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.

Friday, January 14, 2011

...on Anal, Pregnant, Divorced Dinner Partiers! (01/13/2011) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that wherever you are you’re happy, healthy and warm (not necessarily in that order, depending on just how cold it is where you are, but, certainly all of those wishes in some order). I was traveling yesterday, so am late to the Lagoon, but I’m sure that my incredibly capable, witty and gorgeous Diving Buddy has kept you well-entertained? Did she cook for you? If no, that’s your loss, as there’s nothing in this world that she can’t prepare given even a meager stick, an aluminum pie pan, a paper clip, and a fire! Mmm-mmm! Anyhoo, I’m back, and, even though I can’t cook, and I’m not nearly as enchanting as my Diving Buddy, I hope these answers will serve as a nice addition to your visit. So, that said, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudence, I began dating a man last summer and we’ve gotten very serious. He’s the greatest man that ever entered into a relationship with anyone, ever, and I’m the luckiest person alive! The only snag is that now, after many months, he’s told me that he really enjoys anal sex. To the point that it’s a make-or-break requirement for the relationship! We’ve tried a couple of times, but I could never get comfortable. What should I do? Just go for it and see if I can learn to deal with it, or, tell him that I’ll never enjoy it as much as he does and have it end the relationship? Signed, I Like My Friends To Come Through The Front Door

Dear Back Door Lover Hater. You answer is simple. Your “great” catch of a man has explained how important anal sex is to his happiness in a relationship. You’ve simply got to decide if he’s worth it. That’s it. Period. Provided he’s not an evil, manipulative asshole (other than over this issue), it’s honestly as simple as that. That may sound like I’m encouraging you to bite the bullet and give him the anal sex he desires. I’m not. I’m asking you to pull out a set of scales and weigh the pros and cons. Honestly weigh them. Fact is, you may come to enjoy anal sex, but, you may also come to resent the hell out of it, with each session feeling more and more like a defeat at his hands rather than like the wonderful, mutual, consensual and enjoyable act it should be. Seems to me that anyone, after so many months, who places a requirement like that on a relationship, isn’t worth it. But, that’s just me. At the same time, he’s made his position exceptionally clear, which is sort of honorable in its own way. You’ve got to make your decision and you’re the only one who can do it. If you do want to give it a try, one would hope such a “great” catch as your boyfriend supposedly is would understand your reservations and try to accommodate them by attempting to make you feel loved and comfortable and that you’re in a safe and trustworthy place. If he can’t manage that? Then your scales are broken if you choose him regarding any ultimatum he gives.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m in my mid-20s, pregnant, and happily engaged. My future MIL is thrilled with the news of our upcoming nuptials and the future family member. So much so, in fact, that she’s offered, as a gift, to pay off my considerable student loans. My future husband supports this idea as it would take significant financial strain off of us as we head into the future. My future SILs, two women in their 40s and childless, are not so excited, however. One even accused me of getting pregnant for the financial gain! I would love to accept the money, Prudie, but don’t want to ruin what I hope will be a good and lengthy relationship with my future SILs. What should I do? Signed, Between a Financial Rock and a Family Member Hard Place

Dear Stuck. This is a nasty situation, and one that you should not be having to handle, nor even involved in, actually. This one is for your future husband to handle between his sisters and their mother. One can understand, for example, if you’d just met your husband three months ago, got pregnant, engaged and moved-in together in that time span, how the sisters might be concerned about a significant outlay of what they see as part of their future inheritance--and to an essentially-unknown person! That’s just raw human nature, frankly, and actually understandable on a base level (if not at all savory). What’s not human nature, however, is the sister actually saying anything about it, since, a) it’s not her money to give, and, b) it’s none of her fucking business! What this whole situation for you is is a harbinger. Heed it.  But, too, what’s said is said, and there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. I would suggest that your future-husband take the following steps. Step 1, talk to the mother and sisters, together, about the concerns. Step 2, have the gift be to him, not to you, for him to use as he sees fit. You should not accept the gift from the future MIL as you don't need to be in debt to her in any way.  Step 3, agree that if no other similar gifts have ever been given to the other sisters, that you and your husband will accept an amount of inheritance less than the others by the amount of the gift now, or, that the mother should give equal-valued gifts to the sisters. If the sisters have any issues after that? You have no future relationship with them anyway, and should ignore them from here on out until they can act like adults. I realize this seems a very pragmatic and sterile way to handle this issue, which is, essentially, your future MIL’s, and only your future MIL’s business to handle. But, alas, family drama is as family drama does. Such is life. Good luck!

