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, December 2, 2010

...on Fetishes, Wreckages, Christmases and Vegas Trips

http://www.slate.com/id/2276212/ (12/02/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho-ho-ho, Shippers! And happy December to you all! How are you on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I’ll admit that I’m pretty run-down with a stuffy head and even some nausea, so, if I’m off my game today, please cut me some slack (or not--I don’t usually cut any slack for the LWs!). May those of you transitioning to new things this week/month/new year have the best transition ever. I know that December/January is a time for that sort of thing and my support and good wishes go out to you all! That said, though, and before I get too sappy, we have letters, eh? Well then, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, My husband has some sexual fetish desires that I can’t “deal with”. What I mean is, they aren’t my thing and I’ll be damned if I want to try them! It’s my right not to, isn’t it?! He’s proposed visiting a dominatrix to occasionally scratch his itch. And I’m actually considering allowing it. He’s been to a therapist to try to get past this fetish and he can’t. I don’t believe he’ll have intercourse with the dominatrix, but, at the same time, I don’t want another woman being intimate with my husband. What should I do? Let him, or don’t? Signed, Passively Conflicted

Dear Conflicted. What are you conflicted about? I mean, in the end? Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Your husband is apparently being honest with you. He’s asking for permission to go to a professional, not for sex, but for a fetish release. If you desire, I’m sure you can go talk to this woman and ensure that she’s actually a dominatrix and not his office secretary dressed up in latex. You could ask to have explained to you how things will go. And, ultimately, you can decide if you can live with it or not. If you can’t, though, be upfront and honest with your husband and leave him. On good terms. Respectfully. Sexual incompatibility between two people who can’t (in his case) or won’t (in yours) try to meet in the middle is probably a deal breaker because of all that it leads to. Try to work it out, try to understand, try to be comfortable with things, but, most of all, be honest. Honesty is working so far with you two, and, if it means going separate ways or having him visit a pro on occasion, that’s a hell of a lot better than being miserable, yes?

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my crazy, temperamental mother-in-law, who’s been in 20 automobile accidents (the vast majority of which were her fault) likes to come by and pick up my two year old daughter and take her places. I’m a non-confrontational person, so, I try to be okay with this, but, every time my MIL has my daughter, I’m out of my mind with worry. My MIL’s own two daughters won’t let her drive their kids anymore, yet, when I try to express my fears, my MIL flies off the handle. What can I do? Signed, Scared Mama

Dear Scared. Your daughter is helpless. You are not. You are charged with your daughter’s care. Therefore, if something happens to your daughter in your MIL’s care, it’s on you. Period. See this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101130/ap_on_re_us/us_child_off_walkway. I hope that wasn’t your daughter. I hate that it was anyone’s daughter. How do you imagine that mother feels? I can’t even fathom it. If that doesn’t scare you straight nothing will, but, as a second point, one that ought to light the fires of your belly into a full-blown volcano, why isn’t your husband helping control his mom? If he’s deployed or his job has him otherwise out of town, that’s one thing. But, unless he’s deceased, he can still talk to her. He can still affect the situation. You shouldn’t have to face this alone. And, like with the letter above, honesty is the best policy. Be firm and honest with you MIL and say that your child will no longer drive with her. Anywhere. They can spend time, just not in a car. As for your MIL still driving after 20 accidents?! I think there’s more to this story than you are sharing with us. Will it paint you in an even worse light, like, does this woman have no license? Wake up, Mama, and start doing your job.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, Christmas is in full swing in our office and I’ve noticed over the past several years that the celebration has gotten more and more religious. And while I’m fine with personal expressions of faith, I don’t like Christianity bombarding me in all of common areas of the office during this season. Last year, my boss asked me why I didn’t attend the tree lighting and I said it’s because I’m not a Christian. Her response was that I could hang a menorah on the tree! I’d rather have more secular celebrations of Christmas, Prudie. How can I fix this? Signed, Not a Christian

