http://www.slate.com/id/2240647/ (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...