Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And happy holidays to you all! No, I will not qualify that salutation--it’s all-inclusive, which means it’s not, in any way, exclusive. Got me? ‘Cause, you know, I don’t want to have to pull out the snark stick on any of my Shippers! But, if I hear one more “what happened to Merry Christmas, Smag?”, I think I might just have to open up that can! Don’t think I won't pull this car over right now and do it! The joy of the holidays, eh? Brings out the best in us all! ;-) Anyhoo, we’ve got letters for Christmas Eve's Eve! Woo-hoo! So let’s get crackin’ on ‘em, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, I have a wonderful five-year-old son. He’s incredibly bright, artistic and thoughtful. Recently, though, my wife and I have developed a concern. Prudie, our son sometimes likes to dress up as a girl with his mother’s clothes and jewelry. And, fact is, that would be fine, but, now he’s asked Santa for a skirt of his own. And not just any skirt, but an absolutely fabulous one. Of his own! And Prudie, I’ll be honest, my wife and I don’t know how to handle it. We want him to be who he is, we really do, but, we also know that he’ll eventually want to wear the skirt outside the house. And that’s something we just can’t abide. Yet, we know he’ll be heartbroken if Santa doesn’t bring him a skirt. What can we do? Signed, We Love Our Cross-dressing Gay Son
Dear Meet the Gleekers. While I certainly understand and appreciate your concern, I want you to recognize that the gift and teaching your son where it’s appropriate to be used is a dynamic that exists with most any gift you might give. If you bought him a Red Ryder BB Gun, for example, would you have a problem telling him that he most certainly may not, ever, shoot it indoors? Nor at other kids? Nope. You wouldn’t even flinch. And what about the warnings of shooting his eye out? So, it’s not the gift that’s at issue here, or when and where it’s to be used. It’s just you. And I’m not trying to be mean here! I just want you to recognize the dynamic that’s actually at work. You and your wife need to simply be parents and explain to your son in age-appropriate terms the reactions he might get, and why. Just like you would with the BB gun. And you two need to be comfortable enough with the subject and with how to explain it so that he understands that he is always safe with you. It's a tough line to walk, and I don't envy you, but, the worst thing you can do is have this talk be about any sort of shame or about anything to do with you or your wife! Do some research, solicit some help about what to say and how to say it, and then, embrace whatever may come. This may be a phase. It may not. But he is your son, regardless. And denying him a skirt won't change who he is any more than giving him one would. So, fuck what other people think and engage your son and be part of his strength and security in the world. And, if it were me in your shoes and he was my wonderfully brilliant son? I’d buy him some costume jewelry, fabulous elbow-length dinner gloves, and a boa, too.
LW#2: Dear Prudie, my sister-in-law just married the biggest asshole in the Western Hemisphere. He is an arrogant, rude, know-it-all, and, he seems to not only enjoy, but revel in talking down to all of us (the whole rest of my sister-in-law and husband’s family). Prudie, I’m afraid that someone’s going to punch him! Is it appropriate for one of us to have a talk with my SIL about the family shunning her new husband? My SIL is so sweet, and this is such a shame, but, assholes are as assholes do. Signed, We’ve Had It Up To Our Butts With This Asshole
Dear New Member of the “We’ve All Got One” Club. Count yourself lucky she just recently married the asshole and that you haven’t had to deal with him before now! No, I know, my gloating is not helpful. I’m sorry. Truthfully, I think the appropriateness of having a talk with your SIL or her husband is determined by your family members individually. Just because you’re fed up doesn’t mean that anyone else is (they might just be agreeing with you to keep you from being an asshole!). Then again, you all might be fed up with this guy! Regardless, don’t say a word to your SIL unless dealing with the inevitable shit storm and its after effects will be less uncomfortable for everyone than the SIL’s husband's status quo (and you might already be there). I agree that, at some point, someone might have to say to your SIL, “Jill, I’m sorry, but Jack isn’t welcome here.” Be very, very careful about deciding that you’re at that point, though. The decision to go there should be unanimous within the family, and unforced by anyone. And, too, recognize that very little good will come of it. Sometimes, it’s better to let a boar be a boar and enjoy the schadenfreude, than it is to lower oneself to the boar’s level.
