controlling asshole (I forbade her from having anything to do with her exes, insisted she not go anywhere that said exes might be, and I limited her social life to the point of it being non-existent, so, I guess she was right?  The jury's still out on that one, though.). Unfortunately, I have immediately gone out and gotten hot and heavy with another girl, whom I believe that I make blissfully happy.  And I think she’s already madly in love with me (I do strive to be the paragon of morality, Prudie, which is how I feel justified in expecting the same from my various girlfriends). I’m scared, though, because I don’t want the same thing to happen with this new girl that’s happened in the past, because I can now clearly see what a monster I’ve been to the previous girls. But, I already feel the same urges starting up. I’ve been reading self help books in order to try to be a better man and not fall into the same traps, but the books are not helping. And I’m too poor for counseling. What can I do, Prudie? Well dude, I’m not convinced, even for a second, that you’re sincere. You don’t once talk about how you feel about these women. You demonstrate no remorse or even understanding of the way you’ve treated women in the past (FYI, you seem to think that you own them, including their pasts, which, hate to break it to you, you don't). You only demonstrate concern for the bad results you're getting. But, that said, I’ve been counseled to treat you as if you’re sincere in your desire to get better, since, fact is, I’ll admit it, you might might actually be sincere. Fortunately for me, my advice to you is exactly the same regardless of your sincerity. For her sake, you need to immediately break off your relationship with this new woman. You are not ready to be in an intimate relationship with a woman. Any woman. You then need to seek counseling. It’s available for free at your school and from the county. Further, you need to read about manipulative behavior. You are demonstrating it in spades. You need to learn to recognize and curb it until it’s all but nonexistent. It’s not easy, but, if you’re sincere in your desire to become better, you can do it. And it’s something you need to do not only for your future relationships with women, but for the children that might come into your life later. It’s important not to perpetuate this type of behavior.  It's your moral responsibility not to.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my mom died recently, leaving me as the sole beneficiary of a $20,000 life insurance policy. She left a letter explaining that she’d "helped" my brother all through his adult life, constantly giving him money, and that she had always felt terrible about it because she believed it terribly unfair, having given so much to him and so little to me. She said in the letter that she hoped the insurance money would help make up to me and my family some of what she perceived as her unfair treatment in “helping” my brother so much. Prudie, my brother is reckless with money, lives irresponsibly, and doesn’t have a clue about living within his means. Yet his entitled attitude leads him to believe that he’s somehow owed a good life without having to work for it. As such, he’s furious about this money that my mom left for me! He yelled at me, Prudie, hollering that it’s unfair and that I owe him half of the money, regardless of our mom's wishes. What should I do? I’m going to be very straightforward with you here because I can imagine how much of an emotional shitstorm you’re having to navigate right now, having just lost your mom and then having to also deal with your brother’s greed at the same time. Your brother is all of the things you said. He has been bilking your mom his entire adult life while you’ve been responsible and worked hard to get where you are (and to where you could legitimately put that money to good use). Don’t give your brother a dime. He will only blow it (and you know that to be true) and then your mother’s investment in that portion of the money, whatever you chose to give him, would be lost forever. Further, and even more importatnly, giving him money will only set a precedence that your mother lived, and died, to regret. Don’t make the same mistake she did by enabling your brother to live another day without having to realize the value of working for what he receives.  You still have a chance to not regret coddling and enabling this asshole.