From a Submariner's Perspective is a weekly column, written in response to the letters sent in to advice columnist "Prudie" at Slate.com. Each week, The Submariner responds to the letter writers in a way that Slate.com 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 smagboy1@gmail.com 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 23, 2010

...on Past Teachers, Present Nipples and Two Spoiled Girls

http://www.slate.com/id/2268221/ (9/23/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And a mighty, “Ahoy Mateys!” to you and yours! How are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope well. I hope that you’re having a chance to get out in this wonderful weather! I haven’t. Yet. But, that’s by choice. I continue to slog through school in the evenings. They say this’ll be worth it! They say an education is something that can never be taken away! We shall see. :-) At any rate, all of this good cheer and chitchat aside, we’ve got letters. And at least one is sauciness-worthy! So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, when I was a kid, I had a teacher who bullied me mercilessly. It’s been a long, hard slog of it since then. I’ve barely survived, but, in fact, I have. As a matter of fact, I’ve gone on to earn an MA in Education and am now applying for work in the same school district where I grew up. I was horrified recently to find that my old nemesis was still teaching! At the same school! I don’t want to work with her, Prudie, but I need a job. And, too, I’m horrified that she’s still teaching. What should I do? What can I do? Signed, Inexperienced Educator

Dear Potentially Still Unemployed. My guess is that your former teacher doesn’t remember you. But, if you do start working where she does (a big “if”), and, if she does remember you, you should claim, in your best innocent face and confused look, that you have no idea who she is? Say something like, “I’m sure you were a great teacher, but, I just don’t remember you? Are you sure I was in your class?” And then walk away as if you’re distracted with anything but her. Engaging this woman in any way about the past only gives her power over you. You need to get past her and realize that fact. Also, note that your accusations are just that. Accusations. They cannot be proven, they cannot be corroborated, and, as such, are absolutely worthless. Hear me? Absolutely worthless. Now, if you do get a job there (which, whoa there, Skippy, you certainly may not), and, if you hear through the grapevine that she’s under investigation for bullying, you can, confidentially, speak with the investigator. Prudie’s idea of sneaking around doing super-sleuthing and reporting on her every move only empowers this woman more! And weakens you. You need to get the fuck over her and move on with your life, vowing to never, ever, ever treat a student the way she treated you.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I am one of three women (or, men who wear bras) who own a successful business in a cutthroat industry. Though we don’t have a formally-stated dress code, we’ve all three seemed to understand the need for outstanding personal appearance, at the very least, when meeting with clients. Recently, one of my two colleagues has been attending client meetings braless. Obviously so. My other colleague and I are beside ourselves with horror over this development and worried about what it’ll do to our business reputation and professional appearance! What can we do? Signed, Someone Who Knows When to Hold ‘Em

Dear Party Pooper. If you’re noticing, you clients are noticing. And only you three know your clients well enough to know if your friend’s free-range nipples will be a problem with the business. If they are, you can simply say, “Jill, listen, we’re all about freeing the girls, but we’re afraid it could potentially affect business. And, even if it doesn’t, it’s making us uncomfortable, which will affect business, so, when we’re meeting clients, would you please put those things away?” The only caveat that I’m attaching to this advice is that you have to make sure that it’s the business, and potential bad effects thereof, that’s driving your concern, and not some messed up power play or some jealousy thing over Jill’s tits and her newfound freedom with them (I don't know what there is to be jealous of regarding freed tits--are they "new", perhaps?--but, you get my drift, yes?  Just really analyze your motivations so that you can go to her honestly and openly with no doubts.). And if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not her appearance is appropriate, please feel free to take and send me several pictures of Jane. I’ll let you know.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my husband’s business closed shop last year. It was a terrible time for us, and it’s been quite a struggle. The only good thing about his unemployment has been that, over the last ten months, my husband has been home all day, every day, for me and our toddler. He’s recently found a great job, with great benefits, but the hours are long. It’s making our, um, toddler (yeah, that’s it) very sad to not have him around to help take care of things. Wait! What I meant was, to not be there for our toddler! And our toddler is mourning this loss by crying all day, every day. What can I do to guilt my husband into quitting this job? Signed, I Don’t Like Being a Mommy

