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, April 29, 2010

...on Supervisors, Shitheads and (S)lushes Galore (04/29/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And how the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! I hope that all’s well and that you’re having a wonderful week? I am! But, Shippers, I’ve got to dispense with the small talk. We’ve got a few things on the P.O.D. (Plan of the Day) today that require our immediate attention. First up, along with the normal batch of letters (which will be a little pithier than normal due to all we have going on), we’ve got a guest letter! From an actual reader of this column! Tune in to LW#5 for that! Also, I’d like to solicit your help. In two weeks, on May 13th, I’ll be publishing the 52nd straight “From A Submariner’s Perspective”! Time sure flies when you’re having fun, eh? Which means that the week after that, May 20th, will be the One Year Anniversary of the column! What should we do for it? An extra column rehashing a few favorite letters? A Guest Day where you guys pick a past letter and write a response in Submarinerly fashion? Nothing different at all, just keep on keepin’ on? Your call. Let’s discuss it in the comment section, below, and, once we have a consensus, that’s what I’ll do! All comments are welcome. And so, now, with all of the admin stuff out of the way, let’s get crackin’ on these letters!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I have a great supervisor, but... she’s fuckin’ loony! I mean, Prudie, she may know her stuff job-wise, but, when it comes to how to interact with people, she’s batshit crazy! She takes an offhand comment from someone, internalizes it, makes it out to have been said about her, and then begins to cry loudly about it (literally). Then, in the next day or two, she “makes-up” with the offending commenter and all is forgotten (usually without the “offender” even knowing a thing either way!). She often comes into my office, closes the door, and then bawls (again, literally) about all of the mean people that she has to deal with. My wife says this is just normal “woman” behavior. What can I do? Signed, Not a Therapist

Dear Poor Sap: Dude, first off, you need to quit using your wife as sounding board for your office drama. She’s either woefully out of touch, or you’re not telling us something! Holy shit, man! That crap is not normal behavior for either gender. At all. Ever. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had a number of outstanding supervisors in my day. Seriously, they’ve almost all been top-notch incredible. The kind you’d actually step in front of and take a bullet for. Except for one lady, who, like your boss, was nuts. And it sounds to me like she’s come out of retirement and that you now work for her. Exact same stuff. First off, DO NOT go to HR unless you are certain the issue will be kept anonymous and that you will be free from reprisal. Remember who HR works for, okay (hint: management)? Prudie is nuts to think they can help with this--especially if your boss is well-liked (and you and I both know that, outside your office, she's seen as the cat's meow). Sadly, you can’t turn this woman away because we also both know what that would cause. You’d be her latest crying jag. And the whole office would know about how you were mean to her and how you don’t appreciate all she does for you. I had it happen many times. And while the silent treatment is nice, when she decides she needs you again, the make-up therapy is even more brutal. I’d look for a position with another supervisor, including outside where you work. You can count on your supervisor to be less than supportive and to take your leaving as a personal affront. Steel yourself and your resolve for that fact. I will say that after leaving my batshit crazy supervisor, I landed a great job with another great supervisor. So, it can happen. :-) Hang in there.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I recently moved back to my hometown and found out that my best friend is a jackass fucktard that ought to be beaten with a rubber hose and made to stay in a cage that provides him only enough room to stand and sit--in his own waste. Why? Well, he has a dog that he keeps in a cage all day and only lets out twice per day, twenty minutes each time, and that’s it. If the dog resists going back into the cage, my friend kicks it mercilessly until it does go in the cage. I’m scared that if I tell the authorities, it’ll get my friend arrested, kicked out of his place, and cause him to be homeless. What should I do? Signed, Oddly Conflicted

Dear Conflicted, I have no idea why you’re conflicted? The way I see it, your friend can rot in his own feces for all I care, but that dog?  The dog is helpless. And you’re now complicit, Jackhole. Got that? Even if not legally, morally. Get your ass over there and get that dog out of there. Now! Find it a good home (do you know what I mean by that? One that will know the dog’s history and understand it and try to do right by the animal), or a rescue facility, or even your place for now. This dog’s plight is now in your hands and the hands of your “equally-appalled friends” you gynormous bunch of fucktards. Or, if you don’t want the hassle or are too scared to confront your friends, call the authorities. Now! Do you realize that in the time it took you to write your dumbass letter, you could have been working on saving this dog? Holy fuck!

LW#3: Dear Prudie, In a few months, I’m going to marry my boyfriend of six years. He’s the greatest guy in the whole wide world, but...he’s an alcoholic. I don’t want to admit that to myself. And I’d never use that word regarding his drinking. We’re both just “moderate” drinkers. And he surely doesn’t want me to use that word due to his family history of alcoholism, because he’s not one. On a completely unrelated note, he actually soiled himself on the way home the other night due to drinking so much, but, like the good enabler that I am, I’ve continued to “forgive” him his indiscretions. I’m starting to get cold feet about our wedding, though, as I can just imagine the reception. What should I do? Signed, Going To Get Married No Matter What Advice You Offer, But Thought I’d Ask Anyway

Dear Future Pissed Off Lady, You need to get to Al-Anon, pronto. The language that your using, your actions, they’re classic actions and justifications of an Enabler and you’re going to need help in figuring out how to deal with what’s acceptable and what’s not. Your perception is hopelessly skewed. Even if you leave this guy today, you need to go, because, unless you learn about the cycle you’re in, you will seek out other addicts time and time again. Your fiancé? He’s an alcoholic. Plain and simple. He can be helped, and you guys can certainly have a great future together, but he has to want to be helped. And your “forgiveness”? Forgiveness for what, him shitting himself? You’re kidding, right? He didn't shit on you, idiot.  He shit on himself.  Your lives will be a hell hole if you two stay and don’t get help. And then your kids’ lives will be, too. It is never too late to stop the wedding. Postpone it. Whatever. You can do it even two seconds before saying “I do”. Honest! You’re allowed. So, put on the brakes today! This is your life we’re talking about, not some reality TV BS that’s supposed to be a train wreck by design. Can you see the difference? And unless he addresses this and you two both get the help you need, there’s nothing good that’s going to come from you two getting married. It’s already pretty shitty, isn’t it? Good luck.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’ve been pining for my college sweetheart ever since I quit boning her all these 30 years ago. Except, you know, in the moments when I was busy marrying my wife and raising my family. But mostly I’ve been pining. I recently fired up the ol’ Google search engine and found out that my sweetheart had died. Breast Cancer. At 50?! Prudie, I’m devastated! I’d so hoped that one day, on my terms, we’d both divorce our families and rekindle our sex-fueled, drug-addled relationship of old. It would have been epic, I tell ya! I feel like I need to at least send a card to her family, you know? I wasn’t even invited to the funeral, Prudie?! I can’t talk to anyone about this because, well, you know, my family wouldn’t understand and hers probably doesn’t know about me. What should I do? How do I grieve? Signed, Mourning My Life in Two Worlds