LW#3: Dear Prudie: My parents divorced when I was young and so I grew up living with my mother. My father remarried to a heinous, evil, conniving, jealous bitch of a woman. She made it known over the years that I was not only unwelcome in her home, but that I was a nuisance when there (they lived on another coast and I visited over the summer, etc.). Well, after high school, my father agreed to pay for my college education. Things were all set, but then my step mother called one day and said that my father had had a heart attack and that his dying wish was to see me, but that she wasn’t going to allow it.  This turned out to be a complete lie.  After that, I broke ties with that side of the family and have lived over a decade without hearing from them. Recently, my step sister and father have tried to make contact, but I’m very uncomfortable with the idea. Should I tell my father what his wife did? Should I explain myself? Signed, Shunned

Dear Shunned Daughter. You were very young at the time and so probably hadn’t learned to stand up for yourself, which perhaps explains why you didn't say something then. But you’re a full-grown adult now. You’ve got an easy decision to make. Do you want a relationship with your father or not? And, know that you don’t have to make a permanent decision! You can say to yourself, “I think I want a trial period to see if he’s worth it.” You’re allowed! If you decide yes, then you’ve got to, a) tell your father exactly what happened, and, b) tell him that he chose his wife over you back then, that you’re sure that he knew and knows what type of woman she is, and that, now that you’re an adult, you will hold him responsible for being one, too. Explain that you won’t play his wife's games, that you won’t enter into any more family drama, and that you won’t be manipulated by his wife in any way. Tell him that if he wants a relationship with you, it’ll be one that first proves that you’re not chattel to be discarded every time his wife comes up with some new story about you. Finally, tell him that the kind of threat your step mother made was more serious than you ever care to deal with again, that it wasn’t just jealous, it was mean, manipulative and shitty, and that if he doesn’t address it with her now and in the future, you won’t ever be in her presence again. And mean it.  Those should be the only conditions under which you're willing to try.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, my husband and I throw parties and dinners pretty frequently and mostly really enjoy the experience. One couple that we often invite is sort of an exception. They’re wonderful people, but, they don’t know when to go home, often staying hours past other guests, and sometimes even past midnight! What can we do? Does etiquette allow for kicking them out? What’s most strange is that the wife of this couple is an etiquette maven and gets very bent out of shape when breaches occur. How to handle this? Signed, (Mostly) Happy Partiers

Dear Hostess, you’ve got to let your expectations be known upfront, in the invitations to your parties. You can even use the suffix “-ish” after the quitting time, if you want to remain a little flexible, but, list the end time, no matter what. If your friends stay later than you want, simply say, “Jack and Jill, we’ve had a wonderful time, but, we’ve got a busy day tomorrow and need to wrap things up. We look forward to seeing you soon.” Do not, under any circumstances, explain what’s busy about your tomorrow. If Jill sees this as a social faux pas, so be it. Because you’ve made your intentions clear on your invitation, no one will give a shit what Jill thinks about it. And, if she does make too much of a big deal about it, one wonders what could be so great about having Jack and Jill over in the first place? As a caveat, however, I suspect that Jack and Jill might just feel really comfortable with you, and feel that their relationship with you is closer and more special than with other party goers, and they may believe that you actually enjoy the after-party alone time with them as much as they enjoy spending time with you. By being clear in your invitations, and then gentle but direct in your request that the party end, you allow them a graceful out and get your wish, too. Here’s hoping!

