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, November 11, 2010

...on Lies, Family and Cheating Times Two (11/11/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie and Veterinarian’s Day?! I’ll be honest, I’ve never known exactly why we celebrate vets over, say, celebrating all physicians. It’s a tough job, regardless of what type of doctor you become, and it takes a lot of schooling either way. So why vets, specifically? We did start as an agrarian society, so, maybe that’s it, since animals were so valued for food and labor? Whatever the reason, it’s a great thing because I don’t have to work today! So, anytime there’s a Veterinarian’s Day, I’m all for it (even if it does seem unfair to other physicians). With that, let’s get crackin’ on the letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie. All of my life, I’ve lied. Little lies, big lies, it didn’t matter. Anything to get my way. And, it’s been a great ride! But, recently, I lied to my husband about spending a huge wad of cash on myself that we totally couldn’t afford, and, since I’m somewhat suspiciously-pregnant (we travel a lot for work and hardly ever see each other), when he found out about the cash, not only was he angry about what I’d spent on myself while lying about it, he became concerned about whether or not he’s the father of our child! Prudie, what lie can I tell him to get him to fall back in line? This is killing me! Help! Signed, Live to Lie, Lie to Live

Dear Lying Liar. You do understand the irony here, right? That I’m somehow supposed to take your letter at face value, even though you’ve admitted right up front that you’re a compulsive liar? Well, that incongruity aside, I’ll answer you as if I believe you, kay? Kay. First off, you’re not nearly as clever as you think you are. You need to come to terms with that right now. I know, I know, you lie all the time and you’re great at it. Well, news flash, Sister, fully two-thirds of those lies are so bad and outrageous that everyone not only knows that you’re lying, they just roll their eyes behind your back. Those people who hang around you because they have to? They enjoy cataloging the ridiculousness of your tales. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of your whoppers have even become part of the group meme. Those people who genuinely like you, but aren’t usually put in harm’s way due to your dishonesty? They’re okay with you because they like you, but, don’t think for a second that they’re fooled. They’re not. They put up with you. The worse category, though, is family and close friends. The ones you most need, yet most hurt with your dishonesty. Thing is, they know you’re a heinous lying idiot, too. But, either by blood or by choice (ignorant at the time of making that choice or no), they know you’re a liar, too. Yep, your husband as well. The problem is that he thinks he knows when you’re lying, so he’s always imagined himself as safe. But then, when you lie about something that he sees as mundane as going out for the day, and he later, innocently finds out that that, too, was a lie?! Hell yes he’s going to start to question the very foundation of your marriage! Of course he is. And you? You’re more interested in regaining his trust than in fixing yourself. That’s bad. Because it’s just going to cause you lie more. You need to get a counselor and some help. And as for the baby being your husband’s? Yeah. Right. You need to come to terms with that mess, too.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. My teenage daughter was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. This explains so many things and has really helped us as a family. The problem is that, in light of this diagnosis, we want to have a quiet, small Thanksgiving. In the past, we’ve hosted the whole family here in our house. My sister’s kids are heinous brats who are more demon spawn than they are children. My sister is a flaming bitch and it’s never a fun time because my sister’s family’s behavior stresses out the whole family and causes my daughter to act out in terrible ways. Well, I’ve announced that we can’t host Thanksgiving this year (though I didn’t say why), and so my mother wants to take over that role. Well, I don’t want that, Prudie! Whine! Whine! I want my sister to step up and host! I mean, that’s only fair! Not that we’ll be going, as I say, but still, my mom can’t handle the hosting duties! And, too, what do I say to my family about why we’re not attending? I reckoned that I’d lie and say that we’re leaving town, although, it’s a small town and they might see us. What do you think? Signed, I Totally Hate My Sister (and her bratty kids, but mine are angels, by the way)!