Dear Mourning, Guess what? You fucked up. Sorry (well, not really). Look man, that’s all there is to say. You didn’t pursue this girl back then and you two went your separate ways.  You didn’t pursue her in the interim, you didn’t contact her in any way, and now she’s gone. See how that works? If you need to do something for your “grief” (are you related to LW#1’s boss, by the way?), go visit some place where the two of you used to hang out. Once you see how much it’s changed, grab a mirror and look at yourself. That might help. Maybe. As for learning about her life, doesn’t that very need clue you in to how fucked up and stalkerish you’re being? You don’t know anything about her because hers is not your life! Nor does it belong to you!  Get a grip, Bub. But don’t, under any circumstances, send anything to her family, you jackhole. Holy crap, Man!

And now, for a bonus letter from an actual reader!

Dear Mr. SmagBoy,

I love books. I really, really, really love books. And not only do I love to read them, but I love to collect and display them. A few of my books (the older or secondhand ones) are pretty damn ratty, but for the most part, if I purchase them shiny and new, they still look shiny and new.

Unless, of course, I've lent them to my little sister.

I don't know how it is that I can read books repeatedly, sometimes while snacking on Doritos, and still leave them smudge-free and un-creased. Maybe I'm magic; maybe I'm too vain and OCD; I don't know. But somehow, I keep on expecting my 14-year-old sister to do the same, and she cannot. Granted, I'm thrilled that she's reading, but I want to know if it's too much to ask that she read carefully? I've requested over and over that she be more considerate of my belongings, but she says that she can't help it.

I live at home (but pay rent), and I act more-or-less as a parent to my sister. My dad's not in the picture and our mom isn't entirely mentally sound and can get easily overwhelmed. So, my sister and I have one of those funny half-sibling/half-guardian relationships. I don't think it'd help to bring my mom into the discussion.

Now, I know that you're not one to mince words, so please just let me know: Am I being an unreasonable bitch, or would it be okay to tell my sister that she better get her books at the library from now on, unless she can be a bit more careful?

Much appreciated,
Lender and Lover of Libros

Dear Bibliophile,

What a tough situation. I feel for you, I really do. For several reasons, but, let’s stay focused on the one you wrote in about. Listen, one of the most important things you can teach your sister about life is that she has to take responsibility for her own actions. I remember when my kiddo was in the third grade (third grade!!!) and her teacher admonished me and my wife for bringing books that my daughter had forgotten and left at home up to the school. “She’s got to learn to be responsible!” reasoned the teacher. Now, while I think that that may have been a bit tough, it was a good wake-up call for us. And certainly by 14, your sister is way past the age that she should be getting a free pass on things like this. You have two choices as far as I can tell. You can loan her books from here on out with a condition: mess it up, replace it. Period. I don’t know if she works or gets allowance, etc., but, maybe that’ll wake her up? The trick is that you have to follow through every single time. And, don’t loan another book until the previous one is replaced. Or, if that’s causing too much stress, you can stop loaning books to her all together, but, as an alternative, you can offer to drive her to the library anytime she wants (if it’s not within walking/biking distance). You doing this will pay dividends later, even if in the interim she calls you an unreasonable bitch (she’ll grow to appreciate you later, honest). And, just so you know, be prepared to keep your books under lock and key if necessary. It’s important and you’re already doing well by teaching her the etiquette of borrowing. Now you have to take that next step--for your sake and hers. Good luck!

Well, Shippers, that about wraps it up! Do comment on the anniversary thing. I’m all about making this into a fun time, so, hold nothing back. No idea is a bad idea. :-) You know, I’ve had the strangest desire recently to brew some tea and sit on my balcony and enjoy the night sky while sipping said tea. Normally, it’d be coffee. Not quite sure where the specific desire for tea is coming from, but, there it is. Anyway, Shippers, I know this was long, but, it was fun, eh? Until next time, then, fair winds and following seas to you all!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

...on the Sproinging of Spring. And Some Snark, Too. (04/22/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey Hidey Ho, Shippers! How in the hell are you on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I am feeling absolutely fantastic today! Could be the coffee. Maybe the fact that last night I submitted my final paper for this term? Who knows! But, regardless, I’m feeling positively zestful this morning! And, not even LW#1 is going to harsh my mellow. LW#4 might. We’ll see how I feel by the time I get down there (if #1 and #4 were swapped, I know I’d go off on #4 then!). Here’s hoping that you’re all having just as fine a Prudie Day as I’m having. And I hope, if that’s so, that it carries over into the weekend for you and then throughout the spring! Damn, I really do have a case of the sunshine-out-the-butt today, don’t I?! :-) So, that said, let’s move on to the letters before I shoot another ray or two of light out of my rear and betray my true nature...

