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, March 18, 2010

...on SmagBoy Shamelessly Angling for New Sweaters (03/18/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey Hidey Ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? It’s a wonderful day, isn’t it? Hopefully you’re getting past the weird effects of the clocks jumping an hour ahead and you’re now fully ready for the weekend? I know that I am! I’m really looking forward to Saturday, specifically, though. Did you know that Mr. Rogers (he of outside sweater, inside sweater fame) was born on the 20th of March?! I used to think that Bret Michaels (he of the outside venereal disease, inside venereal disease fame) was also born on the 20th. He’s a guilty favorite of mine from back in the hair metal days. But, alas, the perfect convergence of a Michaels/Rogers birthday weekend is not to be, as Bret was actually born into this world, fully-formed and rockin (and yes, probably already sporting a cold sore), on the 15th of March, not the 20th. Still, pretty good week for births, eh? And, oh, Kathy Ireland is on Saturday, too. So that’s a freakin’ trifecta of awesomeness for Saturday! But, anyway, let’s move past my weird fixation with birth dates and on to the letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’m a university student enrolled in a class that meets several hours per week...I say that in order to differentiate it from those that don’t. You know, those 10-minute-per-week classes that the rest of you took back in the old days before real schools were invented and we GEN-Y kids started college. You know, back when things were easy. Anyway, there was this hot dude in class that was, like, totally making my juices flow and so I finally screwed up the courage to ask him where I knew him from. Well, it turns out that he’s the grandson of the woman whose husband molested me as a child when I was in the care of his (this fellow-student’s) grandmother. I now hate this fellow student and can’t stand coming to class anymore. And who could blame me? It has nothing to do with the class being difficult and meeting for several hours per week. Honest. It’s just that I’m now pretty sure that at any moment he’s going to molest me, or invite his family in to molest me. In front of the whole class! What should I do? Look, your problem is more serious than I made it sound in the rewording of your question, but, it’s not one for the Internet Lady to answer. Nor is it one for me to answer. The truth is, this issue is about you, not your classmate. You have to work through this. Perhaps that’s with a counselor. Perhaps that’s through self help books. Perhaps via meditation while smoking pot with the Maharishi? I can’t know. But what I do know is that what happened to you is not the fault of this classmate. His presence in the same class with you is simply a fluke of the Universe. What you’ve got to do is figure out how to deal with that fluke without causing this innocent bystander to be damaged in the process. There’s been enough damage already, wouldn’t you agree?

