http://www.slate.com/id/2263601/ (8/12/2010) <---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 hum-dinger of one, too, in that I’m enjoying yet another gorgeous, incredible sunrise. Of course, weather calls for it to be the last for awhile, what with rain and clouds moving in this evening. Oh well. Enjoy the glories of life as they can be enjoyed, yes? :-) But, that aside, and with even more Reader Mail to answer today, we’d best get crackin’!
LW#1: Dear Prudie. About three and a half years ago, I dropped out of college (with one semester to go) to take care of my ailing mother for the last two and a half years of her life. I took care of her every need, day-in and day-out. During that time, I borrowed $4,500 from my father to pay for living expenses. Well, after my mom passed away and my dad began collecting her hefty life insurance and state pension payouts, he presented me with a bill for the money I’d borrowed! And while I haven’t paid him, he never allows the opportunity to pass to mention that I “owe” him. What should I do? Can I present him with a bill for the two and a half years of my life that I gave up caring for my mom, his wife? Signed, In Debt
Dear Liar-liar, Pants on Fire. You’re bound to get all sorts of sympathy from your fake-ass take on this situation. I mean, Prudie bought your bullshit story, hook, line and sinker. But I don’t. At all. First off, I’m pretty good at math. And no one, and I mean no one, can live on $4,500 over two years without supplemental income of some sort. Especially if they’re living away from their parents’ home. Which, if you were, you weren’t caring day-in, day-out for your mom, you were working a job, paying for your stuff and running from college (was it grades? a relationship gone wrong? about to be kicked out for integrity issues?). If you were living at home while caring for mom, you were eating there, showering there, using the facilities there. In other words, if that’s the case, the $4,500 wasn’t for living expenses, it was for luxuries like your brand new smart phone, upon which you probably tweeted incessantly about the years of your life you were giving up. My ass. No one quits college (which, by the way, who was paying for that?) five months prior to graduation to then spend two and a half fucking years caring for an ailing relative, spending every waking moment there. You’re lying, or exaggerating, plain and simple. You could have gone back to school for those few classes at some point during that time. But you didn’t. You’re a scared, entitled little bitch (gender neutral) and trying to place the blame on Daddy (who I have a feeling was very clear, from the beginning, about the $4,500 being a “loan”--you even call it that yourself) and on “caring” for your ailing mom. For two and a half years. Day in and day out. Whatever. Adults pay back their loans and don’t use family deaths as excuses for their own failings. Grow up.
LW#2: Dear Prudie. My husband and I are in our mid-20s and have a great relationship. As a gift when we got married, my in-laws (who live overseas) gave us a considerable amount of money to put toward the purchase of a home. They’re now moving back to the States and have announced that they’re moving into our home. And, into our master bedroom! And my husband has agreed to it! WTF, over?! Signed, Holy Shit
Dear Time to Move Out. Listen, I know this is going to sound hard, but, there’s only one thing for this. Move out. Gather your stuff, and your husband (if he’ll come), and move out. I’m not suggesting divorce; I’m just saying that, obviously, that house isn’t yours. You can get all butt-hurt and go to court about it being a gift, yaddah-yaddah, but, your husband obviously believes the money given still belongs to his parents. So you two need to find a place of your own, that you two pay for with your own money. DO NOT sell the home. The parents would likely gig you two for the depreciation it’s probably suffered due to the bad market. Just send them the keys with a note that says, “Hey, the kitchen/garage door is a little funny, you have to rattle the handle as you unlock it in order to get in. Enjoy!” And then move the fuck out. Don’t be bitter. Just think of your mortgage payments as rent and as a very valuable lesson about your in-laws. If your husband won’t move? Yep, well, you know what to do.
LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m a divorcee living in an apartment complex. There’s a man there who frequents the pool (like I and my daughter do) and it’s obvious he has the hots for me. I’ve never encouraged him, but have found no need to not be friendly. We chat. It’s nice. Well, the other day, he walked toward me with some suntan lotion and asked me to “do his back.” Prudie, he’s gross! He has acne and is hairy! I did his back, but don’t ever want to do so again. He crossed an obvious line, wouldn’t you say? What a dick! What should I say if he asks again? Signed, Perfectly Blemish-free and Hairless Lady
Dear Squeamish. Okay, I don’t know what the condition of his back has to do with this. Are you saying that if he was all fine and buff and squish-inducing, you would have been fine with slathering him up? Regardless, here’s the deal: don’t be fucking “doing” people’s backs with whom you don’t currently have (or want to have) an intimate relationship. That sends all sorts of wrong signals. As for what to do with this guy, it’s not like you are now required to do his back just because you’ve done it once. If he asks again, just say, “Sorry Dude. I shouldn’t have done your back the first time. I’m not comfortable with it. I like you, but I don’t like you like you.” He’ll counter with something about how it’s not a sign of liking him, liking him. To which you hold your ground. Problem solved without any bullshit stories or finding new pools. Do not, as Prudie suggests, avoid the pool and lie about your availability. Just grow up. Damn.