LW#1: Dear Prudie,

I work at a radio company doing contest promotions. Our target audience is the college-age set. As you may have guessed, I, myself, just happen to be a recent college graduate who’s young, firm and super attractive! I often don’t get jokes, or understand how to use the Xerox machine, but, otherwise, I’m really doing well at my job, which mainly involves wearing short-shorts and jumping up and down a lot. Well, there’s a very nice, friendly, well-liked lady at work who co-helms our very popular morning show. She dresses, acts and even looks like she’s in her early to mid twenties, but, recently I found out that she’s actually in her late thirties! OMG, Prudie! I mean, how gauche! I know, right? What’s worse is that she does remote broadcasts in college bars and on college campuses, which, to me, is just plain creepy of her! I mean, pedo alert, you know? It also smacks a bit of desperation, don’t you think? Well, anyway, she’s got a birthday coming up and so I’ve told everyone who’ll listen what her true age is. I’ve also encouraged everyone to get her gag gifts. I’m getting her an inflatable walker! It’ll be great seeing everyone realize how old she is and get all freaked out and move away from her at the table! My question is, how long is long enough to wait until I can ask our boss for my co-worker’s job, since I’m so much more qualified being as I’m actually young, instead of just faking it? And, should I confront her with what I know and tell her that I’ve outed her to the whole station?

Thanks, Bouncing Boobies!

Dear Near-Future Unemployed Girl,

Yes, you should definitely confront your co-worker. Please do! And, for efficiency’s sake, you should have your boss in the room, too, so that you can immediately turn to him/her and ask for your co-worker’s job once you’ve outed her! Make absolutely certain to mention to your boss that you are actually young enough to be in the bars and on the college campuses whereas your shriveled up co-worker already has one foot in the nursing home.

Look, it’s clear that you lack any sort of industry knowledge or even basic people skills, so, I’ll give you a pass since you’re about to get a painful face full of real life anyway, but, just so you know, everyone else in the office already knows how old your co-worker is, you dork. And now, they also know what a little ass monkey you are, too (assuming you’ve managed to hide it up until now)! I would like to ask you a favor, if you don’t mind. Will you please, please, please film your discussion with your co-worker and boss? Please? You’re young and hip and should own and know how to use a flip cam, right? Please say you will?! And then send it in? Heh-heh.

LW#2: Dear Prudie,

About a year ago I was peripherally involved in a fatal accident. I was driving a truck, towing a horse trailer. Three other vehicles were behind me (a bus and two cars). A young college-aged girl was in the car in the rear and got impatient. She tried to pass all of us on a blind curve and ran head-on into oncoming traffic and was killed instantly. I stopped to try to help and one of the other people at the scene said to me, “That’s what happens when you drive too slow.” I’m devastated by this accident, Prudie. Even though it’s been over a year, I frequently pull over and sob uncontrollably. I know in my heart that the accident wasn’t my fault, but, I can’t help but feel like it was my fault. And I can’t get past it. I obsessively run over in my mind what I could have done differently. Only my husband and therapist know of my part in the accident. Can you help?

Signed, Living With Guilt

Dear Guiltless,

Everyone is going to tell you that this was not, in any way, shape, or form, your fault. And they’re correct. As a matter of fact, even if you’d been driving 15 miles per hour under the maximum speed limit, provided you weren’t actually traveling below the minimum speed limit, it’s still not in any way your fault. We’re all allowed to drive on the roads, damnit! We all pay for their installation and maintenance and we’re not responsible for the actions of others. I know that doesn’t help, though. I know that no matter how often you hear it, it won’t matter, but, I hope it at least empowers you enough to realize that you’re allowed and entitled to drive on the roads, same as anyone. And you weren’t the one driving like an idiot.

Now, as for your entirely incompetent therapist. Drop him/her. Today. If he/she hasn’t at the very least helped you realize that you had NO PART in this accident, he/she sucks major balls. And you need help he/she can’t provide. So, do yourself a favor and find someone who can help. This was not your fault. You were not at fault. You weren’t! Please get the help that you deserve because two deaths due to one act of stupidity would be even more tragic. And right now? That’s exactly what’s happened.

P.S. If you’d like to forward to me the address of the fucking asshole who made the “driving slow” comment to you, I’ll personally go put my foot up his/her ass. With pleasure.

LW#3: Dear Prudie,

Last weekend my boyfriend and I hosted several friends of his from out of town (some were less friends than acquaintances). I woke up in the middle of the night and found one of our guests with some girl, whom he didn’t even know prior to the party, having sex on our couch (can you believe that?!)! I put my hand on my hip and did that side-to-side head thing that I’ve perfected with years of practice and said, “Oh no you didn’t! Excuuuuuse Me?!” One of them, our guest, gave a half-assed apology the next day, but the female didn’t, and hasn’t. And she’s the younger sister of the brother of a friend’s ex-lover’s wife’s sister’s best friend, so, I know that our paths will cross again. So I’m thinking of posting all over everyone’s Facebook page about what a slut she is. What else should I do to make it clear that being a guest at my house isn't for having any fun that I’m not involved in?

Signed, Ass So Tight I Could Turn Coal Into Diamonds Up In There

Dear Tight Ass,

You know what? I don’t see the problem here. I mean, you invited this guy that you only peripherally knew to your home, you asked him to stay the night, and then got surprised when he did something you didn’t approve of? You don’t even fucking know the guy! And, so, by default, he doesn’t know you or your rules. And where's your boyfriend in all of this?  Shouldn't this be his responsibility since it's his friend?  Maybe you should be more choosy about who you invite to your house, and, since you weren’t more choosy this time, maybe you should be a grown up and accept the blame for what you perceive as a slight to you (which, still, unless they made a mess that they didn’t clean up, I don’t know what the problem is? Jealous/judgmental much?!  Think your boyfriend knew about the wild shaggings going on?  I bet he did.  And that he approved!). If you post anything on Facebook, it should be something on your own page about how you need to attend classes on not being a first class, A-1, stick-up-your-ass, bitch! But that’s just how I am. Hell, I’m actually happy when friends hook up. And even happier if I accidentally get an eyeful of naked yumminess! But I’m like a big ol’ puppy that way, I guess. And I clearly act too young for my age, too, so, take my advice for what it’s worth. Apparently acting too young is gauche.