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I fear that my four-year-old may have heard and/or seen my husband and me during our “private time”. We were being terrifically acrobatic and I’m afraid it’s going to cause him to be in therapy in 20 years, probably live a life of crime, and then die from a combination of AIDS and herpes that he contracted from Bret Michaels. He has such a brilliant mind (my son, not Bret, who is, after all, brilliant in his own way), staying up late at night working on process management for cereal crunch enhancement (you know, a non-nutritive cereal varnish, semi-permeable, non-osmotic, coats and seals the flake...) and I don’t want that beautiful mind damaged, Prudie! What should I do? Holy fucking batshit, woman?! Are you fucking kidding me? Do you honestly think that you and/or your husband are so fucking impressive, so fucking mind-bending in your playing of hide the kielbasa that you can compete with Dora the Explorer and Wishbone the reading dog in this child’s mind?! Well, okay, fine, perhaps with a mother like you, he will end up in therapy in 20 years. How could he not if every single hang up that you have in your life you transfer onto him?! What if next he accidentally sees a tiny byproduct of your monthly cycle? Will he worry about your death and need counseling? What if he sees you kissing Santa Claus? You know, underneath the mistletoe? What you need to do is quit projecting and actually, you know, pay attention to your child. Is he now acting out sex scenes with the family pet and a Vienna sausage (or toothpick?)? Is he ordering latex gloves off the Internet? Those are things worthy of addressing. Non-nutritive cereal varnish, though? Not so much. Oh, and, one last thing. When you have “private time”, why not, a) learn to call it “sex” or even “making love” (which is bad enough), but, mystifying it by calling it stupid shit like “private time (tee-hee)” only makes it that much more of a potential hang up that you’re transferring directly to your child, and, b), close your fucking door, dumbass.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m a 22 year old woman engaged to a 25 year old man. His mom takes care of everything for him. She makes his appointments and goes with him to them, she does his laundry, and she even comes over and takes care of him when he’s sick. Fact is, I think the bitch needs to keep her mitts off my man! I can take care of his needs just fine. He’s all grown up now and needs a wife to do that stuff for him, not a mommy. How can I get her to step back and let me take over? Oh my god, if irony was a nickel, you’d be so rich that you could buy the country out of debt and pay for our healthcare, too. Listen here, you terrible fucking ignorant enabling idiot! You think it’s a good idea to replace mommy with your own brand of being mommy? If this dumbassed, lazy, fucktarded piece of shit of yours hasn’t stopped mom from taking care of him already, and, you know, managed to become a fully autonomous adult, your offer to “take over” from mom surely is no problem to him. Fuck, why should he even bother getting up in the morning? Would you wipe his ass and clean the sheets if he decided to just take a shit right there in the bed? You think you’re doing him a favor getting his mom out of his life, only to then take over her “duties”? You are in a sick, twisted, co-dependent relationship that you need to extricate yourself from. Further, dumbass, if you were with a real man, you wouldn’t have to worry about mommy, because he would have taken care of that years ago. Instead, you’re with a momma’s boy, Mrs. Mom.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I recently received a “save the date” card for a wedding in which the bride is the daughter of someone with whom I barely have a speaking relationship. Someone with whom I sometimes discuss the weather in the elevator! I mean, I didn’t even know his name prior to the receiving the “save the date” card! I’m really conflicted because I just can’t know what to do?! Do I give a gift? I sort of feel obligated because I got a card. But I have no intention of attending the wedding. What should I do? I know that math is hard. I get that. But, in this case, are you really asking this question? I mean, seriously-really? A save the date card? And not only do you not know the bride, you barely know the father of the bride?! And further, your fucking employer gave this guy your address?! What sort of fucked-up building do you work in, anyway?! And how presumptuous of this fucking couple?! Sounds to me like another couple of “adults” needing to cut the apron strings. By the way, I’ve just dropped 365 party invitations in the mail to you (one for each day for the next year). I know that you don’t know me, and I don’t really expect you to attend these parties, but, I sure as fuck expect a gift for every single invitation. In case you were wondering, I really like shawl collar men’s cardigans. Wool. Don’t be sending me any of that cheap synthetic shit! Dark colors only please, but a nice dark green would do nicely, too. Oh, maybe even that earthy olive green that professors and old war heroes like to wear? That’s nice, as well. They make me look sophisticated. If you’d like, you can just give me coupons for services like doing my laundry or cleaning my house. That’s fine, too. Got it? Good.

Well, Shippers, that’s about it. I’d like to think that we’ve made a difference this week, but, in case we didn’t that’s okay, too. It’s still fun anyway, yes? Until next week, I wish you the best of days. May the wind be fair and the seas be following. And may your surface-to-dive ratio always be one-to-one. Until next week, then, Shippers...


  1. Bravo! I really enjoyed this week's letters, Mon Capitan!
    I especially savored the roasting of LW1 about "hours a week" class. Now, that being said, I do truly feel for this girl, but really, what the heck was the point of mentioning that? "I'm in a class with" would have sufficed in most contexts. Unless she's trying to avoid getting too specific and means "I'm in a lab class with him, it's toward the start of the quarter, and he's already my lab partner FOR THE REST OF THE TERM and now I know this about his family. OH THE HUMANITY!" In which case, ok, I could see it being somewhat relevant, though, still, not really to be mentioned in this particular letter.

    Meanwhile, yes, clearly she hasn't gotten past the problems here and needs to get it dealt with.

  2. Meanwhile, really? Shawl collar cardigans?

  3. Superb recaps, SB1. What really scared me about this group was that LW2 had by far the soundest first instinct:

    LW1: Should I confront him?
    LW2: Should I let it go?
    LW3: How do I make her yield place to me?
    LW4: Do I have to give a gift?

    Having no experience of nocturnal four-year-olds beyond having been one once, I shall refrain from commenting that, given her allowing the kid to visit on a routine basis at 2:00 a.m. to discuss his brilliant ideas, it's rather a marvel that she and her husband even have any "private time, tee-hee" at all. I know I never went bothering my parents at that hour.

    I don't know why everyone is telling LW3 to run when she clearly is completely satisfied with the basics of the man she has. HE'S not the problem. She wants a submissive husband, and she has one ready to hand; he's just submissive to the wrong woman. Note also how she claims to want to be recognized as "THE WOMAN" in his life. I'm thinking he perhaps ought not to associate with any other women at all, get a job with an all-male dance troupe and make friends with fun people like Johnny Weir. This could have significant side benefits for her in a couple of years when, after she's had the child she wants out of him, he might stop bothering her for "private time" with or without the tee-hee.

