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.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

...on Creepers, Skeeves, Painters and Pricks

 Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found Here.

Hey hidey-ho there, Shippers!  How in the hell are ya on this fine-fine December morn?  How’s life been treating you lo these many months gone by?  What are your plans for the many upcoming holidays?  Do tell!  Listen, I could go into a long explanation of what I’ve been up to over the last several months, and, too, ask you what you’ve been up to, but, fact is, we’re all here for the letters, right?  So, with that in mind, and to shake off the dust, let’s get crackin’ on ‘em, shall we?

LW#1:  Dear Prudie, I’m not going to give you a single bit of context or back story or even a single detail of my life save for these:  I’m miserable because my 58-year-old husband of (less than, but nearly) two years has just left me for my daughter of (fully) 25 years.  I now feel “heartbroken, betrayed and furious at the two people I love most.”  What do I do?  Signed, Miserable is Muskogee

Dear Ms. Miserable.  Damn!  That’s a kick in the titty, eh?  So, look, I’m not a “blame the victim” kind of guy, but, you say that your daughter is one of the two people in the world you love most.  As such, why would she ever dream of doing this?  How did things end with your first husband?  Did you leave him for someone else back when your daughter was in her formative years?  Is there some other powerful reason for your daughter to treat you with such little regard or respect?  These things don't usually just crop up out of the blue--especially with those we "love most."  If it was a passionate, short-term mistake (and those do happen) by an otherwise-loving daughter, she would have tearfully fessed up and distanced herself from Old Man Creeper.  But instead, she’s moving in with him?  And, then, there’s your 58-year-old ex (whom you love second most) shacking up with a 25-year-old girl?!  Boy, you sure do know how to pick 'em!  So, while I’m not blaming you, I do suggest that you go for counseling and tell the counselor everything you've told us (and, you know, the rest of the story, too), and try to find out why those you “love most” are such apparent duds.  Be prepared to hear, once you're done with your fainting fit, that your love of the dramatic is going to be just as much a part of what you need to overcome as the betrayed furiousness you now feel.  And, as for the new lovebirds, were I you, I'd simply wish them well.  Their fling will last only so long as you make it apparent that it bothers you, because, your daughter, having not fallen far from the tree, will quickly grow tired of your ex if she can’t get a rise out of you over the situation.

LW#2:  Dear Prudie, my FIL is a creeper.  His actions with my daughter make her (and me, and my husband, I think,) very uncomfortable.  The in-laws are rarely around, and their culture dictates that they be treated with extreme reverence when they are.  And, even though they treat me like shit, I’ve deferred to that dynamic in the past to keep the peace.  But I've determined that I won’t have my daughter at risk any more.  What can I do?  Signed, Standing Up in Scranton

Dear Standing Up.  Good for you!  Now, as Prudie says, get your husband to address not only the treatment of your daughter--have him tell them that she doesn’t like rough housing and that gramps is going to need to practice a much more hands-off approach this time--but, too, he needs to put the kibosh on his parents' poor treatment of you, too.  If he hasn’t already turned toward them when they condescend to you, eyes a full shade and a half of Hell and said, “Excuse me, but, that’s my wife, this is her house, and if I ever, ever hear her treated like that again, you will no longer be welcome here”, then he needs to be told that that’s his responsibility.  And, if he won’t do it, you should.  You should never be condescended to in your own house, nor should you ever feel the need to defer your feelings about your daughter’s safety.  Ever.  To anyone.  You are her protector, not a model for her on how best to be shit upon.

LW#3:  Dear Prudie, my girlfriend’s step father paints nudes of her.  He’s 80-something and we’re in our 30s.  He didn’t start painting her until she was in her 20s.  I’m all liberal and fine with nude paintings as a general concept, and his are very tasteful, but this arrangement skeeves me out.  Especially the frontals!  Am I a jealous prick or is something amiss here?  Signed, Heebie-jeebies in Hoboken

Dear Heebies.  You are a jealous prick who doesn’t respect his girlfriend’s judgment or her step-father's discretion.  And Prudie was way off base in her answer to you.  There.  How’s that?

LW#4:  Dear Prudie, I still have my security blanket from childhood.  I’ve tried to quit it, and have been able to put it away for months at a time, but, I always go back.  My boyfriend groans when he comes home and catches me with it and when I then try to lie and say that it was just sitting there and that “I wasn’t touching it, honest I wasn’t!”  I need help in breaking this habit.  Don’t I?  Signed, Insecure in Indianapolis

Dear Insecure.  Which habit are you asking about breaking?  Your relationship with your blankie, or your relationship with your prick boyfriend?  Listen, first off, and this is important, anyone, and I mean anyone who makes you feel like you need to lie about your blankie is not right for you.  Who the fuck is he, the blankie police?  If he thinks he needs to be with someone without a blankie, then let him.  And if that’s not you, that’s okay, too.  Might even be better!  Listen, people smoke, chew pens, have a favorite chair or hobby or other things from which they derive comfort.  You have your blankie.  If you want to break the habit for you, then that's one thing.  But if your asshole boyfriend can’t accept you for who you are, he’s the one with the insecurity issues.  Never lie about your blanket again.  It’s not necessary and it’s beneath you (although I would wash it--it sounds a little nasty by your description!).

Well Shippers, that’s it.  How was that for being gone so long?  Okay?  Need more snark?  Less?   I hope that alls’ well with you all and that you’re having a wonderful December!  Fair winds and following seas to you all!


