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I am a 30-year-old woman who has been dating a lovely man for three months. He’s smart, funny, cute, and kind. I’ve felt so lucky to have found him. Here’s the problem: We recently became intimate for the first time, and he is, unfortunately, very poorly endowed—so small that I did some Google searching and think he might have a micropenis. I believe that sex is crucial to a relationship, and the thought of having a (potentially lifelong) relationship without an active sex life scares me. When you can’t feel anything during the act, that’s a problem. I know that there are other options in the bedroom, but I get pleasure by doing it the old-fashioned way. I feel awful about this—it’s obviously something that he can’t help, and it slays me that the universe would be so unjust to such a wonderful person. I’m conflicted. I see a potential future with him in every other way, but how do I deal with this? Do women who marry very poorly endowed men end up regretting it? If I let him go, what should I tell him that won’t absolutely crush him?
—A Little Problem
Your wonderful guy was cruelly shafted, and it’s sad to think that a relationship that seemed to have everything may be doomed because of a teeny-weeny problem. I once published a letter from a woman whose boyfriend had also gotten the short end of the stick—although perhaps not quite so drastically as yours—and in response I heard from several women who said they were initially very disappointed by their beloved’s under-endowment and wondered whether it was a relationship killer. But they liked the guy so much that they stuck with it and said they eventually “adjusted” and came to find their sex lives fulfilling. The only way you can find out whether this can be true for you is to try again—but if the thought fills you with dread and despair, you pretty much have your answer as to whether you can continue this relationship. If you do give your intimacy another go, despite your love of “the old-fashioned way,” this would be a good time to expand your repertoire. However, if each encounter leaves you feeling a void, then your frustration will ultimately kill the good parts of your relationship. If you let him go, you will be telling him the truth if you say he’s one of the finest men you’ve ever known, but you two just don’t have any chemistry in bed. And if that happens, I have a somewhat hopeful note for your man. I, too, Googled micropenis, and I had a shock of recognition when I saw the first image. There was a gentleman just like that at the nudist resort I recently wrote about. Every time I saw him, he was holding hands with his wife, who seemed blissfully happy to be with her little big man.
Dear Prudence: Resemblance Envy
The daughter of an acquaintance of mine recently was treated for cancer. She’s about 4-years-old, and I believe she is doing well now. Her mother posted a request on Facebook asking for donations of hair to make a wig for her. Then another friend sent me a private message to tell me that the mother wanted me to donate my hair to her daughter. I feel like a horrible person, but I don’t want to donate my hair. The only thing I like about my appearance is my hair. I know how selfish that sounds, and it’s killing me. Also, there are pictures on Facebook of her daughter wearing a wig, not that this justifies my unwillingness to donate. Would it be at all appropriate for me to offer a cash donation, rather than one of hair? And if so, what would be the appropriate amount?
—Shear Me Not
I give a lot of leeway to people going through traumatic events, and having your child treated for cancer is right up there. However, this situation does not entitle people to pressure those who aren’t inclined to donate body parts—even renewable ones. The idea of asking people to donate their hair to a specific child is odd. As you’ve seen from the mother’s Facebook page, ready-made wigs are easily available. Let’s hope the treatment for this little girl was as successful as you indicate. In that case, happily her own hair will likely be growing in before your hair could be made into a custom wig. You don’t have to offer money toward the cost of a wig, unless the family is in financial straits and friends are raising funds to generally help them out. (Then donate only what you can comfortably afford.) If you want to do something for them, bringing a dinner is helpful—check when one would be most needed. Otherwise, since the request for your locks came to you secondhand, just act as if you’d never heard it.
My husband and I got married about a month ago. He’d cheated on me a year before we got engaged, and although it was the worst experience of my life, we obviously found a way to move on and are very happy. We are going to be in my friend’s wedding soon, and I was recently at her bachelorette party helping set up when “the other woman” walked in. I am totally confused as to why my friend would invite this girl to celebrate with us. I felt as though I couldn’t leave because of my duty as a bridesmaid. I thought my friend despised this girl as much as I do. My friend gave her a big hug and acted like nothing had ever happened. I was angry and hurt. I haven’t spoken to the bride since and have no idea what to do. Plus, I found out the girl is also invited to the wedding. Do I back out of the wedding a month before and call it quits on the friendship? Or do I simply forgive and forget because people are allowed to be friends with whomever they choose?
