Dear Prudence

Boxers, Briefs, or Bustiers?

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Dear Pru,
I am not sure whether you’re qualified to answer this question, but this venue seems a sure way to at least get an opinion. Here goes: I have been keeping company with an amazing musician, entrepreneur, philosopher, and searcher for truth. I should tell you that I am a fairly intellectual, beautiful (so they say), talented, educated woman. The man I am referring to is very masculine, good-looking, etc. I am ready for a committed situation, i.e. marriage. The problem is this gorgeous man has several neuroses (fears), and I feel he is not in a position to consider such a relationship. I should also say that this gorgeous guy has been messed up by his hypochondriacal Jewish parents. He’s assured me, however, he’s progressing well in the neurotica department. What really startled me, though, was his admission that he sometimes likes to wear lingerie! I was too numbed to even respond. What is going on with a man who is otherwise quite masculine but likes to do this?

—I remain,
Most Sincerely Skeptical

Dear Most,
Well, it is possible that Victoria’s Secret is that some guys are buying this stuff—but not as gifts. Hard as it may be to track, many of the men who like to wear frillies are heterosexual. The “confession” certainly beats discovering him in a bustier and lace garters, so at least give him credit for that. Since he’s working on his neurotica—great word—give this musical, entrepreneurial, philosophical searcher for truth a little time to see if he can pass muster. And try not to be too hard on his hypochondriacal Jewish parents. Prudie is one of those herself.

—Prudie, silkily

Dear Prudie,
What do you mean, “Some men are ACTUALLY ATTRACTED by … plus sizes?” There are many of us, but it seems we have to almost hide because of society’s sick focus on skinny or athletic. We love Rubenesque women the way they are, and they love us for it. I have “been out of the closet” for years as a lover of big beautiful women (BBWs). You couldn’t insult any other minority in this manner in the media or a public forum; please don’t take us for a safe target. Recent studies show over 40 percent of American women are overweight. Hurray! P.S.: Dare you to print this!

—Wayne B.

Dear Way,
Prudie is not afraid of a little dare. Furthermore, there is “Rubenesque,” and there is Two Ton Tessie. Granted, really large women like Camryn Manheim can be attractive, but it is not healthy to be dragging around the equivalent of another person. Prudie knows a little something about hearts, and she doesn’t mean just lonely ones. To haul enough extra freight so that all the body’s systems are taxed is asking for trouble. Dick Cheney doesn’t look wildly overweight, for example, yet his docs have told him to drop a few—and soon. Prudie would not quibble with any man who is turned off by a woman who balloons up several sizes from what she was when they initially got together. We all look at somewhat higher numbers on the scale as we age, but not to the degree where one’s husband or beau finds sex impossible or unappealing. The idea, in theory, of BBWs is nice, but it is a small leap from there to RHBs (really huge behinds). Have a great day.

—Prudie, firmly

Dear Prudence,
After reading your column for the first time, I knew that I should finally ask someone for advice. On New Year’s Day in ‘96, I began dating the most incredible woman I had ever met. She and I were like two lost puzzle pieces that completed the picture perfectly. We moved in together a few months later and truly complemented one another. If there is a God in heaven, then he surely leased us a piece of it because it was the happiest time of my life. Three years later she told me she didn’t love me “like that” anymore and asked me to move out. So I left and took with me a love that has never gone away. I have tried new relationships but ended them when I started thinking about the ex more than the current. Anyway, that was two and a half years ago, and I’m still having trouble. I am desperate for some useful advice. Sorry if this seems pathetic.

—Hopelessly Devoted

Dear Hope,
It is apparent that you are in sad shape over this one-sided development. Unrequited love, of course, is a staple of poetry, music, and literature. It is why so many people endlessly play go-to-hell music, like old Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra songs. Trust Prudie that nonreciprocal attachment is very common, but life moves … people change. Your perfect love just wore out. It happens. Time really is a great healer, and you never know what’s around the corner. Prudie’s favorite therapist, Dr. Shari Thurer, suggests that because your sense of loss has lingered this long and is likely interfering with your daily life, you might benefit from counseling. She says that too obsessive an attachment may signal possible low self-esteem, the erroneous belief that you deserve a rejecting lover, or that you are distorting past memories. All of this is very workable in therapy.

—Prudie, hopefully

Dear Prudence,
I have been chatting with a man for about a month. We live quite a distance apart, and he will be visiting my area in a month. I have not told him that I had breast cancer surgery four years ago. I fear if I say something, he might not want to see me. I feel really torn because he seems like an understanding guy, but I don’t want to be unfair to him. Help!


Dear Con,
It would be Prudie’s guess that this man is not coming to meet your breast. Your concern is understandable, of course, because there are psychosocial aspects to health problems. Regarding mastectomies, however, the surgery itself is often not all that mutilating. Some women prefer to wear a bra—with prosthesis—during sex, but most give that up rapidly. Obviously, this is delicate at the beginning of a relationship, but Prudie would urge you to be upbeat and upfront (pardon the metaphor) early on. In good relationships, men report being a lot more concerned about their partner’s health than the contours of the chest. And if this man were to be turned off by the surgical scar, he wouldn’t be an acceptable partner anyway, would he?

—Prudie, maturely