  4. Greetings Libby. Agreed. There is something to feel for and recognize as legitimate and human in LW#1's request. And I tried to tread the line between being too snarky and still provide sound advice. But she did need a bit of a beat down. I assume, as you did, she meant a 3-hour class plus 2-hour lab, vice "just" a 3-hour class. But still.

    As for the sweater, heck yes! Are you kidding? Look at this stunner:
    If that doesn't just scream bad ass to the bone, I don't know what does. It's the dichotomy, don't'cha know? You have to be able to throw the smack down and still be able to take tea. And do both with equal elegance and sprezzatura. The shawl collar cardigan allows for that. :-) Honest!

  5. hrumple, I told Schuyler last week that it's very rare that I actually, literally, laugh out loud. Especially when reading. Your take on LW#3's man, specifically the last sentence of your comment took me there. I considered him to be a simple layabout because of his apparent disinterest in the proceedings, but, now that you've properly smacked me in the head and caused me to think of other perspectives, I have to admit that I was looking at things too narrowly. I hadn't considered it, and, of course, you may be 100% correct.

    As for the dance troupe, however, two of my best friends moved to NYC after high school and that was more than enough for them to feel at home. No joining of a dance troupe required. But, any of us would be a remiss (I believe) not to at least have dinner with Johnny Weir! I don't know if I could do much more than that--he's awfully young yet and hasn't learned moderation--but, I do enjoy observing unbridled life. And he's got it in spades.

    Good cheer! :-)

  6. Smag, that wasn't a derisive "really" more like a "can I get an example so I can determine how makeable this would be?"

    And you have found a bad-ass cardigan that would take more concentration to make than the one I'm currently making for my grandparents...of course, theirs isn't shawl collared...which probably adds immeasurably to the bad-assness. =-)

  7. Smagboy, thank you for pointing out what I thought was the one most important piece of information in #4 that Prudie overlooked. Namely, what the hell was the employer doing casually giving out an employee's address??? I think that's the real issue here. The question is not whether to send a present, the question is how far to stick his foot up his boss' ass for giving his home address to a virtual stranger.

  8. OK, I'm not normally given to rants and I think your advice to LW2 is right. She doesn't need to address this particular incident with the kid and she needs to keep her f***ing door closed. BUT. *pulling out soapbox* a great deal of my work is trying to keep little kids (and we're talking 11, 12 year olds) from being placed on the public sex offender registry. You know, the lifetime one, that requires the person to pay $150 a week for life for GPS monitoring, the one that keeps the person from being able to go anywhere children gather for life. Kids get charged with sex crimes against other kids constantly, although the public likes to sweep this under the rug because they don't know how to deal with it. And those charges carry mandatory sex offender registry.
    A lot of these kids are acting out becauser they have been abused themselves, but a lot of them are just acting out what they have seen their parents doing in front of them, or what they have seen on the playboy channel that their stupidf***ckingsh*tthatIwouldliketobeatwithabluntobect parents haven't put a child block on. So if you have kids, 2 things- 1- it is never too early to have a good touch/bad touch discussion with your kids. 2- if you have a boy child you really need to have a talk with him before he hits puberty about how much trouble he can be in if he touches anyone else's privates. *inhaling deeply* OK, done, sorry, I'm putting the soapbox away now. Hope everyone has a great weekend! And of course, thanks for makin me giggle Smag.

  9. 7 comments only ? Pitiful, Smaggie, downright pitiful. Your readership is no doubt suffering from a coma-inducing St Patrick's Day bing-drinking suicide mission but drunken Paddies and dead leprechauns are scarcely enough to stop this patriot from single-handedly rescuing your blog from certain obscurity.

    Re: LW #1, obviously the salient point to make here is that Bret Michaels was a total cock-slurping fag who deserves to be impaled through the anus on the sharpened femur from the drummer of his own gay-metal, ass-banging band Poison. The only bands worth listening to are, of course, Death, Napalm Death, Lawnmower Deth and Death Cab for Cutie. And Cannibal Corpse.

    Re: the boy who walked in on his parents, in flagrante, time may prove you right on this one.....on the other hand, in 14 years time, and after being traumatised by witnessing the disgusting and morality-destroying act of sexual congress, the man this boy turns into may just be starring in the new Circle Jerk Boys dvd (that's a real movie franchise btw).
    Luckily, my little girl knows never to barge into daddy's room as she's more than likely to get her face blown off by the hair-trigger shotgun set-up guarding my private domain. Because Clayton guards every inch of his house and every inch of his precious, unquenchable freedom.

