http://www.slate.com/id/2242067/ (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.