LW#4: Dear Prudie,

I’m a selfish, entitled, condescending, elitist, selfish (did I already say that?) bitch who is only interested in my husband for what he can do for me. I’m not only uninterested in my husband’s hobbies, I go out of my way to let him know that I am disinterested. Am I under any obligation to occasionally pretend that I care if he lives or dies, you know, in the interest of marriage?

Signed, Why Won’t He Leave Me the Fuck Alone?

Dear Alone Fucker,

No, you’re under no obligation. As a matter of fact, just like with LW#1, I suggest that you continue on your current path. Like her, the results you’ll reap will be exactly what you deserve. While I am in no way suggesting that you are required to be interested in all of your husband’s hobbies, and, too, while I am in no way suggesting that you don’t deserve some alone time now and again (I think we can all benefit from it, actually, from time to time), I am suggesting that you simply be honest with your husband if you don’t feel like discussing something with him because, you know, you’re reading, or taking a relaxing bath, or watching TV. But, if it’s just because you don’t give a shit? Then, yeah, keep it up. I promise you that you won’t have to continue to feign interest for too much longer. You can trust me on that one.

Well shippers, that’s about it. I have to apologize for being in such a fine, fine mood today when I could have easily opened up a ten-swear-word minimum on these letters (especially #1). I mean, there was a time that I could have scorched the pages in response to that one! But, how can I when it’s such a beautiful day outside? Signs of spring and summer are everywhere! Take a look across your lagoon, Shippers? See that beauty? That gorgeousness? That warmth? Ah life! ‘Til next week, shippers, fair winds, following seas and fried-cheese-on-a-stick to you all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

....The Tax Man Cometh (4/15/2010) <--- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey ho, Shippers! And how the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! Like it or not, along with it being a fine, fine Prudie Day (which it is), it’s also Tax Day here in The States (here’s hoping that my mention of that fact didn’t serve as your first realization of the date!). That may mean some of you are a bit crazed and coffee-fueled right about now. But, hang in there, because, even though Tax Day may cause some of us to break out in hives as if we’ve eaten too much boysenberry pie, we’ve got some letters here that’ll make receipts and deductions and tax credits all seem like a minor inconvenience. I hope. So, with that in mind, let’s get to it, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie--About a year ago, out of the blue, I began having psychic pussy pulses that reminded me of my First Love. The awkwardness, the overcoming of said awkwardness, the joy of mutual discoveries, the heartache of my crushing his heart as I read my horoscope one morning and found that our chakras didn’t align in the seventh moon of the fourth house and so, even though we seemed perfect together, we’d never be able to truly connect on a deep, spiritual level. I tried chi extraction and using a séance to rid myself of the doubts, but, to no avail. So I dumped him. Anyway, back to the present. Right after the pulses started, amazingly, he got in contact with me (coincidence? I think not!). Since then, we talk frequently about all sorts of things like his line of work, where jobs for him might be, what types of things he might encounter and who he’s networking with in order to find work. Well, I recently had a very vivid and unsettling dream about his head being literally blown apart in some Iraq-looking place while surrounded by some of his old college buddies. And then, after having that dream, I learned that he’d been offered a security job in Iraq! By one of his old college buddies! Should I tell him of my obviously prophetic dream, or keep it to myself?

Sincerely--Karnak the Dreamer

Dear Nostradamus--Yes, you should tell him. But, not for the reasons you think. You should tell him only because it will remind him of how batshit crazy you are! And then he can go to Iraq with a clear and intact head, free of loony tunes insanity. And, too, because telling him, in the end, won’t make a world of difference. I mean, let’s say he decides to stay here and then has a car accident while driving with a college buddy who, wait for it, has some tenuous connection to Iraq. You’ll be all, “Oh my God! So, like, that’s what my dream meant!!! The whole Iraq part of my dream was that his college buddy had been there and they were talking about it!” Thing about these dreams is that they’re so easy to fit whatever circumstance happens. I’d like to stay here and tell you more, but I need to go send my life savings to The Uri Geller foundation. James Randi has been picking on him again and he needs my help. Good luck!

LW#2: Dear Prudie--My boyfriend and I have the most marvelous child in the entire world! He’s practically perfect in every way and I’d never want someone to think of him as “a bother”. Unfortunately, my boyfriend has a bothersome child with his ex-wife, a six year old boy, who comes around a few times a month. I think his mom is jealous of me, even though she has since remarried and has another child. The little six year old brat won’t even talk to me when my boyfriend isn’t around. My boyfriend is pushing me to get married, but, I don’t know if I can do it considering how much I dislike his bothersome son. What should I do?

Sincerely--At Least I’m Honest About It

Dear Honesty--Yepper, you are being upfront about your asshattery. I’m not sure if you reckon that earns you brownie points, or just means that you take pride in ignorance? In the end, though, it doesn’t matter. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but, your de facto stepson is six fucking years old. He’s not an eighteen year old. He’s not yet capable of the kind of strategic and self serving manipulation that you seem to be giving him credit for. His motivations are simple. It’s clear to him that you don’t like him. It’s clear to him that his birth parents, both of them, have started new families and that he feels stuck in the middle and marginalized. He can also sense that you’re an evil bitch who is jealous of him and his mother (your “respectful” treatment of him aside). Think he doesn’t get that? Think he’s just doing his mother’s bidding?! Let me tell you something. At six, I don’t care how much programming his mother gives him during the week, a simple honest desire from you and your boyfriend to spend time with and appreciate him as a person would undo that programming in a matter of hours. Actually welcoming him? That would switch the poles of his world. But, since you’ve been unwilling to do that since even before you met him, because you’re just as nasty and shitty and jealous as you blame his mother of being, you’ll never connect with him. And, when he does get older, he’s going to resent you even more and he’ll have the teenage intellect to actually press all of your buttons instead of you just imagining he is. Get over yourself and recognize that you’re being shitty to a six year old. A six year old. And here’s a novel idea for you to try. Why not enlist his father’s help? Good luck. Your stepson’s going to need it.

