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 21, 2010

...on Micro-Penises and Macro-Egos

http://www.slate.com/id/2271897/ (10/21/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey, hidey and ho, Shippers! How the heck are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here in Smagland is going okay. I’ve taken the week off from work and have been traveling the southeast visiting family and friends. But, soon enough, I’ll be back Home and at work. Today, though, being Prudie Day (as it is), how could I be anywhere else but here? And fortunately so, because what a fine bunch of letters we have! So, without further ado, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’ve recently starting dating a wonderful man. He’s “smart, funny, cute, and kind.” But. You knew there’d be a “but”, huh? Well, in this case, it’s less about butt, and more about the other side. Or “less” about the other side. Prudie, he’s not well endowed. At all. Matter of fact, when we finally had sex, I found him to be so ill-endowed that I googled around a bit to see if I could diagnose his problem. Turns out that the Greeks must have invented the issue because I found that a Greek prefix, mikrós, along with the word penis, described his problem quite specifically. Prudie, he’s almost non-existent. And I consider a healthy sex life a must for a good relationship, and a healthy penis a must for a healthy sex life (and at 30, I’ve had several and I know from penises!). Plus, I like my sex to be of the penis-in-the-vagina variety. None of this oral- or toy-play for me, Prudie! No, thank you, Ma’am! Prudie, living “without an active sex life scares me”! So, what should I do? This man is great otherwise? Signed, Unfulfilled

Dear Lacking. What I think is most lacking in your relationship is not the size of your man’s penis, but rather the size of your imagination. Living “without an active sex life”?! What?! Have you never heard of any alternative to standard intercourse?! If this guy was an asshole? Sure, I’d suggest that you leave him. You know, because he was an asshole. If he beat you? I’d suggest you leave him then, too, you know, because physical abuse is bad, mmm-kay? But lack of penis size? While a problem for those, like yourself, who lack imagination and a sense of adventure or even the apparent ability to talk to your partner about the issue and explore alternatives, it’s not a problem for those who understand the fun that can be had in bed with a little motivation and ingenuity. And, just in case you were wondering, his lack of endowment may have had less to do with his shortcomings than it did with his nervousness or concern over how well he’d perform since you’re obviously way spun about your man’s third leg. Some men need a little confidence and comfort for things to realize their full potential. Who knows what’s going on with this guy, and I’m certainly not blaming you, but, it’s literally and figuratively such a small problem that you either need to try to get around it (which shouldn’t be difficult, as tiny as you say it is), or drop this guy now. Because it doesn’t sound like this problem is something you’re going to be able to get past. And neither of you deserve that.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I have an acquaintance whose four-year-old daughter recently completed cancer treatment. The acquaintance posted a request on FaceBook for friends to donate hair so that the daughter could have a custom wig made. I heard later, through a mutual friend, that the mother wanted me to donate my hair, specifically, to her daughter. Prudie, even though it makes me feel terrible, I don’t want to! I like my hair! It’s my favorite thing about me! And further, I’ve seen pictures of the daughter on FaceBook wearing a wig already. Couldn’t a cash donation be enough?! Signed, Sampson, not Delilah!

Dear Harriet, This request of your acquaintance is particularly troublesome. As an acquaintance, you owe nothing to this woman (or her daughter). And, as an acquaintance who’s been asked through the grapevine, second-hand, to donate her hair, you owe even less! Hell, even as a good friend or family member, you’d owe nothing other than what you, on your own, decided to give. So, I’m just triply perplexed as to what’s at issue here. My guess is that your mutual “friend” has way overstepped her bounds and that the acquaintance would be mortified if she learned of this request on her daughter’s behalf. I have a feeling that the acquaintance mentioned in passing how beautiful your hair is and your “friend” took it upon herself to get involved. If so, it’s a request easily solved by ignoring it completely and by mentally noting your friend’s tactics should they show up again in the future. If not, it sounds like your FaceBook group is pretty fucked up and you need to remove yourself from their presence wholesale. As is, there are so many things wrong with this story that I don’t know where to begin with advice, but, I will say that what’s most important is that you always give from the heart. If you want to donate to a cause, do so! But, never as some “surrogate” for the hair that you don’t want to donate (nor should you be pressured into donating) in the first place! Do it because you feel genuinely compelled. Being as you’ve never even met the little girl in question, and aren’t even certain of her health, it seems to me you should be outside consideration for any donation requests involving gifts directly from your person.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I likes me the drama! I mean, seriously, do I ever! But wait, okay, let me start at the beginning. My husband of one month (with whom I’m very, very happy, by the way) cheated on me over a year before we got engaged. We got over that little hiccup, obviously, and are sup-sup-super happy now! But, at a recent bachelorette party (celebrating a bride for whom I’m a bridesmaid), in walked “the other woman”! How could the bride, my friend, do this to me?! How could she invite this woman to celebrate with us on our special day?! I was, understandably distraught. I tried not to make a scene, but, having thought all along that the bride, my friend, hated this woman as much as I did, I can’t understand why she’d (the bride) invite her (the bitch) to our party and wedding. I seethed quietly in the corner, but, like a big girl, didn’t cause a scene (much). But now I don’t know what to do? Should I quit the wedding and my friend? I think I deserve to be able to, considering how much I’ve been put out. Signed, Always the Jilted, Never the Jiltee