Dear Hater. Okay, first off, let’s review problem #1. You are neither your mother’s nor your sister’s keeper. And, if you’re removing yourself from the festivities this year (for obvious and valid reasons), you get no say over how they celebrate Thanksgiving, or, over who hosts it. You got that, Master Sergeant Type-A, Controlling Personality Person?! So, get the fuck right on over yourself on that one. And do it now, Soldier. You have absolutely no ground to stand on there, and all you’re doing is creating drama, which, in light of your second question, seems completely and totally in sync with your personality. What do you tell your family about why you aren’t attending? Hmmmm. Let’s see... Well, you can make your daughter feel triply-ashamed of her diagnosis by hiding it and lying to family about it, all while letting her know that that’s what you’re doing, you know, for her sake (yeah, right). That sounds good, eh? No? Hmmm, okay, then, let’s see, you could, I don’t know, grow the fuck up, be a parent and an adult, and explain that this year you’ve promised a family get-together with just you four, and, in light of your daughter’s diagnosis, you’ll be altering how your attend all future family functions, too. You can explain that it’s nothing personal, and that you’re so happy to know now what’ up with your daughter because you’ll know better now how to prevent her from melting down at these events in the future (and let’s face it, that’s what’s been happening--this isn’t all about your sister’s kids. At all.). But let me warn you of something: this is not your diagnosis. You don’t get to wear it as some sort of fucked up badge of honor. Your daughter is the one who’s been forced to endure these get-togethers and who’s obviously acted out in ways that have brought a great deal of shitty-ness over the years. She’s the one who’s been basically screaming that she’s uncomfortable, begging for help. This isn’t a time to punish the rest of the family for your feelings of guilt. It’s a time for you and your family to learn about how to better interact with your daughter, but, without dictating anything to anyone else. This is a time for inner-reflection, not outer-dictation. Got me?

LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m 24, married and have a baby. I’m very lucky in that my mom and I are very close, and she watches the baby while my husband and I work. Recently, I suggested that this year I could host Thanksgiving. My mom responded by saying that the family likes “good” food, and that I’m “not ready” to host. As you can imagine, I was devastated! I’m thinking of not attending Thanksgiving, but, I don’t want to give up all of this great free child care. What can I do? Signed, I Can So Host Thanksgiving!

Dear Betty Crock. Look, I don’t know how close you and your mom really are, but, I have a feeling that there are a few things at work here. First, do you say you two are super-close because, that way, you don’t feel like you have to pay for the child care (and I don’t mean pay in cash, necessarily, but, you know, with gratitude, hosting dinner on occasion, showing appreciation in a very real and substantial way for all that your mother is doing, which, by the way, is a HUGE fucking deal!)? Or, do you say it because, as far as you know, you really are super-close and this thing really threw you for a loop? Regardless of your answer, it’s clear that your mom is upset about something. My suggestion is that you haven’t been showing her the gratitude she deserves for taking on this task (is she running errands for you, too? Cleaning? Etc.). Even if she says she doesn’t mind it, which may well be true, she would surely appreciate the occasional offer of a day spa or even just breakfast out with you, or something? So, for you to offer, just out of the blue, to usurp her role as family matriarch, all while charging her with child care, may just seem like too much for her. I’m not saying that you’re actually doing any of that! I’m just saying that surely you can see how she might take it that way, yes? And finally, if you really are close, and if none of what I’ve said is true, why can’t you just talk to her about it as she obviously just blurted out something off the cuff that came out sounding really wrong, but that was, in fact, not at all what she meant? I don’t know the truth here. That’s up to you to find, but, my guess is that your mother’s words didn’t come entirely without motivation. She’s been stewing on something. Your job, as the representative of half of the close relationship that you and your mom purportedly share, is to find out what. Good luck!

