http://www.slate.com/id/2293834/ (5/12/2011) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There
Hey Hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that you’re happy, healthy, well-fed, well-coffeed, and, that those around you (be they family, friends and/or co-workers) are decent, supportive, non-insane, genuinely nice individuals. Apparently, none of those wishes are guaranteed in this life, so, I hope them doubly for you all! Every day. :-) Especially the well-coffeed part! Speaking of, I was recently given some Vietnamese instant coffee. I thought to myself, “Instant coffee? Ewww!” But it is actually really nice! And robust! And quite fully zoomied, too! :-) It won’t keep me totally away from my various K-Cups, but, it’s a really nice treat and worth the effort to get, in my humble opinion. Anyway, my coffee habits aside, let’s get crackin’, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, I come from a family and tradition of staunch Christianity. Recently, I find that I’ve lost my faith. I’m quite at peace with the personal spiritual ramifications of where I now find myself, but, I’m worried about how my family, friends, and, worst of all, my wife will feel and react. I still attend church and have not shared my quandary with anyone else, but, it seems quite dishonest to not do so. I’m scared of losing everything if I do share this information (and I’m pretty sure I will if I do), but, even worse, I’m afraid that not telling my wife is even more dishonest (and thus wrong) than the pain it’ll cause us both if I do tell her. What should I do? Signed, Morally Confused
Dear Fellow Atheist. Don’t worry! Surely you know from your years of indoctrination that morality is a Christian-only characteristic and that those who have no faith can’t possibly have any morals. Ergo, you can now treat people as horribly as you’d like with no worry about the ramifications because, you know, only good Christian people treat other people with honor, dignity and/or respect. As such, lying to people about your deepest inner feelings about God is something that you can now do without concern. Matter of fact, if you ever become president, you can use this same tactic while justifying all manner of Hell on Earth. And what’s good enough for a former president, surely, is good enough for you, a newly faithless Heathen, right? Right!
Perhaps you’ve noticed I’m being a bit shitty about this? Yes, I am. I won’t go into why, but, perhaps the paragraph above, even though it’s sanctimonious, will be a clue. The Bible said something (in Psalms, Isaiah, and Proverbs at least) about having to lay in the bed one makes for one's self (although, holy shit, Mother Mary and Joseph, just make sure the fuck that there are no men in that bed with you, ‘cause, you know, apparently, that’s even more wrong than killing several tens of thousands of people based on "bad intelligence" and shit). Here’s the bottom line: if you will lose your family and friends by simply explaining that you’ve lost your faith (while stressing, of course, that in every other way, and in every other action, you’re the same man they've always known and loved), then they’re not worth the spittle that spews from their maws as they busy themselves with condemning you.
LW#2: Dear Prudie, My husband and I have a 5- and 3-year-old. We let them play in the street because they’re very well-behaved and follow our rules. We specifically bought a house in a cul-de-sac so that we could do this very thing. One of our coffee-addled, crazy-driving neighbors almost hit our 3-year-old the other day and her husband had the nerve to blame it on us! He even threatened to call child services to report our "poor parenting"! How can I prove to him that he’s wrong? Signed, Good Mother Who Purposefully Lives on a Freakin’ Cul-de-Sac For Heaven’s Sake
Dear Dumbass Idiot. I know, I know, you’ve probably read on The Fray that you can leave infants and young children alone for quite awhile and that it’s okay. Fact is, though, it’s not. You’re an unbelievably rude dumbass who’s basically stealing free childcare by foisting the care and safety of your children onto other, more responsible adults. All of the justification about maturity of kids, rules, who was right and who was wrong, and even who was talking on the phone instead of piloting their military vehicle-sized truck won’t mean a damn thing when your 3-year-old is run the fuck over and dead. You need to get your tubes tied, your husband needs a vasectomy, and he then still needs to wear condoms during sex, just in case, and you both need to learn what a back yard is for and when to use it. And, no, I’m not even kidding.
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m 17, heavy (5’-3” and a size 10), and really self-conscious about it. Summer’s coming and there are lots of parties centered around swimming and the requisite wearing of bathing suits. In the past, I’ve tried to attend the parties in street clothes and skip the swimming. Unfortunately, that tactic gets me teased and goaded. One time I acquiesced and borrowed a horribly-fitting bathing suit. I was teased even more. I don’t want to miss out on these parties, but, I don’t want to wear a bathing suit in front of everyone because I'm so fat. What can I do? Signed, Reluctant Swimmer
Dear Reluctant. First of all, your friends know why you aren’t swimming. You aren’t fooling them. You need to know and accept that fact up front. As such, as I see it, you have three choices: don’t attend the parties (and likely regret it now and later), attend the parties but be teased about not swimming (wherein you may still have a good time, but, but, I know, that kinda sucks--but, if the teasers get too out of hand, you can just leave), or, go out, find a bathing suit that fits you and is complimentary (at size 10, there are plenty to choose from!) and that you feel good in (or at least that you feel okay in--I realize that you may not feel “good” in any of them, but trust me, you’ll look wonderful in several of them, as size 10 is not nearly as big as you think it is--at all!), keeping in mind that you don’t have to buy a bikini-style suit if you’re not comfortable with that (there are all types of suits, as Prudie says). One of the things that’s almost impossible for you to understand at your age (and plenty of us never learn it!) is that confidence is extremely attractive, and that ignoring the bullies will shut them up (most of them, anyway--the ones it doesn’t are assholes, and that’s just part of life). Whatever you choose, though, you’ll be okay. You look far better than you think you do, and, in years to come, when you look back at pictures of you now, you'll say to yourself, "What in the world world was I thinking when I found myself to be fat?!" Things do get better in time. But, hey, why not go bathing suit shopping with a trusted friend or family member! At least give it a shot. You never know! :-)
LW#4: Dear Prudie, my mother-in-law recently gave me a beautiful pearl necklace and earrings. I love the necklace and wear it almost daily. The earrings, on the other hand, while made with gorgeous, expensive, valuable pearls, are horribly dated and simply un-wearable in today’s fashion world. Can I get them re-set without incurring my easily-slighted MIL’s ire? Signed, Between Pearls and a Swine
Dear Lucky. Aside from Prudie’s wise counsel (she suggested you buy another set of earrings to wear with this necklace), I suggest that you employ your husband, with or without his knowledge, into fixing this touchy situation. You need to make sure he knows how much, a) you love the necklace (and make sure he notes how often you wear it), and b) that you’d love to wear the earrings, too, but that they’re a bit too dressy for everyday use (not that they’re “out of date” or “unstylish”). You could even drop a casual, “Well, short of having them re-set, which wouldn’t be fair to your mom, maybe I can find a set that’d match--it’s just a shame because I love them so much and love that the pearls came from your mom!” Note that none of that is untrue! You drop these hints when he’s going on about Christmas or birthday present ideas, and, unless he’s an idiot, don’t worry, he’ll do the rest. And, if you’re savvy about it, all will work out swimmingly and everyone will be happy! Either way, much good luck!
Well, Shippers, that’s it! I know I was in a foul and quick mood today (at least with the first two letters), but, that’s how these things work sometimes. At least I didn’t suggest that anyone jump on their boss’s desk and pee on it while singing ‘Take This Job and Shove It!” I’m saving that one for an epic bridge-burning resignation for someone super-close to retirement. Until next week, then, fair winds and following seas, Shippers!