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.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

...on Overbearing Moms, Sister-Brides, Jobs, and Dr. Husbands (11/24/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Ahoy, and happy Prudurkey Day, Shippers! How in the hell are ya? I hope that all’s well and that you’re either enjoying the day off, relaxing and planning your upcoming few days, or, that you’re at work, but relaxing and planning your upcoming few days, none-the-less! I’ll be flying tonight (yes, the ill-advised national day of “please pat me down on the busiest flying day of the year”). Oh well. Here’s hoping I don’t end up starring in a Tom Hanks film about being trapped in an airport. Wish me luck! Anyway, enough of my prattling. We’ve got letters! So, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my mom in the very definition of a clingy parent. You know the type, the ones who won’t let their kids do anything, ever, for fear of that one-in-a-bazillion, hypothetical happenstance? For example, I grew up with a limp, so, not only were sports out of the question for me (under my mom’s iron-fisted rule), but field trips, gym classes, dance, etc., were also right out! By the time I realized how sheltered I’d been and how paralyzing my mom was to my personal growth, I was in college and just barely able to break free. At any rate, this isn’t about me. It’s about my brother. He’s 22, has a slight speech impediment, and is socially awkward. As such, my mom has home schooled him since middle school and he now does nothing but half-heartedly attend community college and sit at home playing video games. My dad is useless in helping, having given up long ago. It’s painful to see my brother missing out on life! What can I do? Signed, I Escaped the Warden

Dear Escapee. Congratulations on your hard-earned emancipation. Did you learn nothing from it? Are you kidding me that you want to “help” your brother away from your “helping” mom? Perhaps you might want to keep on helping yourself into no longer needing to, well, “help” anyone else. That right there might set the kind of example that would cause your brother to spontaneously say, “Wow! Sis sure is living the good life. How can I get me some of that?” Then, when he asks you how, you can say, simply, “Quit counting on mom to do everything for you, dumbass. You know, as in, be a functional adult.” By that point, he might be able to hear you and ask follow-up questions. But it’s him who has to decide that. It’s him who has to get to that point. Not you, little Miss “Helpful” Sister.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m scheduled to be in my sister’s wedding as the best man. She has insisted that I shave my beard for the ceremony. I have a nice, full beard, Prudie. I don’t want to shave it! It takes a long time grow! Should I shave it anyway, to keep the peace, or, should I not and risk losing my spot in the wedding party? Signed, I Think I May Be A Spineless PussyBoy, But I’m Not Sure

Dear, Don’t Think That You’re A Pussy Boy, Embrace The Fact That You Are A Pussy. First off, is this your sister’s wedding, or, you know, the couples’? Second, since the fuck when does the bride get to dictate what the groomsmen do?! If your “good friend”, the groom, asks you to shave your beard, you can consider it on those terms (personally, I’d tell him that wherever you go, so goes your beard, but, then again, I’m not a pussy like you and the groom), but, your sister asking? By even considering her request as in any way valid, you’re buying into the insane notion that this is her day. Too, you’re a guest at their wedding, not the hired fucking help (whom would never be asked to shave, would they? And, if they were, how inappropriate would you find that shit? “Excuse me, Mr. Caterer’s Helper, we like you and all, but, we’ll be requiring you to shave your beard. Here’s a Bic.” Yeah, right.). Just sayin’.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I was promised a promotion at work, sent to training for the position, and have really been looking forward to it! After my last round of training, I returned to work only to be introduced to the new hire--not as a backfill for my old job, but for the position I’d been promised! Prudie, I was gracious with this person, but, I could feel tears welling up, so, I left the building and began to cry. And then sob. My supervisor saw me in that state and now I’m mortified about returning to work. I’m so embarrassed. How can I ever face my supervisor after he saw me like that? Signed, Cry Baby

Dear So, What, Again, Is Your Problem? I’m not sure what your issue is? If everything is as you claim, you’ve been wronged here! Now, I would caution you that it’s likely that you’re still going to be promoted, too (why on Earth would you have been sent to that training?), or, that the new person was actually hired to backfill behind you and you were just incorrectly introduced, but, that possibility aside, what have you done wrong or in an embarrassing fashion? Everything you did sounds like it was super-professional? Are you intimating that you don’t think it’s professional to cry? Well, it might not be, you know, in the office while throwing things around and screaming. But to quietly and graciously leave the building and then cry in the parking lot and to just happen to be seen by your boss? Such is life. Nothing unprofessional about that! At all. As a matter of fact, it was quite the professional way to handle the situation! As such, I’d compose myself, as Prudie suggests, and just ask the boss what’s up with the new hire (of course, I’d make sure that you know exactly what position s/he was hired into first--I still suspect you don’t have all of the facts).

