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, October 7, 2010

...on Fake Happiness, Sadness, Angst and Ownership

http://www.slate.com/id/2270172/ (10/06/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And a happy Prudie Day to you, one and all! How are you today? How’s fall treating you? Allergies acting up? Weather have you digging for your sweaters? I hope that everyone’s well! Except for our LWs. Well, not that I wish un-wellness for them, of course, it’s just that, reading their letters, I’m pretty sure they’re none too chipper. Oh well, all the more fun for us, eh? :-) With that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my husband of nine years and I are so happy together! We have beautiful children and a lovely family life and everything is just sunny and peachy! I love him so much! But, a few years ago, he started a new job and met a single man there with whom he had an instant bond. They have become inseparable, to the point of taking frequent camping trips together, talking all the time on the phone, hugging, touching each other, sharing salutations of “love you”, etc. My husband doesn’t even say that to his own father?! Fact is, Prudie, I’m jealous. I hate that, but, I am. My husband has offered to cut off his relationship with this man if I want. And Prudie, my husband is so not gay, so, let’s just put that ten miles and a stone’s throw out of our minds, okay? But still, I’m uneasy. I miss my husband! Help! Signed, Feeling Like a Third Wheel

Dear You Are A Third Wheel. Look, I’m not going to get into whether or not your husband is gay or bi or whatever. Fact is, that’s irrelevant to this conversation. What is relevant is that you feel unloved and feel that your husband’s affection for you has been replaced by affection for someone else. Well, at least that’s what you claim to feel? You say you have a happy marriage with a wonderful life. So, which is it? Happy or not happy? Unhappy person with a broken marriage, or, harpy, jealous bitch with a great marriage? Look, the truth is that the romance is gone from your marriage. You have bills, kids, lots of stressors. That’s a fact. You’re focusing on your husband’s friend as the cause, and perhaps rightfully so. The fact that your husband would offer to drop the friend actually lends credence to this fact. If there was nothing there, and if your husband thought the idea was absurd, he’d have surely questioned what in the hell kinda stick was up your ass. But he apparently didn’t. The cause might just be the normal malaise that many relationships take on when two people take each other for granted. Either way, what you have to do is figure out what you need from your husband and communicate that to him. Do you want more alone time with just the two of you? Do you want to be included in the camping trips or conversations? Do you want the “fire” back in your relationship? You’ve got to tell him what you need and see if it can be worked out. If it can’t, it can’t. Look, I don’t know if this Mr. Friendly Usurper is just a symptom of the dysfunction in your marriage or the cause.  He's been with you and your husband for half your married life. He’s embedded, so there’s no easy fix here. But the start is talking to your husband.  As a side note, though, if all of this is because you’re worried that your husband is cheating on you (regardless of the cheatee’s gender), your marriage is already likely broken beyond repair. Confront your husband and air your concerns.  What have you got to lose?

LW#2: Dear Prudie, My adult daughter is a female version of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. Except, sadly, she has no van down by the river to live in, she’s not a provider of motivation, nor does she try to be. Prudie, she’s an uncured alcoholic (though we’ve tried--Lord, have we tried) who lives under a bridge and is near death. I thought I’d made my peace with this fact, but her daughters, my granddaughters (21 and 19 years old), recently went to my daughter under the bridge and took pictures of her, and then posted the pictures to FaceBook. They included a sad and gut wrenching narrative. I believe this to be a terrible indignity that my daughter doesn’t deserve. No one else in the family is upset by it. Am I wrong to be? Signed, Loving, But Resigned Mom

Dear Resigned Mom. I’m so sorry for your loss. There are victims here, loads of them, but your daughter is least victimized of all. Actually she’s not a victim, she’s the perpetrator. These pictures? Dust. Does that mean she deserves to have her likeness plastered all over FaceBook for all the world to see? No. Your granddaughters, as in the wrong as they may be, are only causing the smallest nick in the shredded dignity that you imagine your daughter to possess. And, for the record, who they see under that bridge is not your daughter, but their mother. Or at least the woman who should have been their mother. The woman whose responsibility it was to raise them, care for them, protect them from harm. Instead, they got a dud. And they’re still babies--angry, pissed off, hurt and mourning babies. Babies who can’t understand why their own mother doesn’t love them enough to fucking straighten up her life for their sake. And they’re just trying to make sense of that in the way that their peer group does. They’re doing the best they can with a truly shitty situation. Are you helping them navigate the ridiculously piss-poor hand that they’ve been dealt, or are you blaming them for it? As to your question, was what they did wrong? Yes. Does that make you happy, knowing that? You may have made peace with your daughter’s lot in life, but you’re still in enabler mode, and you need to fix that, pronto, or you’re going to lose more than just one family member...

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m a successful attorney who does tons of pro bono work, makes healthy donations to my friends’ causes and tries to be a genuinely good guy. I recently purchased a new car. That’s a fact that I tried to hide from my friends because I just knew how they’d react. Predictably, they’ve all responded with sneering comments of how many death row inmates could have been released with the money I dropped on the car, how it should have been a hybrid, etc. Damnit, Prudie, when did honest work and yaddah-yaddah-yaddah become a crime? Signed, I Work Hard For The Money, So Hard For It Honey

Dear Hard Worker Working Hard. You know, you had me 100% in your corner until your sad sap bullshit about “doesn’t anyone value an honest day’s work and paying taxes?”. Give me a fucking break. You need to expunge that shit from your vocabulary, lest you become just as douchebaggy as your friends. Speaking of, your “friends” suck. Anyone from whom you have to hide the fact that you’ve bought a new car is not a friend. They’re a jealous shit bag. You should not encourage that shittiness by remaining in its presence. Understand what I’m sayin’? Good.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, My husband occasionally buzz cuts his hair. He’s a handsome man, but, when he does this, he’s less so. I hate it and don’t ever want him to do it--ever again! I’ve told him so. I’ve explained how it makes me feel like less of a woman when he does this. I’ve explained how I have rights regarding his choice of hairstyle. The hair on his head became our hair, Prudie, the moment he said “I do.” How can I convince him of this? Signed, My Husband’s Keeper

Dear Hair Hitler. Once or twice a year your husband likes to get his head buzzed (I’m guessing it’s when it’s hot out?), and that pisses you off, eh? Well, guess what? Unless you’d like to be subject to his fashion whims and desires (ready to wear the Princess Lea gold bikini for him?), he doesn’t have to be subject to yours. And, further, if you are ready to be subject to his whims, and he to yours, you’re both fucked up and sick in the head. I don’t care if your husband decides to wear ass-less leather chaps, commando style, when going out to the town mall, you have no right to tell him jack shit about what he wears. What you do have a right to do is tell him that you won’t go to the mall with him dressed like that, but that’s it. You don’t like his hair? Too fucking bad. It’s not yours. Ever. You do understand that you actually do end at the tip of your nose, right? That you and he aren’t a continuum existing solely for your pleasure, right? You want to style people’s hair for them? Buy some fucking dolls.

****
Well, shippers, that about does it! I’m busily looking for concert tickets, hoping that I’ll find a Creed/Nickelback show that last for three days. Just those two bands. Acoustic shows, a cappella shows, electric shows, combo shows, etc. That would be musical Nirvana (no, not the band) and the reaching of the final level, all rolled into one great festival of awesomeness. But, it’ll probably never happen. That much awesomeness in one venue would likely cause The Rapture to occur and that wouldn’t be good as those who’d yet to see the Creed/Nickelback show would surely be sent straight to Hell. Oh well, a man can dream, can’t he? I mean, think of all of us hangin’ out in Hell together with Nickelback and Creed?! Awesome! :-) Good cheer to you all, Shippers! Fair winds and following seas.

22 comments:

  1. Afternoon Smaggie. Loved letter four. How does that song go, God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy? Well, she is crazy. I was think the gigantic Barbie head so she could do the make up as well. Good luck with you imaginary tickets, I am looking for a new stove as my old one blew up the other day while NOT in use. It must have known it was meatloaf night!

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  2. You're kidding about Creed and Nickelback, right? I'm not judging, just surprised. (OK, I'm judging a tiny bit, but I still adore you.)

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  3. asking for a "friend"October 7, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    LW#1 - what about suggesting a threesome and then see what happens? who he prefers, etc.? :).

    LW#2 - if it was my mother/daughter, she would get some more Aristocrat by performing in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyFgeprdwUw

    LW#3 - in Latin, it would be douchebagus giganticus; :).

    LW#4 - luv the advice here! amusing! anecdote: Whenever I would go out w/ questionable apparel, I would tell my wife that if I got interviewed by TV or radio that I would say I'm the husband of Mrs. Asking for a "Friend" maiden name to put her @ ease; :).

    good luck w/ concert tickets and enjoy the show!

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  4. Very nicely done all around, SB1. I find myself filled with curiosity about LW3 and the spirit in which all the friends' functions were attended. So many possibilities...

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  5. Ah Smag, you stole my answer to LW3. I have had those kinds of "friends" before, and when I quit seeing them, I found I missed them not at all. A revelation and a simple rule: If you feel you have to censor yourself among your "friends", then they aren't.

    He needs to send them a text saying, "So long. Enjoy those sour grapes. I'll be drinking the wine!"

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  6. Hey there, Smaggy! Of course you are on target with your responses, as that's a given. Although I dare say that LW#1 is married to a gay man that is trying to figure out how to navigate his newly found discovery. She's definitely going to need a serious heart-to-heart with her husband.

    Good luck with those tickets! Although I don't understand your enjoyment of Creed, I will say that Nickelback is pretty awesome. :)

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  7. LW4- Hi Prudie, so here's the thing. When I got married my husband became solely responsible for my happiness and I for his. When I cook dinner, every night I think, "what would he like?" When I get dressed, I think "what would he want me to wear?" When I think about vacation, I think "where could we go together?" So of course, everything he does should be designed to please me; now that we're married I mean. I mean, if I don't like blue, obviously he shouldn't wear blue. If he gets the afternoon off, of course he should call me so we can do something together- something I approve of that is. (Of course, he should call me several times a day regardless to keep me updated on what he's doing). I know he loves me Prudie! I mean, he even had a cat before we got married, but since I don't like cats he got rid of it of course (ugh! filthy creatures). God, I shudder to think about that thing's dirty little paws! So. I only do things that please him and he should only do things that please me, dammit. But Prudie that goddamn hair of his is driving me over the edge!! He gets it buzz cut sometimes. Buzz cut! Can you imagine how podunk and redneck that looks!?! Why doesn't he just keep a toothpick in his mouth and put his boots up on the table while he's at it!! I don't even want to have sex with him when it's like that! (Although I really don't want to have sex with him anyway, if we're being honest). Jesus Prudie! Buzz cut!! Prudie tell me the truth- should I just divorce him and get it over with already dammit??
    Signed, For Better or Worse Did NOT Include a Buzz Cut (with his stupid, idiotic hair!)

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  8. "I've been wrong
    I've been down
    To the bottom of every bottle"

    Just for you Smagster! =-D

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  9. Ahoy, mommylady! Yes on the giant Barbie head! That's exactly the ticket! Two of them, even. She can do one up like her and one up like him! :-) Excellent!

    Much good cheer! ;-)

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  10. Nina, I can neither confirm nor deny my love for those wonderful bands...but, I will give you this hint: the *reaction* I get when I say such things thrills me far more than those particular bands ever could. ;-)

    Good cheer! :-)

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  11. afa'f'! Ahoy, matey! :-)

    That's some Grade A thinking on LW#1, Mister! Excellent suggestion. I mean, how could she lose? :-)

    As for the video, your use of the word "aristocrat" made me think it was going to be something else entirely! Not bad! :-)

    And yes, Latin is always good. :-)

    Good cheer! :-)

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  12. hrumple, I will definitely respond in-Fray, but, I'm disappointed that you didn't recognize that the whole reason that I pulled up on LW#1 was because you'd chastised me so over last week's efforts! I didn't want to rile you two weeks in a row, so I ignored what I saw as an obvious issue (and, admittedly because there was so much other good material in that letter!).

    Good cheer to you, hrumpole. And good thoughts on LW#3, in Fray and here. More to come on that front... :-)

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  13. Ahoy, Messy! My apologies for stealing your answer. :-( I nao haz a sadz. :-( I love you sour grapes saying, though! :-) And you definitely nailed it. That's what the friends are displaying, plain and simple.

    Much good cheer to you, Messy! :-)

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  14. Seoul Sister! Ahoy and greetings! While I am absolutely willing to entertain the idea that LW#1's husband is intimately enjoying the company of his friend, I still don't believe that fact is especially germane to the conversation. Man woman or tree stump, if the hubby is cheating, he's cheating. Now, I can see how it can be problematic if our LW's in denial, and perhaps I should have said to her, "Look, if what you're worried about is him cheating, he probably is, whether you can believe it's possible or no" (because it certainly *does* seem possible), but, in the end, who he's cheating with isn't what's important, it's that he's cheating, yes? Ah well, I fear their union is short for this world. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It simply is what it is.

    As for Creed and Nickelback, please see my response to Nina. That's all I can give you. ;-)

    Good cheer, SS! :-)

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  15. OMG, JayJay, you rock seven ways to Sunday! That's EXCELLENT! I was trying to find a way to be more snarky to that woman and you nailed it! :-) I bow to your clearly superior take on that letter!

    Good cheer and thank you! :-)

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  16. Despite words in my head, scream "Are we having fun yet?" :-)

    Ahoy, Libby! And thank you! :-)

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  17. ;-) You are very welcome, Mon Capitan!

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  18. I whole-heartedly agree, Smag m'dear - cheating is cheating and I suspect he is as well. And the fact that he is should be of far greater concern than with whom. :)

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  19. asking for a "friend"October 8, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Smag,

    Good one on meaning of Aristocrat - can't get much by U can I? :). as for Nickelback, Creed concert, the commenters on this page have decided that this offense warrants a review and possible revocation of your man card. :).

    Have a great weekend! I'm two sazeracs into my weekend! :).

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  20. SB1, I see how it happened, and your explanation is fair enough. As a marathon was being conducted in my neighbourhood, I spent much of the day researching my Proposition 8 example. It's surprisingly difficult to find out what's happened to people only a year or two after something notorious, but I was able to spend much of the day speculating on various ramifications and comparing working with theatre personnel to renting part of one's (small) home.

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  21. Captain Smag, "Hair Hitler" priceless!

    ..but is finding love with a tree trunk really cheating?

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  22. Smag,

    A breif story:

    Long, long ago there was a concert. A Creed concert. And the opening band was quite unknown. So unknown in fact that they were handing out cassette singles before the show. (And yes this was after the advent of the compact disc... If I remember correctly it was even in the 2000's.)

    So, the opening band started, and they were pretty good. And I kid you not, the lead singer must've said the band's name no less than 20 times in a 30 minute set. The band's name... surely you've guessed... Yep, NICKELBACK!

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