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! :-)