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m finishing med school and my husband is doing his residency. He’s currently doing a women’s health rotation and is acting extremely unprofessional! He and a friend went out for coffee recently and he spied a recent patient of his. He pointed out the woman, told the friend he’d done a pap smear on her, and that she was “very tight.” I’ve also heard my husband make other immature comments about women patients to his friend. I’ve told him that I find his behavior deplorable, and, while I don’t want to jeopardize his career, I wonder if I have an ethical duty to report him to his supervisor? Signed, Bride of Frankenstein

Dear Ethically-challenged Wife. Professionally, your husband is a walking HIPAA violation and will get himself thrown out of the program if he keeps it up. As for telling, you only have second-hand information, so, it’d be tough for you to prove anything and you don’t need that mess. The woman at the coffee shop (or anyone within earshot who heard and then said something to her--I would have), though? She could have cost the hospital tens of thousands of dollars in fines, could have cost your husband the same, and, both could have been liable for civil penalties, too! Personally, though? What the fuck are you still doing with this Neanderthal? You think he’s not comparing notes on your relative tightness with his buddy, or, what, perhaps you think you’re exempt from his objectification and dehumanization of women? Cling to that belief, kay? Whatever lets you live with this asshole, right?

Well, Shippers, that about does it! Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May it be happy and relaxing! And, may your big turkey, or small turkey, or, even your Cornish game hens, be succulent and juicy and full of flavor. Fair winds and following seas, Shippers!

†Please note that the term "pussy" is not, in any way, meant to invoke any meaning other than "spinelessness" on the part of one person toward another, regardless of gender.  Any other connotation you take from this word is purely your own.


  1. When you mentioned using a Bic on the beard, I immediately thought of the old "Flick Your Bic" ads for disposable lighters! Quicker, and more entertaining for the witnesses!

  2. asking for a &quot;friend&quot;November 24, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    #1 I need some help w/ my zipper. a lot. :).

    #4 interns should talk about giving her the shocker! :).

    have a good turkey day everyone! gobble gobble!

  3. Love the disclaimer at the bottom ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too Smaggy. Glad you're back on it this week! Safe travels!!

  4. ...and happy Turkey day and family days to you too, Captain!

  5. Hey Smag, brilliant responses, as usual. Your response to LW#4 reminds me of something you've been doing lately that bothers me. It's not THAT big a deal but still, I'm a stickler for details.
    A couple of your recent responses have mentioned Flaming Bitch Disease. I think you're confusing Raging Bitch Syndrome with Flaming Asshole Disease. Granted, there are so many similarities between these afflictions that it's easy to confuse them but please don't because it drives me crazy.
    Okay, back to LW#4's predicament. She's obviously married to someone with Flaming Asshole Disease and he sounds terminal to me. I hope and pray that she asks herself the same questions that you've asked of her. But I'm betting she won't. Too many women are too eager to tolerate Flaming Assholes if they come with lucrative careers.
    Oh, well, have a Happy Thanksgiving anyway!

  6. Ahoy, CoolOne! Yes! I love that! Flick your Bic and Burn the Beard! ;-)

    Happy Turkey Day! Gobble-gobble! :-)

  7. asking, you can't have all of the help with just *your* zipper! Share the resources, Brother! :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

  8. Ahoy, clhriker! Thank you for the kind good wishes. Happy days, to you, too! And much happiness. :-)

  9. Thank you, Kati! Same to you and yours! :-)

  10. Ahoy, catseye! Happy day! :-)

    Okay, I've read my response to LW#4, and I'm bummed, but, I'm not sure that I see what you're talking about. I definitely see her as the victim, or, well, not the victim (it wasn't *her* anatomy being discussed over coffee, after all--at least as far as she knows), but definitely *not* as a bitch! And, too, I agree with you 100% that she's married to someone with a very nasty case of FAD!