Look, I don’t have time for pleasantries, or even trying to disguise your letter as reasonable. You need to buck the fuck up and quit laying the guilt on your husband just because your job as mom to your toddler is fucking hard (or because you miss your husband). Yes, it is hard! Anyone who’s ever raised a toddler recognizes that fact. But, sadly, it’s not bringing any money into the house. And, unless you’re independently wealthy, the goddamned guilt trip you’re laying on your husband is only serving to make him feel like shit. ‘Cause it sure as fuck isn’t helping anything. It’s doubly nasty because you’re making it about him being a poor father to his toddler. And that’s the lowest of the low right there. You can certainly talk to him (on occasion) about trying to find a job with better hours while still working this one, but, in case you haven’t noticed, jobs aren’t growing on trees these days. Hey, maybe you could get a job with great hours and benefits that earns enough to keep the house going and let your husband stay at home? But, if you do, make damn sure the hours are acceptable to him. We wouldn’t want to cause any mommy abandonment issues with the boy, now would we?

LW#4: Dear Prudie, my daughter likes to have a friend over to our house. We welcome the friend, and enjoy her company most of the time. However, she’s a very picky eater. She never wants to eat what my wife has cooked (even though our kids are fine with it), and insists on other things. My wife offers a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but our guest doesn’t like the wheat bread with which it’s made. What can we do? We’re not running a restaurant here! Signed, Frustrated Father

Dear You May Be a Father, But You Need To Be An Adult. You need to learn a valuable lesson in dealing with kids. It’s the two (or three) choice rule, and you (or your wife) determine what gets to be chosen. The rules might be, “Jane, you may either have what’s on the table, or, a PB&J, made with this bread. Which would you like?” If she complains, saying she wants something else, simply repeat her two choices. If she chooses neither and decides instead not to eat (which is a valid third choice), she’ll definitely not starve, I assure you. However, some days, your wife may not feel like even making a PB&J. Maybe she's tired?  Maybe she's spent all day on what's on the table.  You  know what Jane’s two (and only two) choices should be that day? “Jane, you may eat what’s on the table, or not. Your choice.” You should not entertain other options. If at any time she tries to introduce an unacceptable choice, you simply and calmly reiterate to her the choices that she does have. This is about Jane making a choice, not about you accommodating her. And never forget that she can also be offered to choose between these two choices:  staying at your house or going home. And for that calm feeling you’ll have when you master this system? You’re welcome.

****
Well, Shippers, that about does it! I’ll leave you with this parting advice, though. If you must snack at night, try to make the food very neutral and mellow. If, however, you choose to go with chili over fish, please, please, please write down and post on The Fray your resultant dreams! They’re wonderfully entertaining, and hopefully well worth the discomfort--at least for your readers! That one’s aimed at you, Diving Buddy! Mwah! :-)

30 comments:

  1. asking for a "friend"September 23, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    LW#1 - Smag > Prudie by a huge margin - luv this advice!

    LW#2 - can I see some pix 2? need 18 of them 2 make really sure; :). plus, wouldn't this help business in some areas? LOL

    LW#3 - awesome smackdown!

    LW#4 - at my house, I say oooooooohhh fancy, I didn't realize the queen of England was in my presence? let me put my pinky up! :).

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  2. Ahoy Mon Capitan!

    Mahvelous advice this week! Love, love, love it!

    I did find myself wondering, though, since the nipples were the thing the LW mentioned, if the coworker IS going braless, or if she just needs to be more aware of the multitude of t-shirt style bras out there that contain nips to a no-show zone. They aren't just for wearing with t-shirts...

    Now if we're talking floppy, bouncing, jiggling distractions, that could easily be solved by a bra...

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  3. Even though I felt picked on by certain teachers myself growing up (and got to hear all my father's horror stories about how NONE fo his teachers supposedly liked him!), I still have dounts about #1. Had the teacher said inappropriate things in front of the entire class, the principal needed only ask one or two other children whether this did, indeed, occur. Perhaps the remark was more like, "Lay off of [LW]. She/He's having a hard time now that his/her parents aren;t together."

    I always gave my children's friends two choices: Eat it or don't. After they saw I was serious the first time, they never again gave me grief about what I served.