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I recently broke up with a long-term boyfriend due to his serial infidelity. With the holidays coming up, I want to make sure that his family knows that I didn’t break up with him over some stupid argument, and that, in fact, it was because he is a cheating bastard. And, I want them to side with me! I love each and every one of them like they were my long-lost family, Prudie. Honest! Why, we’re even friends on FaceBook. If that isn’t proof-positive, I don’t know what is! Isn’t there a way that I can let them all know that I’m not the bad guy here? Or should I just quietly disappear? Signed, Broken Hearted, But Not At Fault
Dear Thinking Too Hard About This. You need to check your motives here, Missy/Mister. If you really, truly like certain members of this family, why are you “disappearing” from their lives? I’m not suggesting that you take a casserole over for Christmas dinner, but, my guess is that you’re only “close” to them around the holidays because you visited them with your boyfriend. If your relationship really was close with some of them, they’d know already exactly what went on, and why. And you’d know that they know. But, fact is, what’s really at work here is that it chaps your ass to think that your ex might be telling stories about you and that these folks, with their dickeys and shiny white shoes, drinking eggnog out of moose head-shaped cups and laughing, might actually believe him. Listen, I’m going to give you some advice here that I know that you won’t follow, but, it’s what I do. Ready? Fuck him! Fuck them! Get on with your life! Holy shit, Woman/Dude! Listen, the people that matter already know what went on. Those who don’t matter? Well, they don’t matter. And this guy's family? They don't matter. And here’s another thing, just in case you didn’t notice: you broke up with him. Time to quit letting him rent so much damned space in your head! You’re better off without him and his indiscriminate penis.
And, as a special P.S., if you really like a family member of a boyfriend, as in, you know, think they’re all great and wonderful and awesome, and if the two of you share a great relationship that is separate and real, a breakup from your boyfriend won’t prevent future contact with that person. Just sayin’ you need to realize who these people really are, and to analyze why you’re still worried about them.
LW#4: Dear Prudie. I had a friend of several years who totally and completely and without cause, without rhyme or reason or even so much as a final toodle-do, just quit talking to me. She just got “too busy”, quit calling me (or returning my many calls), and seems to have even forgotten my e-mail address! This is inexplicable, Prudie. I’m an excellent friend! So excellent, in fact, that, you know, just for example, a few years ago, I handmade for her an outstanding Christmas gift that I bet she’s now keeping in a box in her basement. Yes, okay, fine, I admit it, I solicited a mutual friend to surreptitiously ask her about the gift, where it was, what her plans are for it, if it’s properly willed back to me in case of her death, and, you know, several other details too mundane to go into here. And, since it is such a great gift, I would like to ask for it back. But, you know, only if she doesn’t value it anymore (as I don’t want to be mean, as I am a great person, as I mentioned). But, you know,
Dear Protesteth Way The Fucketh Too Much. Are you serious right now? There’s really no way that you’re serious. Is there? Jerry fucking Garcia And The Five Horsemen of the Apocolypse on a popsicle stick! You are serious! Listen here, Assmuch, you need serious and real professional help. You are the kind of asshole that embarrasses asshole clubs. You are the kind that makes even long-term members of Unapologetic Assholes Anonymous shudder with the heebie jeebies due to your assholeness. You make the new husband from LW#2 look like the Patron Saint of Compassion! Listen, you say the friendship ended “inexplicably”? I say that it’s obvious as fuck why it ended, and that you asking for your macaroni self portrait to be returned won’t change a single thing about that. So, why not. It’d be just another story (in what I'm certain is a long line of them) for your newly-fortunate ex-friend to remember as to why she is, in fact, your ex-friend.
Well, Shippers, that about does it! I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and many happy returns. I know that, for some of you, Christmas Day is the coup de grâce, but that, for others, the holidays run well into even late January (and maybe even early February?). I wish you all the happiest of seasons, regardless of their beginning or end, and, much love, happiness, and, of course, as much snark as you could ever desire. Fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers!