http://www.slate.com/id/2278304/ (12/30/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine post-Christmas, post-Solstice, post-Hanukah day? Did you have a wonderful day(s)? How is everything? I hope that you’re all wonderfully well, sipping coffee (perhaps a medium Columbian roast, freshly ground from a local shop?), or tea (some English Breakfast?), or, your own favorite beverage prepared in your own favorite way (like, maybe a float concocted of homemade ice cream!), and, that you’re enjoying the wonderful day! In that state of being, new letters are like the cream in the coffee or the sauce on the ice cream, eh? :-) So, without further ado, let’s get crackin’ on ‘em, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie. I was married to my ex-wife for seven years. Right about the time that the infamous itch kicked in, she made the decision to quit having sex with me. She said that she was doing this due to my indecision about starting a family. Prudie, fact is, I wasn’t sure of a lot of things regarding our relationship, but, what I was sure of, even if it was just a whisper in my soul, was that I didn’t want to have kids in that situation. Well, things deteriorated and we divorced. Now, two years later, I’m engaged to be married to my newly-pregnant girlfriend. Strange thing is, I’m thrilled about this pregnancy and can’t wait to be a father! Unfortunately, because my ex-wife and I have many friends in common, she found out about the pregnancy and called me in a livid rage, blaming me for the demise of our marriage and saying that I should have told her personally about the pregnancy! I disagree. Was I insensitive not to tell her? Is she right to be angry with me because I'm happy about my impending fatherhood? Signed, (I Have A Working) Dick
Dear Daddy Dicky. Okay, news flash, you really are the reason (or at least half of the reason) for your former marriage’s collapse. And, while that sucks balls to think in those terms (because you sound like a decent-enough fellow and probably don’t like to think that you caused anyone any pain), it’s just a fact. Fact is that your ex loved you (ostensibly), wanted to have kids with you (assuredly), thought you were the bomb-diggity-bomb with the magic sperm, and, the cat’s meow! But, regardless of the reason, it wasn’t working for you. So much so that, after having been married to a woman for seven years, you didn’t want to have kids and didn't know if you ever would. Things just didn’t work out, Dude. And that happens sometimes. You both need to come to terms with that fact. And, unless you and your ex-wife were still very good friends (speaking frequently, getting coffee, etc.), which, you specifically said was not the case, then you most certainly should not have told her anything about your fiancée’s pregnancy! It’s absolutely, 100% none of her business! And your response when she called? It should have been, “Martha, I’m sorry that you feel that way.” Click. Shitake! As for your question, there’s no agreeing or not agreeing with your ex in this, Dick, as she’s your ex. And whoever's "right" or "wrong" is completely irrelevant. At this point, you guys are just two people pissing on each other. Be the bigger person and politely hang up next time. Plus, your non-ex, the one who’s carrying a baby the two of you created? Yeah, there’s where your focus should be. Just sayin’.
LW#2: Dear Prudie, my very generous friend sent me a $1,000 cashier’s check to cover travel expenses for a cross-country trip to see her. She then made and paid for non-refundable plane reservations. I’m in debt, work at a minimum wage job and live on a shoestring. When I deposited the check that she sent, it bounced because it was unsigned. As this was during bill-paying time, it racked up ruinous overdraft fees for me in a nasty cascading effect the likes of which have never been seen short of a domino toppling event attended entirely by crack addicts. I had to take out a loan just to cover my living expenses! I obviously can’t travel now, and my friend, believe it or not, demands that I pay back not only the original check, but the plane fare, too! I’m understandably bitter about this! What can I do? Signed, Banks are Mysterious, Like, Impossibly So
Dear Lying Liar and Who Lies. You are a liar. Or, if not, you’re a Class 4, Grade A Idiot. I’m not sure which, but, it doesn’t really matter because the result is the same. Here, let’s do the math. If this was a normal month and you were paying bills and had enough in your account to cover those bills, those checks wouldn’t have bounced, right? Right! And, if they had bounced, that would have been on you, right? And then, when you had to take out a loan to live on, you wouldn’t have been mad at anyone but yourself, right? Now, let’s get to your friend’s mysterious, unsigned, bouncing cashier’s check that apparently up and caused all of this mayhem? Um, no. If you deposited a check that didn’t meet your bank’s requirements for deposit, they’re not going to charge you for it. They’re going to simply not credit your account. And, since we’re on the topic, the bank cashier is the one who “signs” cashier’s checks, not the person who buys it--that’s why it’s called a “cashier’s” check. These checks either get credited to your account or they don’t. The only way it’d not be credited is if your friend cancelled it. What happened, I suspect, was that (for some reason) you were writing checks against that $1,000 check before it had cleared. And when those checks hit, you overdrew your account. And you were charged for that mistake over and over due to your own idiocy. I hate to get all math professor on your ass, but, I’m pretty sure you know exactly happened here, just as well as I do. And, news flash, so does your probably now ex-friend. As for paying her back, that’s on you, but, as for your bitterness? Have a look in the mirror. There’s the person who deserves that nastiness, not your friend.