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  4. Ahoy, afa"f"! I will certainly share with you any braless boobie bounty that I receive (provided it does not come with any request *not* to share it with you--I know you wouldn't blame me if that was the case!). ;-)

    Oooooh fancy! I love it! :-)

    Good cheer, afa"f"!

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  5. Greetings, Libby! I don't know if tit was specifically nipple or just the general scenery, but, I like thinking about womens' nipples peaking through clothing in that way. What? Can I help it if I'm a hopeless perv? ;-)

    Gooc cheer, Libby!! :-)

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  6. Ahoy, Oracle! I'm not sure about LW#1, but, I'm willing to allow for his/her story being true. Regardless of truth, however, one mustn't let it affect their whole life, as if this evil teacher will jump from behind the bushes and stab the LW in the head.

    As for your choices, I'm with you, but, I've found that offering two choices is usually easy enough and provides the child with an option. Usually this works wonders. But, I do agree that if you don't feel up to it, either eat it or don't is a perfectly acceptable set of choices. :-)

    Many cheers, Oracle! :-)

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  7. Howdy, Howdy! I just had to throw this in as having been an extremely picky eater as a child (picky as in my gag reflex was tripped and eating food I didn't like was akin to torture.. I think a lot of it had to do with the texture of different foods, but I digress) and having had been forced to sit at a table until I was done eating what I had been served at a friend's home (an hour later I was able to get up from the table after eating cooked peas one.at.time whole so I didn't have to chew them)... I never went back for any kind of meal there (would barely set foot in their home) and would probably kick that woman in the shin 20 years later if I had the opportunity. Sorry, it's hard to explain it as not just a preference, but a compulsory response that can't be wished away by some stranger's odd idea of discipline. As long as the option to go home is present your response is good, but remember how you treat someone else's kid will get back to their parents and doesn't occur in a vacuum. Cheers!

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  8. Ahoy, Penny! Oh, hey, I agree with you! I'm all for a child choosing not to eat if there's nothing on the table that pleases their palate! And with no repurcussions! In other words, choosing not to eat is not a punishable offense in my book. :-) The only time I'd force the choice to go home is if the child couldn't accept that they have one of two food choices and couln't be polite about it. I might be a little tough, but I'm no ogre! :-)

    Cheers, Penny! :-)

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  9. You were so wrong to pick on poor lw3! Don't you know that all you need is love?! Homes, food, health care....meaningless! A child deserves to have TWO parents hovering over them constantly. They don't need to know they are not the center of the universe or how a responsible adult takes care of responsibilities, even if it isn't easy or fun! Shame on you!!(Wagging my finger at you)
    How was the test?

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  10. Oh, and before I forget thanks for making me swallow my jolly ranch in your response to Oracle. I don't why the comment about the teacher jumping from behind a bush and stabbing the letter writer in the head tickled me so much, but it did. I may have issues!

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  11. Jolly rancher. Really need to proof-read before posting.

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  12. Heya Smagster!

    Oh, I agree that the LW needs to provide pics. This is definitely a Pics or STFU letter.

    But either her wording, or the editing leaves one wondering if it was just "nipping out" or if it was "very obviously braless" a la bounce beauties.

    See, the thing is, I know women who can be wearing what most would consider "adequate foundation wear" in terms of it being a bra that keeps the breast from undue jiggling, but still they'll nip out pretty much constantly. That's why I brought up t-shirt bras. I hear they work wonders. =-)

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  13. Smaggie, i'm so jaded by now that you could paint Megan Fox's tits blue and hang chandeliers off them and i would actually be listening to the words coming out of her mouth.

    Of course, if you were to hook up those chandeliers to a safe and government-inspected and certified power supply and turn them on and maybe shake them a bit so they tinkled gently...well, i might have to ask her to repeat that last sentence.

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  14. I was a finicky child and so was my daughter. Seems to me it's usually girls who are inclined that way. If it's a neighbor kid, at worst, they'll miss a meal. At best, they'll your kid, their friend, eat something unfamiliar and try it.

    If it's your own kid, make sure there's at least one food at every mean they like, so they don't go hungry on a regular basis. We always looked so mean, buying everyone but her a Mexican buffet, and for her just 2 tacoes - sans lettuce or sauce.