    What I did do, though, was take her to task for being married to this idiot (or, at least not questioning that union within her letter--like you said, she seemed more concerned about his career than their marriage). So I was trying to point that out in a submarinerly way. ;-) But please continue to take me to task on this. I'll keep an eye on it, too, and, if it's a habit or trend, I'm certain that I can change it. :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving, catseye! :-)

  11. Happy Thanksgiving Smaggie!

    My University was closed yesterday and they forced us to take a vacation day. At least I enjoyed the day off! Hope you had a safe trip and not too much hassle at the airport.

  12. Oh, no, I never said that you referred to LW#4 as a bitch, Smag. She's a moron who maybe, possibly, just might be starting to get a clue about who she's married to.
    I was just asking you to refer to raging bitches instead of flaming bitches, a phrase you've used recently in previous commentaries. Bitches rage, assholes flame. Makes sense, no? ;o)

    Enjoy those turkey leftovers!

  13. Kyoto is beautiful, Smaggie dear! Your answers are as perfect as always! More next week. There's no wi-fi at the next stop!

  14. Ahoy, Beckaroo! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Well, belated, anyway. :-) The trip so far has been quite safe, and, fact is, regarding airport security, that's the fastest that I've *ever* been through security at that airport. Ever! Here's hoping the same holds true for tomorrow's return trip! :-)

    Much good cheer! :-)

  15. Ah! I understand now, catseye! I just hadn't had enough coffee when I read your original comment. Or perhaps I'd had too much turkey. ;-) I will absolutely make a note to differentiate between raging and flaming. ;-)

    Good cheer and happy days! ;-)

  16. Ahoy, Messy! Thank you for checking in from halfway 'round the world! We'll all be looking for gorgeous photos upon your return--I'm sure that you'll oblige us? Have a wonderful and tranquil time!

    Much good cheer to you, Messy! :-)

  17. Happy Smagsgiving!

    First, you're off a week, and next, Prudie had a column on Thanksgiving Day, which threw me allll off - I thought Slate had been cutting her slack on holidays? oh, well...

    LW1 - well, ya can't fault the girl for wanting to help. She could always toss out a "teach Little Bro to fish" kind of line and see if he takes it. It'll break her heart if he doesn't, but then, she probably doesn't know the joy of playing Starcraft II or Black Ops. In the latter you can fight zombies AND Castro!

    She should take up video games like her brother and become one of us, One of Us, ONE OF US...

    LW2 - maybe it's a Disney-themed wedding? 'Cuz Disney's famous for not allowing employees to have facial hair. And you know, she wants him clean-shaven, and... uh... stuff. Sorry, I got nothin' else.

    LW3 - I've lost it at work before. And not while out in the parking lot, either, but right at my cubicle. Arrrrgh. My solace is that it was many years ago. But still- Arrrrgh!
    I feel for the gal. I've expressed more than once my desire to go full-time where I work (I'm contract now), and am told that it's being worked on, but that's all I ever hear.

    LW4 - Please, God, don't let him be an ob-gyn. PleasePleasePleasePleasePlease!

    PS - almost ready to move out of my parents' basement. Most of my Stuff is in the new apartment and still in boxes. I need a mattress before I can fully vacate, and the other furniture will follow over time. Just in time for Sis #2 and her kid to move in and take my place!

  18. Ahoy, herdThinner! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Zombies *and* Castro, eh? It's now instantly on my list! ;-)

    As for losing it at work, I can understand that. And, I even think it's okay. I mean, hell, we spend more waking time there than we do at home! How can *not* lose it on rare occasion. The trick, though, is not to throw staplers at people, rake your desk with arms, pee on the boss' desk, etc. ;-)

    Yay for almost being settled in, or, at least almost full out! Good luck!

    Cheers! :-)

  19. herdThinner, there used to be a law that if you worked at your employer's place of business, using their equipment, and following their work schdeule for 10 years, then you automatically are their employee, eligible for benefits and everything.

    A contractor here tells me the rule is now TWO years. Of course, that could just be in this state. Something to pnoder on and perhaps to Google.