LW#4: Dear Prudie. Last year, my boss had an affair. He ended up leaving the company in order to try to patch up his marriage. It was a dark time for us here in the office as the new boss was terrible. Well, after several months, the original boss came back, and, though stressful due to work, things have been better than ever and camaraderie has grown exponentially as a result of getting past the Dark Ages! Well, last week, my co-workers threw me a bridal shower. Our boss stood to give a toast and, without thinking, I blurted out, “Hey there, Mister Cheater Man, I don’t want any martial advice from you, of all people! Got it?!” This led to a great deal of laughter and cat-calling from the staff and we all had a good laugh. Including the boss. But, Prudie, I feel terrible! I so didn’t mean to say what I said. It just came out! And now I don’t know if I should apologize, further opening the wound, or just let it go? I feel terrible! What should I do? Signed, Missy Big Mouth

Dear In Vino Veritas. I think that, in order to make it up to him, you should have sex with him. That’s really the only way to even the card. No! Just kidding! The truth of the matter is that you blew this one. Big time. And you need to humbly go to him and ask to speak privately (albeit in a room that has clear line of sight to the rest of the office so everyone can see that you’re not under his desk!). Then, apologize. Tell him that you’re so sorry. That what you said was wildly inappropriate, none of your business, exceptionally out of line, and beyond the fucking pale and that it’s a credit to his leadership that you and your officemates felt comfortable enough to act like total social idiots around one another. Then, you need to hope like fuck that you never find yourself in his shoes where some upstart little tart decides to air your dirty laundry for the whole staff. Idiot.

Well, Shippers, that’s about it! Happy Vet’s Day (I still don’t get that, but, hey, whatever. Like I said, a day off is a day off!). May you have fair winds, following seas, and may the sunshine lightly kiss your backside, wherever you may roam. ‘Til next week, Shippers...


  1. G'day Smagmate!

    I'm glad you finally clarified that for poor little Aussie me - so Vets day IS Veterinarian's day, and NOT Veterans day!

    LW1's husband should know that asking for a paternity test is a sword with double edge - of course he needs to know for sure but at the same time if the baby is his indeed, it will give her a lot of power over him in the future, whenever he wants to question anything she tells him. Anyway, these days docs can figure out the conception date pretty accurately, it shouldn't be hard to check if they were home or traveling at the time...

    Also, more than a therapist to deal with her white lies they need a marriage counselor to deal with their different spending styles.I have a feeling he's been always a tightwad and she's... well, not. One of the mistakes people often do is not discussing money matters before the wedding, not after.
    LW2 - Yeah, pretty ridiculous the way she wants to control everything even when she's not there. Anyway, a different approach would have had a better result - just say to mom "you do so much for us, I just want to take this burden off of you, so please let me host this year's Thanksgiving or even better, let's both host it but in our new house, to really make it a home" -Germans have this saying "Der ton macht die musik" the tone makes the music...

    LW4 - agree, she's an entitled idiot

  2. Oh boy, that coffee probably did not kick in, I made a mess out of my comment! Or it might be the revelation about the Vets Day!

    Please insert a "LW3 - " right before "Anyway" ... ;-p

  3. Very nice, SB1 - particularly about the Diagnosis Celebration. She even got the Prudecutor to agree with her about her sister "stepping up", so she must be on Cloud Ten right about now.

    LW4 apparently just got very lucky. It seems as if her little blurt just accidentally did some good; I almost wonder if her drive to apologize is some odd way of trying to make sure she gets credit for it.

    I'm definitely of two minds on L1. The easy answer is that there's definitely a paternity issue, but it would seem like such a brilliant set-up to get her husband to ask the question and stage-manage being led unwillingly into the paternity test only to emerge triumphant when it turns out to be his after all. Properly played, this could really give her the upper hand and as many days at THE spa as she likes. But is she truly clever enough for that? Sigh.

  4. I'm a little sleep deprived this week, so maybe that's why I didn't quite totally understand the orig. letter she made a point to say her new house is not as big as her mothers, and segwayed into her mother saying, "but people want to eat good food on Thanksgiving". I may be a little slow today, but what exactly does the size of your house have to do w/ the quality of the food??

    Great answers today SB1 :) And I hope you have enjoyed your Vets day today!!!