    Sorry, haven't got time to deal with the other letters as duty calls and this patriot has borders to defend and brown people to shoot,

    yours, Clayton.

  10. Well, aren't we I adjust my pristine white cuffs and my peter pan collar after slipping on my shawl collar cardigan to take off the chill in the room.

    I wonder how much freedom a person truly has if one needs to guard it to such a constrained degree? Hmmm?

    A good lock does wonder's for one's sexual freedom. A good lock does wonder's for moving an adult towards gaining good parenting skills, helps avoid raising all sorts of questions parents seem unwilling to respond to, whether it is your bedroom door or your computer or your TV saving your children from asking questions you are not prepared to answer. Is it a sound choice for now but at some time in the very near future ...

    Isn't everyone at some time going to go forth into the world and enjoy the freedom's we were taught as children? How will your child learn to let go of being mommie'd if you don't step back and teach then how to do their own laundry or go into the dentist's alone? How will they know that as an adult they will need a lock on their bedroom door if you avoid the reality that human's are sexual and that this is a good thing and normal to our species? How will your child understand what is socially acceptable sexual behavior and what is not if you don't teach them?

    How will your child understand they are free to avoid made up play dates with some stranger that sends them an invitation if you do not teach them about personal freedom?
    How will your child understand they are free to avoid someone from their past that makes them uncomfortable if you do not teach them about their freedom of choice?

    How will your child respond to freedom of speech if they don't understand the world is full of morons of all shapes and colors?

  11. Greetings Amy! Ahoy there! I agree 100% and should have made an even bigger deal out of that point. It's absolutely nuts that the boss gave out that information. I mean, I understand that the LW's boss trusts the doctor. Fine. But giving out personal information of staff, even to people in one's own company, is just absolutely unfathomable in my book.

    Thank you for noticing and reiterating it! Cheers! :-)

  12. Hey JayJay! Oh, please know that I'm 100% with you! I do not take lightly the responsibility of being a good parent and teaching the difference between right and wrong! I think I just wanted to point out that it's important not to project our own hangups onto our kids. And children being accidentally exposed to sex won't traumatize them unless the adults make it traumatizing. What will affect them is making sex in front of them a common enough occurrence that they think it's not only acceptable, but normal behavior. You are absolutely to right to stand upon your soap box! Please continue as you feel the need. Always! :-)

  13. Greetings and Ahoy Clayton! I'm so glad to see you here. I was afraid that having Moohamed around around here the last few weeks would have caused you to boycott this Lagoon. I'm glad to see that's not the case!

    As for LW#1 and Bret Michaels, I don't know if he'd ague with you about having his anus impaled. He might like it! But, I will also defend him (and Poison) by saying that they, in fact, put on a pretty damned rockin' (if not a little bit schmaltzy) show. I'm sure they don't compare with the Death Cab for Cutie, though! ;-)

    As for LW#2, your correct usage of the word congress has impressed me to the point that I'm not 100% convinced that you are quite the biggot you claim to be. Education has an interesting effect on people I suspect, now, that you may be hiding something. Do tell us, Clayton. You're among friends here. And we support you. I know that it's hard sometimes to be so angry and tight. Let go. Allow us to help you... ;-)

  14. Ahoy Debbie! Please don't worry too much over Clayton. I think he's about to have a breakthrough. I honestly do!

    As for your parenting advice, are you sure that you don't already teach classes in dating -and- parenting?! You seem to have a knack. Perhaps it's just no-nonsense? Whatever it is, you've got it down to a science. :-)

    Good cheer!

  15. Herd"T"hinner sez:

    I have to give Prudie props for such an... eclectic group of letters, I suppose.

    LW1 - yep. Unresolved stuff there. Be nice to Grandkid!

    otoh, I doubt if dating would be a good idea. I mean, the "come home to meet the family" part couldn't be a good idea, right?

    Or maybe... Sitcoooom!!! (Cue upbeat theme song)

    LW2 - I could've sworn I read that it was a 2-year-old and not a 4-year-old. My version makes Mommy even more of a fuckwit. And the kid way more precocious.

    What's that? Oh, yeah... Sitcom!! (Cue upbeat theme song)

    I sentence her to 4 swats on the behind with a rolled-up Woman's World magazine, then give it to her, so she can learn how to lose 10 pounds in 7 days... by eating as much as she wants!! And then recipes for 14 different kinds of cupcakes!! Plus contests for winning vacuum cleaners!!

    I hate Woman's World magazine.