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I live in a great, close-knit neighborhood. A couple of years back, a woman who I had considered a good friend spread some really vicious rumors about me. I got it worked out with the folks that she told the rumor to, but I never really got it worked out with the ex-friend because she would never face me when I asked to talk about it with her. So, sadly, I let it go and have moved on. Knowing now the kind of person she is, I’m only cordial to her when I must be (like when we’re both at a mutual friend’s house, etc.). But, if I see her on the street, etc., I don’t acknowledge her. I don’t flick her off or throw dog poo on her car, but, I don’t acknowledge her, either. Well, recently, she’s taken to waving at me when she passes by in her car, honking her horn, and even waving both hands out the window in order to get me to acknowledge her presence. Prudie, she’s crazy and I actually peed a little last time her car came careening toward me, her hands both out the window, waving frantically at me! What should I do? Listen, you are dealing with a woman who is similar to the first LW (that's assuming he’s the manipulative prick version that I mentioned and not the well-meaning-but-socially-inept-kid-who’s-trying-to-get-better-and-genuinely-regrets-his-past-actions-and-wants-to-make-amends version). There’s no question about this woman. She’s the crazy nut job version. What do you do with crazy nut jobs? You continue to ignore them. If I were you, I’d try to go walking with a friend from the neighborhood. Crazy nut jobs don’t act that way with witnesses around. Or, you might get a cell phone with video capability (or not, she just has to think it has video), and, as she drives by, don’t look at her, but hold up your phone as if you’re taping her. Or, even if you don’t have a specific friend out with you, walk at times that others are walking their dogs. There’s nothing that you can do to change this woman, short of moving, but you can change the field of engagement. And that’s most of the battle right there. Good luck with it because, sadly, I fear that you’re going to need it, and I hate that for you.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, my ex’s mom keeps writing on my FaceBook wall. She says flowery things, expresses her affection, and even engages me on my politics! I’m no longer in touch with my ex. What should I do? Are you asking because you want to bang her? You sign out with “So Over This”, but I don’t know if that means that you’re so over the mom’s FaceBook activity regarding you, or that you’re so over the girlfriend and now ready to ride the Mrs. Jones Pony Express to Happytown? I’ll assume it’s the latter because the former is so easy to fix that only a five-year-old with peanut butter in his ears couldn’t figure it out (but, in case you are five, and peanut buttery, you should unfriend the woman. I know, right?!). As for Mrs. Jones and banging her, the penis goes in the vagina...

Okay shippers, that about does it for me. I hope that you’re all having a great week! Too, I hope that you're all happy and healthy and that everything you could want or need is either already firmly ensconced in your life, or that it's on its way at warp speed. All here is okay. Not nearly as nice as last week, though! The sun has left and it's chilly and raining. :-( But, I'll live right through it. I hear that summers here in TX are quite warm! So, until next week, fair winds and following seas to ya, shippers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

...on Cheating Husbands with HUGE Balls (01/21/10) <--Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Greetings Shippers! How the hell are you on this fine, fine Prudie Day? Wow, what a great week, eh? I don’t know about you guys, but the nasty weather here cleared, the days have been incredible, and the nights? Beyond compare! I realize that it’s only temporary, that cold weather is supposed to return on Sunday around noon, but it feels so wonderful right now that I don’t ever want it to end. But, my good fortune aside, I hope that all’s well with you, too? We know it’s not so great for these letter writers and we have a front row seat to the fun. So, shall we have a look? Yes, let’s!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, last summer, my husband and I rented a cabin with another couple who are longtime friends of ours (matter of fact, I considered the wife to be my best friend). My husband recently confessed to having slept with the wife during our vacation. We’d had too much to drink one night and after the other husband and I had gone to bed (in our own rooms!), my husband and the other wife tested out the sofa, the dining room table, the kitchen counters, the ceiling, and the bearskin rug as if they were college kids on a fuck-a-thon. I’ve forgiven my husband his stupidity, and we’ve talked it out, but he’s asked me not to discuss this with my friend as they swore a pact of secrecy or whatever. Anyway, because