—The Other Friend
I’m taking you at your word that the bride knows about your history with “the other woman,” this woman is not in your social circle, and the bride didn’t have a pre-existing friendship with her. If all this is true, then the bride should have alerted you that X was going to be there, explained that the two of them have become friendly, and expressed her hope that you could put things behind you. Since you’re a bridesmaid, you wouldn’t have had much choice, but at least you would have been prepared. You don’t want to turn the upcoming nuptials into a drama about how your own marriage almost didn’t come about, but since you and the bride are close, you have to talk. Tell her you were surprised to see X at the party and wished you’d had a warning. It could be that what to you was the worst experience of your life, to everyone else was an instance of a guy who was in a semi-serious relationship deciding to play the field before settling down. Maybe your now-husband went after X, who took that as a sign he was available. At this point, everyone thinks that since you’ve forgiven him, you should stop carrying a grudge against her. Once you get a clarification, unless the bride is engaging in some weird head game with you, happily continue with your duties—after all, you’re the one who got the guy.
I am just a little over a year away from becoming a lawyer, and I’m miserable because I hate it. I wasn’t forced into the profession. I just mistakenly believed that since I loved to read and debate, law was the natural progression. But I don’t like law, and I’m not applying myself to it wholeheartedly. I can’t imagine being in this field for the rest of my life or even a few years. My parents have sacrificed and spent so much on my education, and I have no idea how to tell them that I made a mistake. Worse, my mom thinks this is my dream, and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it isn’t. The only thing that really brings me joy is escaping into books that have nothing to do with law. Please help me.
You are not the first young person to find that a profession that looked good from a distance is a miserable fit in reality. You are close to finishing your studies, so you might as well get the degree. Since finding a decent job is eluding many people your age, staying in graduate school a while longer is a pretty good strategy. But getting a law degree doesn’t mean you have to spend your life being a lawyer. Sure, your mother may be disappointed, but assure her that when you find a career that suits you better, you know you will benefit from your legal education. That’s been the case for a number of people at Slate, from our esteemed founding editor, Michael Kinsley, to my superlative colleagues Dahlia Lithwick and Emily Bazelon—nonpracticing lawyers all. The worlds of business and politics are filled with people with law degrees. At back-to-school night, my daughter’s high-school freshman English teacher told us that as a lawyer, she was particularly interested in teaching our children the art of persuasive writing. And since you love escaping into books, you might want to practice law for a few years, then use your experiences to try to create your own literary world, like Scott Turow and John Grisham.
More Dear Prudence Columns
- “Abuser Seeks a Way Out: I’m an emotional bully to all my girlfriends. How can I change?” Posted Jan. 28, 2010.
- ”His Endowment Is Cocktail Chatter: My wife blabs to her girlfriends about my large penis. Is that normal?” Posted Oct. 8, 2009.
- ”Dirty Pretty Things: My girlfriend has worn the same undergarment for weeks. Isn’t that disgusting?” Posted Aug. 27, 2009.
- ”Lunchroom Bandit: My co-worker is stealing everyone’s food” Posted Dec. 3, 2009.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
- “Callous Co-Workers Count My Calories: Prudie counsels an American whose European colleagues monitor her diet—and other advice seekers.” Posted March 1, 2010.
- ”Help! I’m Too Hot for My Age: Prudie counsels a woman whose youthful looks bring her nothing but problems—and other advice seekers.” Posted Feb. 8, 2010.
- ”The Pervy Principal: Prudie counsels a school worker whose boss trolls Internet porn on the job—and other advice seekers.” Posted Feb. 1, 2010.
- ”Sticky Fingers Can’t Stop Stealing: Prudie counsels a good Samaritan gone bad—and other advice seekers.” Posted Jan. 25, 2010.