Dear Drama Queen, how about if you’d have quietly taken the bride aside and just asked her what’s up? Further, and I know this may come as a total fucking surprise to you, the other woman may have had no idea about you and your, as-of-then, not-even fiancé. You’ve forgiven him completely, but the other woman is still a husband-stealing bitch? Okay, got it. Look, I’m know that I’m being extreme and mean here, but, damn! First off, this isn’t your wedding. Not sure if you recognized that, but, I thought it was worth a mention. You don’t get to make the guest list, nor are you required to be consulted during its making. You’re a guest, not the hostess. If this bride is a good friend of yours--good enough for you to be her bridesmaid--shouldn’t you feel close enough to her to be able to ask if she knew how you feel about the other woman? You know, like a person who wears big girl panties and doesn’t revel in drama? Further, if you are totally happy and secure in your marriage, give this whole thing a rest for the few hours it’ll take and just enjoy the wedding. If you can’t, though, by all means, tell the bride that you’re very, very sorry, that but you can’t make it. Try to do everything you can to mitigate the effect your leaving on such short notice will cause on the ceremony (my guess is that it won’t be a problem), and do so without issuing any dramatic monologues or ultimatums about “either it’s her or me, bitch!”, complete with head wagging and finger snapping. My guess is that it’ll be better for all involved.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m well into my education toward becoming a lawyer. I have just over a year left, but, truth is, I hate it! I mean, the more I learn about law, the more I hate the whole thing! As a result, I’ve put very little effort into my studies. Further, I feel guilty because, not only have my parents sacrificed greatly for my education, my mom thinks that lawyering is my dream job and can’t seem to talk about anything other than how happy she is for me! My only escape nowadays is via books that have nothing to do with law, and through daydreaming. What should I do? Signed, So Not Into Litigation

Dear Are You Sure You’re Not Just Scared of Failing (or Already Failing). First off, you have to recognize that you’ve recently learned that you don’t like this profession after a long time of thinking that you would. I’m going to lay something amazing on you: you might find in a year that there are tons of things that you would like to do as a lawyer (or in a law-related field). You just haven’t been exposed to them yet. You’re so young right now and lacking in life experience that everything is black and white. You like it, you hate it. That is bad, this is good. As you become more and more seasoned, you’ll find that very little (if anything) in life is so dramatically defined (unless, of course, you become an ultra-conservative third party advocate, in which case, black and white and fear is par for the course...). Look, the nearly-complete degree is what’s important here, not nearly so much what type it is. So, complete your education, and, in the meantime, take advantage of the people in the world who can help you find a way to a job that will fulfill you (like your mom, your professors, the school’s counselors, lawyers, Prudie, etc.). You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your calling is actually in law, or a law-related field, but, too, you might find that it’s not. Either way, your law degree won’t hurt you a bit. How could it? Or, are you perhaps having a more difficult time than you’re letting on, and trying to find a way out before your poor performance is discovered and reported? Are you in danger of flunking out and so are now trying desperately to manufacture an alibi? Regardless of what’s at the core of your problem, my advice stands. Get some help from those around you. Tell them what’s on your mind. Ask them for help. Most actually want to help you! :-) Take that advice that seems worthwhile and discard the rest. If you do or don’t follow my instructions, you won’t be any worse off than you are right now, but, by doing it, you might actually get some good help and/or guidance. And in that case, it’ll have been well worth the effort.