I can’t talk to her about it, the relationship is understandably strained. So, I need to know if I should go on with this ruse for the sake of my husband’s pact with my former best friend, or confront her and possibly wreck our formerly great friendship? Wowsers. Sorry to hear about all of this, but, you’re not too terribly good with logic, are you? Somehow, your loyalties are so switched up that you’re willing to protect your husband’s honor (where he promised not to tell you something that happened, even though he did tell you, so that what you’re now “protecting” is actually just a lie--about cheating no less!) over a friendship that’s was “formerly” great, but that you’re now continuing so that, what, your former best friend doesn’t find out that your husband lied to her (while slipping her the kielbasa, by the way) about what he’d tell you?! So you, someone not even responsible for any of this, is on the hook for all of it? Damn, will you marry me? I’d love to engender that kind of crazy-blind, completely illogical loyalty! Seriously though, what are you thinking?! You have so many choices here, it’s incredible. And the ultimate decision is entirely up to you! You can tell your husband that you’ll keep his secret, but that you will not, under any circumstances, continue to spend time with this woman, pretending that nothing happened. You don’t have to out her to her husband (and shouldn’t, as it’s bad karma), but you don’t have to spend time with her, either. Or, you can tell your hubby that you’ll go on, but only if you can confront your friend so that the two of you can work it out. But, what you should not do is take on this load yourself. Your husband told you, and apparently that’s good on him (whatever), but he’s got the biggest balls in the world if he asked you to, you know, keep quiet and keep pretending to enjoy the company of this woman in order to, what, honor the pact of secrecy he made with her? How big are his balls? Like, volleyball size? Can they be seen from space? Do small objects orbit them? You know what you need to do. Now, go have a heart-to-heart with your friend and see if you guys can move on. If not, well, there it is.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’ve got a perfect wife in absolutely every way....yawn...but, she cooks like four-day-old hot tuna breath on poo. And that’s on the good nights. The problem is that I’m a super-important lawyer and on the days after she cooks, I find myself in the bathroom all day long! Obviously, I can’t do my job from in there. I’ve tried to encourage my wife not to cook, but she’s having none of it as she fancies herself the next Iron Chef. What can I do? You are one sad sack of dog shit, aren’t you? Holy crap! And you claim that you’re an attorney?! Not that being one matters, I just noticed that you seem to find it important, so, I thought I’d throw it up in your face. I’m rude like that. Regardless of what you do, what you are is a married adult (well, you’re apparently married; the adult part is questionable). What’s wrong with saying, “Honey, seriously, I love you, but there’s something in your cooking. I don’t know if it’s specific, or general, but, whatever it is, it’s killing me!” She may turn ashen white and admit that that’s exactly what she’s been trying to do! Arsenic! You know, for your lawyerly life insurance. Or, she may cry. Or, she may not react at all, but, whatever she does, she’ll know why you’ve been being such a prick about her food for so long, and she can at least work toward fixing that, or, short of that, at least know why you pick at her food as if you were a finicky fairytale princess. You apparently suck at logic, too, just like LW#1, because I’m guessing that your wife doesn’t spend the entire day on the john after cooking, or else she’d know that something’s up with her culinary masterpieces and adjust her cooking herself. I’m also guessing this isn’t an issue with your guests, family, friends, etc. So, guess what Sherlock (or should I say Perry Mason)? This is on you! You’re the one with the irritable bowels or the weak stomach or whatever. That doesn’t mean that you should have to eat whatever your perfect wife cooks for you. But imagine if, you know, you were honest with her and she actually made something that your condition could tolerate. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Or, is it that you just would rather eat McDonalds? I can understand that, the Kid’s Meal was one of my favorites growing up, too. But then I grew up and got past that. Regardless, why don’t you check with LW#1’s husband? He’s got some extra balls, and you have a deficit. Maybe you could put your lawyer skills to work and hash out a deal with him?