Dear Scrooge. Okay, I’m just kidding with the Scrooge thing. To me, the solution is simple. If you have tried being honest with your supervisors and management (Have you? As in, really? I’m not talking about hinting, I’m talking about, have you and others sat down with them and stated that you’re offended?) and you’ve gotten no response, I suggest erecting a Festivus pole, complete with performance of the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”. You need to insist on this. Further, you need to celebrate at least two Pagan rituals. An office bonfire with pairing for celebratory sex is a great one! This ritual rings in the coming spring and the desired crop fertility--plus it’s fun! The youngest male should also be made to hunt a buck and kill it with his bare hands. Finally, you’ll want to celebrate as Jack Skellington would, with reenactments of scenes from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. And finally, light some incense. You guys are going to need it! Seriously, though, if your honest concerns, professionally-expressed to your supervisors, don’t do the trick, I see nothing wrong with introducing these alternative takes, in full or in part. Merry meet and Blessed Be!

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I married earlier this year. My husband’s family wants to take us all to Las Vegas to celebrate Christmas. My husband and I are horrified by this idea and don’t want to go. But, since we spent Thanksgiving with my family (we all live in the same town), we feel sort of obligated to go along. What should we do? Signed, Obviously Too Young To Be Married

Dear Too Young. You may have noticed a trend with my posts today. I suggest having your husband be honest with your in-laws and explain that the two of you don’t want to go to Vegas for Christmas (presuming your husband really doesn’t want to go?). You’re not obligated to go and having spent Thanksgiving with your family no more obligates you to go with his family to Sin City than it obligates you to spend Christmas with anyone! Fact is, since you live in the same town, I’m not sure why you didn’t split Thanksgiving time, but, that’s just me being Captain Hindsight. I hope that you remember the lesson for next year, though? As for what to do, as Prudie suggested, making sure to spend time with your in-laws upon their return is what’s important here. That and honesty. You can’t be faulted for either. Good luck!

****
Well, Shippers, that about does it! Holy smokes, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a theme run through all of my answers like that. But sometimes, just growing up and putting on your big boy/girl panties is all that a problem calls for. And in these cases, that seems the perfect solution. May your week be wonderful and bright and your weekend full of fruitful endeavors. Good cheer!

17 comments:

  1. There's a lot more to be negotiated in L1. I like your response, but have a feeling that LW1 may already know as much about what would happen as she can stomach, in which case a different tack might lead to an acceptable outcome. How will her sexuality and satisfaction be given equal consideration in the marriage? There are also budgetary considerations - how much counts as necessity and how much as luxury, and who gets the casting vote in a disagreement?

    What I want to avoid - in the spirit of the season - is a post-Christmas letter next year from LW1, who writes in a bitter mood that, after she graciously gave in and permitted her husband to indulge himself with a dominatrix (for which he paid entirely from his own discretionary funds, she bought him a new set of golf clubs for Christmas (presumably, however, the Phil Mickelson line rather than that of Tiger Woods) or something similar, only he was so short of cash he could only spend a tenth on her gift of what she'd spent on his.

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  2. asking for a "friend"December 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    frustrated w/ smag's advice 2day, he says to put on your big girl panties and deal but mrs. "asking for a friend" isn't down w/ that. then, I'm worried about having MIL take me for more as she's prone 2 accidents. furthermore, the bastards at work won't let me hang said panties on the xmas tree. finally, my in-laws are going to LV and I'm worried about TSA patting down my panties; hahahahahaha;

    p.s. smag, awesome SP reference w/ Captain Hindsight! :).

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  3. The only thing that bugs me about letter #2 is that she doesn't state how many years those 20 accidents happened over. For example if the MIL has been driving for 40 years, and in those 40 years she's had a total of 20 accidents, that's only one accident every 2 years or so. Admittedly it's bad that she ran into a wall with her grandchild in the back seat, but as I can attest from all the scuffs and scrapes I see on the sides of the freeways here in California, these things do happen... a lot. It doesn't mean that every person who's had the misfortune of colliding with a wall is a terrible driver. After all there's a reason that they're called accidents.

    And it's while it sounds bad that "a majority were her fault", I have to wonder (having been in a few collisions myself) who determined that it was her fault? The insurance company, the police, did she say it was her fault?

    I would have much preferred she sited some heinous behavior that the MIL does, like texting and driving, or reading the newspaper, or any other of the million multi-tasking behaviors we constantly see and hear about. Otherwise the MIL just appears to be accident prone...

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  4. Howdy, Mr. Smag--
    a couple o' cents worth;
    LW4, there comes a time in a family's life when the couple, and kids if any, are the significant family to take into consideration; they aren't their folks' kids, primarily, any more, when it comes to packing up and hiking off to suit Grammy's notions.
    That time has come for you--it's fine.

    LW1, is it really going to be possible to stay married to somebody who's just not that into you?
    Pursuing separate interests, to the point of separate fantasies is one thing, but doesn't this bring (at least) a third person into the marriage?
    That gets crowded, as the princess said.

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  5. And,
    LW3, oh, what a classic PITA this is, as can be seen in the argle-bargle in Prudie's comments. Everybody thinks his own view is the most reasonable.
    I think yours is, actually, but it'll take a firm hand to steer a true course. The persistent, pleasant 'No Thank You' doesn't require you to say much of anything about what you do believe or observe.
    (Might be fun to make a mystery of it, but with all due respect, the fight-fire-with-fire people wind up making more of the workplace about personal beliefs and behaviors, when ideally it's much less about that, and more about, oh, THE JOB.)
    Life is easier if it's not necessary to resist the coercion by HR means--since that's guaranteed to ruffle other people's panties, and not guaranteed to be effective. Unfortunately.

    Cheers, all!

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  6. Point of order on LW#1:

    Why is his fetish something he "can't" get over, but her revulsion something she "won't" get over? Should people with acrophobia start climbing mountains now, or with aquaphobia try to swim the English Channel? After all, they "won't" go into high places or the water, respectively, by your reasoning.

    Not to scold you, but they each have a strong feeling about it, just since his has a label, that makes it okay, apparently. Since hers hasn't been labelled, she should be ashamed of her feelings, apparently. You aren't the only person who seems to feel this way.

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  7. Ahoy, hrumpole! Astute observations and questions, as always. The financial aspect is definitely *not* something that I'd thought of, and it would obviously be super important. Thank you for pointing out that fact! I am not in the know, but I would imagine dominatrixes don't come cheap.

    As for Christmas gifts for her: if allowed to pursue his dominatrix, if he had the gumption to give his very understanding wife anything less than the Taj Mahal for Christmas, he'd obviously not need a pro to spank him for awhile as she'd surely kick his ass from her to Alaska! ;-)

    Good cheer, hrumpole! :-)

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  8. Ahoy, Michelle! You make a good point. Nor does she talk about the accidents. I mean, were they all minor scrapes because they happen to live around at a place with a weird driveway with a blind spot and she's always scratch down the fence gate? Or were they serious, car-ending wrecks? I just can't imagine that anyone with truly 20 accidents would be allowed to drive (regardless of time frame), although, admittedly, I don't know if I'm correct or not on that!

    So, yeah, it would be good to have more info, but, regardless if the mother is uncomfortable, she needs to feel that she can speak to the MIL. If the MIL is that rough and intimidating, something needs to be done (like, the husband should be dealing with this, if possible).

    Much good cheer! :-)

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  9. Ahoy, asking for a "friend"! I'm so glad that you caught the SP reference! I wasn't sure anyone would, and then I was going to feel all out of touch. :-) I like the extended panty riff, Brother! ;-)

    Good Cheer! :-)

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  10. Ahoy Cantahamster!

    That gets crowded, indeed! Definitely right on, hit-the-bullseye take on all of the letters. I think it's possible for LW#1 to stay married, but, she's going to have to accept that her husband has needs that she can't meet, and be okay with that, or, she's going to have to become okay with meeting them. Since the latter seems out, if they're going to stay together, she's going to have to learn to be okay with it. But, in the end, I'm with you. I have a feeling this union isn't long for this world.

    Good cheer! :-)

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  11. The Sage would like it pointed out that financial considerations were brought up in the Sage's weekly Musings.

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  12. Aw, now, dangit, CoolOne! I told you that I was sick! And now you're calling me to task?! ;-) Okay, fair enough. Fact is, there were two things that led me to say it the way I did. Thing #1 is that I don't imagine that this is a new thing for the husband. LW's known about this since the beginning is my guess. As such, I would venture a guess that she may have even gone along with it in the beginning thinking that, a) she could change him, or, b) it wouldn't last all that long, especially as he got older. I may be wrong, he may have just starting exhibiting this proclivity, but, considering that he's been to counseling, etc., I doubt it.

    Thing #2 is that she said of his kinks, "they just aren't my thing." Now, I don't know about you, but, something that I physically can't do is not something that's "just not my thing." I mean, for example, movies without explosions or cops being buddies aren't *my* thing. No buddy cops or explosions, I don't care for the movie! I need buddy cops and explosions in my movies! But, you can bet your bottom dollar that if the movie is important to my Love, I'll watch it. And I'll even genuinely try to see what she sees in it. I'll try to Share the experience with her, not just put up with it. If it's just not my thing, but I genuinely Love her, I can make that effort. Or, worse case, I can at least not moan about it. ;-)

    But, something that I *can't* do? Something that is repulsive or painful to the point of abuse or something that might risk my sanity? I don't describe those activities as "not my thing." I describe that of thing as hrumpole did in The Fray, thusly, "I was always prepared to let someone go elsewhere, but I had a superb reason. A particular activity, one that is considered Standard in every relationship, literally turned my stomach every time I tried it and made me physically ill." That, CoolOne, translates to "can't", as opposed to "wont". At least in my book. Fair enough? ;-)

    Much good cheer to you! And please keep coming back at me. I may be sick, but, I can take it. I think, anyway. ;-)

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  13. The sage is indeed very wise! And SmagBoy1 always, and I do mean *always*, suggests reading the Sage's Sagely Sagery, weekly, without fail, here: http://thefrayedsage.blogspot.com/

    Good cheer, Sage! :-)

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  14. Ahoy Captain, permission to whip you?... The plural of dominatrix is dominatrices :-D

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  15. It seems like each year there's always a letter about how to deal with family and relatives every holiday. It makes me feel almost humbug. Holidays should be about being with the ones you love. I sure would love to be with my family this Christmas, but because my hours were cut at my job, I can't afford to go see them. At least I have my beau. ^_^

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  16. " Holidays should be about being with the ones you love." This is true, but that isn't family for everyone. Some LWs are struggling with accidents of birth and societal requirements to spend time with people they otherwise would never have anything to do with.

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  17. Top of the morning to you, Captain! (I seem to be in an Irish mode, it must be solidarity --have you read Krugman's column in the New York Times titled "Eating the Irish? --pretty scary)

    I sure like the alternative winter solstice rituals you suggest, but you've forgotten kissing under the mistletoe....oh, but wait, that's not an alternative one but one that stayed with us... love it!

    Incidentally, about the MIL's driving habits, I would listen to her daughters who wont let their kids in her car with her.... they must know more than the DIL...

    The letter about the dominatrix just goes to show that people should have plenty of sex before marriage, also get to know each other in various ways, like is he/she going to be calm and helpful if I get sick, or is she/he fly off the handle or run away? etc etc etc

    Of course maybe the LW's hubby did something really bad and wishes to be punished for it without going to prison or to death row?

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