Dear Prudence

Where Have All the Prostitutes Gone?

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Dear Prudie,
In the late 1980s, San Francisco’s high-crime districts were full of pretty 16- to 20-year-old suburban goddesses who, for a modest price, were available for most any kind of debauched entertainment. It was great to make like Warren Beatty without the hassle of deciphering the female ego. Now, however, while these streets retain their old character and crack, crank, and other solvents of inhibition are plentiful as ever, the willing babes are gone. Why do you think this is? Could it be that teen-agers in 1989 came from marriages riven by 1970s lifestyle nonsense and that runaways today are scarce due to better-grounded parents? Thanks in advance for your trenchant and suitably patronizing reply.


Dear Al,
Prudie doubts she can be either trenchant or patronizing, having neither statistics on the subject you raise nor words of solace for someone missing the modestly priced goddesses, late of the suburbs. It would be wonderful if the wayward hooker-temps really were more scarce, but they still seem to be with us—though perhaps not in the exact areas you remember. As for parents today being better-grounded, well, let’s hope.

—Prudie, historically

Dear Prudie,
My problem is that I am a 16-year-old girl who just found out I am pregnant. I don’t have a boyfriend—it was a one-time thing. I am so scared it will mess up my life, and I know my parents would never accept it. I have considered abortion but am really scared because I know nothing about it.

—Confused Teen

Dear Con,
Not having had to deal with this problem before, Prudie asked her favorite kiddie shrink, Dr. Elizabeth, as the young people call her, what a professional might advise. Here is what she said: Laws vary tremendously from state to state about what a teen-ager can do on her own. In many states, teen-agers cannot get an abortion or even pregnancy counseling without parental permission—unless they go to court and a judge OKs it, which is a long, involved process. A good place to start, for you, would be to talk to the mental health counselor at school and decide if you’ve misgauged whether or not you can tell your parents. That person would know your state’s laws, as well, and might also direct you to the Planned Parenthood in your area. (They are a wonderful organization offering information and support.) Dr. Elizabeth said to check with the adolescent medicine clinic at your local hospital. They may be able to help. The really important thing is that you not go through this alone. With luck, there is a friend, a friend’s mother, or a relative you feel close enough to to whom you can confide if you decide your parents would be outraged rather than sympathetic. Try to keep it in mind that this is just one episode in your life and something to be dealt with. You will be fine, even though you may not believe it now.

—Prudie, hopefully

Dear Prudence,
I’m sensing a double standard at work, and having a vested interest in the issue, I’d like your opinion. Why must every man with a low to nonexistent libido be gay while uninterested women are the norm? I’m hoping men have other reasons, too. I love my boyfriend dearly and hope to marry him. Our sex life is the only dark cloud. We have sex rarely, maybe once or twice a month, and it worries me—for the very reason I’m arguing against. What man is uninterested in sex with a woman besides a gay man? He’s actually had to deny it, as a gay friend was interested in him a few years back. I’d hate to get married and 20 years down the road have him finally acknowledge his “true self” or something. I love this man and really can settle for once or twice a month. But I don’t want to be with someone who really doesn’t want to be with me, even if he doesn’t know it yet. What to do?

—Sad but Still Holding On

Dear Sad,
Well, have you tried asking? Having spoken of marriage, it certainly is within the realm of acceptable to tell him you feel the infrequent sex may signal something more than a 10-watt libido. Tell him of your down-the-line fears and your wish not to be window dressing, if that’s what he has in mind. Prudie knows women this has happened to, and when it all blows apart, they are furious—and 20 years older. This chap may, in fact, have never faced what may be repressed homosexuality. There are other possibilities, as well. He may have experienced childhood trauma that’s never been dealt with … he may have a metabolic disturbance … he may feel inadequate as a lover. Whatever is wrong, you need to bring the subject to the fore. Prudie feels certain something constructive will come of it.

—Prudie, openly

Dear Prudence,
My parents separated about six years ago. The divorce process (financial and emotional) was prolonged and difficult, complicated by both of my parents’, ummmm, issues. One of my father’s issues was a woman 22 years his junior. The divorce was finalized about three months ago, and my father is planning to marry in early summer. He has asked me and my younger siblings to attend. They are inclined not to go, but I am in a dilemma. I am not close to my father and also not crazy about the woman he’s marrying (adulterous affairs in one’s family can set one on edge), but I know that my sibs and I are going to have to deal with her, and I want to put up a good front. Here comes the ugly part: My father has guaranteed part of my loan for law school. I’m afraid that if I don’t make nice, his wife will not be happy with his “old” kids and might convince him to be less generous. I really don’t know what to do.

Dealing With Daddy

Dear Deal,
Good grief! (Prudie’s favorite oxymoron.) It sounds quite possible that one of your father’s issues, the one 22 years his junior, is very close in age to another of his issue—you! Putting aside, for the moment, any judgments about geezers and babes, let us address your immediate dilemma. You cannot dictate what your sibs do, but Prudie would advise you to attend the wedding. It obviously means something to the old goat, er, groom, since he asked you to be there, and it will cost you nothing to go, not even your principles. You already have a rocky relationship with your dad, which he knows; you don’t care for the woman, which she likely knows. The only place this relationship can go is up. It would be foolish to act out your displeasure at the risk of your law school education. Prudie’s guess is that your dad may be so grateful for your not snubbing him that the situation might actually improve. So yes. Suck it up, go, have some wedding cake, and repeat to yourself, “pro bono familiae.”

—Prudie, forwardly