  5. Smag, of COURSE Veterinarians need to be celebrated more than mere human physicians! If you want proof of this, the next time you're at your doctor's office, ask him/her when the last time was that he/she had to stick their hand down a Rottweiler's throat or up a cow's bum.

    See what I mean?

  6. Messy..totally agree with you. My BFF has 4 rotties....imagine her poor vet ;)

  7. Hey Captain!

    How about veteran veterinarians or veterinarian vets (vet vet day)? Don't they have dogs in the armed forces? I'm pretty sure they no longer have horses but not 100% positive. Perhaps you could clarify?

    I sure like "it's time for inner reflection, not outer dictation"!

    I'm pretty sure that LW3 is a lousy cook. She should trust her mother's critique and go enjoy a good meal instead of incinerating a turkey, turning yams into glue, cranberry sauce into ink, pies into frisbees, mashed potatoes into house foundation cement, etc etc etc. The possible calamities are endless. Mother knows best!

  8. Messy, you're so right! I wonder if cows protest when the vet gets his hand up there?

  9. Well, at least it's nice to know it's all about the food and all that slush about the importance of Family with a capital AMILY is just dreck.

    James Herriot FTW?

  10. As a 20 Year Army Veteran Non-Veterinarian, there are still horses in the Army. And still Army Veteran Veterinarians who care for those Army Veteran Horses, who are ridden by Army Non-Veterinarian Veterans. As well there are Army Veteran Veterinarian Specialists and Veteran Veterinary Assistants who assist the Army Veteran Veterinarians in performing their Army Veteran Veterinarian Specialties on the Veteran Army horse.

  11. Jburd, all I got to say is: Wow!

    things are so much clearer now....

  12. Hrumpole, I've been trying to put a comment to your post but it doesn't seem to work.

    Among other things, I hope you see a doctor for that cough, even if it's GERD there are things they can do for it..... Take care, and I mean it!

  13. Ahoy, Roo! Yes! Vets day IS Veterinarian's day! Right? :-) And, as jburd1 excellently points out, it's damned well-deserved, too! :-P

    I hope all's well! Good cheer! :-)

  14. Ahoy, hrumpole. Yes on Diagnosis Celebration. I love that description, too. Throw the word Munchausen in there and you've got a trifecta of goodness! :-)

    As for LW#1, it is an excellent set-up. One that I'm quite certain our LW is capable of pulling off and likely was working toward that end in writing Prudie in the first place! Maybe, anyway? :-)

    Much good cheer, hrumpole! :-)

  15. Ahoy, clhriker. I think the butt-hurt, anticipative Thanksgiving hostess mentioned her house size to pull a Caveman Lawyer on us. "I'm just a simple Caveman. Your modern and advanced ways frighten and confuse me. But I know this: I'm a human being. When you prick me, does my heart not bleed?" She was basically saying, "my house may not be as big as my mother's, but, I'm good enough, strong enough, and, dog-gone-it, people like me!" ;-) Or something like that...

    Cheers! :-)

  16. Oh, Messy, there are plenty of humans who'll stick their hands up someone's bum for free! They may even pay for being *allowed* to do it! So, I don't know if that qualifies veterinarians. But overall, yes, I do agree that they're deserving of their own day. After all, we have days to celebrate every other profession! :-)

    Much good cheer! :-P

  17. Ahoy, Kati! As you've seen, jburd1 answered your question in the most amazing fashion that I can't possibly touch it. But, I will say that though I agree that momma's probably right, and that LW#3 is not yet the kind of cook she needs to be to serve the whole family on Turkey Day (is that to celebrate Turkey--do we still like them, being as they're all Muslim and stuff?). But, that said, I'm quite certain the mom could have picked a more tactful and gentle way to convey that idea. Her daughter is just proud of her new house and family and wants to show that she's growing up.

    Much good cheer to you, Kati! :-)

  18. jburd1, that was quite possibly the best thing I've read in weeks! Thank your for the explanation, and, may your Veterinarian's Day weekend be grand!

    Cheers! :-)