  1. Good to see you back, and in very good form. You perhaps miss one possibility to which I shall return once I'm done, as I don't want to start it early, but there's an extenuating circumstance in your case.

  2. Thank you, hrumpole! My studies are finally over. Well, at least until I decide to work toward a Ph.D. :-)

    I'm curious and excited to learn what possibility I may have missed! Cheers!

  3. asking for a "friend"December 8, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    the Return of the King!!!!

    btw, are #1, #2, and #3 all the same person? :).

    welcome back!

  4. Ahoy there, asking for a 'friend'! I know that you're an important fellow, but, a King? Didn't know that! Good on ya! :-P

    As for letters 1-3, well, sort of. Same family, different writers. LW1 is the wife of the creeper grandfather referred to by LW2. LW3 is also referring to the (ex?) husband of LW1, he's just really bad with age and thinks all people over 40 are "like 80 years old or something." And actually LW4 is the daughter of LW1. Blankie issues, Daddy issues, etc. ;-) Could happen! :-)

  5. Oh, I decided to gender my reply to L4 out of a suspicion that LW4's manner of interaction with the blanket might make BF4 feel like a pederast. I maintain that, given the prevalence of similar accusations being lobbed with depressing regularity at same-sexers, this could be a greater stumbling block in a same-sex relationship than in an opposite-sex one. But in the end, I surprised myself by finding the idea rather a hopeful one, as it seemed to open the door for possible compromise - assuming, of course, that LW4 likes it when BF4 points at him without using his hands.

  6. Smag! Thank goodness you're back. In fine form, too.

    I have a massive favor to ask.... could you post my latest SHADDAP? Puhleeeeeeeeese????

  7. Thank you, sweetie. Now where did you say you were? Aunt Messy wants to know!

  8. hrumpole, ahoy! You make a great case of L4, and your entry (which I shall respond to soonest) really put some specific images in my mind for what he does with the blanket. ;-) But, as for your suggestions here, yes! Make it part of the pointing play and everyone's happy! Our certainly could be. :-) It's okay to be hopeful. Especially at this time of year. :-)

    Much good cheer to you! :-)

  9. Ah, Messy, you're quite welcome! It's always a pleasure. :-)

    Much good cheer to you and yours! :-)

  10. Hi Smaggy! I think I might be psychic or something cuz I have not checked this in ages and I did today and here you are! I love your answer to LW3. Actually I am not sure I would not feel uncomfortable if I were the LW, but I love the balls to the walls confidence of yoru answer nonetheless!

  11. Oh what a glorious day!!!!!!!!!!!! I kept checking week after week after week but I had lost all hope!!!!!!!!!!!! My captain, welcome back I can not tell you how much I missed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Proudie day without your replies is no fun at all... Thank you so much for this lovely early Christmas present:-))

  12. Ahoy, Bella, and greetings! :-) After so long away, I wanted to sort of dip my toes in the water and not go too hard. But with LW3, I just don't know what else to say? He says the paintings are tasteful. He even seems to have no problem when they're from behind. It's only when we got to the front that he has an issue. My guess is that he also wants to approve his GF's GYN but wouldn't dare write Prudie about it (Dear Prudie, I'm pretty sure that my GF's GYN spends a little *too much* time examining her. He's a great doctor, with a sterling reputation, but can't he just examine her from afar?").

    So, in his case, I had to go balls to wall. Some things can't be helped. ;-)

    Good cheer and wonderful to see you here!

  13. Greetings Anonymous! I'm thrilled that your losing of all hope didn't keep you from coming back. :-) Thank you for the kind welcome back!

    Much good cheer to you! :-)

  14. How wonderful to see you back in action, Captain Smag!

    I lacked the energy to look through Prudie's letters but I wonder in which depths you were traveling?

    If you're done with your studies, it means congratulations are in order?

    Are you going to go for a PhD and figure out what black holes are made off? (my own theory is that we live inside a sink and the water is being let out.... This replaces my previous theory that we live inside somebody's lung and that's why we keep on being confused as to whether the universe is expanding or retracting as the lung is breathing in and out. And of course the other lung is a parallel universe.... oh and then it's a sickly lung which tends to cough up all sort of weird things. Haven't you noticed how asteroids have the same shapes as snot?)

  15. Ahoy, Kati! :-) And thank you for the congratulations. I am exploring PhD options and believe I will start sometime in the next...few years? :-) I really am looking into it, but, for now I will rest and recoup. We'll see how long I can stand it. :-)

    I like the draining sink theory, Kati, but, I have to say that the sick lung theory appeals to me more, due to its explanation of the expansion and contraction, and the opportunity for parallel existence. And, whoa, who doesn't like snot-shaped asteroids? :-)

    Much good cheer to you, Kati! :-)

  16. *Rubs eyes like a cartoon character* You're back?? I can't really say if this is good or bad... I mean, on the one hand, yay for cutting straight to the snark without having to his "more" all day long! On the other hand, I rarely check Prudie anymore since I left my job (what? I read Prudie at work?? I mean, on lunch break, of course) - not to mention I can never scroll through all the comments in that crazy comment setup - and now that I'm working on a business, all these new outlets for snark (here, Facebook...) are going to be a serious hit to my productivity. I mean, I was always more of a lurker than a contributor, but still....
    What are the chances I can work Dear Prudence into a business plan?
    Welcome back!

  17. LOL! Love the answer to #4. In fact. I love all of your answers that I've read so far!