LW#3: Dear Prudie, my business partner (and very good friend) unexpectedly lost her father two years ago. His death has been devastating on her. Since then, she’s gone off radar two or three times a year, sometimes breaking down completely and becoming entirely unable to function. Prudie, I’ve tried to be personally supportive and as good a friend as I can be. I’ve tried to carry the business during these increasingly difficult and lengthy grief breakdowns. But, Prudie, I can’t keep on doing it! The holidays are especially bad because it’s the anniversary of his death and she’s already pre-declared her inability to get any work done. At what point is it okay to tell her that she’s hurting our business and testing our friendship? Signed, Torn Between Duty and Friendship
Dear Torn. This is a tough spot to be in, and I certainly don’t envy you. You’ve got to talk to your friend as a friend, not as a business partner, and tell her that she needs professional help. That her grief is affecting her to a point that is well beyond what is healthy, and that you’re concerned for her mental wellbeing. Telling people who are emotionally compromised that they need to just “buck the fuck up” isn’t going to do anyone any good. And while we can all e-guess at her diagnosis, it’s clear at this point that she needs professional help to get at the cause of her symptoms. My e-opinion (as a certified e-doctor) is that this goes way beyond her father’s death. I e-believe that his passing was only the catalyst to this current state of being--one that had been brewing for quite some time. As for the professional side of things, instead of saying to her that she’s not pulling her weight, how about talking to her about bringing on someone part time until she gets back on her feet? Tell her that you think it’s best because you want her to be able to focus on her health, but, make sure that this isn’t a move on your part to squeeze her out of the business that she co-founded with you! If it is, you need to be honest and tell her that you want to move on professionally. Of course, if this is the case, be ready to lose her personally, too.
LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m a junior in college who has a boyfriend who says we’re in a very mature and wonderful relationship (we’ve been together for five years), and that he’s the bestest guy ever for me because he knows what’s best for us both. My problem? I really want to travel the world and study abroad, but, my boyfriend says that I shouldn’t. He says that it’d cost me too much money and that I should wait until we can afford to do it together. But Prudie, the desire to travel and see the world is part of my very essence and I feel as if I don’t go soon, I’ll burst. What can I do? Signed, I Have No Clue At All Why The Caged Bird Sings
Dear Birdie. Let me explain to you what’s going on. Your boyfriend is scared he’s going to lose you. And so he’s manipulating you into staying (consciously or no). And, fact is, he’s not ever going to be interested in travel the way you are. He’ll stand for two minutes in front of the Eiffel Tower and say, “Yep. Seen it. Let’s go home.” That’s assuming you can even get him to take one trip with you. You two don’t have a mature relationship. You don’t know what that is. And that's okay! I don’t mean that in a mean way! I’m sure that you two are very nice people, but, what you have is a relationship in which two people who should be enjoying the greatest and most carefree times of their lives are talking about finances and the future when both members aren't ready for that (perhaps neither are!). Further, the relationshiop is one in which the interests and priorities of the participants are vastly divergent. Listen, almost every single old, crusty, long-in-the-tooth (but wise) person you talk to about this (save for his parents, and certain Republicans who think that all other countries are run by pansies and/or communists) will tell you the exact same thing. Go! Go have the time of your life! Travel! Write! Paint! Learn the language, experience the world, see the sites and experience the love. Live, Birdie! You don’t get this chance often, and if your boyfriend would hold you back when you have such a chance, he’s either a well-meaning, but ignorant youngman, or, he’s willfully caging you. But out of fear, not love. You have to figure out if you want to be with someone who could be and/or do either. Plus, you already know what you want. So, go! And when you do, don’t be constantly calling and texting and chatting with him. Live in the moment and experience the life where you are! Promise a call or e-mail per week or something but otherwise, live! If, when you return (if you return), you two still click, great! You'll have something wonderful to share. But, if you don’t, wouldn’t it be better to find out now rather than in seven years (re: LW#1)? Good luck! And enjoy Paris! It’s beautiful every time of year!
Well, that’s it, Shippers! Here’s hoping that 2010 was a wonderful, incredible year. And that 2011 will be even better. Times two! See you all on the other side, and, fair winds and following seas to ya all!