http://www.slate.com/id/2262763/ (8/05/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! Oh my, Shippers, the sun rise this morning was absolutely wonderful. It was so beautiful, in fact, so perfect, that it’s as if they shipped it here overnight express, straight from the Beautiful Sunrise Factory! It was that rare and beautiful! But, don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “double rainbow” on ya! And enough about my morning, anyway. We have to get straight to the letters because not only do we have the typical batch from Prudie, we’ve got a piece of mail from an actual reader in the Submarine Mail Bag! So, with so much to do, let’s get crackin’, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie. Holy shit! I’ve done some doozies in my life, but this one tops them all. See, back in my younger days, I got pregnant. And, even though math is hard, I sort of reverse engineered things based on the wholly scientific and accurate method of determining impregnation date based on when I’m pretty sure I had my last period, plus fetal size, as measured via ultrasound, etc., and determined that the father had to be one of two men. Probably. Most likely. One of those men, the one I totally suspected was the dad, said it wasn’t him. He proffered an official-looking document stating that he was infertile, so, I assumed it was the Other Man. And, amazingly, my daughter looked like Mr. Other Man! Well, fast-forward 20 years, and, upon reaching adulthood, my daughter wanted to get in touch with her bio dad. I gave her Other Man’s information and she met him. They got along famously, but, did DNA tests, and, no match. So now, in true Cartman fashion, my daughter wants to go meet Professor Infertile. What if it’s not him, Prudie? What do I do? Signed, So Embarrassed
Dear Embarrassed Lady. Chill out, take a deep breath, and just be honest with your daughter. Tell her the whole story so that she’s warned ahead of time. This will help explain, too, why you assumed her dad was Mr. Other Man, rather than Professor Infertile. And, guess what, if it’s not Professor Infertile, you’ll have to go through this again, so, rather than counting on creaky math and hoping you got it right, you need to just come completely clean with your daughter and lay it all out there. I know you’re embarrassed. I know that you hate thinking about this. But it sounds like she’s on a mission. And you can either let this split the two of you, or you can move forward together. Your choice.
LW#2: Dear Prudie. I’m a woman who would be in a sympathetic situation if not for my unbelievable ignorance and feeling of entitlement. See, I’m a law student, temp-employed by a great law firm. Unfortunately, we share office space with another firm staffed with rude, obnoxious attorneys. One of them frequently comments on my clothing in a lecherous manner. I would ask for help from the attorneys in my firm, but I don’t want to be seen as weak. As a result, I’m thinking of suing the other firm for sexual harassment so that they can pay for my legal education (ironic, eh?!). What do you think? Good choice? Signed, Very Nearly Unemployed
Dear Dumbassed, Stupid, Vacuous Twit. Okay, let’s think about this for a second. You’re a temp employee working for a law firm that shares office space and a currently congenial professional relationship with another firm. You’re having a (sadly) typical problem with an asshole and you’ve decided as your brilliant solution to sue that man and his firm?! And you don’t reckon your firm will have a problem with that clearly well-thought-out solution? You don’t reckon they’d prefer that you talk with them about it first? Perhaps taking the significantly easier fucking solution of moving you to a different desk?! Please go shove a letter opener in your ear hole. As far as it’ll go. Now swirl it all around in there. There shouldn’t be much resistance. All done? Good. Whew! Okay. I’m all better now.
LW#3: Dear Prudie. My dad (age irrelevant) just sent me a friend request on FaceBook. I don’t like him like that, Prudie. Plus, my page has pictures and jokes and all sorts of stuff that I don’t want to share with him. We’re not close. But I don’t want to hurt his feelings. What can I do? Signed, Not in Need of Any New “Friends”
Dear Twit. Learn how to either, a) say "no" to your dad, and to explain to him exactly why, because, you know, you’re an adult now, or, b) use the privacy controls on your FaceBook account so that dad can’t see what you don’t want him to see. This can work for your other friends, too, so that they can’t see dad’s comments and pictures of you in diapers. Ones that he’ll surely post and comment on! I know, right? I mean, holy shit, how hard was that? Almost caused me to pull a thigh muscle, thinking about that one. Sigh.