Well, Shippers, that’s it from this side of the Lagoon. I smell some lovely cooking from the other side, though, and, mistaken or not, I think that I actually hear someone watching an NCIS marathon over there?! Well, Shippers, sorry to be rude, but, NCIS means that this party’s over! I’m heading over to the other side! Fair winds and following seas, Shippers!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

...on Sex Offenders, Gift Un-givers, Fired Colleagues, and Cheaters (01/06/2011) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And ahoy to you all in this new and wonderful year! How are you all? How did your New Year’s celebrations go? Did you enjoy your holidays? I sure hope so--at least more than our letter writers appear to have! I’m writing to you this week from the Fatherland (Germany). So, if I’m even more cranky than normal, you’ll know why (you know the Germans--very straightforward and cranky)! ;-) Plus, it’s tough for a Submariner to be away from his Lagoon. But, I’ll be back Home soonest and all will be well. With that in mind, and with all proper pleasantries extended, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my youngest sister has been dating her current boyfriend for several months. When I asked her recently why he’d never been to any family events, she informed me that he is a convicted sex offender and that he is not allowed around children. As you may imagine, I was quite shocked by this news. My sister informs me that her boyfriend is not really guilty, that he was represented by a terrible lawyer, and that the only reason he pled guilty was to save his family from the pain of a trial (he was accused of molesting his younger sister when he was a mid-teen). However, being a lawyer, I found out that the boyfriend was actually represented by an excellent lawyer and that he pled guilty only after his abused sister attempted suicide during the trial. As a result, our family does not plan on allowing the boyfriend to any family functions. My sister says that she loves this man and that we are being un-Christian toward him. What can we do? Signed, A Liar In Our Midst

Dear Judge Lawyer Brother/Sister. You know what? I can think of several circumstances under which an excellent lawyer might end up doing a shitty job of defending someone (and thus making said someone think the lawyer is shitty) and under which a younger sister would attempt suicide mid-trial, none of which have anything to do with this man being guilty. However, I can also follow and understand your logic that he’s an unrepentant child molesting monster. And, fact is, your family, as parents and as those responsible for children, have a responsibility to said children that has nothing to do with being good or poor Christians. If she were here in front of me, I’d beat your sister silly with a rubber hose for playing such a fucked up “good Christian” card as some sort of trump to you protecting your family's children. Your sister is being un-human if she can’t see why you’re worried. Fact is, though, there’s middle ground to be had here. You can explain to your sister that you’re uncomfortable with her boyfriend being around the family’s children (and you can explain why by telling her what you've found out), but you can also allow that you’d be willing to meet him in an adults-only setting (dinner out perhaps, or at her place?) in a good faith effort to try to see in him what she does. This would show love and support for your sister without placing your family’s children at risk. Further, though, for your sister’s sake, and for yours, you need to be honest with her. She hasn’t tried to sneak him around your family without informing you of his past, so, acknowledge at least that amount of respect on her part. Good luck.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I have a Christmas present problem. I warned my in-laws that I would not be able to buy presents up to my usual standard of monetary value due to tough financial times. I did buy presents, though, just not super-expensive ones. Well, my mother-in-law sent me a super-expensive purse as a present, but, upon receiving my present for her (a nice, but modest perfume), she became enraged, called me a “cheapskate” and a “dumb bimbo” for not knowing about her being allergic to the perfume, and then she demanded that I return the purse she'd given me! I was quite shocked by this and don’t know what to do? How should I respond to my mother-in-law’s actions? Signed, Befuddled and Bedamned