****
Well, Shippers, that about does it for me for this week. I’m going to go back to relaxing through the weekend. Then, it’s back to the happy grind on Monday. Happy Prudie Day to you all, and to all, a good night! Fair winds and following seas, Shippers!

25 comments:

  1. Good advice for the law student. I worked with a newly graduated engineer, who hated the ONE job they'd had at that company so much that they quit the field entirely for a field not needin ANY degree, without considering that it could have just been THAT boss, THAT company, or THAT application of engineering. Even within that engineering specialty, there are a number of different fields one could have gone into. What a waste!

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  2. Great advice, as always, Smag. Two thoughts...

    LW#3-- Everyone is happy to spew woeful and scary tales of Bridezillas, but guests can be just as much of a pain in the ass. Here are some actual, verbatim quotes from RSVPs my husband and I received last year: (1) "I am 85% sure I am going to make it," (2) I'm not going to know if I can come until the day before, so I'll tell you then, and (3) "Can my teenage daughter come and can she bring her boyfriend?" And then there was all the interpersonal drama that we were expected to handle... ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, one girl not talking to another girl. We were stressing ourselves out trying to navigate through all of it until we realized ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE ADULTS and it's not as if we're dealing with the Hatfields and the McCoys and risking someone wielding a sword against someone else if we got the seating chart wrong. If you can't act like an adult at a WEDDING of all events, then stay home and read yourself some self-help books. Seriously.

    LW#4-- Man, I would say that 60% of all law school classes are made up of self-hating law students. The good news, though, is that law school is WAY, WAY different that practicing law in real life. And there are so different areas of law to practice and different environments in which to look. It would be one thing if this kid were halfway through a Ph.D in something uber-specific like comparative French literature regarding transgender symbolic communication about cognitive behavioral linguistics, or something, 'cause there's just ONE thing you're doing with THAT degree: teaching CFLRTSCACBL at some university. But law degrees are nothing if not flexible, so I agree that this kid should stick it out. I wasn't in love with law school, either, but the real world was way better.

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  3. I think this whole damn thing could've been avoided if she threw an HJ his way back around week 3.

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  4. Hey Smaggie. Not much today, just a thought on my gender. It always seems to be the "other" woman's fault when your man strays. Which is strange to me since that woman owes you nothing, she is not the one who made a commitment to you. No one can force another to stray, drive another to stray, they choose on their own free will. Therefore they are the only one that needs to be forgiven, once you decide to forgive it is over. Enjoy your time off!

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  5. asking for a "friend"October 21, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    #1 wee-man! haha would she rather the reverse? a guy with a rampant case of elephantiasis? :).

    #2 skip

    #3 use the word "FORNICATOR" during the party - always a crowd-pleaser; :).

    #4 Woe is me - call the f--- whaaaaaaa-mbulance; :).

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  6. Breaking the Girl Code? Doesn't that justify either Seducing the Groom or Speaking Now instead of Forever After Holding Her Peace?

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  7. Hi there Smaggy---for some reason I am drawn to comment on two of the letters this week!

    First, the gal whose SO has small penis syndrome, or whatever you call it. Here's the thing: sexual attraction and pleasure IS important. It does not make you a bad person if you end a relationship because of lack of sexual pleasure. Of course all the things you wrote about other ways to get that kind of pleasure are true, if this LW can't find her way around this, she should just end it. In the comments section after the column, a good number of people wrote to say the guy would be FINE with them. So he's got to find one of those women and be done with this LW, and she should recognize that and let him go. I guess that's not so different from what you actually wrote to the LW, but I thought you were a little hard on her.

    On to the bridesmaid. I agree this chick seems very immature---obviously your comment that she should have just asked, calmly, then and there what was up was exactly the most 'normal' thing to do. Still, I think there's been a bit of a....I dunno.....betrayal is too strong for sure but I think there are reasons for the LWs feelings to be hurt.

    I just think that a close friend who knew the situation(and from the letter, I think the bride knew the background) would have given her a heads up. A friendship ender? No. Would this situation make me back out of the wedding? Hell no! I'd not miss a fun party for a dumb reason like that. But it would definitely change the way I thought about the bride. She hugged this person. So they are good friends. Fine. But not to even tell the LW was a deception by omission.

