http://www.slate.com/id/2257149/ (6/17/10) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? And, it’s a special Father’s Day edition of Prudie, too! How can you beat that?! Speaking of, I’d like to wish a happy Father’s Day to my dad, we’ll call him by the nick “SmagDad1”, both for ease of memory and to protect his privacy. I hope it’s a great day, SmagDad1! Happy Father’s Day! That said, and with today’s Father’s Day theme clearly in force, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie,
A few years back, I married my high school sweetheart. Later, I had an affair. My husband found out, but, we decided to stay together and work through things. After that, I found out that I was pregnant with my mistertress’ child. Even though my husband was all bummed and stuff, he stood by me and has been the most bestest father ever! My question is, do we ever tell our son that his dad isn’t his real father? My ex-mistertress has kindly offered to honor whatever decision we make regarding this touchy issue.
Signed, One Too Many Baby Daddies
Dear Psychic Parentage Diviner,
Like Prudie, I’m not sure how you could know with certainty the father of this child unless you and your husband went sexless for quite awhile, before and after the affair, which, I suppose could have happened, but, if I were you, I still wouldn’t be positive unless there’s just absolutely no doubt. As in ab-so-lute-ly no doubt. So there’s that, but, you know what else? There’s even an easier way to figure out who the child’s father is. Look on the birth certificate! Find the box that says “Father”. Look at the name there. It’s your husband’s, right? And he’s the one acting and living and loving and being your child’s father? Well then, there you go. Other kids should have it so good!
(***Update: Upon taking much flak in The Fray over this post, I'd like to add the following. It's not a capitulation, but an addendum: LW should sit down with her husband and come up with the best strategy to let the boy know the truth when he's ready. Whether that's at age three, thirteen or thirty, I don't care. It's not about the when or if. It's about the fact that the boy has an apparently loving and devoted father already. That said, I do acknowledge the child's right to know.)
LW#2: Dear Prudie,
My wife and I normally agree on all things regarding rearing the children. We have a son and a daughter, 7 and 11. They play baseball and softball respectively, but, I coach my son’s baseball team and we have games on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our daughter has games on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and on alternating Fridays). Because I have to be at every single one of my son’s games (as the coach), I plan on attending only one of the two or three games per week that our daughter plays. My wife says I’m being selfish and spurning our daughter in favor of my son. I say my wife’s a bitch for even insinuating such a thing. I mean, don’t I deserve a couple of nights of freedom per week?
Signed, One Too Many Babies Daddied
Dear Selfish Bastard,
So, like, how long is baseball/softball season? Really, that’s all I have to say to you. I mean, holy shit. You chose to be coach to your son’s team, right? It’s not like you were drafted under threat of physical torture, right? So, either quit your post as coach, or, holy shit, go to your kids’ games. Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crumb cake?! Prudie let you off way too easily, as, I guess, she’s afraid of being called a misandrist on Father’s Day, or because she skipped her own kid’s games and fears shame? I’m not saddled with either such fear. Prudie is correct to ask if you are planning to coach softball next year, though. If so, and if you plan on missing half your son’s games, I supposed you’ve got some leverage with your wife against charges of spurning your daughter, but, still, why? Ball season for your kids is all of three months. They’re kids and playing ball for, what, about ten years, max? So, three months times two extra games attended per week times ten years equals (assuming four weeks per month, carry the one) 240 extra nights in your life, “ruined” by attending games?! You want me to break down the actual hours you’re going to “lose”, jackass? Here’s hoping that instead you can do that math and figure out what’s important all on your own.
LW#3: Dear Prudie,
I’m a single mom of three teenagers. I divorced when they were very young and then shackled myself to them, sacrificing every aspect of my life in order to serve them. I’m a great mom, Prudie. Honest! And my girls love me to death. They visit their father on occasion and hate it. He plops them in front of the TV and just does what he’d normally do. They hate it. It’s torture to them. But, fact is, when they go, I like to use that time to unwind. I eat ice cream naked in the mornings! I don’t have to drive them every the fuck where! It’s great, Prudie, and I need it! They don’t want to go this summer and my sister says that I’m “destroying” them by making them. Now I’m afraid they’ll put me in a nursing home in my old age when they’re the ones who are stressed and need their naked ice cream time!
Signed, One Too Many Chick Flicks or Romance Novels Absorbed
Dear Naked Ice Cream Lady,
Teenager’s, eh? So, that means the youngest is 13 and oldest, if step ladder kids, 15. You’re one year, or less (and probably less, as I suspect they’re older than that--you did mention college) from allowing them to drive themselves places. They’ve also been old enough for years to respect your closed bedroom door (that came at about age five). You need to start taking advantage of both. As for the worries about the nursing home, I’d listen to that bit of self guilt, ‘cause I’m pretty sure you’re not telling us everything, but your subconscious knows the truth. And one last thing, because this is a personal pet peeve of mine, you aren’t “sacrificing” anything for your kids, you selfish git. I don’t care if you donate a lung and kidney and an eyeball to them, you aren’t “sacrificing” anything. Love is not a sacrifice. Look, I’m not suggesting you have to be their slave, but I am suggesting you get over the whole fucking "woe is me" victim attitude. You’re the one who opened her legs, yes? It's not like they decided to crawl up in your womb, uninvited, is it? Had you not played hide the salami with their daddy, you could eat all the ice cream naked you want, yes? Well there you go. Live with it, Hon, because it’s all on you. Sacrifice, my ass...
LW#4: Dear Prudie,
I recently received an e-mail from my emotionally-distant, slightly unbalanced, single-for-a-reason father. He’s signed up on a dating website and would like for me to write a testimonial for him. I don’t want to. It sounds pretty icky to me, but, even if that wasn’t the case, like I say, he’s single for a reason! He really does have issues and has used them to treat me and my family terribly at times. The only problem is that if I don’t do this, I’m afraid he’ll be offended. What should I do?
Signed, One Too Many Offenses
Dear Daughter With Daddy Issues,
Boy, he’s got your wrapped around his finger, doesn’t he? He treats you like shit, is ornery, is single-for-a-reason (which I read to mean that he treated your mom like shit, too), yet, you’re worried about hurting his feelings?! I think what you need to be worried about is why you feel the need to be a victim to this man? The answer for what to do here is simple. Just say “no”. If he needs to know why, and you feel the need to tell him, you can, but, don’t listen to any of his retaliatory, emotionally manipulative bullshit. You are being gamed by a classic manipulator. You need to talk with a therapist or read up on how to get out of the cycle of being manipulated/abused by people like this. I warn you, though, it may shed some light on your marriage (here’s hoping not--that your husband is a wonderful man, but, all too often, we marry our parents)... Proceed tenderly, but do proceed. It’s important.
Well Shippers, that pretty much does it for this week’s letters. I have a fun weekend planned! I might even go see a movie! Or cook something exciting! Or maybe just pad around the house and just be. Plus, there’s homework. Tons and tons of homework. So, you know, it is what it is. But, regardless of that, I still plan on it being wonderful! Here’s hoping that yours is, too! ‘Til next time, fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers!