Dear Dear Prudence, Volume VI

The therapist who has been helping me rebuild my memory after my horrible hot air balloon accident has informed me that I used to have this blog.  Dear Dear Prudence appears to be a regular feature, so I’m writing another one.  Wear a helmet when hot air ballooning, kids!

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Reason was written by the editors of Cat Fancy, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your librarian) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of that last one makes it into the column every week.  Drink when you hit it.  We here at Dear Dear Prudence like to take another crack at the questions she has been posed, so that the people who ask them may have the benefit of a second opinion.  

Dear Prudence,
After seeing several friends go through bitter and prolonged divorces, my husband has decided that he wants us to have a postnuptial agreement. He explains that our marriage is a “limited liability partnership” with no “out clause” and that he wants to put a “stop loss” in place, as if our marriage is one of his stock market trades. He says he doesn’t want to go on in this “contract”—meaning our marriage—unless I sign a postnup. We have been married four years and have a toddler son. We live in a state that says assets should be divided equitably in a divorce, but the postnup he offers would give me only 20 percent of his financial assets and he’d keep the house because he owned it before we were married. We both work, though I make two-thirds of his income. I consulted an attorney who says my husband’s proposal is “total B.S.” and I shouldn’t sign. My husband says if I don’t he will serve me with divorce papers. He adds this has nothing to do with his feelings for me or our son, and would prefer to continue living together even if we do divorce. I love the life we had together and don’t want to lose it. We even had been talking about having a second child. But he is obviously more worried about protecting his growing wealth than he is about our family. I just don’t know what to do. —To Sign or Not To Sign? Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume V

I gave up posting for Lent.  As penance, a fresh Dear Dear Prudence, to be shared by you and the almighty.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Harper’s was written by the editors of Entertainment Weekly, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your librarian) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of that last one makes it into the column every week.  Drink when you hit it.  We here at Dear Dear Prudence like to take another crack at the questions she has been posed, so that the people who ask them may have the benefit of a second opinion.  

This week (hah!) we hear from a woman whose husband’s only flaw is that he is a terrible father and probably impossible to live with, a guy who doesn’t want us to know he’s thinking about cheating on his wife, and a huge jerk.  Sounds about right.

Dear Prudence,
I hit the jackpot with my husband. He treats me like a queen, cleans the house, has a successful career that allows me to be a stay-at-home mom, encourages me to have evenings out with girlfriends, etc. We’ve been happily married for 10 years and have two wonderful children ages 5 and 7. My concern is that while I know he loves our children, he doesn’t enjoy them. He was raised by an obsessive-compulsive-type mother who still vacuums twice a day. He barks at the kids if there’s a sock lying around or a toy on the floor. He yells if he has to ask them twice to do anything. When he gets home, he wants to tell me about his day while I’m cooking dinner. The kids sometimes interrupt, which drives my husband crazy. They hate to be left alone with him because he’s “grumpy.” He thinks, wrongly, that they are naughtier than other children, and I feel defensive that he’s criticizing the way I’m raising them. My mother says he parents the way he was parented and he turned out great. I’m going away with some girlfriends, and he’s said that “things are going to change” and he’s going to “fix the kids.” I’m secretly afraid of him trying. Should I just accept that he’ll always be hard on them? The kids are the only thing we argue about.
—Dad Dilemma Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume IV

We haven’t done this since 2011, kinda like everything else on Fantastic Manliness.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Nickelodeon The Magazine was written by the editors of Highlights for Children, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your librarian) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of that last one makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

On this episode we provide questionable counsel to a man whose girlfriend has kissed other men in her past (gasp!), a woman whose in-laws never learned how to be adults, another woman whose prankster husband almost killed someone, and a graduate student whose problem doesn’t matter because graduate students are literally the worst people on Earth.  Let’s get slap happy!

Dear Prudence,
My girlfriend and I are in law school together and have been dating for six months. Things are getting serious—she is the love of my life. Her best friend is getting married this spring, and my girlfriend is the maid of honor. I was excited to attend this wedding as her date. However, she recently confessed that she had previously made out with three of the groomsmen, including the best man who will walk her down the aisle. I was completely taken aback by this. She said who she made out with in the past isn’t really any of my business, but she wanted to tell me so I wasn’t in the dark at the wedding. I’m pretty upset. She said I should consider how she feels, having to participate in a wedding along with these guys. That makes sense, but those are the repercussions of her actions. Should I go to the wedding and be uncomfortable watching her walk down the aisle with someone she’s kissed before, who is still in love with her? Or should I just skip the whole thing and save myself some emotional trouble? Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume III

Remember when this was supposed to be a weekly feature?  Me neither!  We’re back with more D.D.P. after taking October and November off.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if TMZ was written by the editors of The Economist, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week we deal with the medical mysteries of adoption, why women don’t understand pissing in sinks, strange manifestations of other-woman guilt, and women thinking too hard about friendship.  Put a pink magnetic ribbon on your car and pretend to like missionary, it’s Ladies’ Night on Fantastic Manliness!

