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?

Here’s the good news – we aren’t living in a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, so you won’t have to endure the sight of your girlfriend being stoned to death by all of her male relatives for being a Jezebel.  Here’s the bad news – we aren’t living in a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, so you have no business feeling this way.  If you and your prospective mate are both over the age of 21, then you will both have kissed more than three people in your lives before meeting.  That’s not a moral failing, that’s simply having lived life.  It’s an unfortunate coincidence that three of hers will all be in the same place, but it’s nothing unusual.  People tend to consort with those in their peer group, and I’m betting she, her friend the bride, and these guys ran in the same circles in college.  Kissing isn’t that big a deal – it doesn’t sound like any of them got under her modesty-preserving prairie dress.  She may have made out with them in the past but you’re the one she’ll be having boring long-term-relationship missionary sex with after the reception, so play your cards right, suppress your natural bitch instincts, and she just might get drunk enough to let you finish without pulling out.

Your stupid feelings about this bullshit aren’t the real problem here, though.  You say you’re both in law school, and you sound both conservative and incredibly paternalistic.  Add a dash of “this person I’ve known for six months in school is the love of my life” and I can’t help but assume you’re going to some Jesus-tastic third-tier law school dedicated to churning out Good Christian Soldier lawyers who will someday enact bans on women’s ankles on television and, well, columns like this one.  I’m gonna guess Regent University.  Here’s some more bad news, Jebediah – the Bush Administration is over; nobody’s looking to hire some homeschooled sperglord who just spent seven years being watched by Pat Robertson’s minions.  Your prospects are bleak.  The job market is already terrible for lawyers, and you’re carrying the extra burden of student loans taken out to pay for an education that everyone who runs law firms laughs at during alumni meetings.  There are three tiers of law schools and you’re in the third one.  That’s the worst tier.

What I’m saying is, quit law school.  You’re welcome.

Dear Prudence,
My husband’s parents divorced long ago and now are putting him through another emotional wringer. My husband’s father has squandered millions of dollars on womanizing and making bad investments. He is in failing health and the banks are closing in, but he refuses to face reality and live a modest life. We would take him in, but he is so greedy and selfish that we don’t think we can live with him. My husband’s mother recently left her horrible second husband and relocated to our area. Now she’s decided that my husband’s father has changed. She wants him to move in with her, and us to approve. They expect my husband to clean up after their endless mistakes. I’m afraid the stress is going to kill him. They’re in their 60s, and as they age, we will have no choice but to take care of them. How can we avoid succumbing to their drama and bad choices?

WorldCom, man.  WorldCom.

It’s always a shame when someone reaches adulthood and realizes that both of their parents are idiots.  Not only does it mean they will likely have to spend their middle ages worrying about their welfare (Baby Boomers are all gonna live forever), but they have to live with the knowledge that they carry their genetic traits, meaning that once their mid-50s come around their lives will probably fall completely apart due to their own decades of foolishness too.  That’s pretty heavy stuff it sounds like your husband is living through.

There are no easy answers here.  Well, there is one easy answer – kill them both, make it look like a suicide, and get away with it – but it comes with too much risk and in some circles is considered morally wrong.  No judgement here, obviously, but his siblings will probably object.  So here you are – your dad pissed away his money on whores and Solyndra, and your mom pissed away her youth on terrible men.  Honestly, it sounds like they deserve each other.  My parents are in their 60s, are still together, are pretty secure from all outward appearances, and my sister is way more responsible than I am so when the time comes she’s doing all the heavy lifting.  Honestly I don’t have any advice for you other than “don’t do this to your kids.”  Avoid succumbing to their drama by reveling in how you’re helping your husband defy his lousy genetics – the lousy genetics they gave him.  Maybe put that on next year’s Christmas card.

Dear Prudence,
A couple of weeks ago, as a prank my husband put ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce in his co-worker “Frank’s” tea.  When Frank drank the tea, he spat it out, saw my husband laughing with two other co-workers, and punched my husband in the face. My husband was knocked out cold. The cops were called. It turns out Frank is allergic to mustard; it constricts his airway. Frank had to be taken to the hospital. My husband was fired, and both he and Frank have hired lawyers. I’m disgusted and embarrassed. My husband has always been a prankster, but this is ridiculous!  Since the incident, I don’t even want to be around him. I sided with Frank, and this has caused great friction between us. Am I wrong to make a big deal about this? What are some prudent steps to take concerning my marriage?

This week’s theme seems to be “don’t marry stupid, stupid” and your husband fits right in. While everyone was busy putting the new cover sheets on their TPS reports he was spending his time putting condiments into someone’s tea…and apparently that’s funny.  “Hahaha look at Frank, his tea doesn’t taste good!  I GOT YOU GOOD YOU FUCKER!”  Everyone with a brain knows the best way to prank someone at the office is to make them think they’ve been fired, so have your husband make sure he has actually lost his job and isn’t simply trapped in an elaborate retaliatory ruse orchestrated by Frank.  “Allergic to mustard” certainly raises questions.

Dear Prudie,
I am in my late 20s and am finishing up a graduate degree in education. My last step is internships in the classrooms of veteran teachers. The fourth-grade teacher I’m currently working with is terrible. She yells at the students. She calls out students’ grades and mocks those who fail. She reads aloud wrong answers that children have given on tests
and lets the other students titter. Recently, everyone who failed a quiz had to stand up in front of the class while she lectured about how bad their grades were. My internship finishes shortly, but I’m nervous about reporting her to the principal, because she would know I did it. I need her positive evaluation of me to ensure my license. Is there a good solution?

Have you ever noticed that, when a genocidal regime collapses and people start going in front of tribunals for their trials that invariably end with lifetime prison sentences or the gallows, it’s always higher-level officers and officials taking all the blame?  Do you know why that is?  Because if they were going to put every Third-Class Petty Officer on trial for driving the truck full of bullets over to the base next to the city full of ethnic minorities up on trial for War Crimes they’d never get through the backlog.  You’re the Private driving the genocide supply truck.  This teacher you’re working with is Slobodan Milosevic.  Milosevic gets hanged, the truck driver just gets a job as a clerk somewhere and doesn’t talk about what he did during the war.

Fourth-graders are all nine and ten years old, which is right about the time kids start figuring out how to intentionally be assholes, so at least half of them probably deserve to be yelled at.  And as for the ones who are being mocked for failing, let’s not forget how simple the things you learn in fourth grade are.  This isn’t exactly Principles of Heat and Mass Transfer 402, here.  If they don’t get it, they’re probably not very smart.  A little group shaming will help the ones who don’t know how to multiply lower their expectations for life, and that’s a good thing in the long run.  The earlier they learn they aren’t smart the better  The world needs geniuses who apply themselves, but it needs people who pay full price for Regent University Law School, too.

Just a reminder, if you’d like your question answered you have to get it on Dear Prudence first, just send your questions to  Don’t send them to me, I don’t have an advice column on Slate.  Yet.

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