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  15. Smagsteroo, g'day mate!

    Seems like today we both felt the same "pains" in those Prudie letters - check out my comments on The Great Sage page.
    Sorry mate, I had to comment there, she threatened with something called Jocko and the Boys! Oh, the horror!!!

    Good luck on those exams and I truly hope those studies will help in the long run - mine don't, apparently you also need something called "luck" or at least some darn good connections!

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  16. Ahoy, mommylady! And greetings!

    You're right, it was mean of me. And I would apologize, except, well, you know, it wouldn't be very sincere, eh? ;-)

    I am sorry about the loss of your Jolly Rancher, though! I intend to entertain, never to choke anyone, nor to cause them to lose their refreshments! :-)

    Good cheer, mommylady! :-P

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  17. I see your point, Libby (no pun intended!). As such, I think that pictures may not do. We may need video evidence to completely ascertain just how bad a problem our braless colleague is presenting. :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  18. Tarky, I hope that you'll forgive me this blasphemy, but, I'm not a Megan Fox fan. I will, of course, however, volunteer to paint her tits blue and shake them for you (with appropriate light fixtures attached), of course! I mean, what kind of friend would I be if I couldn't make that sacrifice for you? ;-)

    Good cheer, Mate! :-)

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  19. Ahoy CoolOne. I'm for offering at least a second choice (with the exception of fancy or long-term preparation meals where there's just plain not time), but, that's it. And, with one's own child, once the routine's established, that's not too difficult. I'm not about being mean, but, at the same time, I'm not about going down to the grocery store to get white bread while my dinner at home is getting cold, you know?

    Cheers! :-)

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  20. Oh har dee har har, Diving Buddy! Since what I REALLY wanted to snack on that night was *not available* ~ I did the best I could! ;)

    Now that I'm thinking about it ~ that dish should be called "The Diving Buddies" ~ a big hunk of beefy chili laying atop a lovely piece of fish? Get it? No?

    Captain, everything was going swimmingly with your advice until I got to the part where you accused the two co-workers of possibly being *jealous* of the other co-worker's unfettered mammaries and being "afraid your man will see them". (I guess we're assuming they have men?) I didn't know you were capable of such bitchy cattiness, Smag. Tsk tsk. If your male co-worker walked around the office *up-periscope*, should I accuse "You're just jealous!" ~ and would you tell him to "Put that thing away before my Mermaid sees it?"

    I see some Spanky Time in your future, Diving Buddy! Hmmm... if I didn't know better...

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  21. Ahoy, 'Roo! Good to see ya! :-) No worries on commenting over at the Oracle's Place. I need to get over there, too!

    And, to you and mommylady, thanks for the well-wishes on the exam! I've turned it in and hope to get bach a grade soon. It was one of those that felt suspiciously easy--you know the kind, the ones that come back and you've failed them entirely! Sigh. So, we'll see. :-)

    Regardless, though, much good cheer to ya, Matey! :-)

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  22. Ahoy, MM! And much good cheer to you, my culinary inspiration! :-)

    Now, wait a minute! By no means did I accuse our LW of being jealous! Matter of fact, that thought didn't cross my mind until I was proofing my entry. But it occurred to me that sometimes we humans get pissy about things we shouldn't. Like a woman who gets upset when she finds out her SIL is pregnant when *she* wanted to be first in the family to have a baby? Or when a future bride gets upset when one of her bridesmaids gets enganged or pregnant between the time of becoming a bridesmaid and the wedding, as if that will somehow take attention away from the bride?! Or any number of the other crazy Prudie letter writers we've experienced here in The Lagoon!