Dear Prudie,
My father was adopted as a baby in the 1950s. About all I know is that his birth parents eventually married and that he has full brothers and sisters. He does not want to know anything about his biological family, and I respect that, I really do. However, my husband and I want to have children in the near future and I feel it is important to have a more complete family medical history, though it’s not that the presence of some horrible disease will likely sway our decision. (My niece does have a rare, genetic blood disorder which my mother points out could be from her side of the family.) I have asked my mother many times over the years how I can get this information, to no avail. I’ve thought about hiring someone to track down the biological family or having genetic testing done, but these things are simply too expensive. My mom supports my dad’s decision to know nothing and feels that it is not my business to ask such questions. My dad doesn’t have much adoptive family left and they would probably be insulted by such an inquiry. Should I talk to my dad about all this? If so, how can I explain that I support his decision not to have a relationship with his biological family and that I am purely interested in shedding some light on my own family medical history? Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume II

It’s been 11 days, you know what that means – another round of Dear Dear Prudence!

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Gawker was written by the editors of The New Yorker, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with the weird sexual kinks of our loved ones.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week Prudence counsels a mother whose child may have a rare genetic disorder passed on from her mother-in-law…and we throw out her perfectly good advice for my horrible rambling tangents  Sweet sassy molassy let’s get on with it! Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume I

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Gawker was written by the editors of The New Yorker, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with the weird sexual kinks of our loved ones.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

Her answers tend to be thoughtful and well-reasoned, but many of these questions deal with issues that are just a little thorny to be answered from only one perspective.  With that in mind, I bring you Dear Dear Prudence.  Each week I will “help” Ms. Yoffe navigate the turbulent waters of anonymous people’s problems.  Let us start off with last week’s column, dated September 1.

Dear Prudence,
I’m a mother of two attending graduate school and constantly in need of quiet time to study. My husband is a great help, but with two toddlers he’s got his hands full. His father often asks to take our daughter to help “lighten the load” but doesn’t ask to take our son, as well. I don’t like my father-in-law because of comments he’s made about women in general and me in particular. He has also served time for drug-related offenses earlier in his life. But I don’t want my feelings to taint my children’s view of their grandfather. He’s recently converted to a neo-Buddhist religion in which he “lives in the now” and tries to get everyone around him to be “enlightened” and forgiving about things that happened in the past. I keep getting this strange notion that something is inherently evil about this man, though he’s tried hard to convince everyone that he’s a new person. Do you think that people can really change in such a significant way that it’d be safe to let him spend time with my kids? Or should I trust my instincts and allow only supervised visits or no contact? My husband doesn’t like his father but humors him so that he doesn’t “have to deal with him.”

—Conflicted Mother

Her father is possibly a child molester and wants to babysit her kids!   We have our weird sex letter of the week, everybody drink a shot!  My first takeaway from this letter is the phrase “inherently evil.”  That is so broadly damning it’s almost hard to take seriously.  How many other people does she think are inherently evil?  Society thinks his worst crimes were drug offenses, which you can probably toss in the Reagan Bin, and she doesn’t say anything about having been molested herself.  What did he do that she’s not telling us about?  Did he chew loudly with his mouth open?  Murder Robert F. Kennedy?  It’s a bit of a leap from “bad father who went to jail for riding the snake” to “kiddie cornholer.”  For the sake of argument let’s take that leap and assume he has an XBox and a 6-pack of Bartles & Jaymes ready to pull out of his van the moment an unattended child crosses his path.  How bad would that be for her kid really?  There are certainly worse things than being molested.  Hell, if anything it builds character.  I grew up Catholic and we used to have this old saying in Youth Group – “walk it off.”  The kid’s gonna have her world shattered someday, you might as well let their granddad take care of it early during Secret Special Time.

Well that was a slam-dunk, on to the next question! Continue reading