LW#3: Dear Prudie--I work for a small startup company that recently scheduled a series of mandatory seminars on business etiquette. In a recent session on “professional appearance”, the presenter listed a number of things that are verboten: gray hair, dandruff, being fat, a bad complexion, and sporting an un-nice smile. Our executives just sat there and bobbed their heads in the up and down direction. Now, all of us non-executives feel discriminated against because we’re all gray-haired, dandruff-having, fat, non-white (which is what "bad complexion" means), frowners. What should we do?

Sincerely--Fat, non-white frowner, but, fortunately, dandruffless!

Dear Flakeless--Have you ever read “Dilbert” or watched “The Office”? Do you know that you’re describing the stupid, mandatory presentations in most every office, company, corporation in the entire world? What are you, Canadian?! As for the executives, didn’t you know that in order to become an executive, nine out of ten of them had to have their spines removed? Of course their heads where bobbing. There’s no neck bone to support all of that dead weight! Plus, they were trying not to fall asleep! Look, I have no idea why you didn’t say anything to this presenter? Why didn’t you just ask, “Are you talking about us old people when you mention ‘gray hair’?” Perhaps, and forgive me for going out on a limb here, it’s only you that feels discriminated against and you’re trying to make this seem about “all of you”? Or, okay, okay, maybe it’s you and your one co-worker who always goes along with all of your batshit crazy “I’m being oppressed by the man” bullshit? If this truly is a workforce-wide concern, you can all ask for a big meeting and have everyone lay it out. The only way to deal with this is to address it. Either through HR, or directly to the spineless, head-bobbing executives. I’m sure you’ll get an answer pretty quickly once you start actually dealing with the proper channels rather than vying for sympathy from The Internet Lady. Good luck. Heh-heh.

LW#4: Dear Prudie--I’ve been unemployed for over a year. A “friend” recently asked me to be a bride’s maid in her over-the-top wedding next year. I tried to decline because I can’t afford it, but, she turned on the water works, saying that I could afford it, so I relented. Prudie, I truly can’t afford this! Not just the dress, but the other expensive, limo-laden events that go along with it! I’m afraid that the other bridesmaids will resent me as I can’t pay my share for their extravagant plans. I’m going to have to start declining my friend’s invites to “My Bridesmaids”. What should I do?

Sincerely--A Pauper Tagged With Princess Duties

Dear Pauper--I think Prudie nailed this one. You’ve got to tell your “friend” that, as much as you’d like to go into debt for all of her bridal events and periphery and clothes and shoes, etc., that you’d have to buy to do this, you just can’t afford it on your own and you are unwilling to go into debt over it. Tell her, as Prudie says, that you’ll be thrilled to help her celebrate her nuptials as a guest at her wedding. If she can’t see her way clear to gracefully accept you explanation and invite you as a non-bridesmaid guest, then tell her to go fuck herself. I’m serious. The kind of selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered, conceited, me-ness that so many brides engage in during wedding time should be discouraged at every opportunity! Good luck to you. And I mean that sincerely. Also, as a side note, I hope that you’ll remember this all when it comes time for your wedding.

Well Shippers, that’s about it. I love it when the letters span the whole range from batshit crazy to actual legitimate concerns. I’ll let you figure out which were which. ;-) Here’s hoping that you’ve all either filed your taxes already, or that you’ve got a good handle on everything. Also, I’d like for each of you to take a moment to send positive thoughts to Bret Michaels. Our favorite VD-defeating, fake hair-sporting, pop-rock ballad front man had to undergo an emergency appendectomy this week. I’m concerned that if he goes back too quickly to the Rock of Love bus, he’ll be exposing himself to infection because his normally steel-like immune system will be weakened due to the surgery. Here’s hoping he’s wiser than that. He was a Rhoade’s Scholar! I think, anyway. ;-) Or, here’s hoping that he’s tougher than I give him credit for! Until next week, fair winds, following seas and cheese on a stick to you all, Shippers!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

...on How Four Women in One Apartment Can (Sadly) Be Super Un-Sexy (04/08/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! Holy smokes, what a day! We’re now fully ensconced in April’s warming temperatures, budding flowers, pollinated cars and porches and houses (if you’re “lucky” enough to live in pollen country, that is), and, just general spring goodness. Plus, we’re just over two months from summer and bikinis! And nothing makes a submariner smile like the arrival of summer and all of its accoutrements. Especially June! Now that’s a summer month! But that’s not why we’re gathered here today, is it, Shippers? Heck no! We’ve got letters! So let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1:  Dear Prudie,

Listen, I share an apartment with several other women. It’s a financial-only arrangement, though. We don’t socialize and don’t even interact outside the common space in our apartment (and frankly, that’s fine with me, because these other little girls are all so skay-aa-aa-aanky). Here’s my problem: one of my roommates is pregnant, and yet still smoking a half pack a day?! And, too, she, like, has no college education! And, even worse, I suspect this baby was an accident! Listen, I’m all about respecting this little slut’s privacy, but, I’m wondering if I have some sort of moral obligation to say something to her about the smoking? See, I mean, I’m worried about my morals, and, if, like, I should be saying something to my roomie in order to get cosmic brownie points, then I need to know. It’s a hard question, though, ‘cause we all enjoy our privacy and stuff. So, what should I do?

--Non-Smoking (as far as you know), but Steaming Just the Same

Dear Steamy,

Okay, so, I can safely assume no one else in your apartment smokes, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You all smoke. All four of you. That’s why you’re fucking rooming together. So, let’s just not even go through this stupid-assed conversation, okay. You’ve already given yourself away. You look down your nose at her due to her education, due to her sexual habits (which are likely almost identical to yours at her age, but, lucky you, you either got lucky or went to the clinic to have that fixed, right? Right.). None of that is what’s at issue, though. What’s at issue is that you feel like she needs to know that she shouldn’t be smoking while pregnant. She shouldn’t be drinking or drugging, either, eh? But, until there are laws against smoking or drinking while pregnant, I don’t guess there’s much you can do. You want to anonymously drop some literature on the outer door step, by all means, go for it. You want to talk to her about it, but all means, do it. But don’t be taking a drag while you do it, okay? That’ll just serve to piss her off. And, before you do any of that, you need to know why you’re actually wanting to talk with her. It shouldn’t be about whether you have a moral obligation. It should be about if you think that you can help prevent a child from being born with physical disadvantages. Is that your concern? Or are you just worried about how the cool people will think about you if don’t say something? If it’s the latter, just say a few Hail Mary’s and you’ll be fine. Honest. Just ask the Pope.

