Dear Prudence

Prudie Nixes the Nudie Farm

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Dear Prudie,
This sounds crazy, I know, but my boyfriend and I are at a sword’s point about a rather odd issue. A friend of his is a nudist and has invited us to come to his “community’s” guest weekend the last weekend of August. My boyfriend wants to go; I do not. I know I would be a wreck as I was not raised to be casual about nudity. I have a pretty good figure, so the issue is not cellulite or anything. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this problem before, but I would be grateful for your opinion.

—Happier With Clothes On

Dear Hap,
Take it from Prudie, do not grin and bare it. Some years ago, before she got busy getting people out of scrapes, Prudie went as a reporter to a nudists’ event in Indiana. It was an acutely uncomfortable day, what with diligently trying to look people in the eye—and nowhere else—and wearing clothes in a sea of … well, no clothes. Your beau needs to understand that Naked Came the Stranger was not written with you in mind. And just in case Mr. Adventurous thinks that people are nudists because they have gorgeous bodies they wish to advertise, tell him that Prudie’s recollection does not support this. For whatever reason, most of the women were plus sizes, and almost every man had the body of a God. Buddha.

—Prudie, modestly

Dear Prudence,
What do I say to a dear friend whose 24-year-old stepson has just been convicted of murder and given a life sentence? I want to say something sympathetic because I know my friend (his stepfather) and the young man’s mother are devastated, but on the other hand, no one is mentioning a word about justice or the life of the man who was killed. There is no question of guilt; he is guilty. It is just sad that this young man is losing his freedom for at least 25 years (which I actually think is a boon to society), but I can hardly say that. Help—what DO I say?


Dear C.,
Your situation is not unlike wanting to express sympathy to a friend who loses a loved one. And, in fact, the language would be quite similar: You are sorry for their pain and loss and hope they will arrive at some inner peace. Prudie thinks you are mistaken about one thing, however. There are people acknowledging the life of the man who was killed—they are just not mentioning it to the parents of the killer. Because you are tied to the criminal’s family—who have done nothing, we will assume, to bring about this situation—you are not insincere to regret their terrible heartbreak at this turn of events.

—Prudie, diplomatically

Dear Prudie,
I work as a receptionist/assistant for the executives of a software company. Recently I almost ran into this guy on my way off the elevator and noticed he has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. I would love to get to know him better, but when I looked him up in the directory, I found out he’s pretty high up in the company and feel I can’t approach him. I’m leaving the company in two months, and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of meeting him. What should I do???


Dear Perp,
During a break, wander into Mr. Beautiful Eyes’ territory, only this time fix your gaze on his ring finger … though that’s not always a sure-fire indicator of marital status. If there’s no ring, ask a secretary what his situation is. If you learn he’s not involved, invite him for coffee and see how the invitation is received. Prudie is not always in favor of a woman being the aggressor, especially in an office situation, but in this instance that seems the way to go. If he is not receptive, your planned exit from the company guarantees that you can leave your “mistake” behind. BTW, eyes may be the window to the soul, but even beautiful ones are not a reliable indicator of character or personality.

—Prudie, daringly