Dear Prudence

It’s Different for Girls

Why would a woman want to download porn clips?

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Dear Prudie,
I was doing some doing some repair work on my girlfriend’s old laptop, which had been collecting dust in the closet. She has some old music files she wanted to put on her newer laptop. As I was checking the hard drive I noticed that in addition to music files, she had a bunch of porn clips. This was stuff I would think any self-respecting woman would find degrading. I confronted her about this and she was quite embarrassed. She said she had forgotten all about them. I asked her why she had them (keep in mind this was long before we met). She said during that period she was not dating anyone, so instead surfed the Internet for porn and downloaded stuff she liked. At first I thought it was kind of refreshing to hear about a woman doing this. After a while, though, it started bothering me. I just don’t understand how a woman could get stimulated viewing something where the women are in such a degrading scenario. Is it wrong or hypocritical to find this unsettling?


Dear Bothered,
Oh, the men who would be delighted to have your problem! There are two possibilities here. One, she wanted to see if you shared her interest in porn and instead of bringing it up directly, thought of this way to test your reaction, then backed off when she saw how negative it was. But I think it’s more likely that this was something she was doing during her relationship interregnum and she truly forgot the stuff was on the computer. So, now you’ve had a peek into a part of her that she had shut away and put in storage because she hasn’t needed it since she’s been with you. Surely there are things in your fantasy life that would be embarrassing for you to explain if she were able to gain access to them. Just because your fantasies don’t mesh doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with hers, especially since she’s not asking you to share them. Though you didn’t like what you saw, try to enjoy the fact that even the people we know best can be more surprising and inexplicable than we think.


Dear Prudie,
My fiance and I are both in our 40s, have been married before, and have been together for six years. He’s just about perfect. One of his most endearing qualities is his kind, gentle manner. We’ve had disagreements, but only two major fights. Each time we had a fight, an explosive side of him came out. He yelled and was very, very angry. The next day we were both quiet and then the issues smoothed over. He’s Italian and says this is both his nature and how he was raised: You yell when you’re upset. The problem is, I’m not Italian. I don’t do yelling and I don’t want to be yelled at. I don’t like it when yelling clears the air for him but leaves me feeling wounded. It’s happened only twice in all these years, but he says that’s the way he is and he won’t change. I hate to end a relationship that is so wonderful 99 percent of the time for this rarely occurring episode.

—Feeling Meek

Dear Meek,
If yelling twice in six years makes you Italian, then I’m Carmela Soprano. He yelled. He didn’t throw a bowl of pasta fazool at your head. Not only that, after he yelled, he didn’t stay angry and you two made up. If you’re contemplating breaking up with this great guy because he raises his voice a few times per decade, forget searching for your next companion among ethnic groups with less effusive reputations (even people in Ingmar Bergman movies have been known to get loud) and go directly for the heavily sedated.


Dear Prudence,
My husband I were married 11 months ago. We had a small wedding and then a party the next night with all the wedding guests, plus about 200 more guests. I have kept track in a wedding scrapbook what gifts were given by whom and if I have written a thank-you. I can’t help but notice that a significant number of guests did not give us a wedding present. Some are people we see frequently, some not so frequently but related closely—first cousins, etc. I am trying to understand this and not be offended, but it is difficult. My feelings are hurt that our friends and family could be so careless, and we are Southern, where manners are supposedly so valued, so it is not a question of our guests not knowing what is proper.


Dear Miffed,
You could write a form letter to everyone who has been so careless:

Dear Friend/Cousin/One of 200 People I Invited to My Party,
I notice that while my bridal registry still lists my need for pickle forks and trivets (among other things!) you have neglected to fulfill your obligation to get me any of this swag. At the party I spent $157 per head on food, drink, and entertainment, and the least you could do is to try to pay me back.
Well-raised, polite, and pissed

Gifts are lovely, but they are not obligatory. Perhaps some people felt that since they weren’t invited to the wedding, they didn’t need to bring a gift—so what? Now that it’s almost a year after your wedding, it’s time to stop obsessing about what you deserved on your special day. Put the scrapbook away and erase from your mind the category of people who “didn’t give me a present!” Be grateful your life is so free of problems that this actually seems like one.


Dear Prudence,
I have been with my current boyfriend for almost a year. He is he best boyfriend I’ve ever had; my dating track record has been awful, but the current bf is a great guy. He is in his last year of college, lives with his family, and has 50 zillion friends. He is always either at school, doing things around the house for his family, or spending time with friends. I get Saturday nights and if I’m lucky a couple minutes during the week. I don’t ask for much, only what I feel I deserve. He also has a problem calling people back on the phone. He’ll say he’s going to call me back and never does; there’s always some excuse. I am in love with him, I love being around him (when I get the chance), and he makes me so happy when we are together. When we aren’t together it seems as though I’m always getting upset with him for not taking the time for me, even if it’s just a phone call.

—Lonely Girlfriend

Dear Lonely,
He’s not the best boyfriend you ever had because he’s not your boyfriend. You may be someone he is having sex with—you may be one of many people he is having sex with, but the relationship you describe is not a mutual one. Before you enter into the next rotten romance, you need to take a break and figure out why you think so little of yourself. This is going to require counseling. Do it now while you are young and before you settle into a permanent pattern of being used and discarded. And start putting more of your energy into becoming what you can be—pursuing your education, career, friendships, and other interests, instead of looking for someone else to make you feel “happy” when he gives you practically nothing.