    Anyway Smaggy, have a GREAT vacation--you deserve it!

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  8. Ahoy, CoolOne, and thank you! I think that, as kids (and often as adults), we can't see the forest for the trees! :-) And, similarly, it's difficult for many of us to ask for help! Here's hoping the LW keeps going to school (it's amazing the doors that silly piece of paper will open--especially the more letters it adds after one's surname!) and then takes the time to search out something that will make him/her happy and proud (so s/he can tell his/her mom that everything is okay).

    Much good cheer, CoolOne! :-)

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  9. Ahoy, tressea! Great anecdont's! ;-) Didn't we have a Prudie Letter recently about a future sister-in-law (or was it future cousin-in-law) who'd never met the bride, yet, upon receiving the wedding invitation, wrote back to ask if they couple would consider changing the date?! Amazing! Now, I can see making requests if one is, say, a super-close family member. But, I also contend that those requests would have been ironed out before the invitations were sent! Amazing stuff...

    Just to be clear, there are at least TWO things you can do with your degree in CFLRTSCACBL! One is teaching, agreed, but the other is to become entangled in international plots of intrigue and mystery! Just ask Dr. Robert Langdon! ;-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  10. Ah, yes, twg! The expeditionary Week 3 HJ. Always a good idea for those size-sensitive ladies who have any doubts whatsoever about their man's endowment. ;-)

    Much good cheer! :-)

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  11. Ahoy, mommylady, and thank you for your treatise on the female gender's treatment of "the other lady". We humans are often a funny lot, aren't we? ;-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  12. Ahoy, asking for a "friend"! A yes, the ol' "FORNICATOR" call out! Good times, good times. Of course, she could have just fashioned a red letter "A" out of construction paper and hot glued it to the other woman's blouse! Either/or. ;-)

    Good cheer! :-)

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  13. Ahoy and greetings, hrumpole! :-) I've always wondered if anyone, ever, in the entire history of marriage (you know, other than in movies) had ever actually spoken now, vice forever holding their peace? That'd be a fun bunch of stories, I'd bet! Or painful. Or painfully fun. It's all about perspective, eh? :-)

    Much good cheer! :-)

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  14. Bella! Ahoy! We've missed you around the Lagoon, and I'm most glad to see you--and appreciate your perspective, as always.

    As for LW#1, I agree that I was a little tough on her. But I was very careful, specifically NOT to be "a little hard on her"! That's exactly what she has a problem with! ;-) But yes, in the end (no pun intended), if these two aren't compatible, they're not. And there's no reason to be mean to the lady over *that*. But, I'll be honest, I didn't care for her tone or presumption. Maybe because I have a penis and am a little sensitive for the guys out there. ;-)

    As for some sort of betrayal regarding the bridesmaid, I understand. And I think the bride does, too. I have a feeling that she understands all too well! Now, whether that makes the bride an evil meanie, the bridesmaid the evil one (and the bride is just getting back at her), or something else, I'm not sure. But, I am known for the snark her, so, you know, I gots to do what I gots to do. ;-)

    Much good cheer, Bella! :-)

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  15. LW1: I've had both kinds of guys. Admittedly, the dude with the giant pickle was rockin' the first or second time but the dude with the smaller one? Waaay more adventurous and fun. Never, ever got old or boring with him. She needs to see if she can open her mind and get her, um, creative juices flowing (giggle, I totaly crack me up).

    LW2: This one is just weird... No one with a stake in the matter has asked her for anything so WTF? Ignore it til it goes away.

    LW3: This one confuses me too. If the friend thought it was a big deal, there's no question that she would've given bridesmaidzilla a heads-up which means she didn't! Think it was a big deal that is. I get really annoyed with the I love him and forgave him but you suck forever you cheating, lying bitch who never owed me anything and may not have even known I existed.

    LW4: Yes, honey, college is JUST LIKE the real world. Exactly like. You should make all your life-long decisions in college because nothing will ever be different. Give me a break...

    Great job this week Smag. I was really looking forward to your patented snark for LW3 and, as usual, you brought it.

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  16. Bella - I agree w/ you on bridesmaid. I felt the same way - there was some sort of minor level betrayal on the brides part. So I think the LW has a justifable feeling of hurt on that part of it. But she has carried that too far w/ her drama of the whole situation, she needed to act like a big girl and just talk to her friend about it, then let it go.

    As for LW1 - in Smaggys defense he didn't say she'd be a bad person for dumping the guy over their sexual compatibleness (is that a word?). It's just that from what we were given she comes across as sorta shallow. What if she were to have been a virgin and saving herself for marriage, then would she know this 'wonderful-in-every-way-except' man was not endowed as well as some others?

    Obviously she's thinking about a future with him so there must be something there. Maybe he was nervous and it wasn't his best. Maybe he found her "I'll just lay here" technique to be sub-par performance too. Maybe he is not as experienced as she (tho' it sure doesn't sound like she's very adventurous in bed) and just needs some direction.

    What I took from SB1's comment is that she needs to act adult like and either talk to him, or cut him loose for the sake of both of them. As for being too harsh, I thought he went kinda light on her. If she's adult enough to engage in a sexual relationship, then she needs to be adult enough to talk to her partner about it.

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  17. Clhriker - you are right. If she is adult enough to engage in sex, she should be adult enough to talk to her partner. But I think that goes both ways. And if this guy is mature enough to have sex, he could have told her about this ahead of time. He could have brought it up, especially if he has had experiences in the that led him to believe it might turn out to be an issue. I have a friend who has one fake boob and one real one, and she is all worried about the way they feel really different from each other. So she always sort of playfully explains about that before her guys find out on their own. This guy's physical difference seems much more important, doesn't it, and so even more in need of some advanced discussion? Or am I being shallow?

    If she were the type to stay a virgin until she got married, then I'd have to guess that she'd really know her partner well in every other way, and we'd have to hope they could talk it out at that point. Also, and this is getting off topic, but it seems to me that if you wait until marriage to have sex, are you not really saying in some way that sex is secondary to the other aspects of the relationship (I mean, its the one thing you have not been able to "test drive" after all)? So if the sex turned out to suck you'd have to just fall back on the other parts of the person that were the reasons why you married him. But for this letter writer, she makes it very clear that sex is of great importance. So she does not fall into that category.

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  18. Ahoy Captain, great advice, it's amazing that the voice of common sense comes to us from the depth!

    Glad you're having a bit of a vacation and enjoying your family and vice versa....

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  19. Inregards to letter one. When the letter writer was going on about how upset and sad she was about his little man she said "it slays me", umm could'nt that mean she finds it funny? Maybe "it kills me" would have been a better phrase? I am just saying.....

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  20. Hi ya, Smaggie! I always enjoy reading your advice! :)

    As for the bridesmaid, I may get lynched for this, but I don't think she has any reason to be upset. If the bride knew about the connection (which she may not have), but was told by the bridesmaid that she was totally over the whole thing, then she could have truly thought it was not a problem. Not to mention, if this girl keeps saying she's over it, then she needs to be OVER it. Forgiving your man for infidelity but NOT the other person for being involved doesn't make any sense to me. It takes two and all that.

    Quite frankly I agree with you Smag in that I think this girl's a Drama Queen who probably always wants to be victim.

    Also, I'm jealous you're on vacation - I SO need to do that. One day soon. I think. ;) Have a great week off & safe travels!! :)

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  21. Ahoy, Robin! Thanks for the insight on the big dill pickle versus the gherkin. ;-) I'd like to think it has more to do with ability and attention to detail than size, too, but, as I'm not on the receiving end of that size versus skill debate (and that's not to say that those two ideas are mutually exclusive!). ;-)

    I'm glad that you enjoyed #3. :-) Much good cheer! :-)

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  22. Ahoy, clhriker and Bella! Great discussion! :-)

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  23. Ahoy, Kati! Thank you for the good wishes! Like large versus small pickles, I hope that the depth from which advice is dispensed is irrelevant. But, I'm glad that you enjoyed it! :-) Much good cheer! :-)

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  24. mommylady, that was part of what bugged me about LW#1. It "slays" her? There was too much drama in it (as well as with LW#3). Glad we saw eye-to-eye on those. :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  25. Greetings SS! It's wonderful to see you! :-) Thank you for the confirmation on the bridesmaid. I'm with you there. I mean, sure, I can see nothing wrong with our LW asking the bride about it, but, beyond that? Beyond a mature conversation? That's about it. IMHO, anyway.

    Good stuff, SS, and much good cheer! :-)

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