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, July 15, 2010

...on Masturbators and Manipulators (7/15/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here is well. I’m writing to you from Heidelberg, Germany, home of so much lovely goodness that I won’t even start to list it (although I’d terribly remiss if I didn’t mention the schnitzel)! But don’t get me wrong! There’s all sorts of lovely goodness in the states, too! I’m not defecting! Not even if they offered me whipped honey butter and their lovely warm brotchen buns! Unfortunately, due to Internet access issues and time constraints, I’m going to have to keep this very brief, but even still, I hope to keep the snark-to-Smag ratio at the proper levels. And so, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie. I have the bestest life and the bestest boyfriend in the whole wide world. We have sex one or two times per day, my boyfriend and I, but...I recently found him stroking the schnitzel while watching porn. I confronted him about it and he claimed that it’s just that he likes big boobs and would like for me to get bigger boobs. I’m very proud of my body, Prudie, honest! And I want my daughter to be proud of hers, but...I’m considering getting augmentation to please my boyfriend. What do you think? Signed, I May Have A Nice Body, But I’m Dumb As A Brick

Dear Brick. No, you should not get breasts augmented. Brain augmentation? Yes. Easily manipulatable personality replacement? Yepper! Look, I don’t know why the guy was wanking the kleinewurst, but you can bet that it’s not your lack of boobs. You are in serious, serious, serious trouble if you’re planning on augmenting your body to please the capricious whims of this or any man. But hey, since you seem so eager, how about you come over here and clean my car for me? It’s the only reason I look at new car ads. Honest!

LW#2: Dear Prudie. My husband and I are in our 50s. We live in the same town as his parents, who are in their 80s. That’s freakin’ old, Prudie, in case you’re wondering! They’re nice people, but they insist on coming with us on all of our vacations. I’m talking calling every night begging to go until we acquiesce. It’s terrible! I can’t take it. To make matters worse, my husband’s siblings are all capable, able-bodied people who just happen to live out of town, so, the responsibility of taking care of their folks never falls to them. Always to us. Am I selfish to be pissed about this Prudie? Is it okay to want to go on vacation without the folks? Signed, Tired of Being a Parent to my Husband’s Parents

Dear Parent. Nope, you’re not selfish or rude. But you are being a big ol’ pussy. If you guys don’t want to play vacation tour guides anymore, you need only say that. You can also helpfully point out that the other siblings would be happy to see them. Then, take the parents to the airport and send them to see one set of the other siblings while you take your own vacation. Then rotate siblings each vacation. Every once in awhile, take the parents with you when you go. If they balk at this excellent idea (either the parents or the siblings), just tell them to fuck off. See? Easy!

LW#3: Dear Prudie. I work in social services. I’ve been a recovering bi-polar-holic for ten years now. I tell everyone that I meet about my condition because I’m an honest person, but, a new intern who has way more education than I have, and who intimidates the hell out of me, says nasty things to me when we disagree and then she dismisses my points of view by saying, “Well, you’re bi-polar.” I’m well past allowing such a thing to upset me, Prudie (obviously), but it just might send a non-recovering bi-polar person over the edge into the danger zone of suicide. What should I do about this woman? Signed, Really, Honestly, Truthfully Over My Bi-Polarism

Dear Liar. No, you’re not over your bi-polarism. Worse, you feel the need to tell everyone you meet, even the fucking INTERN, that you are?! What the fuck, over?! You need to reel that shit in, Happy McPeppy! Personal shit like that is for your bestest friends and for your therapist. NOT the intern, or the guy on the buss, or your manicurist. Okay? But, in this case, it’s too late, so, what do you? Next time that little fucking twat says that to you, you need to have an epic fucking meltdown of monumental proportions right there in the office. Just fall on the floor, let the tears flow and agree with her, screaming “Oh my god, I know. I’m so terrible! You’re always telling me how wrong I am, how terrible I am and you’re right! You’re always telling me how stupid I am and how I don’t know anything and how weak and selfish I am for working here and how nobody likes me! And you’re right! You’re riii-iiii-iiii-iiight! Oh please help me, Ms. Intern With The Master’s Degree! Please help me get better!” Then, let snot and drool run all down her back as you hold onto her for dear life in a deep hug. Then, when you sense her getting truly, truly uncomfortable, straighten up, wipe your nose in her hair and say, “Ah, thank you. All better now.” Then walk out of the room and wink at your boss. It’ll be epic.

