A friend of mine since high school has reverted to some behaviors that I find inappropriate, but I don’t know how to ask her not to behave as she has been. A bit of background: In high school she hung all over the guy(s) I was dating, even going so far as to hold his hand in front of me, like it was no big deal. Later, after high school, I was dating another guy whom she was kind enough to hang on again, this time throwing her arms around him for a more-than-friendly hug and putting her legs across his lap on the couch without so much as a sideways glance. I am married now, and it’s been more than year since she’s done anything remotely offensive, but recently she decided that it would be appropriate to remove her shirt standing behind my husband, wearing a rather transparent, lacy bra, knowing that he was standing right next to a mirror. I was appalled. I realize that this behavior is not something new for her, but that last incident was more than I could deal with. Am I just being a prude? How do I deal with this situation?
Prudie suggests you cut off all contact with her before she shows up in her birthday suit. Old friends are nice, but when their actions are unacceptable, you get to sever the connection. Your pal has no sense of boundaries and is obviously judgment-impaired. It might actually be the friendly thing to tell her that such provocative, inappropriate behavior means she is in need of therapy. Do not feel that you are the strange one or that you are a prude. This girl is a walking head case who is acting out ecdysiastically.
—Prudie, fully dressed
My sister is going to be the maid of honor at my wedding. She is lesbian, which is fine with me and my family. She used to wear feminine clothing (including skirts and dresses) but in the past two years has become entirely butch. She now states that it is “against her identity” to wear a dress at any time, including the ceremony. Given her stubborn streak, I have not been able to move her from this position. I don’t want a family feud over the matter, but I do feel that on this one day my choices should be honored. Do you think it is reasonable for me to want her to wear a dress, or am I being an ogre?
What is it with these people who are busy making “statements”? Try to reason with her and explain that your identity, on that particular day, is that of the bride … and traditionally, girls in the wedding party wear dresses. If she cannot see her way clear to being a lipstick lesbian for a few hours, invite her to have a tuxedo made in the same color as the dresses. (Prudie would love it if your attendants were wearing pink, or yellow, and her own lesbian self walked down the aisle in a color-coordinated tux.) Your sister’s political fashion statement aside, Prudie wishes you and your groom a lovely day and mazel-ton, which, of course, is tons of luck.
I have been married for over 10 years to my high-school sweetheart, but the last couple of months have been very stressful. I think my husband is having an affair. He’s never home anymore, and he’s on his two-way pager day and night. Last week we went to the movies, and afterward he brought us home (it was about 9:30) and claimed he was going to pick something up. He didn’t get home until around 12:30 that night. I am always finding things that would suggest another woman, but I am just not sure. I ask … and he says he’s not seeing someone else. I need advice regarding what I should do.
They usually don’t tell you, babe—even when you ask. From the story about your night at the movies, Prudie finds your husband rather brazen in that he told you, in a way, what he was doing. He no doubt did pick something up … he just didn’t tell you her name. These situations are very difficult. The tomcat guys who want to fool around are going to find a way. And Prudie cannot suggest separation or divorce for every couple where someone is straying; the court dockets couldn’t handle the load. What you need to do is tell him of your suspicions and inform him that this is not the way you intend to live. Some people would call that a threat; Prudie calls it an opening salvo in a situation that needs to be resolved.
My question is simple: How do I politely but firmly put an end to a certain pair of religious solicitors who visit my house every few months? I’ve tried being rude, truthful, and just plain lying to get them to leave. They keep showing up. I am very comfortable in my religious orientation and have tried using that angle as well. I know these people are pests to a lot more people than just me. I appreciate what they’re trying to do, but they need to respect my wishes as well. What’s up?
—Hiding From the Doorbell
Alas, the time has come for no more Mr. Nice Guy—or in your case, Mrs. It is hard to believe that the same pair of pushy clods continues to try their luck, but if this is the case, the next time they ring your bell, try one of the following. If you see them from the window, ignore the bell. If you open the door, tell them they have very poor memories—then close the door. If they hound you some more, call the police and inform them that unwelcome solicitors are disturbing your peace and trespassing. It has always interested Prudie, who has dealt with these pests herself, that their hierarchy has not figured out that for every person willing to listen to a front-door spiel, probably a hundred are annoyed. Religion is not something to be sold door-to-door. Fuller brushes are.