LW#3: Dear Prudie, a young man recently crashed into a tree in our front yard and died, right there, in his car. His family and friends have erected a makeshift memorial around the tree. Please understand that I don’t want to seem rude. I saw the man die, talked to him from outside the wreckage, hoping all along that help would arrive in time. It didn’t. But, we have a small front yard and the memorial memorabilia in our yard is starting to age. How can I take it down and not seem like a total insensitive jerk? Sir, I’m really sorry to hear about this. And there’s really not much that I can add to Prudie’s advice. It is brilliant and dead on. But, if it were me, I would not use the word “brave” unless it’s completely applicable, as you want to avoid sounding in any way patronizing. Further, you need not address why you took down the memorial, and actually should completely avoid that topic at all costs because it’s 100% obvious that you are not only within your rights, but have been very fair and gracious in this really cruddy situation. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’ve got a problem. Due to the economy, a number of my friends and customers have gotten involved in multilevel marketing. They’re now constantly trying to sell crap to me! Some customers have even gone so far as to insist that I buy their crappy products or else lose their business. I believe that they’re being taken advantage of and I don’t want/need the crap they’re selling. How can I tell them that I don’t support multilevel marketing schemes and that I don’t want to hear about it? Well, you can start by saying that you don’t support multilevel marketing schemes and that you don’t want to hear about it. That’s what I’d do. But that’s so obvious that I assume you’d have figured that one out on your own. For friends, if they’re true friends, you owe it to them to be honest. Tell them that you are not interested in buying their wares. Not today, not tomorrow, not even next week, no matter if they get hooked up with the world’s newest, greatest, best-thing-ever or not. Tell them you want to free the topic from your conversations forever. And, if they do it again, walk out. Just pay your tab, get up, and literally leave. They’ll get the hint and won’t do it next time. There’s no need to discuss your support of multilevel schemes with them. That’s not a lesson for you to teach, and not one they’ll learn from you anyway. For customers, you have to weigh the advantage/liability of keeping/losing them against the associated costs of buying from them, but, if you feel the need to keep them and play their game, consider the purchases a cost of doing business. And I mean that literally. Put the purchase of their goods smack dab on their next invoice. Add the line “MLM Expenses”, and then enter the cost that they charged you right on your invoice to them. Yes, you may lose customers, but you’ll have your dignity. And, fact is, in a great many service industries, that’s more important than you can imagine because having a consistent and recognizable set of values will often attract other customers to replace any that you lose. And your new customers will understand your values up front (it’s what attracted them) and they won’t expect you to work around those values for their personal benefit. Matter of fact, it would disappoint them if you did.

Well shippers, I guess that’s it! Another week done. Here’s hoping that all’s well in your personal lagoon, that friends and family are all well, and that you’re all getting plenty of sunshine. Until next week, you know the drill: fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers! And remember to keep that dive-to-surface ratio right about at one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

...on Idiots Who Think They're Adults (01/14/10) <--Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey there, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here is well. It pretty much couldn’t be better, matter of fact. I mean, one single day’s difference in one direction or the other might prove to make it perfect, but, otherwise, this is pretty much golden. I hope yours is going as well. But, now that we have the niceties out of the way, why don’t we get to the real reason we’re here; to lay the smack down on some letter writers! Let’s get to it, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my wife is great and beautiful and everything is perfect in my life, yaddah-yaddah, but....there are these two girls in the building across the way and they like to parade around in various stages of undress, and, well, I can’t help but look. What should I do? My wife and I have good naughty time together, but this is a whole other thing! Should I go over there and tell these girls what they obviously already know, that they’re putting on a nightly peep show? Should I then offer to pay them for the rocks I’ve tossed while inspired by their boudoir activities? Should I tell my wife what I’ve been doing? Help me Prudie because I can’t think of any other alternatives to solve this cataclysmic problem! Dude, I’m not sure who issued you your Adult Card, but you need to turn it in. Same with your Marriage Card. You’re far too immature to handle that serious a relationship. This is so much not a problem that I don’t know where to begin. First of all, these ladies know what they’re doing, or else they’re too stupid to realize it, and, either way, that means they don’t care. Second, you need to figure out your relationship with your wife and why you think it’d be a problem for you to be watching naked chicks out your window. Third, what about sex is "naughty"?  Listen, do you turn away from the television when a shampoo ad is on? Do you cover your eyes as you walk by Victoria’s Secret in the mall? Married people share stuff like this. Next time you see this happening, call your wife over and say, “Oh my god, dude! Look at that!” Or, if she’s not home, when she gets home, say, “Hon, you are never going to guess what I saw! Right over there!” If she can’t handle that (and, conversely, if you couldn’t handle the same if she said it to you about the stud in 4B), you two have more problems to navigate than just a poorly lit apartment and a peep show.