LW#4: Dear Prudie. My fiancé is the greatest, most wonderfulest person in the whole wide world. He’s incredible! I love him more than I love oxygen. But, Prudie, we don’t fight. And while I don’t see this as a problem, my dear friend recently told me she’s very worried about the state of my relationship, claiming that “everybody” fights, at least weekly, and that it’s not healthy not to! Then I thought about it, and, sure enough, my late husband and I fought and we were okay. Is my relationship doomed because we don’t fight? Signed, Perhaps Dumber Even Than LW#2 and LW#3 Combined
Dear There’s No “Perhaps” About It, You Are. Listen, for the sake of this guy, I’m going to suggest that your friend is right. You and she (your friend) apparently do need to fight with men in order to be happy. You need the drama. But this guy that you claim to love? This decent fellow who treats you right, is considerate of your feelings, and doesn’t yell or scream at you? He doesn’t deserve your brand of “love”. So, do the right thing and cut him off. Take my word for it, your relationship with him is doomed. Maybe he can find a crazy, foolish woman who’s actually happy not to fight with him. That’ll sure show him! In the meantime, go find a guy wearing a wife beater who grunts more than he speaks. Make sure he’s got a record for domestic violence, too. Hook up with him. That’ll make both you and your friend happy.
Now shippers, normally that’d be it, but today, we get a bonus letter! From an actual reader, sent directly to the Submarine Mail Bag! So, remembering that this is an actual reader, do be polite, but, also, please do comment!
LW#5: Hello Smagboy1. This is sort of a broad life question as opposed to a specific problem question, but, as a general rule, how do you keep yourself upbeat and level-headed when dealing with stupid/nasty people (and stupid/nasty everyday news)? I'm trying to get out of my habitual wallowing in ignorance and escapism, but the more I learn about the world, the more I find myself sick with anger and depression. It's really affecting my motivation to better my life.
I'm just wondering if you have some practical advice about living life to the fullest in the long term, despite the fact that at least 60% of the (privileged) human population seem to be either real idiots or assholes. I'm trying to figure out how people can strive for impartiality and still enjoy life. Signed, Carolina
Dear Carolina. There are three immediate thoughts that I have when reading your letter, but please follow-up if I’ve missed something...
First, if 60% of the human population seems to be either real idiots or assholes, you’re hanging out with the wrong sample of the population! And I’m serious about that. When people demonstrate to you that they’re assholes, drop them. That may see harsh, and I certainly don’t mean to drop a true and good friend over one mistake. But assholes are assholes. They can be cleaned up real purty and all, but, in the end, they still spout shit. So, as hard a lesson as this may be, you have to learn to avoid and eliminate these people from your life. And sadly, that includes assholes with whom you share blood. Perhaps especially them, because they hold special ties that can be used to cause you extra pain. So, first piece of advice: eliminate assholes as much as possible from your life, including family assholes. That will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Secondly, I suggest that you avoid bad news. Seek and get involved in the good news! It’s out there. Honest! :-) For example, I have a friend who loves cats. I mean, she loves them! And she could focus, day-after-day, on all of the abuse and neglect and feral colonies out there (and it can be hard to avoid that news, and, fact is, she can’t completely), or, she make a real and concerted effort to actively support, volunteer for, work at and involve herself in rescue education, missions and fund raising, etc. And while she can’t avoid all bad news, the bad is at least nicely tempered with lots of good news and good feelings. Another way to avoid the bad is to simply delete all of the links from your favorites/bookmarks that take you to websites that make you feel bad. If you find that three out of four times you visit a site, you leave feeling bad, delete it! Don’t go back! There’s enough bad news in the world that we don’t need to spoon feed it into our heads. :-) Sure, ignoring this news doesn’t cause it to go away. But, actively involving yourself in good guarantees that you aren’t ignoring problems, you’re actually working on solutions.
Finally, and this is the hardest, but, I find, potentially the most effective and elightening. Travel. Get out there in the world. Go far and wide. Go places you haven’t been and talk to people there, even if that’s terribly uncomfortable. I love people. I love their stories. I remember one time in Munich (München) talking to a food street vender. He was a recent Afghani immigrant. Neither of us had very good German (although his was certainly better than mine), but we couldn’t speak a lick of each others’ native tongues, so, we did our best with pigeon and sign. I learned that he’d moved his family to Munich when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan. He told me how terrible it was and how the women in his family were treated terribly, how oppressive everything was. This could have been a depressing story! But, they left. They came to Germany and were in college, he and his wife, both. Their kids were in school. All learning German at the same time, and, working at the food cart to make ends meet. And his kebap?! Out of this world! I have a hundred stories like this from my travels in and out of the U.S. And each and every one makes me smile. Go out at find your stories, Carolina. Replace the bad with good. You can do it. And it’ll be worth the effort. I promise!
Well Shippers, that does it for this version of Prudie Day! Please comment below on all of the letters, but, if you have a strategy that you think will help Carolina, by all means, post it, too! I wish for you all fair winds and following seas. Until next time...