    LW3 - one literally spineless man caught in a war between the two loves of his lives. Each week they face off and engage in increasingly wild and wacky ways to steal his balls (and spine) from each other.

    I don't have to say... Sitcom!!!

    But here's the twist: he's the one masterminding the feud! So he can kick back and live a life of doting luxury! Will they ever find out?? Working title: "Who's the Balls?"

    LW4 - no sitcom; I predict this will be Sandra Bullock's next movie. They took the title "Save the Date" and just... you know, suddenly there's a fucking movie. Mark Wahlberg is in every movie coming out, so he'll be in it somehow.

  16. ACK! Libby, I missed your follow-up post about the sweater when doing my responses last night. My sincere apologies! I think most all of the badassedness about that sweater example that I gave is the model himself! If I looked like him, even half as nice as he does, I wouldn't NEED the badassery of a shawl collar sweater! :-)

    But, you said something about how makable one would be and so, even if it was just a curious comment, I must stress that SmagBoy Inc. enjoys non-profit status, so, no matter how silly I might get, no matter how much I might rib a LW, readers are strictly forbidden, under penalty of law, from making or sending anything! Not to say that you were even thinking it, Libby (I'm not that presumptuous, honest!), but, your post was the perfect opportunity to mention it since I was giving the LW a hard time about responding to my invites.

    Now, if someone out there is a plastic surgeon, willing to sculpt my body into one that looks like the sweater model's... ;-)

  17. Herd'T'hinner! Oh my! You are in rare form! Wow! :-) And, you're right, every single one would make for sitcom or movie magic. Just throw in the right doses of Charlie Sheen (he could play himself), a gay comedic foil, and three ridiculously hot actresses, pre-botox, and have them all lament about how hard their lives are and how ugly their skin is--all while sipping coffee...

    As for the sentencing of LW#2, do you mind if I say that it got me a little bit turned on? Mmmmm! :-P

    As for LW#4, yes, Sandra Bullock can play the spunky-but-poor LW from a troubled home life, just barely making ends meet when she gets this super-presumptuous and ballsy "save-the-date" card. In the end, she goes to speak to the good doctor directly, and, as luck would have it, the bridegroom-to-be is exiting the office at the very moment she's entering. They run into each other (literally) and he spills her once-per-week treat-to-herself latte all over her nicest and most expensive white blouse, which, by the bridegroom's family's standards is rag material, but, he's a kind-hearted man and....

    Ah, anyway, you know where that one is going. Completely formulaic pablum, but worth a mint at the box office. Anyway, good stuff, as always, T. ;-)

    Good cheer!

  18. Ahoy there Captain Smag! I'm back drifting around on my little raft, the world is getting too strenuous, not to mention too boring to deal with --and I happened to come across this submarine thingy sticking out of the water....

    I really liked your response to LW1 because of it's wisdom and compassion coming right after a good laugh as you summed up the state of academic scheduling up.

    Ah those shawl sweaters! Wasn't Mr Roger hot when he wore them! --which was all the time if I remember right?

    While I'm reminiscing I have to tell you of an avatar that happened (more than once!) while I was working as a sales clerk in the sixties at Steuben Glass in NYC (for those unfamiliar with the upper reaches, it was/is a very expensive store. We didn't get paid more than what we would have gotten working at a dime store, but we did have the privilege of telling hesitant would-be customers "if you want something you are more easily able to afford, why don't you check out Tiffany's down the block?")

    So the avatar involved a customer coming in and saying she got a wedding invitation from total strangers, she had no intention of attending, but she felt obligated to buy a present --and Steuben was so convenient! So this led us peons to speculate about pretending to get married over and over again and using the Steuben customers list to send invitations --we never did it though, but now I think it would have been an interesting sociological experiment....

    I don't know why Clayton makes me laugh and Moo pisses me off? Hm, I have to think about this next time I get introspective. Might be because the word "congress"?

  19. Greetings and Ahoy, Kati!

    Yes, LW#1 needed a bit of schooling on that one point, but, too, she needed compassion otherwise. I do hope that she'll seek help.

    I love your story about the Steuben's customer list and I do wonder how that would have gone! I have a feeling it would have been quite lucrative for you had you attempted it (and educational, too, yes?)! :-)

    As for Clayton and Moo, I have a very strong suspicion (although please don't let Clayton hear that I've said this) that they are twins, separated at birth. Sometimes life leads us to "congress", other times it leads us to the contraction of STDs in a Middle Eastern cave. That's just the harsh reality of the thing.

    Good cheer, Kati! And a wonderful day. :-)