#2: Dear Prudie, my wife and her sister used to be very close. Well, one day recently they were on the phone and just laughing away. When my wife hung up, I asked her what was so funny and she didn’t want to tell me, saying it was about something at her sister’s work and that my SIL had sworn my wife to secrecy (I work with my wife’s sister, by the way). Well, I wasn’t going to accept that, so, I weaseled the info out of my wife. She made me promise not to tell her sister, but, the very next weekend, because I’m a raving dumbass, I mentioned the secret information to my SIL. My SIL was mortified that my wife had told and she left! Well, personally, I blame my wife and her sister for this gale of a shit storm. My wife for telling me, and the sister for being such a heinous bitch. But, since my wife isn’t cooking dinner for me anymore, or giving me sex, I thought I’d try to be all magnanimous and stuff and fix things up between these two. You’re a chick, what can I do? Dude, I’m not sure who issued you your Adult Card, but, you need to turn it in. And marriage?! Holy shit, you fucking moron, how in the fucking hell can you blame this situation on your wife? You’re the fucking short bus reject who blabbed at the very first fucking opportunity that you got to the one single person in the world that you should not have blabbed to, and that faux pas came after you badgered your wife (I know, I know, it didn’t take any effort on your part to get the info from her.  Thanks for that, you fucking shit stain. Way to go, throwing your wife under the bus like that by adding that info). Now, truth is, there is blame for the sister and your wife (beyond the fact that the sister allowed your wife to marry you, and besides the fact that your wife did), and that’s that they shouldn’t be letting one betrayed trust (especially with a spouse, shit-stain thas he is) ruin their relationship. And, if they’re going to? They have a lot bigger problems than that one broken trust and a dumbass, wife-throwing-under-the-bus, shit-stain, ball cheese-having husband/BIL, and that’s not anything that you can fix for them.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, for two years my husband begged me for a tarantula. After I got good and sloshed one night, I acquiesced and said that he could get one. Now I’m pregnant and will be delivering at some point in the next half year or so, and then, at some point within a few more years after that, the baby might knock the spider cage off the counter and the spider then, might, I don’t know, kill our baby. Plus, that damn thing gives me nightmares something terrible and it can shoot hair and shit out of its ass, and that's apparently quite poisonous. I want my husband to give up the spider. He says no. I say yes, and I’m right. Please tell him. I’m not even going to bother with revoking your Adult Card because it’s clear that you have never gotten past kindergarten. You know, that place where you blame everything in your life that you don’t like on other people or things. You acquiesced to your husband’s request, right? Oh, no, that was the booze and the fact that your husband had begged for two years. I see. You want the spider gone, but, you can’t bear to say  that's the real root cause, so, now it’s about your unborn baby who, in a few years, if your husband is wildly careless (because it certainly won’t be your fault), might get hurt by this spider if about a bazillion things happen causing that injury? I see, so, you're uncomfortable and instead of trying to take any steps yourself to ease that discomfort, you’re blaming your husband’s stubbornness, the baby, the booze, and the spider hair? Okay, got it.  The biggest problem you have is that you don’t know how to take responsibility for yourself and no one’s ever made you. If you were half an adult, you’d know that all you have to do to fix all of your concerns about the spider (except your own terror) is to put the cage on a shelf and put some clips on the cage top. That’s it. But no, that’s not good enough for you, is it? You want to blame the rest of the world for your mistakes. Poor baby. Everyone’s out to get you, aren’t they? You need to do some self analysis, sister, and to come to the realization that the world doesn’t revolve around your cute little drunk ass.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m a law student and last summer went to do some intern work at a law office here in town. Well, on my first day, I was alone with the attorney and he began having very inappropriate conversations with me, asking about my personal life, telling me about his, etc. It was downright creepy all of this personal talk! So, that night I sent him an e-mail saying that I wasn’t going to go back. I didn’t explain myself or anything, I just said, “See ya!” Well, he’s been trying to contact me to find out what happened, but I haven’t returned his calls/e-mails/texts. What should I do? Holy fucking sad sighs. You Adult Card, and, your Law Card! Turn them in. Right the fuck now. And bring your husband’s for good measure because he’s an idiot, too. What you should have fucking done at the first moment you got uncomfortable, you amazing twit, is that you should have said, “Dude, I’m a little uncomfortable with this line of discussion. May I ask some questions about, you know, law instead?” I mean, to me, talking about personal life and asking about personal life is just friendly talking, but, I’m going to take your word for it that it was inappropriate. That being the case, just tell the guy what's up. Holy fuck?! I mean, is it that fucking hard? Just tell the guy. Say, “Dude, you made me way uncomfortable and all of these calls and texts aren’t helping. Please quit trying to contact me as I will not be coming back to work there and there’s nothing more to say.” Then, next time you find yourself in this situation, and it sounds like you certainly will, instead of imitating a clam, act like you wear big girl panties and say, “Whoa there, Mr. Creeper, let’s bring this conversation back to Worksville, okay?”  Okay.

