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, September 16, 2010

...on Creepy, Angry In-Laws, the Past, the Present and the Future (9/15/10) <---Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that you’re well, that life is treating you fantabulastically, and that you’re enjoying the mellower and breezier fall weather (if you’re having it--here’s hoping that you are)? All here is okay, but very, very busy. Healthcare Finance & Accounting is the most difficult course I’ve ever taken and will admit to a bit of despair every time I pick up the course book. Having an instructor who is less interested in teaching than in facilitating the class’s “struggle” to learn (because, I guess, he thinks we’ll better understand it that way) doesn’t help, either! But, as mermaids are fond of saying, “Oh well!” At any rate, we can’t talk about that stuff as we have letters to get to, right?! So, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my daughter has been dating a boy for four years and they’ve recently become engaged. While I definitely don’t want to intrude on my daughter’s love life, I’m a little uneasy about her fiancĂ©. He’s “gotten so close to me that his crotch rubbed against my back; and he's undone his pants, and then spent an inordinate amount of time tucking in his shirt while facing me.” My husband thinks he has a crush on me. I think it’s weird and am made so uncomfortable by it that I don’t want him around our younger daughter. I don’t want to be around him, either. But, as I say, I don’t want to interfere with my elder daughter’s love life. What should I do? Signed, Secretly (or not) Admired

Dear Not Wanting to Interfere. I’m not sure what the issue is with your daughter or why that seems to be the point of your letter? You don’t talk much about her relationship with the boy, if he makes her happy, etc. That’s what’ll ultimately determine the fate of their relationship. Hopefully she’s got better instincts than you do regarding how to deal with men, though! Listen, you are allowed to confront people when they act inappropriately toward you. What sort of message do you think it sends your daughters that you don’t stand up for yourself to someone clearly and absolutely disrespecting you?! Does your husband treat you like an object, too? Do other men? This boy is way, way, way out of line with you. You need to confront him. Not about you daughter or their relationship, but about how he treats you! You have every right to do so! Say, “Listen here, Slick! You will not ever touch me without being invited. Ever! Do you understand me?! You will not, ever, unbutton your pants in front of me. Ever again! Do you get me? If you do, you will no longer be welcome in my home. Period.” If your husband doesn’t get that, if he can’t understand your concerns, you need to have a talk with him, too. Of course, that requires you telling him exactly what’s happened, which, from your letter, I can't tell if you’ve done or not. You are not required to let men walk all over you. You know that, right? Do this for your daughters’ sakes. Do it for yours. Damn!

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I was treated terribly in elementary school. I was overweight, unattractive, and very, very sensitive. Because of the abuse that I took, I took out my frustrations by making fun of another girl in our class, based on her heritage. Now, as an attractive, successful adult, I would never condone such treatment of another person and am mortified by what I did as a child. I’ve recently found this woman on FaceBook. Should I contact her and apologize? Signed, Sincerely Remorseful

Dear Meanie Pants. Yes, you should. As Prudie says, you should not do it in the hopes that she’ll react kindly. You should do it so that you can explain yourself, and in the hopes that it might help both of you to heal a little. But don’t expect gratitude or grace. If you receive it, consider it an extreme bonus. Prudie’s also correct in that you need to very carefully explain how things were at the time. How, now, as an adult, you realize that you lashed out at her because of how terrible you felt for the abuse you were taking, and how you now feel terrible for having been so weak and for treating her so poorly. Unlike Prudie, I think that e-mail or a FaceBook message (not a wall post!) is fine. It probably won’t lead to much, but, if it does, great. Finally, please get rid of any reference to your current beauty and success. It’s wholly unnecessary and potentially offensive. Good luck!

LW#3: Dear Prudie. My husband’s brother invited us to his timeshare in the Caribbean. This will likely be his last fling there as the economy has hit him hard.  He’s been out of work for a long time and he’s probably going to have to sell his share of the property. In conversations about the trip, it was decided that we’d pay for all food and alcohol since he’s providing the lodging. Recently though, I’ve learned that he expects us to pay for his transportation to and from the airport, too! I smell a rat, Prudie! I’m thrilled about getting to go, but, don’t want to be taken advantage of. My husband says we should just roll with it and never go on vacation with him again. What do you think? Signed, Caribbean Queen