Dear Befudamned. This one is simple. Send back the purse without comment. No letter or card or even the tiniest little note. Just package the purse safely and send it back. Immediately. However, know right down to the sole of your heart that only asshole, shitbag, fucktarded bitches pull shit like your MIL just pulled, so, make sure to let your husband know that you will not be dealing with your MIL anymore. Ever. This means no talking to her, no communicating with her, no more sending or receiving any gifts from her, or anything else! Nothing. And you should 100% mean it, and be happy about it! You’re justified. But frankly, that's the easy part.  What's tougher is the overall relationship.  For the record, I don’t understand all of the “I”s in your letter as opposed “we”s? Why wasn’t your husband involved in the gift-giving with your in-laws (and thus the subsequent backlash)? Why hasn't he intervened on your behalf, or given back his present from your MIL?  Whatever the reasons, you can now wash your hands of this old crazy bitch and know full well that you’re in the right. Sometimes it’s better to just buck up and be a better human being. This isn’t one of them, though. Not after what she did and said to you. Unless she apologizes (and not with some bauble, but really and genuinely), she should be persona non grata to you. Enjoy the newfound freedom from Crazy Town!

LW#3: Dear Prudie. Recently, a co-worker was fired even though he’s a very talented, skilled worker when it comes to the technical part of the job. The problem was that he’s very socially awkward and repeatedly failed miserably at that part of his job. He expressed disappointment at losing his job, revealing he’d lost several others prior to this one. I’m not a doctor, but I feel certain his job record is because he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Is there a way that I can suggest he consult a doctor to see? He’s a young man and could have a long and successful career if he could address his social issues. How can I suggest this? Signed, Wanting To Help

Dear Helpful. If I were in your shoes, I’d cut and paste the body of your letter, erase the beginning and end parts that are addressed specifically to Prudie, and send it to your friend via e-mail. Just say, “Look, you expressed concern about losing your job, and I want you to know that your technical skill is highly admired and recognized, but...” You can even send it anonymously via a throw away e-mail account. Or anonymously via snail mail. You don’t even have to mention Asperger’s Syndrome. You could simply mention specific “social skill issues that need addressing, like...” and suggest that they may be due to anything from general awkwardness to various medical conditions, all of which can be addressed by a trained physician and research. By not offering a specific diagnosis (especially since you are not a doctor), perhaps your former colleague will be even more apt to pursue a fix (as opposed to reading a specific suggested diagnosis from you and then clamming up because he doesn’t want/like a specific label). Don’t talk yourself out of this deed, though, as the potential good you can do far outweighs any potential negatives. And good on you for wanting to help!  It seems that not many people do nowadays!

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I occasionally play very serious poker with a group of friends and acquaintances. There is a great deal of money at stake, but, we are all friends and mature adults and the evenings are always truly enjoyable. Recently, two members of the group pointed out to me that a friend that I’d suggested and introduced to the group was cheating during our most recent game. I’m not surprised by this accusation and now find myself in the position of addressing the issue. How do I proceed? Do I ask my friend for the money back that he won? How can I ask him to leave without affecting my friendship with him? Signed, You’ve Got To Know When To Fold ‘Em

Dear Sympathy for the Devil. This one is easy, too. Just tell your friend what you told Prudie. Simply say, “Joe, a couple of folks in the group have accused you of cheating last time around. They don’t want you back, and, as the one who introduced you, I was elected to tell you. I still want to be friends, though, so I hope that you remember that I’m just the messenger, but, for whatever it’s worth, you’re no longer welcome at the games.” Fact is, though, I’m curious as to why you’re okay with Joe’s cheating at a high stakes poker game? Especially after you introduced him to the group? I have to assume that you have so much discretionary income that the loss of money due to someone actually cheating, is no big deal? And, that the income is so significant that you don't value it enough to understand that you should be horrified that your “friend” would take money from people you’d introduced him to?! Where are your priorities, man? Where’s your moral outrage? Do you have a trust fund or something? But hell, if you’re truly okay with this type of behavior, can you give me a few night’s worth of your winnings? You know, just for my brilliant advice?

Well, Shippers, that’s it. May 2011 be your best year ever! And, as always, fair winds and following seas to you all. ‘Til next week, then...