LW#2:  Dear Prudie,

My daughter’s in first grade and has Asperger’s syndrome. Recently a girl in her class invited all of the girls in the class, except my daughter, to her birthday party. As you can imagine, my daughter was extremely hurt and confused by this obvious snub. Especially because she considers this girl to be a friend! Further, I’m pissed off to the point of homicidal rage because my daughter had a party just a few months ago and invited every girl in the class! And they all came! Including this little bitch who snubbed my daughter! I’m so angry that I’m tempted to e-mail the parents of this little cretin and give them an e-piece of my e-mind! Should I do it? Should I tell them what pain and heartache their cruel and hurtful and rude actions have caused (especially seeing as how their little runt came here for my daughter’s party)?!

--Non-Smoking (as far as you know), but Steaming Just the Same

Dear Steaming Mad,

Wow, two letters with the same nickname! What are the odd of that? Listen, even though I’m in danger of stealing hrumpole’s shtick, I have to ask you a few questions. How do you know that this evil little girl invited everyone in the class to her party? Might this actually be more like one of those deals where everyone in class has a cell phone, so your daughter wants one, too? Or like how everyone’s parents buy them Gucci purses for Christmas, or, how everyone has a crush on the new kid, Eddie? Or how everyone’s boobies have started coming in, except...wait, that comes later. Anyway, another question, and it’s one that I really want you to ponder. When you throw a party, do you do it because you’re hoping to share a good time with friends, or, do you do it to get swag, earn brownie points for being so fucking magnanimous, and in order to garner future invites to other parties? One hopes it’s the former-most reason, and that you’re teaching your daughter that practice as well, but, sadly, all indications point to one or all three of the latter reasons (and sadder still is that your daughter is learning every bit of how to deal with this situation from you). Finally, if you do contact the parents (and I suggest you do, and by phone or face-to-face, not via e-mail), please just be pleasant and tell them that your daughter wasn’t invited and you wanted to ask why, wanted to make sure that something hadn’t happened at school or other outings that caused them or their daughter to not want your daughter to attend? Did the girls have a fight? Etc. Explain that if that is the case, you’d like to know so that you can help your daughter better navigate life’s social wickets. And then thank them for their time. Sometimes, that’s the best you can do in life. Even if you know they’re lying to you. But, too, maybe your daughter was accidentally overlooked? If that’s genuinely true, the conversation will do wonders, but, any other reason, coupled with a mean, vindictive conversation that leads to a pity invite will hurt your daughter far more than it’ll help. And you and I both know that’s true, even if it’s hard to see at the moment, in the white-hot rage of seeing your child wronged. Hang in there and do right. You’ll appreciate it later. And so will your daughter.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie,

I’m 30, married, and completely head-over-heels, knocked off my feet, holy-shit-I’m-walking-around-all-day-every-day-as-squishy-as-can-be, in serious love/like/lust with a co-worker. And it’s been like this for over a year. I’m talking, Prudie, I can’t get him off of my mind. He knows that I’m married and has never made a move on me, never indicated anything other than friendly interest and professional courtesy. I don’t even know how he feels toward me, but I want to know! What should I do, let fate and nature take their course? Or stay in Hell in my current lame life?

--Non-Smoking (as far as you know), but Steamy Just the Same

Dear McSteamy,

What you’ve got here is what doctors (and those of who are completely unqualified but like to offer their advice anyway) like to call a symptom. The disease? Marital discord. I say that because you and Chester Von Makesmypantieswet have never even shared anything past work pleasantries, yet you're fantasizing about having his children in some sort of romance novel-esque, idealized perfection sandwich. If this had been an ongoing thing, if you’d been with him for years and already knew that he’s the greatest, most wonderful, incredible person ever, that would be different. But you barely know if the guy likes medium or fine point pens! So, let’s refocus. I’m not saying that you and your husband are irreparably broken, but, clearly there are problems. So, what you’ve got to do is talk with your husband. No, don’t tell him about Chester, or the wet panties, but, do tell him that you two have been distant and in a rut and that you no longer feel attached. Then tell him what you want. Speaking of, what do you want? I mean, if you want to have an affair with Chester, by all means, go ahead. But, you’d better do it with eyes wide open, Sister, knowing full well all of the hell that it’ll potentially cause (from fallout at work, to fallout at home and fallout among your friends and your families, etc.). If what you’re really after is something more lasting with someone more exciting, more engaging, more incredible than your husband, then, do me a favor and answer me this: did you ever feel about your husband the way you think you feel about Chester? Way back in those first days? If yes, go back to talking with your husband and tell him you want to find that spark again. That you want to reconnect! That you want to go to counseling if that’s what it takes. If the answer is no, though, if he was never that way and you were settling from the get-go, or if things due to non-Chester concerns are irreparably changed and that state can never be reached again (or never was), save everyone involved some trouble and just be honest with your husband and let him know that you need to leave the relationship. Again, do not mention Chester. I think you may find, upon closer inspection, once Chester’s no longer a fantasy, that he’s a regular guy and that he might actually have some flaws. Who knows? Maybe not. Maybe he’ll be even better than your fantasies? But he might also be completely disinterested. Point is, figure out what you want instead of asking Prudie what you want. Then move toward that goal in the safest, best way. And when you cheat with Chester, and you will try (I can tell), don’t do it in the Copy Room. That’s just sooooo tacky.

LW#4:  Dear Prudie,

One of my best friends is in jail, and will be for potentially two more years. When she got arrested, she asked me to care for her two pet Australian marsupials (think: giant flying hamsters). The long and short of it is that one of them died on me. You know, damn, Prudie, the fuckers go screaming around the house at warp speed, tearing up everything in sight and generally making a living hell of the place unless I’m paying them constant loving attention (though I do actually kinda like ‘em, you know, when they’re in their cage, where I keep them for far too long, most all of the time, even though they need to roam to stay healthy, because, well, what else can I do?). Anyway, I’d written to my friend telling her that though one of the little buggers was sick, it was getting better. But, after that letter, now that it’s died, I don’t know what to do or say? My friend is prone to depression and I don’t want to make things worse for her in prison. Should I tell her, or keep my mouth shut?

--To Lie, or Not to Lie (damnit, I so wanted to sign out Non-Smoking, but, it just wasn’t going to fit with the letter)

Dear Lying Liar,

Here’s the deal: there’s way more to your story than what you’re telling. I mean, holy shit, you’re barely telling us anything about any of this. And that’s fine. Whatever. Let me answer your question as if you weren’t totally leaving out facts left and right and then we’ll both pretend that did it for us, okay? Here’s what you do: just tell her. My first reaction was that you shouldn’t tell her, being as there’s nothing that she can do from inside the ol’ Gray Bar Hotel, but, after thinking about it, I realized that would only count if the pet was sick and she wanted to be on the outside to care for it. As it is, the pet is dead. It’s not coming back, so, tell her. If you don’t, I have a feeling she’ll sense something is up and that might make her worse than not knowing and feeling like on top of everything that you’re lying to her. Plus, if she’s tough enough to handle the pokey, she’s tough enough to handle squirrel death. Now, if you want to write back and tell us how the damned thing really got sick and what your relationship really is with this lady in jail, then, fine, we’ll talk more specifics. Until then, that’s all you get.

Well Shippers, sorry about LW#4, but, what can you do? I gotta go with what I got, you know? So, I have to share something with you before I go because it was the coolest thing ever! Remember last week, in the comments section (below) where we were talking about fried cheese on a stick? Well, guess what?! I had some! O.M.G.!! It was the greatest thing ever! I had fried cheddar and fried Monterey Jack. On a freakin’ stick! Shippers, I’m not suggesting it as some sort of daily activity, because, WOW!, but, if you have a best friend in the whole world, someone who’ll protect you and cover your back and who you trust with your life, take them with you and go get a few sticks. You need the friend with you as you experience this because your legs will go weak and you’ll fall onto the floor and you don’t want to be robbed of your cheese sticks when you’re lying there in that prone position! Plus, it’s just plain cool to eat cheese with your best friend (just remember to alternate the eating so that you’re not both on the groundin cheese-stacy!)! Remember the School House Rock song about how healthy cheese is? Alright shippers, enough of my nonsense! Until next week, fair winds and following seas to you all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

...on the Proper Use of a Dildo and a Mirror  (01 April 2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey-hey, Shippers! How in the hell are you on this fine, fine Prudie Day? Holy smokes, what a wonderful day it is, full of new promise and potential pranks! How could that be wrong?! Well, depends on the pranks, I guess, but, here’s hoping that you interact with mostly-sensible people who won’t risk your health or sanity for the delivery of a good April Fool’s joke. Sadly, some people do risk just those things. YouTube stakes its existence on that fact. And, when it's not use getting beaned in the head, well, admit it, it's sorta funny to watch, isn't it?  But, you’ll get none of that here! Here, we’re gonna bring a full helping of snark (for the most part), just like always. So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin'!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’m 20 years old, about to graduate college, and my cooter box is just too small! Well, okay, maybe that’s not it, but, I don’t know what else to say? I’ve tried hooking up with a couple of guys over the last few years (since hooking up is how we in-the-know young adults today get into really good relationships!), but, each time, I’ve been unable to bear the pain of intercourse, and my partner has been unable to finish. I’ve been to different OB/GYNs and have received various, sort of non-committal answers about how best to proceed. I’ve heard that surgery might help, but, my mom’s way against that route. What should I do? Holy shit! Slow down there, Tiny Cooter Box Girl! Just put on the brakes for a second here. Surgery?! Really?! Look, I’m going to make some leaps of logic here that you can’t yet make because you’re too young and inexperienced, and that your mom can’t make because the thought of you having sex freaks her right the hell out (here's betting she doesn't like to think about herself having sex, but, that's for another letter...). First, you’re extremely driven (graduating at 20) and you think of things way too analytically for your own good. You’ve gotten it into your head that sex and a relationship is part of some “Adult Check List” and that you just need to check your box (no pun intended) to move on to the “Next Big Thing”. The problem is that you’re young, clearly not comfortable with your body, and coming at this completely backwards. First off, do you masturbate? Have you ever used a dildo inside your vagina? Or even your fingers? If so, does that hurt? I have a feeling not, else your OB/GYNs would have been a lot more committal about things. I have a feeling that you’re actually way uncomfortable with your body and that you have this grand, shitty romance book-taught notion that you’re supposed to lie back and if you could only find the right guy, some sort of magic will just...happen. Let me tell you something: it won’t. Sorry. At least not until you get comfortable with your own body. Try masturbating. Use a mirror to have a look at your vagina (no, not while masturbating--necessarily anyway--I just mean to get comfortable with it.  It's okay, it not gross!). Embrace the idea that you have one, that it’s normal to have one, and that masturbation and sex are okay and normal. Once you get there, and by there, I mean exactly what you think I mean, but I also mean just a general level of comfort, I’m guessing you won’t have this problem anymore. Provided you go slow and keep things on your terms, that is. The trick isn’t the right guy, Chicky Doodle, the trick is the right you. If, after that, you’re still not able to have comfortable sex, then, by all means explore alternative solutions. But I’m guessing you won’t have to. Good luck.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my dad had a stroke four years ago and it left him unable to move anything but his head. He can’t speak much, but doesn’t complain. He’s chronically tired, can’t watch more than a few minutes of TV before nodding off, but, my mom insists that I interact with him when I visit their house. Prudie, I used to be close with my dad, but, I’m afraid that everything I say now is wrong. I can’t ask him how he is, since he’s obviously doing pretty shitty! If I talk about some activity that I’m doing that involves the movement of my feet or arms, or motation of any sort, I fear he’ll be upset and go into a deep depression, but, even if he did, how could I tell?! I can’t possibly watch sports with him because sports just bore the hell out of me and make my head hurt (like math!), and, though I love him, and feel his pain, that’s a road too far. Plus, he’d know that I was faking because I hate sports! So, I’m at an impasse, Prudie. What can I do to let my father know that I want him to be like he used to be so that I don’t have to be uncomfortable anymore? Okay, I gave you a little bit of shit in the summarization of your letter. And you deserved it. I hope you saw some stuff in what I wrote to be aware of from now on? But, I’ll leave the shittyness there and move forward more compassionately. What you need to do is talk to your dad. I know, seems obvious, huh? But, instead of worrying about what to talk about, ask him! Say, “Dad, I’m really sorry that I’ve been so distant, but, I’m afraid that everything I say is going to hurt your feelings! Which means that I never know what to say. Then I feel guilty for not saying anything! I’m afraid that if I try to watch sports with you, you’ll think that I’m faking it. I’m just afraid, Daddy, and I hate this for you and it pisses me off, and I’m fucking angry at the world about it for you! Why in the fuck did this have to happen? You're supposed to be stronger than this!  Please, can we talk about what I can say, what I can do for you, what I can bring to you, how I can interact with you now? I want to be here for you, I love you more than you’ll ever know, and it’s causing me so much conflict because I want to be here, I want to talk with you, but I’m afraid of every word and every action, afraid it’ll all be wrong. Please tell me what I can do for you.” Trust me on this. It’ll do you both a world of good.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m a college student, studying Theater, and, for what it’s worth, I’m a guy. So, as you may have divined from all of that information, I’m gay. I know, I know, not that there’s anything wrong that! Ha-ha, very funny. Sigh. Anyway, Prudie, my problem is a combination of, a) my attraction for a classmate, and, b) well, my body. See, I’m kinda chunky and I don’t really fit in with the hard-bodied, gay scene here at school. And there’s this absolutely Perfect Ten guy in my class! He’s so hot, and funny and buff and intelligent and hot--did I mention that he’s hot?--and quite the actor, too! I’d like to ask him out, Prudie, but, I’m worried that since I’m all frumpy and he’s all Mr. Freakin’ Spectacular, that he’ll turn me down and that that would then ruin our friendship. I don’t know what to do. Can you help? Well, first off, there’s nothing wrong with Prudie’s advice to just ask him if he wants to have some coffee sometime? So, I’m not going to be much help there. If he’s even halfway worth your time, even if he’s not attracted to you, he won’t take that request as a reason to dump all over you. And it shouldn’t affect your friendship, either. Look, I’m sure he knows that you’re interested. It’s sort of difficult to hide that sort of thing. And he’s still spending time with you, so, why not ask him? Also, though, I’d like to point out to you that you’re missing a whole slew of potential boyfriends/dates right off the bat by limiting yourself to just that scene. Unlike Prudie, I’m in no way suggesting that you put out ads for “heavy gay guys who are, like, all heavy and stuff.” What’s up with that?! Look, it takes all kinds in this world, and different people like different things. Some people are very aesthetically-driven. There’s no doubt. But not all are. I know that, perhaps coming from a small town, it’s great to have a group of people out and open and unafraid. I imagine that’s quite empowering, actually. And that’s great! But, I think that you’ll find that those men are not the majority of eligible guys there, and that there are a lot more guys out there that aren’t as buff--or at least not all about flaunting it--who'd love to meet someone for more than their ability to take off their shirt in public. It’s just that the rest of the guys are going to be a little harder to find right away, specifically because they aren’t as into all of that. But, you will find them. Just keep your eyes open, be willing to recognize that people are as different one from the other as snowflakes, and that no two are exactly alike. So, give yourself a chance with whoever you like. A chance doesn’t mean offering your entire neck out to get stepped on, though! Just stick a toe in the water, you know? Hang in there, have patience, and enjoy this time of life! The fun is just beginning!

LW#4: Prudie, I’m active duty military and my wife and I are friends with another military couple. The wife of that couple, we’ll call her “Felonious”, recently got a new job at a store where, she claims, the employees are robbing the store blind. She seemed concerned about this fact, but, later, my wife and I found several on-line ads of hers, privately selling new merchandise from the store?! I’m concerned and don’t know what to do? I mean, it could be something honest, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. Should I talk with the husband, you know, mano a mano? I don’t want to risk the friendship, but, heck, he needs to know. And what if does know?! You’ve got yourself a real live conundrum there, don’t you, Shipper? But, fortunately, I have an answer for you that will work wonders, and no one will even have to know that it’s you who had the concerns! As you’re in the military, you know that you’re potentially culpable for all sorts of things that civilians are not. For example, the fact that you can be busted and busted hard for even maybe knowing that Felonious’ husband was up to no good (if it turns out he was in on this grand re-sale scheme). So, go to your unit’s senior enlisted desk jockey sergeant or CPO and lay out a hypothetical (or, go to the command chaplain or division officer or company commander if you can’t trust your chief). And this is triply so if Felonious’ husband is in your unit! I mean, holy shit, go yesterday if that's the case!   Tell your chief that you think something might be up with someone that you know, and lay it all out as you have in your letter. Say that you don’t want your name involved, but, being as you’re good friends, you want to help the couple before real trouble starts (and, truth is, you’ve got to protect yourself, too). This way, you will have talked to your chain of command so you’ll have cover if/when the shit balls start to fly, and, too, your chief will get your friends the help they need, if they need it. Hang in there.

Well, Shippers, that about does it, eh? Work and school have been crazy-busy, so, I apologize if this isn’t up to the normal level of snarkiness. I invite you to bring it full force, though, in the comment section (below). Have a wonderful week, Shippers! And may you have fair winds and following seas, all week long, or at least until we next meet. Good cheer!