Dear Queenie of the Caribbeanie. Boy, that must be some fare to the airport! Listen, I know that it sucks when you feel as if you were invited someplace and then had the rules change on you at the last minute--especially when the rule changes involve you paying money! That really is a shitty pill to swallow. I’ve had this happen a couple of times, too, and frankly, it sucks balls (and, for those of you who may actually enjoy the act of ball sucking, I meant it there as a negative!). In the end, you have a choice to make. You can pay his fare and enjoy the trip (I don’t suggest that you pay the fare and then stew over it, though, because that will suck balls, too!). You can stay home, thus avoiding all costs (presuming you can get back your ticket money). Or, you can talk to the B-I-L and suggest that this late-added cost bothers you. You may find that it was a simple miscommunication and not the rat-smelling act that you perceive it to be. Whichever decision you make, though, you should make it with your husband, and then, you should both do your level best to enjoy the trip or your time at home, whichever you decide on. Going on the trip and being pissed the whole time, however? That should not be an option.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I see a counselor weekly. She’s an excellent teacher and has helped me tremendously with all sorts of issues. However, over the last two years, something she does has bothered me more and more, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to mention it. Now it’s to a point that I hate to mention it at all because I’ve let it go for so long! Prudie, she misspells my name! Every single week. It may seem a small thing, but, damnit, it speaks to my very identity, you know? I hate the idea of trying to hint around at this--I pay with a check every week so that she can see my name in print, yet that has never corrected her error. What can I do? Signed, Po-tay-to, not Po-tah-to

Dear Counseled. As Prudie says, this is not a big deal to fix. Now wait, don’t be upset! I’m not saying that it doesn’t feel like a big deal! It does, and I acknowledge that, and I understand that it’s a big deal to you, but, you can make it into something very easy to manage. Simply tell your therapist! Just say, “Sally, I’ve never mentioned this before, but you’ve been misspelling my name. It’s P-O-T-A-Y-T-O.” That’s it! You don’t have to apologize for not mentioning it sooner, and you should not. You don’t have to make excuses, and you should not! It’s not a social nicety we’re talking about here, it’s your legal name. As such, it’s no big deal, and definitely not rude, to mention it to her. She won’t think twice about it. She’ll make the change and that will be that. Believe me, it's far bigger in your head than it'll ever be to her.  If she messes up again, though, simply remind her again. It’s okay to do that! Honest! Perhaps it’ll help to think of it as a therapy test from her. As if she's doing it on purpose to measure your ability to confront real-life situations with grace and calm.  One that you need to pass! And I know that you will. Hang in there! :-)

Well, Shippers, that’s about it. I’ve got a mid-term exam coming in Finance & Accounting, but, even though it may be the death of me, I’ll go into it head held high. I mean why not? As said in a recently favorite movie of mine, “I'd like the coffin to be white, and I want it specially lined with satin. White. Or pink! Maybe red! Bright flaming red! Let's make it gay!” One doesn’t have to go quietly, eh? :-) And no matter the result, I’ll be back next week, Shippers, even if it’s with a chunk of my butt missing, exactly in the shape of a Finance and Accounting exam. ;-) Fair winds and following seas to you all. And to all, a good night!


  1. Good luck with the exam!

    I can tell it's got you stressed, because, while the advice was adequate, there was a definite lack of snark.

    And while I agree that LW1 needs to stand up for herself if this is really what's going on, I suspect it is significantly less than what's she's making it out to be. Maybe she needs to see LW4's therapist?

  2. asking for a &quot;friend&quot;September 16, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    #1 - this is the acid text for new people:

    #2 - is it appropriate to FB this person now that DA is done w/ her?

    #3 and #4 - boring!

    Exam - good luck and just remember this advice when answering exam:

  3. Was it me, or were today's letters from the LW's a little lacking in oomph? There really wasn't much material to work up some good snark on!

    So I guess as the Mermaids would say, "oh well."

    Good luck w/ the finance & accounting exam (econ exams were the ones that took a chunk outta my patootie), and here's hoping next weeks seas bring us LW's that are WAY more screwed up ;)

  4. Hmmm, I kind of agree with Prudie (what is that odd taste in the back of my throat). Letter four is saving money on a hotel and it is not like the bil expects them to pay AIR fare. I say get over it, your still saving money. Good luck Smag, though I am sure you won't need it.

  5. What's the problem with "Healthcare Finance and Accounting"?

    The complexity comes from the industry standard artificial pricing mechanism that healthcare entities use and the jargon that's required to maintain the delusion that it's real money.

    Study the glossary.