Well, shippers, it’s a sad, sad day when they let children go out and live in the real world, thinking that they’re adults. If I had a rubber hose and all of these LWs’ parents lined up, I’d smack each and every one of them in the head for inflicting their children on the world without first preparing them (or us). Sigh. But, hey, at least this was more fun than last week, eh? Have a great day, shippers! And, tomorrow’s Friday! What a beautiful thing! Fair winds and following seas to you all. Til’ next week....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

...on Ball-scratching Boys  (01/07/2010) <--Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey-hey Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I tell you what, I’ve been busier than an atheist on the Rapture Day. I mean, hell, there’ll be an awful lot of flat screen TVs and luxury cars to choose from, don’t you reckon?! So, that’s pretty damned busy! I hope that your first few days of 2010 have been easier going than mine have been, but, the weekend is near and maybe with its arrival we can all sit back and relax a bit? Before that, though, it seems Prudie’s picked the lamest letters possible so that there’s only one direction to go from here. And, sad as that is, it’s still our job to come here and give the letter writers our attention. So, with that in mind, here goes nothing...

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’m a new teacher. I don’t know which issue bothers me more, the fact that two of my male students have literally stuck their hand down their pants and “adjusted” themselves while I was teaching them, or, the fact that one of them then used my keyboard after said adjustment! I don’t know what to say to these boys other than “that’s not acceptable behavior!” (regarding the “adjustments”, not the nasty keyboard manners, which I didn’t even mention to the offender). I don’t know what to do other than to scold them and then break out the Lysol and clean my keyboard afterward. How can I better handle this situation? I’m going to give you a break because you seem nice (although not too terribly wise, but, that’ll come with experience--we can hope). First of all, have you ever noticed that the best teachers in the world are those who can relate to their students? I’m talking, actually, really, truly relate? Well, so far, you’re not doing that. What do you think is the boys’ real motivation for sticking their hand in their pants? Is it truly discomfort as Prudie’s daughter suggests? If so, you can easily demonstrate how inappropriate that behavior is by engaging in it yourself! No, I don’t mean to suggest actually sticking your hand in your own pants (or theirs), but, if you pick your nose, and I do mean really stick your finger up in there and worm it around, while just going right along with your lesson (do not, under any circumstance, let on that you’re doing this on purpose), and then absent-mindedly wipe your finger on the table next to the student while you're still speaking, I guarantee you the opportunity to impart a life lesson will present itself. When the student reacts (and he will react, trust me), you can simply and calmly and matter-of-factly say, “What? It itches! If you can scratch your privates when they itch, how is this any different?” If, however, these boys are assholes, trying to get a rise out of you (and they might well be), well, then you’ve already failed. But you can save the day with what should have been your calm, matter-of-fact response the moment it first happened. Say, unfazed (it’s very important to stay unfazed), “Well, yeah, I guess I always check on my tiny jewelry too, when I wear it. It’s so easily lost.”