LW#4: Dear Prudie. My stepbrother died last week. My sister asked me to get flowers from our side of the family. Because I’m a former florist, a master gardener, and, have a kick ass floral garden, I made up an incredible but tasteful arrangement and delivered it to the funeral home. My brother asked me what he owed me and when I said, “Nothing, I made the arrangement myself.”, my sister came unglued, made a scene at the funeral, calling me cheap and tactless, and, has sided with our step-sisters in shunning me (except when they call to tell me what a cheap whore I am). What should I do? Signed, So Not A Cheap Whore

Dear Master Gardner (how does one earn this title?--ah, never mind). I’d block their phone numbers. And, what in the FUCK is the meaning of “our side of the family”. So, like, the step side is one side and the non-step side is another side. And each was obligated to buy a round of flowers? You’re One Big Happy, except when your sister gets her bitch on? Fuck that, fuck your sister, fuck your dumbass step sisters. Fuck ‘em all! Block the numbers and don’t even give it a second thought. Honest. For reals. Life’s too short. I mean, what an appropriate time to learn and embrace that fact, you know?

Well Shippers, that’s it. Good cheer, fair winds and following seas to you all. And to all, a good night! I’ll be coming to you live and in-person next week from my normal perch atop the conning tower. Good cheer!


  1. ... wonders if there's any chance of getting Ms. Bi-polar to film the epic ...

  2. Schnitzel? Gesundheit!

    Und ein glücklicher Prudie Tag zu Ihnen, mein Kapitän!

    And who is the "masturbator" this week, Love? Or are we talking just mental masturbation? Because there's indeed plenty of that!

    #1 ~ Tell me, Smag ~ did you think this was just another person writing in to brag about her fantastically perfect life with her fantastically perfect boyfriend and fantastically perfect former model job and her fantastically perfect house and her fantastically perfect 4 year old who is so fantastically perfect, in fact, that she stays completely out of sight and out of mind so the LW and her fantastically perfect boyfriend can have fantastically perfect sex twice a day every fantastically perfect day?

    I did.

    #2 ~ Someone mentioned on the Fray, and I agreed, that the mother's actions may be an early sign of dementia. Calling and pleading for attention is a warning sign. You remember all the trouble we had with The Reverend's poor mother before the end? She would call and tearfully plead every night for him to come and take her away from this strange place ~ her home of 35 years. As I mentioned in Prudie, the dad may not even be aware she's making these phone calls at night and putting pressure on the kids this way. I advise compassion in this case, perhaps a checkup with their doctor ~ and then a serious conversation with the other siblings about their share of this parental pie.

    #3 ~ I cringed when I read "I'm open and honest about my condition." What does that mean? "Hi, I'm Sue, I'm bipolar!" Why does everyone need to know about her condition, especially if she's "managing" it so well? Whatever. It's like I always say ~ if you don't want the comments, don't wear the baseball cap.

    Here's my problem ~ as I said on the Fray (man, I gotta stop using all my best material over there!) ~ how does one allow this situation to happen "often"? The first time miss thing popped off to me and dismissed me for being "bipolar" I would have set her straight right then and there. She would NOT have gotten away with that a second time. Seriously, that's on the LW.

    Is the LW afraid to have any kind of reaction at all because she's afraid of being seen as "emotional"? Or are her meds making her flatline on this somewhat? Maybe she’s not handling her condition as well as she thinks she is.

    #4 ~ Sweetie, one becomes a Master Gardener by many hours of training! It's the real deal! Would you believe your own Mermaid has been encouraged to become one, because of her green thumb? It would involve too much time on the land, though, you see...

    Master Gardener's can go on to teach, give lectures, and help local agencies. And grow beautiful flowers, pick and arrange them into a lovely bouquet which then their ungrateful other-side-of-the-family relatives will bitch about. And this is the thanks they get!

    Mermaid is so glad you're enjoying yourself and your schnitzel! And although I do look forward to your return ~ you see the light left burning? ~ I never worry about you defecting, Diving Buddy. I'm pretty sure it's MY warmly whipped buns that keep you coming back to the Lagoon...

    See you on the other side, Love… ;)

  3. If the florist's father married after the kids were grown, or even almost grown, I can see why they have "his side" and "her side." But why is it the step-sisters' business, if their names weren't even on the card? Are they jealous that their Mommy actually "liked" the flowers? And apparently the sister really, really needs their approval.

  4. Don't get me wrong, Smag - LW4's sister is an industrial-sized bag of douche. But the following quote is very telling: "I later received a note from my stepmother, telling me how much it touched her to know that I made something with my own hands." It could be that he's one of those people who habitually does "thoughtful" things just for the attention. "Look at MY arrangement that I made with MY hands with flowers from MY garden. Did I mention that I was a master gardener? Oh, and my sister signed the card, wasn't that nice of her?" So I can kind of see where the sibs might have felt that it was presented as being from him rather than the family, and it was made clear that their only contribution was signing the card. Still, the reaction was WAY out of proportion to the perceived slight. Life is short. Clearly. Anyway, enjoy Germany. Thanks for dropping us a line during your vacation.

  5. If the parents married later, when the step-siblings were more or less adults, that could be why they refer to it as "sides." Just a a thought.

  6. Guten Tag mein Herr SmagJungen... ahem, don't let any Austrian hear you calling "their" Schnitzel German! You might come home without your ...submarine ;^)

    "...stroking the schnitzel", "kleinewurst", "let snot and drool run all down her back" - I must say you are in shining form today!

    LW1 - spot on!
    LW2 - on the contrary, maybe parents aren't at all Alzheimer-ed (teehee), but really shrewd - why pay for our own vacations and distractions from our hard worked pension money when we can have the kids pay for everything?! After all, we are only 83, we need the pension at least 10 more years, right?!?
    LW3 - "You're the intern, I'm your supervisor - stop commenting if you don't want your ass fired AND sued for discrimination and harassment! I know you want my job but you'll have to obtain it through hard work not by being a social climber ass"
    Lw4 - I don't know why you guys feel like the gardner is a man, I thought it was a woman. I mean, no man would listen to sisters calling to berate him and then complaining about that to the Internet lady. I know MY brother would send me somewhere where the sun doesn't shine pronto!

    Well, have a safe trip home Herr Smag, and remind me to give you the recipe for mosaic schnitzel, the real man schnitzel - 2 thin pieces of meat from different animals with a veggie in the middle! It's a delicacy where I'm from.

  7. I like Prudie's response to LW #1. If he wants her to get breast implants, then he should get penis enlargement to please her. I think it's only fair. Men are just as self conscious about their bodies as women.

    For LW 3#: Wow, this intern has some real compassion for those who are going through mental illness! I want her to be my psychologist so I can pay her to make me feel shitty every time I disagree with her. Okay, in all seriousness, the person doesn't need to tell everyone that she's bipolar. Not everyone needs to know. And second, she should report her boss about the intern. It doesn't matter what condition or disability, people should be treated with dignity and respect.

    As for LW #4, she should just ignore. Grief does weird things to people. You know, it doesn't matter if the person called a florist or arrange it herself, the gift is still gonna come from her. Now, if the sisters wanted to contribute, they can contribute in other ways other than getting flowers. They could've bought refreshments for the guests, helped Mom out with funeral expenses, help keep stepbrother's place tidy or Mom's while the funeral. It's sad that something that's a pathetically small issue can break up a family.

  8. Smaggy! I'm with Hillwalker, any chance of filming the epic scene? It seems suitable for a script... It's so funny, I'm still laughing....

    Glad you're enjoying the schnitzels. How about the pastries? Or do you need to go to Hungary or Austria for them? (I'm thinking of the dobostorta, aka drum cake aka seven thin layers interpersed with chocolate cream and a caramel top... to play the drum on of course.)

    Way way back my mother told me that way way way way way back my grandfather in his youth went to Austria (from Hungary) for a vacation and came back with stars in his eyes. Why? He reported that the schnitzels were bigger than the plates on which they were served... Ah those were the days! (I can imagine that the Austrian schnitzels grew in size everytime he told the story....)

    Hope you're enjoying yourself and come home safe and sound (I mean your tummy!)

  9. Mermaid, so nice that you have a green thumb. I think it means you're in tune with mother nature.

    There's a master gardener program in my neck of the woods too, but my thumb is pink... well, sort of. I even have bad luck this year with plain old geraniums! This even though I talk to trees.....(I even hug them now and then, gasp!)

  10. You made me snort aloud twice. Well done with the snarkery!

  11. Amy, I'd be inclined to read that sentence similarly, EXCEPT, based on the letter, the stepmom knew only because the sister threw a douchebaggy fit in the middle of the viewing.

  12. Smaggy, although this was LOVELY, you forgot to tell LW3 to TAPE IT!!! Of all the people you've asked, how could you forget this brilliant, shining, glorious chance. Really. That is EXACTLY what she should do! Oof, I gotta go clean up - I laughed so hard, I think I broke a few things.

  13. Smag,
    Try the Crystalweitzen at the Castle--Best beer in town. Dinner at the Herrenmule it's near the bottom of the Aldtstadt. Also Hemmingway's bar right on the river is great for lunch and has a nice view of the river.

    Cheers--- ehm Probst, Springfield

  14. Smagster - note that I am always a few ticks shy on my angst-o-meter from hopping in the car to pull your advice to #3 on my coworkers. Ever tried washing dried snot out of your hair? Not pretty, I tell you what.

  15. Hrumpole makes mention on that blog about if the intern were male, how would the letter writer act? This made me think that perhaps the LW is a male, and possibly a southern male, as well (as opposed to a "good ol' boy".)

    A well-bred southern male is taught to respect all women, even the crazy wench who jumps out from behind a building and tried to scratch his eyes out with a meat cleaver. After all, she could be someone's mother. This kind of up-bringing makes it as difficult for the man to speak harshly to a woman, even one who justly deserves and needs it, as it is for some women with similar upbringing to complain when their needs aren't being met.

  16. herd"T"hinner preaches:

    LW1 - you're all forgetting the truth, people! It is every woman's moral obligation to have perfect double-D or bigger boobies to please their men. As it says in Leviticus 20:28:
    "A woman without huge tracts of land is an abomination and must be put to death. If a man lies with a woman who does not have huge tracts of land, he is unclean and has dishonored his mother and father, and must be shunned."

    LW2 - oh, they have to take the in-laws everywhere, all right. To Legoland, Disneyland or WDW, any Six Flags park, miniature golfing, horseback riding, wildwater river rafting, and ziplining. If they can learn to ride a bronco, Mom and Dad have to come along and learn it, too. There will be NO downtime.

    LW3 - maybe being bipolar is the only interesting thing about her, so it's just what she talks about. The intern - not that s/he isn't unfit for command or duty already - could also be throwing that back in LW3's face.

    On a side note, I wish to God and Heaven and all that is good and kind and just, that my oldest sister would just the fuck ADMIT already that she's bipolar! I don't mean that facetiously, either. She's been diagnosed to her face and utterly dismissed it.

    CoolOne has almost convinced me to visit the South. I'd be "Ma'am"ed constantly! Sometimes I like being "Ma'am"ed. I don't know which part I should visit, though.

    LW4 - well, there goes my hypothesis that gardeners, landscapers, florists, et al, have shitty home gardens. Like a mechanic I used to go to whose own car's ignition had been stripped down to where you could use a screwdriver to turn it on. In fact, you HAD to use a screwdriver. But everybody else's cars, he did wonders. And doctors who smoke, drink, do weed, etc.

    Wait, what was the question? Oh, something about blocking phone numbers. Good answer! (clapclapclap) "Survey says..??!"

  17. T: Remember that most men only put women up on pedestals to look up their skirts. For all it's politeness (in better society), it's still pretty patriarchal in some places. And there are still the good ol' boys, who think they are the Duke brothers (from Dukes of Hazzard) and still haven't grown up.

  18. I don't have that effect on men (wanting to look up my skirt - trust me!!), so it's all good. I'm just messing around. I've never even had the urge to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I understand that it's quite popular around that time. I'm more the "leisurely riverboat ride up the Mississippi" type, anyway. But I do still need to make pilgrimage someday to the Holy Land, aka Orlando, Florida, which is technically in The South, even if it's not THE SOUTH.