LW#4: Dear Prudie. I recently signed up for a cancer walk. I sent out a mass e-mail requesting donations, even noting that a simple $5 donation was enough to help. I don’t care if anyone contributes as it’s for a great cause and I’m just doing it to try to help. Obviously, though, I kept a spreadsheet of everyone who’d contributed, how much they’d contributed, and how quickly they contributed after I sent my e-mail. Doesn’t everyone? I then cross-referenced it with my files on the monetary values I’ve assigned for the time and money I’ve given to them over the year (which, of course, I don’t expect any repayment for). I don’t want to feel all petty, Prudie, but several people didn’t respond to my e-mail! People that I’ve helped significantly in the past by buying their kids’ crap and for whom I’ve done considerable volunteer work (which I’ve tallied to the penny in my spreadsheet). What should I do to guilt them into evening up the scales of our magnanimous, munificent caring for one another? Signed, Not a Flaming Ass Monkey. Honest.
Dear Flaming Ass Monkey. You are the worst kind of flaming ass monkey. The kind of shit bag who ostensibly gives of his/her time, but who constantly keeps a tally of said time and expects repayment, with interest. Prudie says that we all keep a tally of mental favors done. My ass. Perhaps in middle school. Mature adults do things because we want to. And when we decide to give of our time, we should do so with no strings attached, or, we should be clear, up front, that our time is being given with strings. Yours is. Obviously, you prick (gender neutral). So have a shirt made up that says, on the front, “I’m volunteering for you, but...”, and on the back side, in really small print, have it say, “...I’ll be calling in the favor soon, you ungrateful bitches!” Asshole.
And, like last week, Shippers, we’ve got a bit of Reader Mail from a real, live, actual reader! So, as you know, I especially encourage comments on reader mail, but ask that you hold back (at least a little) on the snark, since we like to encourage these letters!
Dear Smag, I received a rambling 4-page email missive today from an old friend that essentially ripped me to pieces. This email was sent to all of the writer’s family and our mutual friends. Back story is that we were close (platonic) friends (dinners every other friday, etc.) for about a decade--up ‘til about six months ago. Six months ago, she started a relationship with a man recently back from Iraq (physically, but not mentally). He began bugging her phone/email, etc., isolating her and getting her all to himself. Then, I felt that I was in physical danger due to a text from him and so severed all ties with my friend by explaining that I didn't feel safe around the new boyfriend. She, at the time, was fine with that and wanted to continue to pursue her new relationship. I have no interest in her romantically (have been happily married for over 5 years). During the ensuing 6 months, she became addicted to painkillers and got up to 10-12 daily. I left her alone, and when her family/friends asked why we were no longer friends, I explained that I didn't think she was of right mind/body and that she and her new boyfriend were dangers--primarily to themselves. Family/other friends attempted an intervention and were rebuffed. Flash-forward 6 months to the e-mail I just received. It states that I got her addicted to the drugs! Further, it says that I am the root of all evil, up to and including the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby! :-) My initial reaction is to not respond as I am not involved with any of the parties and believe this to be the ramblings of someone I no longer know (drugs have changed her too much, etc). Furthermore, I no longer see any of the parties as we don't share the same circles of friends anymore. Any advice? Thanks!! Signed, asking for a “friend”
Dear asking for a “friend”. My first thought on this is to go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Snehl2bAk. Start at 1:10 and go through 1:30. That really is just about the gist of my advice! Packaged in nice three-part harmony! :-) Here’s the thing: it sounds like you’ve got a pretty good hold on the situation (mostly). Anything you say in response to this nutty letter will just be twisted and misused (by your former friend, her boyfriend, and by others who side with her). And, it’ll make you look petty. The (perhaps) more difficult, but far better, thing to do is to just ignore it. Block her e-mail address. You don’t need that shit in your life and your family certainly doesn’t! Block her phone number. Completely ignore her. Make her a non-person in your life. I state this so strongly because, the fact that you know how many painkillers she was taking a day, and other details like that, indicates to me that you know too much about a friend with whom you’ve supposedly cut ties. I don't mean that to be rude, I just mean that you have to really cut them now. This letter she sent is obviously not acceptable. The boyfriend is unstable and trained to use weapons. Distance, in this case, is your friend. However, do save the e-mail. Just in case. You never know what'll happen in the future and it's good to have proof. I have a feeling that at some point down the road, once she’s cleaned up and gotten past this, she may come asking for your forgiveness. No matter what, if that does happen, I suggest that you ask her for some time to ponder it. And then, you know, if you're willing, come back here and tell us the juicy details! :-) Hang in there, asking for a “friend”!
Well, Shippers, that about does it! Another fine, fine Prudie Day, come to a close. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me? Have a great day and week, Shippers. Fair winds and following seas to you all! Cheers!