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my dad is a severe alcoholic (which, apparently is like being severely pregnant or severely deaf, and the opposite of being “slightly” alcoholic, or, "a little" pregnant...). He’s in his late 70s, about to die (obviously from the alcohol and cigarettes), and my mom has asked me to deliver a eulogy at his funeral. Prudie, I don’t want to! I have nothing good to say about this man who has never been there for me. What can I do? Late 70s and obviously dying from his bad habits? Man, you must live in one hell of a robust family if late 70s is an early death due to a lifetime of self abuse! But, that aside, on to your concern. You do know what a funeral is for, right? It’s not for the dead person. They’re dead. They don’t give a shit. It’s for the living. Far as I can tell, there will be two living people mentioned in your letter that you’re concerned with. You and your mom. Who’s more important to you at this time? Further, and this may help you to decide, do you even know what a eulogy really is? It’s a speech given to honor the dead person. It doesn’t mean that you have to come up with good stuff from your own perspective! At all. Hell, ask your mom what her favorite memories of your father are. She may actually have some, you know, from way, way back.  She might surprise you!  Ask your dad, too, before he succumbs to his partying lifestyle, what his favorite memory is. Ask anyone else who’s known him for any amount of time. Then, write it all down and, Bob’s-your-uncle, you’ve got yourself a eulogy! And all you had to do was compile a few stories, none of which have to be your own. If you decide not to do this, though, as a protest against the man that you father has been (which is fine, by the way), why even attend the funeral? Why not go out to dinner to celebrate the good riddance? If you can’t do that, though, then why can you consider not compiling a few stories about your dad? Something to think about.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’ve become good friends with my piano teacher of many years. We meet outside of class, we go to dinner, we chat, etc. The problem is that, as it turns out, she’s not such a good teacher. I learned more in a single 30-minute lesson with a new instructor than in the last three years with this teacher! I don’t want to lose our friendship, but, I don’t want to keep paying her for, well, her company. What can I do? You say that you guys are good friends, eh? Explain to me how that works? Look, how hard would it be to say, “Good friend, I have some news that I’ve been dreading sharing with you, but, I just don’t feel like I’m learning much on the piano any more. I don’t know if it’s because we’re such good friends that I’d rather chat with you than focus on piano, or if it’s just that we’re no longer connecting in a student/teacher way, or whatever, but, I need to start taking lessons somewhere else. But, because I knew that’d be weird, I haven’t wanted to say it. Then I realized how, because we’re such good friends, that this is just going to allow us to be closer because there won’t be that professional relationship anymore! And maybe I can play for you sometime if I get confident enough to show off my new skills for you?” If you can’t say that then you aren’t actually “good friends”, and the only thing that you stand to lose in that case is a burden.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m 28 years old and tired of being asked out via text message. I’ve been in a relationship for several years that just recently broke up. Prior to that, I was never asked out via text. Now it seems that’s the only way anyone does it, and, to me, it smacks of a lack of confidence and low self esteem. And perhaps a small penis. And I want a real man, Prudie, not some unconfident, texting yahoo. What can I do? One of two things. Either, a) tell the guys who text you that you don’t accept date requests via text and to try again, or, b) just go out with guys who ask you from the get-go in more traditional ways. I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, but, uh, holy shit, how hard was that?! I mean, do you really have a dating problem or are you just wanting to bitch? ‘Cause it sounds to me like it's the latter. But, the way I see it, the golden rule applies here. You want to see a certain behavior, ask for it. Well, unless it’s receiving flowers from the only man you’ll ever be able to get in your life. In that case, you just have to live with it, but, you know, otherwise, ask for what you want, damnit. Is it that hard?

Well Shippers, that’s it for this week. Sorry for the lack of my customary snark and foul language. These letters were just roundly uninspiring. But, you know what? I have a feeling that next week’s are going to be a bazillion times better! I mean, it’ll be a new week, it’ll be warmer (hopefully), less busy (certainly), and who knows what other goodies the week will bring? Personally, I can’t wait! See you then, Shippers, but, until then, fair winds and following seas to you all...