    So, please know that that wasn't the first place that I went, and not even something I thought about much, but, I do think it's a reasonable request, to ask the LW to analyze her protestations and make sure they're coming from a fair and just place. :-) But, on the final judgment, I'll happily defer to you. You do, afterall, have boobies and I don't. :-)

    Good cheer, and happy day, Diving Buddy! :-)

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  23. LW1- Dear Prudie, so I used to have this teacher who called me passive aggressive and creepy, & so after I went to college and got a degree in the same field she's in, applied for a job at the same school she works at, I'm ready to cut the bitch (while smiling sweetly of course). Is that okay or should I tell on her to the principal for all those years of hatin' on me first? Whatcha think Prudie? Just cut her right? In all seriousness though, I gotta agree with you on this one Smag. Prudie's advice sucked. Yours was much better:)
    LW2- of course you'll make sure you have the AC on full blast during this conversation please.
    LW4- wait, how did you procreate without any balls? I'm confused...*sigh*.
    ;)
    J

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  24. Ahhh, all feels right w/ the world today...at least the Prudie world. We had snark, and some seemingly dim-witted LW's (at least 1).

    I'm with ya today, especially on #3. You yourself know the guilt a parent feels who has to be away from the family for extended times. This woman seemed whiney to me - hubby is still home every night and presumably has weekends off. What about military families who are seperated by months or a year. In my case my hubby travels extensively for work (he's in the Mid-East as I type, for a month, and has done so for 13 of our sons 15 years! So my over all thought to that woman was - suck it up honey, and quit making daddy feel guilty for trying to support you! Sheesh!

    As for the picky eater. I took something different from that letter - the little girl sounds like she has atrocious manners. It's one thing to be a picky eater (PE), it's much easier to take (as the host/hostess) when said PE is polite about it. I personally think to avoid this little girls demands on food it would be best, for the time being, if she ate before she came over.

    I guess I was fortunate as my son's PE friend (he only seemed to have one, and one w/ a specific allergy which the parents told us about) was a.) polite and b.)liked hotdogs, so I could easily accommodate him. Now that they are all 15 yrs old...the challenge is not knowing what they like, the challenge is keeping enough food in the house so they don't try to eat the dogs ;)

    Well, that's my 2 cents. I'm going to go take off my bra in celebration of it being a good Prudie day!! Good Cheer to you Smaggy :D

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  25. Yoohoo Captain, what about that chili on top of fish, and what kind of fish? It actually sounds good as long as there's no beans or beef in the chili, after all they do make fish tacos, right? Will try as I do need some amazing dreams.....

    You know there is an inverse version of the story of the bullying teach. It's the story of a troublemaker kid, who grew up, heard the voice of reason and benevolence, and decided to become a teacher. They hired him in his old school, and one of his old teachers who was still there recognized him: "you!?" she exclaimed... But then she realized it was a good thing because he's now assigned to deal with all the troublemakers in school, and he knows all their tricks (like blocking the spout of the drinking fountain and at the same time pluggine its drain so as to cause a mini-inundation in the hallway --but my friend knows all about it because it was one of his childhood exploits so he can't be swayed by arguments that it just happened by itself...)

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  26. Ahoy, JayJay! I LOVE your re-creation of LW#1! Out-reakin'-standing! :-) That's bravo-zulo worthy, right there!

    As for LW#2 and the A/C, well, yeah?! I mean, it'd be rude for the room to be all hot, right? ;-)

    Good cheer, JayJay! :-)

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  27. Ahoy, clhriker! Excellent point on the picky eater, but, please know that we don't disagree here! :-) If the guest can be easily accommodated by a consistent dish (like hot dogs), then that's great, but if, like we suspect, she's just rude, well, the two choice method works wonders. :-) It's easy to just keep repeating, "No, Jane, it's this or this." :-)

    Good cheer! :-)

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  28. Ahoy, Kati! I like the inverse story! And, it's good to see that turnabout is fair play. And, too, that it takes all kinds. :-)

    As for the chili over fish, that's a reference to a most excellent Fray post from Mermaid, found here: http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/thread/4190028.aspx Rather than steal her thunder, I hope that you'll follow to link to see all of the juicy goodness that is her story. :-)

    Good cheer, Kati! :-)

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  29. Okay, so, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that MM was right. So, I've very slightly changed my post for LW#2, taking out the reference to the BFs seeing Jane's tits, and replacing it with what I was really trying to get at. It's just a single sentence replacement, but, I think it's more accurate.

    Hat's off to MM for keeping me straight. Thank you Diving Buddy, you were correct. This time! ;-)

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  30. Heh. You said MM keeps you straight.

    /beavis&butthead moment. ;-)

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